Beginner’s Luck

Often when asked the question “what’s your favourite sport”, I really want to answer “snorkelling”. But I have been corrected many times, snorkelling apparently does not constitute as a sport. I would be lying if I said that I liked swimming, I’m not really in love with swimming, and public pools gross me out. I just like seeing fish, and sometimes when I swim really fast it feels like exercise. After all, part of the definition of sport is: an activity involving physical exertion and skill. So, breathing through a snorkel without fogging up the mask demonstrates skill, and following fish around the lagoon completes the physical exertion part, so there we have it; my favourite sport!

With that being said, since coming to Reunion I practice my favourite sport as much as possible (since I didn’t have many chances to practice in my hometown Toronto) and I would like to think that I know the lagoon, especially in St Leu, like the back of my hand. I have seen octopus, moray eels, boxfish, lionfish, even squid!! I thought I had seen everything there was to see without venturing beyond the coral barrier.

However, my in-laws came on vacation last November and within a week of being here my father-in-law came back from snorkelling in Trou D’Eau and announced that he had just been swimming with a huge ray! I was green with envy, why haven’t I gone swimming in the lagoon with a ray? I jumped in the water right away and went searching for the ray.  But as luck may have it, I came back disappointed; the ray was nowhere to be seen.

A few days later my sister-in-law went snorkelling in St. Leu, while I stayed on the beach.  What a mistake, she came back excited telling us how she had just spent fifteen minutes or more swimming with a turtle! I have swum with turtles before, but not in the lagoon in St. Leu. I was jealous for the second time that week.

So, I started wondering why I had never seen these big magnificent creatures in the lagoon and visitors who have only been snorkelling a few times were finding them with ease? I came to the conclusion that either it can all be chalked up to beginners luck, or my in-laws were pulling my leg. They did happen to forget their underwater camera both times.  Ever since then, I have kept my eyes peeled, looking for turtles or rays, or maybe I’ll just have to settle for a visit to Kélonia or the Aquarium in St Gilles.


snorkelling – palmes, masque, tuba
to gross out – dégouter
exertion – effort
fogging up – buée dans le masque
to demonstrate – démontrer

that being said – ceci dit
hometown – ville natale
like the back of my hand – comme le fond de ma poche
octopus – pieuvre
moray eels – murène

boxfish – poisson coffre
lionfish – poisson-lion
squid – calamar
father-in-law – beau père
green with envy – vert de jalousie

ease – aisance
to chalk up – engranger
pulling my leg – faire marcher qqn
to keep your eyes peeled – garder les yeux grand ouvert
to settle for – se contenter de

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