My camera is broken. It's actually a little more complicated than that--let me explain so I can get it all off my chest.
I have a camera that can go underwater up to 10m/33ft. That's deeper than I'd swim while snorkeling, but not deep enough for most scuba dives. Since the Housemate and I were planning on doing a lot of diving on our Big Island vacation this week, I ordered a waterproof housing for the camera that's designed to go to 200 ft--deeper than I ever plan to scuba dive. According to the shipping estimate, though, the camera housing might not arrive before we left for the Big Island. So I just had it shipped to the Housemate's brother's house, where we are staying on the Big Island. It would arrive some time in the first half of our week-long vacation.
For our first few days on the Big Island, we didn't go diving at all, because we figured we'd wait for the camera housing to arrive. But when the camera housing still hadn't arrived halfway through our vacation, we realized we'd better go diving with or without the camera, or we'd miss our chance. For our first dive, we decided to do a shallow dive, no deeper than 30 feet, so we could bring the camera with us--we didn't need the housing if we kept it shallow. We went to Hanaunau, where we'd had a great time snorkeling last summer. It was late in the afternoon by that point, though, and the weather was cloudy and slightly drizzly on and off, so the colors weren't as bright underwater as they were last year.
About half an hour into our dive, my camera suddenly started...vibrating. It was buzzing. It was very weird. I was confused at first what was going on, but then the screen started fuzzing out a little bit, and I knew that it must have flooded partially. I surfaced (we were shallow, so it didn't take much time), and brought the camera in to shore. But I don't know why it broke! We were diving for 28 minutes and went no deeper than 26 feet (with our dive computers, it's easy to keep track of these things). I didn't break any of the rules. I just broke the camera.
I hoped that if I dried it out then maybe it would work again. But after leaving it open overnight, it still buzzed when I turned it on in the morning. It doesn't have a problem showing previous photos taken, and it still takes pictures, but they come out as fuzzy and off-color as the screen display shows. It's broken. Once I go home I can see whether the camera is still under warranty, but for now there's nothing I can do for it.
So that's why I didn't have my camera with me while diving the next day, my birthday, when I saw two of the most amazing things I've ever seen in my life. I can blame it on the broken camera, but really I would have needed the camera housing anyway, because we went deeper than 30 feet. Basically, this tragedy is all due to the fact that the housing didn't arrive on time. If it had arrived on time, I wouldn't have taken the camera diving without the housing, and it wouldn't have gotten flooded. It would have been working on my birthday, I would have taken photos and video of the amazing things I saw, and I wouldn't be typing this sad blog post today.
It breaks my heart that I don't have photos or video to remember what I saw yesterday by. I know that in the old days, people never had photos or video, but I have become quite reliant on it. Yes, I have memories, but I don't have a perfect memory. Can I really picture the scene exactly as it happened? I'm already forgetting specifics, patching in things that I think might have happened where I can't remember what really happened. I truly treasure the lava video I took last summer. I can always watch it to remember an exact moment, and to prove to myself that I was really there. Photos are truly the best souvenirs. Without photos or video, I feel empty. A day later, and the experience already feels a little less real, like maybe it was just a dream. It's like the moment is dead; all I have left are memories.
The housing still hasn't arrived. I just hope it arrives before the end of our vacation, so the Housemate's brother doesn't have to ship it to us. Stay tuned for my next post, where I will try my best to do justice to the spectacular things we saw while diving on my birthday.