Like most of my fellow travelers on this Nautilus journey, I have had a fascination and infatuation with sharks since I was a small child. It was always a dream of mine to occupy the same space as them, to see them in real life and observe this perfect design of nature. Life seems to disrupt making dreams like this tangible for various reasons that we can all relate to, Covid did not make it any easier. However, the one thing granted to me (and many others) by this awful pandemic was time. I suddenly had more of it than I ever had in my life and took this as a clear sign that I must make this fantasy a lived experience while I was granted a window to do so.
After much research, I kept coming back to Nautilus and without hesitation, booked the trip during shark mating season in hopes of seeing some ‘big mamas’ as they have dubbed them, and wishfully maybe even catching a glimpse of the famous Deep Blue. As a solo traveler on this journey, I wasn’t sure what to expect and any anxiety that would have been quelled by a travel companion was very much surface level, especially on that first dive day…
I had intended to let the others jump in first as I knew there were many experienced divers and swimmers aboard however, I found myself among the first 2 people ready to jump in. I had convinced myself everything was fine, and I could do this without anyone knowing that I was silently having an internal panic attack; “fake it til you make it” seemed the appropriate adage in this situation. Four steps down the ladder and my first breath through the regulator underwater, cue the panic attack. I shot back up, trying to hide my erratic hyperventilating and panic and I was frozen. Divemaster Pablo spotted me and offered to come in with me for support and I will be forever grateful to him for this. He joined me a few other times as some of the conditions were a bit rougher than I was comfortable with but it was all worth it to be underwater watching these magnificent creatures and to be a guest in their home. All of the crew aboard were incredible, empathetic and a pleasure to be around, it felt like a trip with old friends.
This was an experience that has rejuvenated my spirit and humbled me to the core. I couldn’t have imagined a better experience than I had with this team, on this boat, interacting with the sharks we saw. Thank you to everyone involved in making this trip a touching and memorable experience.
- Keeks, USA onboard the Nautilus Explorer