Underwater Thought by Mariano
| June 13, 2011

So, now maybe it’s time to start to meditate. When I get up one morning and go up the forward stairs, overlooking the bridge, I listen in silence as the deck hand Remedios rinses the teak sun deck with the green water hose, he sprays every corner and every surface that during the night has been invaded by drops of salty water. I move the big blue handles downward that fasten the bulkhead door and I open it, through it shines a faint light, it’s only six and the sun has just arisen. For the moment, but only for this one, no reason to need sunglasses, I’ll put them on in ten minutes …. when it becomes a few degrees warmer and the sun already blinds…

On March 16th this year I did my hundredth dive. I wrote the mysterious number 100 in my Dives Logbook. There was seven of us, the water felt a bit fresh, ONLY 26° degrees Celsius, (79° F) brrrrr! There is a beautiful wall of basalt in Virgin Gorda, the island discovered by Columbus in November 1493, he named it this, because it seemed to him, perhaps hungry for sex after many months at sea, a virgin lying there a little chubby. The dive was quiet and relaxed, no DSD (Discovery Scuba Divers) to take care of, all former guests with whom I had previously dove, and even Sandra, the HOS (Head of Sports) is quiet and adjusts the octopus to his father, he is on holiday and he came to visit.

Descending to 23 meters, there are gardens of sea fans, parrot fish everywhere, a barracuda is spying on us, as only they know how to do… curious, moving with caution, he seems to want to try biting my fins, or so it seems to me, every time I look at him I see his teeth are a bit unbalanced and crooked.

On the way back we spy a sea eagle in the middle of the group, she gives us plenty of time to take a couple of pictures, and, passing by, reviews the bubbles coming out of the dispensers, then she performs a rapid curve and disappears into the blue.

A year ago, while I was alone on the promontory of Falmouth Harbor in Antigua, another small-tailed Eagle Ray and I swam together for about ten minutes… It was just one of those lazy afternoons where guests have had their fill of the barbecue on the beach, and replete, doze off in the shade under some branches of the tropical trees. No one is ready for snorkeling in the afternoon. So, the sea is all for myself, I do not have to share it with anyone, I do not have to keep stopping to tell to anyone the history of starfish that if the you cut off a limb it grows another… or about strombide and ‘the biggest shell’ … largest in the Caribbean. My mask is fitting perfectly, the fins are formidable, there is no current and, most important, I’m not cold. That is strange, usually my body fat gives me less than 20 minutes in the water before I start shivering. And as the visibility improves, arriving nearer the sea bed at more or less 8 meters above it, the Eagle Ray checked.

At the beginning she is resting on her own, and as I try to approach her, she swims away, so I move out and then she follows me … I dove myself, looking to overtake her, trying to win as if we two are in a swimming race … she just raises a pectoral fin, and lowers the other, and in less than a second she has turned 180 degrees … then I move away, I continued my run … a slow kick to the steep wall where the sun is shining makes a violent impact. And while returning to the surface after a quick check for any split , there she is, silent as I pass by, it seems like I spy … she pretends not to notice me … but I know that I was seen … I shaved my legs yesterday and I know what I look like….jejeje and then we started dancing, a respectful dance. We invite each other, a slow game of parts, she recedes and then I, we play like old friends until, just a second before I could be wrapped in a sort of cosmic happiness, I start sobbing … What ????? Yes, I have a lump in my throat, I rise sharply, tears fill my mask, my throat contracts, I cannot say anything but I start to apologize to my new friend……

Me, us, we are such a stupid organisms that destroy our habitats. Are we such a bastard race that we cannot see and stop the destruction of your oceans? Catching till there are no more of your fish, reducing your prey to the minimum, dumping any kind of s**t on it. I need a mask and fins just to float, only, not even like your small offsprings … compared to your perfect timing of this movement I’m a heavy stone. At this moment, I cannot do more than to stammer apologies to you, and to all those that share these waters with you. I feel like a spokesperson for our consciousness, I feel the tip of the iceberg of the too few people who are looking for some way to do as little damage as possible, but at the same time they are inevitably witnessing desecration, unfortunately due to the presence of bipeds on the planet.

And what do you do? What can you do? You dance with me.

Today I counted my dives: 4456 minutes under the surface, this is only 73 hours, a little more than 3 days, which in 15 years … It is a trifling amount of time.

But during these three days, I have never felt better. Understanding only now, the thoughts of Jaques Mayol, the passion of Cousteau, and the desperation of many, who like me, would like to see these dances never end … But listen, as not too far away, there is the sound of some danger that will come only too soon, mostly from those who do not care … and only for now they just pass by…

Mariano Peruzzo
Marine Biologist
SPV Royal Clipper
June 2011

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1 Comment »

  1. Sue Parham Said,

    June 13, 2011 @ 4:14 pm

    Mariano, you always write from the heart and it is obvious you care very much for the seas. I hope your message reaches all those who could help to make a positive change for the better in some way, and inspires them to do so. This is the only world we have and we should all have the sense to respect and cherish it.
    Well done, keep up the good work, Star Clippers must be proud to give you every support you deserve in your conservation efforts.

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