The golden object in the water was not a disc, but a sacred ivory gold turtle, glistening in the Tahitian sun.

Hardly believing our eyes or our fortune, we all scrambled for cameras and cell phones to capture this sovereign marvel. I felt I was cast in a Keystone Kops reel, bumping and stumbling into my shipmates for a vantage point on the boat … but photos were not to be.

As if it understood the error of our ways, the noble one raised its head, admonished us of its sacredness and then slipped gently, silently under the sparkling sun-dappled surface into the azure depths. We were too late. The noble one’s appearance was divine … not meant to be an image captured for irreverent, mortal eyes.

We collectively stared into the receding ripple, each of us left breathless by our encounter with the sovereign “Rescuer of Voyagers”. Seconds later, the engine purred to life and we continued hushed and humbled to shore, somehow transformed into Anointed Ones. We had just experienced Something Greater Than Ourselves …  Heaven truly must be like this.