When two passions collide to bounce together
How did diving and photography come to me ?
Well, this is a question that deserves an answer! Especially since the time I share my travel photos and I tell my wonders under the water, here is my story and how it all began.
It all started in December 2012, I was in Australia, more precisely in Green Island, an island which, by the way, is aptly named. It was my birthday (my 25th birthday) and I decided to go on a snorkeling trip near Cairns. While I was on the boat and ready to go explore the seabed but on the surface with my mask and my tuba when I saw a team of divers who was going down. At that time, it made me neither hot nor cold, on the contrary I was completely insensitive to diving and rather timid. I said to myself: Me? Go down there? No, not possible, I’ll never go there! I must confess that it scared me it was not possible to imagine myself with gallons of water above me, and breathe with a bottle. Very little for me, and so I went to do my snorkeling. When I got back on the boat, I was happy to see the little fishes swimming everywhere but when I heard THE one and only word that changed everything: We saw a sea turtle! I said to myself: Oh no! It’s not possible, they saw a turtle! Me too, I want to see one! Hearing this, all my questions and apprehensions flew away as if by magic, seeing a turtle was a longing for me; I would not go so far as to say it was a dream but almost. After our day strolling on the island, snorkeling, it was time to return to Cairns. The idea of telling me that I could see a turtle and many other marine animals down to x meters deep, it was starting to run through in my mind. So I started to find out about the prices, the length of the First level diving but being in Australia and seeing the exorbitant prices, it was clear that it was not in my travel budget. It is, therefore, sad that I scrapped diving, and I continued my trip to Australia.
It was Thailand that I chose for my first arrival in Southeast Asia, I visited this country from Bangkok and going up to Chiang Mai through Sukhothai and Ayutthaya. On my return to Bangkok by night train from Chiang Mai, one evening I found myself in the most popular and touristic street of Bangkok, Khao San Road. It was in the street parallel to Khao San Road that I found an agency of a large diving center on the island of Koh Tao, in the Gulf of Thailand. Not being insensitive to the signs of life, I told myself that if I had found myself in front of this agency it was because I had to enter and go to find out. I want to point out that at that time of my trip to Southeast Asia, I had totally put diving aside, I did not think about it anymore. So, after all, why not go in there to just ask for information, it costs nothing, in the end. It must be said that I had exactly one week left to fill in my trip before returning to Switzerland. So, I go back to the agency and a dozen minutes later, I came out with my reservation in my hands. Koh Tao held out my arms with a nice discovery but that, I knew nothing yet. What was sure is that I had to go to Koh Tao to do my dive baptism. Let’s go!
On the day of departure, I took all my belongings, my two backpacks, my camera and boarded the night bus to the Chumphon ferry. It was 9:00 pm when the bus left from Bangkok not far from Khao San Street, this bus was full of people that went also to Koh Tao but also on the other islands of the Gulf of Thailand (Koh Samui and Koh Phangan ).
We could distinguish them with the color of the sticker specific to each island, the blue one for Koh Tao, the orange one for Koh Phangan and the red one for Koh Samui. We knew who was going on which island. Arrived at 5:00 am in Chumphon after a night folded in four on an uncomfortable seat, so this is with head in the cabbage that I got off the bus and took my belongings, and I waited 1 hour for the check-in. We boarded at 7:00, and in the meantime I took the opportunity to eat something. Arrival at destination (finally), I quickly realized that this island was the Mecca of diving given the number of backpackers who landed the boat. Very little for me who hates the crowd, I felt very quickly suffocated on this small island with a concentration of diving centers every two meters. In addition, I did not realize I had booked in the largest diving center on the island, this is also not for me who prefer smaller structures more family, but I told myself that it was going to be fine and that was the case.
The next day, classes started and for 4 days I discovered the underwater world. At first we started in the pool of the hotel so that we could learn to breathe under the water, and suddenly: wonder. I swim since I am 9, I have a special relationship with the water because as soon as I find myself in the water, I’m in my element. So imagine being able to breathe under water, the first time it was just a moment of pure happiness. Unbelievable! I think anyone would love to breathe under the water they like or not to swim. It is a very special experience, it must still be said, but I loved it and I still love it so much. So like a little girl, I came to the surface all excited with the desire to be able to return immediately. This was the case the next day, and this time in the sea.
Four days was the time to get the Open Water certificate, the first level in diving. Knowing nothing at the beginning, I really thought to do a diving baptism and I thought it was super attractive 4 days with 8 dives for a baptism except that I participated in the courses to obtain the Open Water Diver certificate. Wow ! For my first dive at 12 meteres I had a problem in my ear that prevented me from going further down, impossible to unblock. I was swinging my head from left to right, pinching my nose and blowing, nothing worked, impossible to continue down because it caused me unbearable pain. Despite the instructions of my teachers, I had to go back on the boat. So sad, I told myself that it was damn, but against all odds, I was able to go back to the next and the others dives. So cool !!
After my 4 days of diving with the discovery of new sensations, of another world so soothing and so alive, a certain thing was transmitted to me: the passion of diving. I thank my instructors. Because since I put the head under the water, I only have one desire is to return and this time with my photographic equipment.
As the meetings are never the result of chance, I never thought that going to Spain, in 2009, in Malaga, I would have a click for photography, and this, despite my father was already in the field for years. Before this trip to Spain, photography did not interest me at all, and yet it was during those holidays that I met Eva who showed me the style of photos she made, the effects and compositions she gave. Her work immediately appealed to me, and she made me want to grab a camera in my hands and jump into photography.
It was then 3 years later, in 2012, before my departure for my solo trip that my dad gave me my very first SLR camera, a 1000D canon that followed me on this trip. It was THE gift I did not expect to receive and, which allowed me to start photography. I will always remember what my dad said to me the day of the purchase after asking him to teach me a little bit: « It will be enough for you simply to click on the button, you will learn by yourself ». At the moment, I was speechless by not expecting this answer but with time and hindsight, I now understand his answer. Finally, this is by taking photos that we learn not only to handle a camera but that we learn to observe especially, and look around us.
So during my solo trip to Australia, it was with this camera that I started to specialize in landscape photography without realizing it. I photographed animals, landscapes admiring everything I photographed around me. Everything I liked and touched me, I found nature (and it always is) beautiful filled with beauty that left me speechless but without being aware of what photography would bring in my life. I photographed and I took a great pleasure.
During my travels, my camera follows me in order to improve my style and photograph what looks beautiful to me: Nature! But it was much later that I finally could put a word on the excitement that won me during all my travels and every shot: Passion. I became passionate about photography, I can not do without my camera during my travels, I must have it with me, it’s obvious!
At present, I photograph to show the beauty of the world to people, to make them understand that the planet Earth is full of beautiful places and is populated with thousands of species in order to make them want to preserve, and protect the Earth. When I started in photography, I would not have thought that one day I would write these lines. Photography led me to admire the beauty of the Earth behind my lenses, it is also this art that led me to want to talk about the Planet Earth and the need for its protection through articles illustrated with my photographs . Finally, when we rebuilt the puzzle, we realize that my meeting with Eva allowed me to do what I’m doing now. Nothing happens by chance such as meetings! Do not forget it!
So what is the connection with diving? Well, underwater, I will be able to take a lot of pictures of marine animals and their environment to make people aware of the fragility of oceans, seas and lakes. Finally, by mixing diving with photography, life has put me on my way two disciplines that, in the end, goes very well with each other: when two passions collide to better bounce together!
Life is well done!
© 2019 – Wairua Kaieke
Travel blogger and photographer from Switzerland.
I travel the world and with my photographs I show the beauty of the world in order to raise awareness to people about Planet Earth’s issues, and wildlife.