Feeling a lot frazzled, a little fed up and fairly weighed down at the end of a particularly trying week, there is one sure-fire way I can fall back on for getting that Friday feeling going. Thoughts of slipping under the waves and letting it all go for an hour of tranquility with the fish. I’ve not got any dive time scheduled for the next few weeks, so I’ve been looking at my photos again. Not as good as the real thing, but taking me to my aquatic cloud nine in spirit at least!
From birth, man carries the weight of gravity on his shoulders. He is bolted to earth. But man has only to sink beneath the surface and he is free.
(Jacques Yves Cousteau).
I love these two photos from our pre-baby Thailand dive boat trip, enough to share them as a rare secondary take on photographic ‘dialogue‘ for the weekly WordPress challenge. We had three dive-packed days cruising around the Similan National Park waters of the Andaman Sea, off the west coast of Thailand. The rock formations in the area are beautiful, the large granite boulders rising up out of the seas looking quite beautiful in their majesty. Even the legendary scientist and scuba diver, Jacques Yves Cousteau, was entranced when he dived there.
Under the surface the rocky scenery takes on an even more impressive presence. Koh Bon is one of the outlying islands in the group and it is known as a potential hot spot for shark and manta ray encounters. We’ve been fortunate to see sharks and rays in our dive travels, but like most divers, we’re always up for more. We dived at Koh Bon three times, and each time we were feeling hopeful as we flipped off the back of the boat. Each time our hopes were sadly misplaced and we came up exhilarated by the dives but without that coveted manta-ray moment.
Despite the shy marine life, the dives were stunning, if for scenery alone. The towering rock formations rise up to the surface, covered in corals and plant growth, waving in the ripping currents that wash over them. We’d finned furiously into the current to get to them, and then hovered in the sheltered lee of the rock, quietly enjoying the goings on and waiting to see if anything big would turn up with the current.
Some divers would have considered the no-show dives a waste. I try to take a more relaxed view about it, although I confess I sometimes feel a slight twinge of disappointment. Like that Maldivian dive where we could hear the clicks and whistles frustratingly close but not actually see the pod of dolphins just that bit too far off in the blue. Or the morning we dived off the Scottish East coast with no seals in sight, only to find out afterwards that other divers in the water had been playing with them as the seals tugged on their dive fins! Being a scuba diver you have to come to terms with the fact that sometimes the luck just isn’t with you!
Besides, I can remember hovering there in the warm, sheltered curve of the rock, watching these Moorish Idol fish and feeling incredibly at peace and privileged. They were fluttering around like marine butterflies against the backdrop of the cathedral-like rock formations in the sunlit upper reaches of the water column. If that’s a ‘miss’ I’ll take it.
The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.
(Jacque Yves Cousteau).