I dropped my GoPro down a cenote

Unfortunately the title isn’t a metaphor. I literally dropped our recently acquired GoPro down a 160 foot (almost 50 metres) cenote here in Mexico.

This gorgeous cenote.

Courtesy of popsugar.com


So how did it play out?

Well… I put the camera in the pocket of my shorts. Then I jumped in.

The water was fresh but absolutely gorgeous. Sel and I jumped in together and both surfaced at the same time. Then she said, “It’s GoPro time!” with an excited look on her face.

I patted the pocket of my shorts. There was no bulge (I mean the camera… stay focused people). My heart sank. As quick and as heavy as the camera obviously had. The pressure of the water had pushed it out of my pocket and that little piece of technology sunk like a sack of potatoes to the bottom. On the plus side, the key to the storage locker stayed in my pocket which meant we saved 250 pesos! Hooray!

Days later and the camera is presumably still there as I type this. The memory card might still be in tact with precious photos of Sel and I. The good news? All the photos had been taken off the night before. I’m pedantic like that. However for some reason, I wasn’t pedantic about using a wrist strap (as suggested by Sel), or using the selfie/tripod stick that also had a wrist strap (as also suggested by Sel).

Needless to say, I was pissed. She was pissed. I swam straight for the steps, grabbed my towel and took off back to the top. She followed. What was a once in a lifetime experience had suddenly turned sour very quickly. And for what. A few photos? It didn’t take long to grab a photo of the same location off google (as I’ve done above), and although it doesn’t have Sel or my own cheesy grin front & centre, it’s more than enough to stir up the memory of the location and what we did there. After all, the majority of my travel photos are selfies or photos of Sel, so what’s the difference?

Sel wasn’t a big fan of my idea for this post. She simply repeats the words “wrist strap”, and she has a point. Had I used a wrist strap the other day, I wouldn’t have thought about this. But it did made me think. Had I left the camera in my bag and enjoyed the cenote for what it was, would that have been so bad? It’s not something I’d ever forget, photo or not.

Are we too reliant these days on capturing every moment possible, and from every angle? This is a hard one for me as I love my photography. When we go *anywhere* my first thought is usually around what sort of photos I can take. Sometimes from an artistic/photography point of view, sometimes for the sake of a travel memory, and sometimes even for the sake of sharing it on Instagram.

So we went swimming with turtles yesterday and it was unreal. We bought a cheap waterproof camera with real film. Remember those cameras? 20-something shots, where you have no idea what you’ve just taken. Sel used it while we snorkelled and to be honest I didn’t even care about not having a camera with me, and I’m not too worried about how those photos will come out when they eventually get processed. It was nice, and I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t feel lost without my trigger finger snapping the shutter every few seconds.


So when does the need for photos become too much? I’d love to know what you all think.

By the way, we just bought another GoPro…

37 thoughts on “I dropped my GoPro down a cenote

  1. I actually was pondering something similar at Disneyworld with the kids. We were terrible at collecting photos from our Disneyland trip last summer so this summer I really wanted to make sure to capture those moments…but I kept finding myself trying to capture the moment rather than living and enjoying the moment with my kiddos. I look back and I wish I would have taken more photos! But I did take in the moments we did have! It’s a difficult line to determine…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It can be tricky! Depending on where we are, sometimes I try to focus on getting a bunch of photos in a short amount of time and then putting the camera away. After thinking a bit more about this, I’ve never come home from a holiday and regretted taking too many photos – they’re always fun to look back over!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Donald

          Update in my go pro..
          I Try calling them no answer..”spanish”
          My friend went there for vacation ask him favor to look for my go pro..ask security or manager.. The manager is not in the office.. He wait 1hr no show.. I remeber i spoke 1 security guard that someone dive every week.. Then sent me to a guy name enrique.. Told me 1 month.. That they will call me or email..It give me hope..but no call no email .. Why😔


  2. I’m not sure how to answer that question, Mike. I take the majority of my pix (of the dogs) these days with my iPhone. It’s handy, it’s always charged, and it takes good-quality pix. I love getting pix of my “furbabies”, but I don’t obsess over it if the camera or phone isn’t handy.
    BTW, I love the picture you took off Google.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m slowly learning now to worry too much. I still take my camera everywhere while travelling, even for a walk down the street (especially if we’re staying somewhere like Hollywood which we are at the moment), but I can often walk around for hours and not even pull it out of the bag. The phone is a good backup!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I lost my GoPro on the last rope swing into a cenote today. The first one I had it propped and it worked great to capture the rope swing, second (and last) I put it back in my wrist strap and it popped off during the top swing.

        If it was going to happen, it was going to happen. I really appreciate this article because I went through all the same emotions today and realized that the experience of travel isn’t hinged upon the pictures or videos we take…the emphasis is solely based on the memories and friends we create.



        1. Oh wow, I’m so glad the article has helped a little even after all these years! My wife still loves telling the story while giving me a “you should have worn a wrist strap” look 😉 Maybe I can tell her now it might not have made a difference!

          I really hope you allowed yourself to enjoy the experience regardless. My biggest regret from that day still remains not making more of where we were despite what had happened :/


  3. Yeah Mike, all your points are valid! Still, as soon as I read the title, I was like “What the hell!”
    But in the end I always think, if something went a certain way, it was meant to be. I’d get over it. Specially with a new one in my hands;))

    Liked by 1 person

  4. 60while60

    I use to be the video person in our family. Especially videos of our kids’ ski races. Capturing the feel through a peep hole through one eye is not the same of experiencing the race in real time.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. that traveling nurse

    I am sorry to hear that. Losing (or even damaging) something expensive also hits you hard and that can put a dampen on your trip. I, too am like you, very much preoccupied with my photography that my hubby keeps on looking behind his back to check if I am following behind or he lets me walk in front of him so he knows when I stop and linger to take photos. People who are not as passionate about photography don’t understand us and think that we are not enjoying the moment because we are always behind the camera. Either way, I always try to balance the two. When I go home, I will always have the memories and the pictures to look back to. Glad you got a replacement – wrist strap okay! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sel is the same. Although when I walk in front and stop to take a photo, she has a habit of walking just a foot or two in front of me, then stopping and turning around to see what I’m doing. The side of her head has appeared in hundreds of photos! 😀 It is tricky taking photos on holiday though – I’d do it completely different if I was on my own and walking around purely as a photographer, so I just have to remind myself that I’m there as a tourist, not a photographer :p

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I went to Vegas for the first time some years ago. On the flight home I inadvertently hit delete on my camera. I was horrified. Near tears. Wanted to high jack the plane, turn it around, visit each sight again, and retake pictures. Once home, someone said call a camera shop, which I did. For $20.00 dollars, they were able to recover my pictures and put them on a CD. Geeze. High jack a plane.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d feel exactly the same!! That’s great that you were able to recover them… now when I travel I take my laptop and at least every second night I load the photos to the computer, and put my favourites into dropbox. If I lose the camera and computer, at least I’ll still have some photos 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I once left a Canon A1 35mm camera on the wing of my Land Rover and drove off, five miles down the road it fell off. What got me wasn’t the damage to the camera, it got repaired, but the loss of a whole roll of film with unique shots of climbing the Welsh mountains in perfect snow and sunshine! I feel your pain!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s my worst travel nightmare! Losing the photos :(( I can deal with losing a camera as you can always buy a new one, but you can’t usually go back and retake photos! Maybe you need to go back and do the trip again? 😉


    1. Haha but I think I was that angry that I didn’t get to enjoy the moment as much as I wanted to! Although it’s only been a week or two and we’re already laughing about it… 🙂


  8. I was pondering this myself and watched a Youtube video on our need to constantly have our hand on technology. My daughter places her laptop in front of my grandchild and we talk – well I talk he can’t yet. Then she text pics and videos throughout the day. Will he grow up thinking selfies are part of the normal life or that being in front of the camera is a necessity for everything he does? I don’t know but your question makes me wonder what the young children will be like as adults. I like to carry my camera and sometimes rely on my cell for photos but can’t we just stay in the moment and enjoy without capturing it. Who is going to bother to look at all those photos anyway. For me, I am rethinking photographing everything and only bringing the camera along for creativity not the entire vacation or travel experience. Some things you just want to take in without anything in front of your eyes. Live in the moment and capture it in your mind with people you love. Look in their eyes instead of through the lens. Thank you for sharing this post!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your comment 🙂 You make a good point about how young people are going to view the world as they grow up. I find it hard sometimes without my camera, and definitely hard without technology, yet I spent my first 22 or so years without the Internet or a mobile phone – I can only imagine it will be impossible to go without for most kids.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Love the question! I often have that debate…making photos makes me look closer and appreciate details sometimes…and sometimes the camera just seems like an intrusive friend with no social awareness. I just have to notice which camera I brought that day – the inquisitive introvert or the social moron.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hey buddy,

    Your article has made me feel much better. My boyfriend and I did the exact same thing today. Except (why I’m leaving this comment) he actually had it attached to a wrist strap and it popped off. So I wonder how many GroPros are down there…

    Lucky you saved the photos. We hadn’t saved any from when we bought it a year ago – tear.

    Anyway, still the memories.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the comment and I’m sorry to hear that you lost your photos 😦 I still cop a few jabs from my partner for not having a wrist strap on, so at least your boyfriend did that part right! I can only imagine how many gopros are lying at the bottom of cenotes, rivers, lakes, and oceans all over the world! A new treasure for divers to go after 😉


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