A Lionfish Encounter


As we grow older, our adversaries become bigger. But that’s okay because we also grow braver.

My love for the ocean started when I was a child. I cannot remember how young I was, but I can picture myself sitting on the fine white sand while playing with tiny creeping creatures that seemed to be carrying their small shell houses, which I can now identify as hermit crabs.

My first snorkeling experience was alright as my father held me close, and I had floaters. Eventually, at 12, I could snorkel on my own with no adults holding me anymore, but with adults swimming and snorkeling at a fair distance. I was confidently and courageously swimming till I spotted a fish looking like a colorful butterfly, except it had spiny fins. I knew it was a lionfish! Lionfishes have venomous spines, and I was terrified I would be attacked. After visiting the large aquariums, I knew it. I was in a panic. While I was swimming away from the scary creature, I could take glances at the fish with only its fins moving. It was calm as if it realized that it was safe in its home, and the intruder was swimming away in fear. Someone rescued me. It wasn’t a near-death experience but was traumatizing.

At 14, I had my first scuba experience. I was praying there would be no shark, or I wouldn’t know what might have happened.

Today, as a recreational diver at 20, I have dived around the world and encountered deadly sea creatures. Now older, I have traveled farther, and swam deeper, with higher and harder adversaries, but I gather, that every frightening experience makes one braver. And Oh, how I long to swim with sharks someday.