St Martin | Diving with Fresh Eyes

14 May

You know, there should be some kind of invention that allows for “thought-to-text” while scuba diving. I swear, I write the best blogs ever when I am under the water. Heck, I write New York Times Best Sellers and Pulitzer prize novels down there! Then, back on dry land when the fingers are on the keyboard, it is just never the same.

I started this blog in my head yesterday while diving in the afternoon with Charles from Salt Lake City. He was my only diver (the rest were snorkeling, including his wife). He is a chemistry professor back home it made me think of my chemistry professor from Barnard, Professor Sally Chapman, (he actually knew her). She was a great professor, but tough. I remember my Organic Chemistry mid-term my sophomore year. I studied so hard, for days. I had carefully crafted index cards and wonderful notes full of diagrams, highlights and different colored pens. Then, when I sat down for the exam, I just pulled a complete blank. It was as if I was a different person and this person didn’t study at all. It was horrible. I got home and I was devastated. I left this sobbing message for my professor on her answering machine.

“I-I don’t know what ha-happened… sob! I-I-I studied so much… sob! Sob! It was just so hard!”

As one of about 200 students she never actually replied to me and I wondered if she even got my embarrassing message. The exam came back a week later with a B- and a note that said “not that bad really.” (I ended up with an A for the semester. 🙂 )

Now, back to the diving as that is where I started. We were diving at Creole Rock and Turtle Reef which are just really easy, shallow dives. With just one diver to look after I had a lot of time to just think. One of the things that I was thinking was “eh, this dive is kind of boring.” I mean, at no point did we really see anything super exciting. No eagle rays with their long majestic tails, no turtles chomping on the reef, no lobsters, no dolphins. In fact, the visibility wasn’t even that great either due to the tremendous amount of rain we had over the weekend and Monday.

So, we were swimming around and I thought “screw it.” I know that sounds weird. Let me explain. I stopped hoping for big, extraordinary marine life to show up. I consigned myself to the slightly murky water. I stopped squinting trying to find a dolphin in the distance. Then, all of a sudden, the dive became wonderful.

I noticed things that I haven’t in such a long time. Like how diving is really like flying in a way. I mean, how weird is it not to be subject to the gravity of the surface? It’s just water underneath us and we aren’t sinking or floating. I mean, diving is just so cool, no matter what the conditions are.

I started to notice how beautiful the parrot fish are. Or the snotty look on some of the fishes faces. The way that the corals just seem to grow on top of each other. It was just so refreshing to give in to the dive. To just appreciate being under the water and the cool stuff that we see even on a pretty average dive. Charles kept pointing to things that I see every day, a flamingo tongue, a hogfish, things that I don’t normally get excited about. With my new frame of mind I was able to appreciate them in a way that I haven’t in a long time.

Turtle Reef was much of the same. It was about 45 minutes into the dive when we circled under the boat and I asked Charles if he was cold, he made the sign for “a little.” I motioned “up?” or “down?” He motioned “down.” RIGHT ANSWER! So we went exploring a little more. That is when we were rewarded with this teeny-tiny nudi branch. Bright blue on the edges with neon orange and then a dark blue center with a tiny white spot on it’s back! The size on my pinky nail.

I guess my point is that sometimes, you just have to stop looking for something amazing to appear and appreciate the things that are right in front of you, the things that are often overlooked because they seem so ordinary.

Wow… I think I achieved some depth with this blog, and I don’t mean under the water! 🙂

Tomorrow, try and appreciate the things that you see every day with a fresh set of eyes and you will see that they are extraordinary in their own way.

Sally wrote this blog 🙂