On Scuba Diving

Vacationing in Maui, wireless connection a bit slow, blogging nonetheless…

Today was my ten-year-old daughter’s first experience of scuba diving. We explored avenues of coral, while impossible-looking fish slipped everywhere. Our guide handed us sea anenomes and other creatures to hold, to photograph us with them. Predictably, he later tried to sell us the photographs for an outrageous price, making me reflect on how desperately people want their experiences to be represented somehow, and on how inadequate are our means of representation.

Because a photograph of someone holding a sea cucumber with MAUI written on it — while possibly useful as an alibi — conveys nothing of the experience of putting on masks and costumes, as if in preparation for tribal warfare, and venturing into a realm where one has imperfect control over one’s altitude, and the sea surface has become a sun-splattered, shifting ceiling, and the need to communicate with gestures fosters a sense of conspiracy. A scuba expedition resembles a shamanic dream-journey, and perhaps, if we entertain the Aquatic Ape hypothesis, awakens memories from even deeper in our history. Will there ever be an underwater camera that can capture such feelings?
pinit fg en rect gray 20 On Scuba Diving
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  • Dash of Saffron

    James! This is such a beautiful posting!

    "as if in preparation for tribal warfare, and venturing into a realm where one has imperfect control over one's altitude, and the sea surface has become a sun-splattered, shifting ceiling, and the need to communicate with gestures fosters a sense of conspiracy. A scuba expedition resembles a shamanic dream-journey" – Brilliant! Gems!

    I hate it when your writing reduces me to tears, right here, in my silly little cubicle!

    She is a very lucky girl to have such an observant and poetic travel companion.

  • James Warner

    The next time I'M in my cubicle and YOU'RE scuba diving, you can reduce ME to tears…

  • Ralph Ferraa

    It's the way you have to extend your lips around the breathing apparatus that makes you look ape-like.

    For a critique of the AAH, see http://www.aquaticape.org.