Cuban diver returns tourist’s photos two years after losing camera at sea

Lost at sea? Tourist gets photos returned after two years.

Lost at sea? Tourist gets photos returned after two years.  (iStock)

Many travelers lose precious items while on vacation, but it’s not often that these treasures are discovered and returned many years later.

Emily Demello, a student from Vancouver, is celebrating her luck after photos from a trip to Varadero, Cuba were returned to her by a local diver— over two years after her vacation ended.

“My dad originally bought me this shockproof, waterproof camera because I’m extremely clumsy,” Demello told the Daily Mail. The student said it was one of her first trips out of the country and she had taken about 100 videos and photos, documenting the beginning of her trek.

But her trip took a turn when Demello, then 18, headed to the beach with her girl friends.

Demello poses with friends.

“I was taking photos with my friends in the ocean, maybe three days into the trip, and I got hit by a big wave, which knocked the camera out of my hand,” Demello explained.

“We looked for the camera for about 20 minutes, walking around the area in the water and walking along the beach. As soon as it was gone the current must have taken it away, though.”

Though other friends on the trip had brought cameras, Demello returned to Canada empty-handed and upset that her precious shots had been supposedly lost forever.

But two years later, Demello received a strange Facebook message from a man named Ruben Urquiza.

‘Hi Emily, I am from Cuba, my name is Ruben. I know that you was in my country in 2012 because I am diver in Varadero and I found your camera in the beach, please accept me in your Facebook friends and I will send you your pictures! I am sorry my bad English, have a nice Sunday!’ Urquiza wrote. The Cuban diver had found the camera which, after years of bathing in salt water, was damaged beyond repair.

But the memory card within remained intact.

Demello, now 21, initially thought the note could have been spam but started to connect the dots. She had taken a picture of her airplane ticket with her name in view, so the diver had been able to track her down. Urquiza even sent one of the original pictures he had downloaded to prove he had accessed her files.

Although Urquiza found the camera last year, the diver was not able to reach Demello until recently because he says he did not have Internet, according to the Daily Mail.

“I think it’s an amazing story– it really seems like it’s something out of a movie,” said Demello, now happily reunited with her vacation pictures.

“There are people like Ruben, doing great things everywhere. It means a lot that he took the time to find me and send my pictures back to me. Nothing stays lost forever.”

Unfortunately for many vacationers, that’s not always the case but one can always dream of being reunited with a treasured lost item.