Bora Bora, Moorea, Tahiti

The GoPro that Got Away

We often see people going on vacation, and it looks absolutely perfect that we almost can’t stand our friends’ perfect lives. Reality check: many things are filtered—the stories and the pictures only show a narrow segment of the best moments. Our vacation was fantastic, but it did rain some of the times, and we did have a few mishaps, as you can probably tell from the title of this post.

It’s been over half a year since our Tahiti trip, one of the best dream vacations of our lives. But that’s not to say that it was all rainbows and unicorns farting giggles and hearts every day. It wasn’t perfect, and I wanted to highlight some of the reality that social media belies.

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As simple as the story is “we lost it, boohoo, the end,” I’m intending to make an unfortunate incident into something positive for everyone. So this is the tale of how we lost our GoPro to the South Pacific Ocean and what good I took from it!

Background

At the time, it felt devastating. My husband had bought our GoPro Hero 4 Silver as a Christmas present for me (6 months before our wedding), with full intentions of us taking it on all our travels. I found the GoPro most useful around the water, which would be a majority of Tahiti!

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By the time we went to Bora Bora, we had actually invested in even more gadgets for this beloved GoPro. Without getting into too much detail about the gadgets (maybe another post on this if you’re interested), there was one in particular that we found to work well. Maybe too well.

The Eventful Day…

The second morning of our trip, we woke up bright and early in Mo’orea to catch the sunrise. Or more like the sunrise woke us up. After breakfast, we decided to check out the kayaks for rent at our resort and had a pleasant hour of rowing in the lagoon and all around the resort.

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By this time it was starting to warm up, so we decided to go back to our bungalows for some snorkeling and relaxing on the deck. Of course, we brought the GoPro along into the water, but not before securing it to a floatation device—the most important element of this story.

I had originally thought of buying a waterproof GoPro selfie stick for underwater selfie photos, but resorted to just get something that would keep the GoPro afloat. Knowing what a big klutz I was, I was more afraid to lose the GoPro by dropping it on a selfie stick than I was willing to risk capturing some underwater selfies. So, I bought a short, but bright yellow floating stick that did the job!

We snorkeled around and hubby dove down deeper to take some videos of the fish by the coral under out bungalow. Since my parents were one bungalow over, we swam over to their deck and took a little break. The snorkel gear provided from the resort was not the best, and it would keep fogging up my sight so I had to wash out the gear.

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View of our bungalow from my parents’ deck…

After awhile, we decided to swim back to our bungalow…a very short distance away as you can see in the above photos. I told my mom, “Hey, it would be kind of cool if you could take a few photos of us from up here swimming back to our bungalow! Like…an aerial shot almost!” My mom, ever the eager photographer, was delighted to do so on her phone. She shouted at us to hold hands while swimming.

The GoPro, at this time, was in my hubby’s possession. Mostly because he was diving to take photos and partially because didn’t trust me (the klutz) with it. It only took a short 1-2 minute swim back to our bungalow. I shouted to my mom, “Did the photos turn out okay?” She gave me a smile and a thumbs-up.

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So I turned to my husband and asked “Hey, where’s the GoPro? I want to see what fish you caught down there.”

He reached over into his pocket and then gave me a horrified look. “It’s not here.

I seriously thought this was one of his jokes that he likes to pull on me. “Ha ha, very funny. Really, can I see it?”

When the panicked look on his face didn’t change, I knew he was not kidding. We immediately shouted over to my parents who were still on their deck if they had seen our GoPro attached to the bright yellow stick. I mean, were literally over there just one or two minutes ago and there was not much distance in between their bungalow and ours!

But they didn’t see a thing and neither did we. My husband jumped back into the water to swim around and look, as did my dad. I scoured from above deck looking for bright yellow items, but many turned out to be bright yellow leaves instead. The GoPro had been tucked in the pockets of husband’s board shorts, but we guessed it had somehow floated out due to the floatation device!

The Aftermath

That morning, we spent probably 2 or 3 hours going around the entire perimeter of the resort trying to look for that GoPro. The problem was our bungalows faced the open ocean so it technically could have floated anywhere! We thought maybe we were lucky and the current pushed it towards the resort if anything.

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The open ocean and my parent’s bungalow viewed from our own.

We called the front desk to set an alert to look for it and even concerned resort-goers helped us look for it on their paddleboards and kayaks. My husband was a wreck because he felt responsible for losing it and he literally swam around for about 2 hours, learning the entire resort’s ins and outs.

My dad ran as fast as he could to the rental area (remember, we had to cross 3 bridges around the entire resort to get to the lobby!) and borrowed a standup paddle board to look for the GoPro. The rental guy asked him if he had ever paddle boarded before. My dad said no, and the rental guy looked a little concerned.

But my dad, even in his late 50s, is super fit and with his VERY FIRST TRY on a stand up paddle board, he was able to successfully paddle around the resort without falling in once. I’m pretty proud of him for that, even if he didn’t manage to find our GoPro.

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Many little lagoons and rivers of the resort…it was like a little maze.

And then there was me walking around the perimeter of the resort looking in the rocks and crags while chasing after my husband and my dad, trying to tell them to reapply sunscreen because it had been too long. But the men in my life are ridiculously stubborn, and they refused.

So yes, we all got sunburnt that morning. Despite me reapplying sunblock on my arms and legs, I actually got burnt on my scalp!! Who knew that could happen, right?! Now I am a huge proponent of wearing hats on vacation.

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My husband was super bummed the rest of the afternoon, even though I kept telling him that it wasn’t his fault. Maybe it was mine for wanting to take couples’ photos. Maybe it was my parents’, for not noticing the GoPro and yellow stick floating away IN the photos! But at their age, I can’t blame their vision. Can you spot the yellow stick in the photo above? (Bottom left) We didn’t think to look at the photos for evidence until later in the day and these were actually quite heartbreaking to review.

Luckily, we hadn’t actually taken that much footage on the GoPro yet, as we were on day 2 of the trip. But still, it was the thought of losing out on using it the rest of the time that was a bummer. My parents could tell he felt bad too, so they dragged us to happy hour to cheer up my husband.

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It took a lot to get him to smile here, even with the pina colada. See the sunburns, too? (Or wait, is that Asian glow…lol)
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Our bungalows were on the other side of this bridge facing open ocean.

The Lessons

Unfortunately, we never found it. The resort even offered to call us and transfer it to the Bora Bora resort in a few days if it surfaced in Mo’orea, but I did not have high hopes. But I did take away a few things from this:

  1. This GoPro flotation device WORKS. Extremely well. It floats, all right! If you want a floatation device, let our misfortunes be your recommendation!
  2. Always use the wrist strap to secure cameras and GoPros to something else to prevent losing them! Duh.
  3. Reapply sunscreen. Wear hats. Seriously. Scalps, ears, and toes WILL burn.
  4. Make the best of everything. Even though this was a huge bummer, things could have been worse, and at the end of the day, we were still there having a good time. Material possessions are just that—finite and fleeting. Memories are forever, even if a camera does not capture it.
  5. There are Lost GoPro Facebook groups where kind souls post lost and found GoPros. We didn’t know about this until another month later in Havasupai when we met a guy who lost his GoPro jumping off a waterfall and other people suggested to check the groups. By that point we had already replaced our GoPro.
  6. Perhaps consider a bright ORANGE floatie stick…the yellow didn’t work so well for us in Mo’orea due to the yellow leaves! Ha!

Now whenever we go on vacation, I never anticipate an entirely uneventful trip that goes perfectly flawless anymore. I expect the weather won’t always go our way, and we might lose a few things or get lost or be late to something. But that’s okay.

We’re human. These make for the stories you’ll remember, and material possessions can be replaced. But people and memories cannot.

Just put everything in perspective, and also remember that picture perfect social media does not tell the whole story! 🙂

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The most beautiful sunsets come after the rain.

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