I sometimes think to myself what is it about scuba diving that I enjoy so much and why after fourteen years every submersion still has the same degree of excitement. Aside from the lure of new discoveries there are more subtle experiences in diving that make it so addictive. On the top of this list are the variables necessary to put me in a state of introspectiveness. Hovering weightless, hearing every single breath I take, and the play of light through the water helps make this possible. These moments transport me to a world of my own with out-of this-world lively characters.
Today was one of those days. Strange creatures occupied their own little world – engrossed in the dailies of life. The first to catch my eye was an orange feather duster worm. I have swam over this elegant creature a hundred times before, but today it would catch my attention. It wasn’t its colors or unique design, but what appeared like a pair of miniscule black pearls set atop of two feathery stalks. Strutting out of the center of its flowery ensemble these eyes must look at the world in a very distinctive way.
A tall yellow seahorse, independently focusing each eye on its miniscule prey, struck with lightning speed and accuracy. Over and over it did so and with good reason for he had a belly full of babies to take care of. After watching him for a while I couldn’t help but feel sad that in a few days this area where he lives will be demolished; man’s destructive hand at work once again.
Aside from the lure of new discoveries there are more subtle experiences in diving that make it so addictive.
I continued to drift with the tidal flow across the darkness of the bridge’s structure above and was welcomed back into the light by a squadron of eagle rays in formation. With their wings lifted high they maneuvered through the water like a glider soaring through thermals.
I finally came to rest at a hill top of sand and rubble where I knew the action compares to a busy seaport during the age of piracy. Here scalawags of all shapes and sizes fought for this prime piece of real estate. The most noticeable was the bluethroat pike blennies. Occupying abandoned worm tubes each blenny guards its home ferociously. Any creature daring enough to approach was warned with an agape mouth and flared fins.
A cheery blue-eyed hermit crab turned in fear to the savage-looking pike blenny. Even a much larger flounder, unswayed by the pike blennies display, was subjected to the likeness of a Chihuahua (dog) gnawing on its ankle. As I watched this comical act, in the distance, two pike blennies were in a lockjaw affair. Sand was tossed high into the water column as these two wrathful individuals fought.
I wondered how they looked upon the world around them. Certainly there was a million discarded worm tubes in the vastness of these sandy plains they could inhabit peacefully. Stopping for a moment they might realize their neighbors, both big and small, living a more symbiotic life. They might even notice the sailfin blenny giving them a standing ovation for one heck of a theatrical.
For me the whole experience offers the opportunity to slip away from my human life for a while, but still reflect on our similarities. It’s a crazy world out there. Hopefully we can all find our own little sandy plain of peacefulness.