These blue caves were something out of a deep dream. The water in them glows because of how the sand below reflects the bits of sunlight that manages to make its way in. Some years ago you were permitted to swim in these caves; where now a tour boat takes you in and out for a few minutes of observation with a pack-load of other tourists. It made me think about our collective desire to capture it all, and I tried to balance the need with the simple act taking it in tech-free.
On our particular tour, there were two island spots besides this I couldn’t capture. We had to jump off the boat to swim into secret, paradise coves or into other caves that we were allowed to explore hands-on. Those two experiences were actually my favourite, because without my phone - (waterproof or not I wasn’t going to risk it) I had no reason to observe my surroundings for the perfect photo. So, I was simply THERE. I’d swim, dive, explore, look at fishes, rest, and think about the magnificence of what I was seeing. I did that in these caves too, but less so. With my phone on my person, there was that temptation there, ever-present, nagging.
It’s interesting to think about not only trying to engage our willpower to abstain from minimizing an experience with our phones (which can never capture the true essence of the experience anyway), but to make it impossible for us to use them at all. Imagine this cave was phone-free. Like a little beacon pulsing from my pocket, its presence (and absence) actually changes the way I think, feel, and interact with my surrounding place. I try to challenge myself, but minimal use while donning it is still different from the absence of it entirely.
If you ever make it to Croatia, I’d say these caves are so worth seeing despite their immense tourist popularity. Besides, there’s an underwater bridge connecting the two walls that could collapse, so they may not exist a while from now. But like these caves might soon disappear, eventually, so would our photos. Might as well do something more lasting, and take. it. in. with your human eyes. Listen. Make it a part of you, and take that home instead.