I was 19 when I saw my first sea turtle in the wild.
My father and I have always bonded in the ocean. (I'll blog about the relationship between my father, myself and the ocean later.) One beautiful summer day we decided to go diving..... basically we got in the water with a snorkel, face mask, fins and a homemade 3-prong spear. The water was crystal clear that day. I mean you could see clear to the sandy bottom. It was like glass. There weren't any clouds in the sky and the sun was bright and shiny. It was PERFECT!
We got in the ocean and it was warm and clean. As you submerge, there is very little noise. I can hear my heart beat. I can hear myself breathe, at first they are shallow, quick breaths. Soon they calm to long, deep breaths. It is the most peaceful feeling in the world!
Pops and I were in the water for about 2 hours when we came up on this huge coral head. The water was about 20 feet deep so the coral head had to be at least 15 feet tall. It was huge. My father dived down to see if there were any big fish under the coral. I followed him halfway down. That's all I could handle because my ears started to pop.
All of a sudden I saw this huge shadow on the ocean floor. When I looked up, the creature casting the shadow was a green sea turtle. It was the most beautiful thing. I instantly called him Charlie. I believe HE told me his name! He looked like a bird in flight except it was slowed way down. My father scared him from beneath the coral head.
Charlie looked at me, winked, smiled and swam further off into the ocean. The sun framed his shape and I will never forget him. I have loved Charlie ever since and have only seen him once after our first meeting. I have seen other turtles but none of them have winked and smiled at me like Charlie.
Every replica of a sea turtle remind me of him. I left the ocean that day with this warm, fuzzy feeling inside and a love for my Charlie!