Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Solace of the Sea

Woke up with my right ear not so great today. I applied Advil and ear drops, and hoped it would feel less achey so I could dive in the afternoon. I pushed things yesterday so I could see the manta rays, so needed to take it easy this morning. Now that I'm not distracted by the amazing underwater world, I suddenly feel like crap both emotionally and physically.

After lunch I went diving. I saw a mid-sized free-swimming eel, a huge moray under a rock, a rare kind of box fish, and generally had a pleasant time. I love being in the water, and find when I'm down there it's a form of meditation. I've tried sitting meditation, and even took classes, but it's just not for me. Diving, however, is different. You have to be in the moment and mindful of what's around you or else (at the least) you'll miss seeing great things or (at the most) you could die. The hour I spend under water is all about being present. It's calming, makes me tired, and gives me lovely dreams. I've been dreaming vividly about diving all week, so much so that I feel like I've made more dives than I really have.

One of the dive masters, Brandi, is a marine biologist and a great underwater photographer. She teaches a course on board about native Hawaiian species. We basically talk about fish, dive and look at fish, and then get out of the water and talk about fish some more. I heard about a dive master game where people try to trump each other with certification cards: whoever doesn't have a certain card has to buy everyone a drink. I decided to take Brandi's "Hawaiian Naturalist" course because it's only taught by her on the Kona Aggressor, which means I'll always have a winning card in my pocket :)

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