Masks and Regulators

On Sunday, we did a deep dive which was different. Or rather, it wasn’t different for most dive experiences, but it was different for us. Oh boy. I’m getting ahead of myself.

Let me start again. It was an open-water descent. The equivalent of falling through the water column until we hit the bottom. In Bonaire, this isn’t done so much, because you tend to descend at the edge of the sloping reef wall, and go down using the reef as a marker.

This way, it’s a bit like being an astronaut. You fly down without any visual markers, or the pull of greedy, airborne gravity. Slowly inflate your jacket as you go, so you don’t start falling like a stone with added pressure at depth.

To be honest, this sensation naturally makes me gulp. Falling, falling, falling. It didn’t used to, but I think this may be for me, one of the effects of getting – ahem. Whisper. Older. Hannah, who are you kidding. You’re going grey.

But it is that exact sensation that makes my throat close up. Which isn’t exactly conducive for diving, because if there is any discipline given over to breathing consciously and turning you into a hammy Darth Vader, it’s this one. Throat closes don’t go down so well. It tends to set off a chain reaction – like get me the *+^* out of here!

So I had to prepare myself for this dive. Visualise it. Breathe, descend, check your dive computer for depth, slow down when you start going too quickly.

I’m so pleased to say that it went well. I was with Patrice and Jack, going off Patrice’s boat. It was good too, using each other as visual references. Plus, the stuff in the water! The more I’m in it lately, the more I see the little stuff. Fish eggs, fish poop, tiny planktonic creatures swimming around. I went down, catching the sun glint off each speck of.. stuff.

Can you imagine if all our bodily effluents just floated in the air around us? We breathed it, had it constantly in our personal space? Sorry if you’re reading this at any kind of meal time. Anyway, I had a mask on and my regulator in, so at least it wasn’t entering my eyes or my mouth! Urghh. Not sure that makes a meal taste better.

Anyhow, there’s been an explosion of siphonophores in the water in the last few days. It’s like the age of the comb jellies, the ctenophores, are over. Sci-fi movie? I think so. Siphonophores are related to the Cnidarians – the coral and true jellyfish family. Made up of individual organisms which can form colonies of 40 metres long.

Why are they everywhere inshore at the moment? No idea. It’s another seacret. Apparently, siphonophores are one of the longest continuous organisms on our planet. And yep, they sting a little. They hang little, sticky nets down to catch their prey. Good thing for masks and regulators.


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