I've always felt uneasy in the sea. The crashing in, the dragging out. The rising tide, the creatures beneath.
That sense of danger I could momentarily conquer close to shore, only to turn jellyfish in a heart beat as soon as I couldn't touch the bottom.
I'd moved from lying on bottom of the pool in full scuba gear to going below the waves. Achieving a Padi in Paleros Greece in the clear Ionian Sea only to lose my bottle completely on a dodgy dive in Thailand. Ill fitting flippers and leaking goggles left me floundering and spluttering, clinging like a barnacle to the boat steps.
As the team hauled my sorry ass on board and put the tank still full to the brim with oxygen back from where they got it 10 mins earlier, I lay there like a limb short starfish thinking, "maybe I'm cut out for the life aquatic."
Resigning myself to the fact on a beach holiday I'm more Jackie Kennedy than Jacques Cousteau, putting down my cocktail to bob around with a snorkel, getting my back burned whilst the brave and the bold sink to the depths below.
When you travel with a camera, there are only so many sunsets and palm tree shots you capture before you completely bore yourself so getting good underwater creature shots is a big macho point bonus "oh my screensaver? I was just filming the conga eel when the shark came right up to behind me!"
Snaps of strange sea creatures were not going to appear in any of my photo albums, until my my last trip to Thailand where I found a very unique little island.
With a bit of imagination I resisted the urge to keep looking up at the sunset and decided to go on my own "sea creature" expedition exploring the rock formations.
I discovered grazing stone fish, boulder whales, conga eel carvings, even a rock hard piranha (yes I know it's a freshwater fish, it still counts in my imagination) and I didn't even get my hair wet.....