People As Fish

The other night, to go to sleep, Lu and I listened to a podcast interviewing Dr. Sylvia Earle.

Renowned marine biologist and inspirational figure. Dr. Earle has spent many thousands of hours underwater. Also known as ‘Her Deepness’, she has devoted her lifetime to the study of this world.

Because of the era she was born into, she saw much of the beginning of underwater work. The development of scuba, living underwater in the Tektite II mission, holding the record for the deepest untethered sea walk for a woman: 381 metres deep. Sylvia is in her eighties now – and has the most beautiful radio voice ever.

She will have to excuse us for putting her on to go to sleep. We don’t need those sleep apps when we have Sylvia. We think she must be a real-life mermaid because her words sound like rolling waves. I bet she has sea birds living in her hair.

Still, she did say something which caught me – before I went to sleep. The interviewer asked her what her favourite underwater creature was. I mean, what was Sylvia going to say to that? She must have seen all of them. But she said this: ‘People.’

She likes seeing people underwater, she said. As fish so to speak. I smiled into the dark cabin. Of course. Sylvia likes this the most. Us flapping around.

We saw another diver yesterday. It was after we were coming up from our Saturday, powered by the rust bucket dive. Delph meanwhile had a day off. She likes to sometimes hang out on Quest with young adult privileges – so we gave them to her. Left her the phone and a pile of food.

It was a strange dive though. I took my camera which is not supposed to go lower than well, officially fifteen metres. I went to forty. The reason being Jack and Lu went to sixty. Forty metres meant I could stay reasonably close to them without, I thought losing my camera, if it was turned off. Urghh.

At that depth, the camera’s seals must have been crushed so much they let water in, because when my deep-diving buddies re-joined me after a couple of minutes and we went back up to the twenties and teens, my camera went haywire. It told me it had a card error before dying completely. Hours later, the inside of the lens looks like it took a bath. Oh dear.

We found this particular camera in Barbados in 2018 – on the sea floor. A group of cruise ship tourists had just left the area. That was the day we realised cruise ship tourists leave treasures behind – which is a Caribbean not-so-secret. About four cruise ships were docked that day – and were just leaving. We kept the camera. I said a thank you prayer.

And the Olympus TG-4 worked – until yesterday. I should have bought a underwater housing for it. I just didn’t expect to go so deep. Yesterday’s deep dive was a bit spontaneous. Humans will be humans. I think Sylvia the mermaid would shake her head. And agree.

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