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So close, yet so far, as it lay on the bay bottom in Roatan, Honduras I tested my diving abilities trying to retrieve my camera

By John Toth

The Bulletin

Where is the GoPro? I had it in my hand as I walked on the docks. I was going to snorkel and take some underwater video, but the GoPro was now gone.

“Did you leave it in the bag,” asked Sharon, my traveling editor, during our latest fact-finding trip to Roatan, Honduras.

I used it while we were walking on the docks. My GoPro 11 camera can video under water. It is waterproof (not just resistant) up to 30 feet..

There is no worse feeling than losing an underwater camera before I plan to take underwater videos. Maybe there is, but at that particular moment, there wasn’t.

I had to regroup. Where was I the last time I saw it? I was videoing from the docks. That doesn’t help. I still had it. What did I do after that? I stuck it in my swimsuit and proceeded down the ladder into the water.

That’s better. I looked down where the steps were. There lay my GoPro in about seven feet of water. That was a big relief. No problem, I thought; I’ll just dive down and get it.

I took the mouthpiece off my diving mask, kept my flippers on and proceeded to dive down towards the camera.

I missed it on the first try. I tried to dive too vertically. I came up for air, rested for a few seconds and tried it again. I missed it by the slightest of margins.

I repeated these unsuccessful dives a few more times with Sharon cheering me on, but with no luck. I could not dive down deep enough, no matter how much I pushed downward. This was a dead giveaway that I’m not good at this.

I also tried to kick the camera upwards with one of my flippers, but I could not dig under it well enough to give it enough of a push that would allow me to retrieve it the rest of the way.

 The GoPro continued to rest peacefully on the bay floor.

Just about when I was getting ready for another dive, a young woman in her 20s, who just finished snorkeling, passed by.

“I’m trying to retrieve my GoPro,” I explained. “I almost got it a few times.”

“I’ll get it,” she offered. She put on her mask, jumped in the water, dove down almost vertically, grabbed the camera and brought it to the surface.

“Thank you. You made it look easy,” I complimented her.

“You’re very welcome,” she said. I turned the camera on, and for the record, thanked her again. She waved and replied again. “You’re welcome.”

That’s the difference between a 20-something and a 60-something. The GoPro got a new life, although if the young woman hadn’t come along, I would have figured out to somehow dive down to the bottom. But I’m really glad that she showed up.

A year ago in Belize, I was getting ready to get on a speed boat that would take a group of about 50 of us to the Mayan ruins, when I discovered that the GoPro was no longer in my pocket.

I had two vacation days of videos on it that would have been devastating to lose. I could buy a new camera, but I could not get back those videos if I lost the camera.

I frantically described my problem to the tour guide. He held up the boat we were about to board until he could retrace my steps back to the bus. He ran back to the pier, waving the camera and telling the boat captain to start going. We hopped in, and the guide got a nice tip.

He got another tip when he turned his back while I climbed to the top of one of the temples (or pyramids), holding my GoPro. The whole reason I wanted to take the tour was to video this daring deed.

Daring, because the temple was a little steeper than I thought it would be. From the ground up, it didn’t look too bad. Let’s just say that going up was a lot easier than coming down.

The GoPro has used up two lives now. I looked in the instruction book to see how many lives it still has left, but they forgot to include that part.


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