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Where the real things are

Wandering through shopping centres in the lead-up to Christmas is inevitable – at least for me. The other day I was browsing through the TV, Hi Fi, computer and other gadget section of a major retail outlet and couldn’t help but stop and look at the latest 3D Television.

While I was following the silent cartoon on the screen – slightly bent forward and over-stretching the wire that was attached to my hideous plastic 3D glasses that were meant to prevent theft but were more inhibiting than anything  – something interesting happened.

The Mickey Mouse story changed to an underwater documentary in which people swam with a majestic 2 metre long grey fish that was dotted on it’s back with white spots: a whale shark!

The reason I instantly recognised that it was a whale shark is because only a few months ago Thorsten and I did the exact same thing I was just watching on tele in 3D.

I was captivated. Elegantly and gently the shark was swimming through the clear blue of the sea. It was shown from all angles giving a perfect view of its white belly, the group of pilot fish that was swimming underneath it, the white dots on its back. Beautiful.

While other shoppers bumped into me and the wire kept pulling on my glasses, the crystal clear 3D picture of the shark in front me changed. No, it was me that changed. Suddenly I felt like saying to the uninterested fellow shoppers: “But wait, when you swim with whale sharks the water isn’t actually that clear, it’s a bit murky when you jump in. Although you seem to see little at first you know, because you were told on the boat, you have to keep swimming towards the shark and that’s what you do.”

“Then,  you look up and suddenly there, right in front of you, underneath the surface of the water it is. It comes right towards you with its big wide mouth open and closing, sucking in water. And that’s when you realise quick! I’ve got to get out of its way! In another split second you notice how fast this shark actually swims towards you and how much leg work it is to keep up with it so it doesn’t just pass you leaving you alone in the murky blue again.

Standing there in the gadget department I remembered how seasick, but good-humoured everyone got on board of the little boat that day because the water was quite choppy. I remembered how amazing the swims were and how exhausted and happy I felt. I remembered Thorsten being exhilarated about the experience and our agreement that we’ll do this again next time we get to Exmouth.

What can I say, it made my question of the perfect Christmas gift a whole lot easier – a 3D Television or a trip to where the real things are…

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