Where d’you wanna go? How much you wanna risk?

Let me tell you a story about a girl and her love affair with pelagics.

I swam with my first pelagic fish in 2010—the whale sharks of Donsol, Sorsogon. I was just an avid snorkeler back then and not at all a strong swimmer, so the guide had to drag me around by the life vest so I could catch up. (They don’t feed the sharks in Donsol like they do in Oslob, so you have to move quickly if you want to catch a glimpse.)

I’ve been obsessed with pelagics since, but I neither had the skill nor opportunity to pursue such a fancy, so I settled for vicariously living through pictures and videos posted on social media by souls so much braver than I am.

As I learned and got better at freediving, I had swimming with the pelagics of my dreams foremost on my mind. Manta rays were at the top of my list, so I built our entire Bali trip last April around that goal. (Sorry, family! ✌????)

Diving with manta rays in Nusa Penida is—without a doubt—my most humbling experience to date. I have to admit that my head gets a little too big sometimes, that I think too highly of myself at times. Truly there’s nothing like a 6-meter flat shark calmly gliding your way to put things in perspective—that no matter how much you think the world revolves around you, you are just a small thing. A speck of leftover stardust. No more than a tenuous filament of a much greater whole.

I still have a good number of pelagics on my list, and many of them are the so-called “man-eaters.” I’m in the process of working up the skill and courage (!!!) to get through that list. Like I said, I’m just a speck, and worst case scenario is I’ll become a very small snack. And the best case? More one-of-a-kind experiences that I can wax poetic on in future posts.


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