Sometimes our hearts make impulse decisions for us because they just know it’s what we need. For me that usually happens with travel. Certain trips or opportunities are no-brainers, all heart. And my heart was one helluva excellent travel guide for this one.
I’d been dreaming of living on a boat for a while now and had been craving some sort of adventure or expedition, too. So when a friend of a friend (Thank you Issas of Issa de Mar) posted a picture of a catamaran in the Tuamotus with a little blurb about a boat trip with spearfishing and freediving, you can bet I messaged her right away to try and get a spot.
Well, it’s been 15 days since I got back from living a Tuamotu dream. If anyone stumbles on this, let me nudge you in the direction of dipping into that savings account and using those miles should some sort of opportunity your soul’s been craving magically arrive. Make it happen.
That’s what I did.
It changed me for the better, was therapeutic and exciting, reset my compass, and helped me conquer fears I didn’t realize I had.
All in 4.5 days.
The trip was run by Poema DuPrel of Tahitian Pirates and Julie Gautier took the reigns on the freediving tips and instruction. Think: women who can spearfish giant fish in the middle of the ocean, hold their breath for minutes while swimming alongside sharks and whales, create magic underwater behind or in front of a camera lens, and always be able to go spear something for dinner if needed.
I hadn’t met anyone in person until the group rushed to make our flight to Rangiora at the last minute with all their gear…and I knew I was with my kind of people.
There were plans, but then they were quickly turned into no-plan plans, and let’s see where the day takes us kind of plans. This meant days slam-packed with awesomeness sprinkled with zen. We swam with dolphins, went for numerous drift dives, spearfished at sunrise and sunset (ate everything we caught – spearfishing is amazing by the way), swam alongside giant manta rays, dove with all kinds of sharks (reef, hammerhead, and even Oceanic White Tip – yes, three of them) swam through massive reefs and countless schools of fish, and slept under the stars.
Just watching Poema and Julie in the water was all I ever needed to feel confident, inspired, and safe. My motto was always to be by the girls with the guns (spearguns). And it worked. Those ladies are such badasses. In fact, everyone was on the trip, in their own way.
I caught a few fish, lost track of how many times I zoned out on top of the boat while staring at the horizon, have mental pictures that I hope will last long after my memory fades, miss everyone’s laughs (there was so much laughter) realized my French needs massive help, and my face has finally recovered from the massive sunburn I got on day 1. Ok, I also projectile vomited off the boat because I made myself super motion-sick swimming and swirling around with the mantas. Didn’t know I could do that. Tons of fish quickly cleaned it up though. It was fascinating.
It all could’ve made a fantastic movie or book, except for there was no drama or conflict. Just lots of laughter, peace, and love for life. Especially life underwater.
I really had no expectations for this trip, (ok, other than to soak up tons of inspiration for future paintings) and it ended up being more than I could’ve hoped for, for reasons other than what’s captured in a pic. And I don’t think it could be replicated again if I tried.
But I’ll definitely give it a shot.
Mauruuru for the memories and friendship, Poema, Julie, Cyrielle, Alexia, Angela, and Sheldon, and thanks to our Captain and Cook for keeping us alive, and for all the poisson cru, too.
Pinch me. It was just so cool.
Now, time to start saving again for the next one…
Hopefully, this all inspires someone out there to just book the darn ticket, check off something on their bucket list, and go on an adventure sometime, soon.
*The turquoise heart necklace is by Kate Davis