I was thrilled when Geoffrey Whitehorn contacted me on Friday night and asked if I was up for a dive on Saturday. It had been a very difficult week with some truly ick news about my health, and I honestly needed this unexpected dive to clear my fuzzy head.
There were no big critters – just lots of weedy sea dragons, gliding through the milky water.
While photographing a nudibranch, I had a truly hilarious underwater moment as I found myself being randomly face-planted by a big school of plate-sized whiting. Something must have been chasing them towards the pylon I was focussed on, and if I didn’t have my reg in my mouth, I swear I would have swallowed four or five large fish whole! (That would have violated my vegetarianism a hundred-fold …)
This experience compared in giggle-value with the time a crazy orange scallop with hundreds of wild blue eyes dive-bombed me from a Blairgowrie pylon, then chased me through the water like a pair of wind-up grandma’s teeth (I suspect it mistook me for the next pylon – I laughed myself silly!)
And who can forget the time I handed LP my camera to sort out my technical difficulties, only to find an astonishing looking, football-sized tasselled angler free-swimming behind me – an event that has NEVER happened before or since! (Usually, they can barely be detected as they camouflage themselves masterfully against the sponges of a pylon.) Not knowing whether to squeal or scream,I snatched my troublesome camera back from LP’s unsuspecting hands. Then I came closer than I ever have in my life before to cursing as I battled my camera to get this once-in-a-lifetime shot of the most INSANE fish I have ever seen! Thank goodness despite my underwater panic attack, I managed to land this one, ridiculous shot:
Today, I also struggled to take any good photos or video, but I did manage to get one semi-decent photo of Geoffrey with a sea dragon, and he got a couple of really nice shots of me.
Some days, it’s not about nailing the perfect shot or getting the most amazing critters on video. Apparently, some days, I am satisfied with 100 minutes of cold water, a faceful of fish and some giggles that help to drown out the sorrows.
Sadly, in 261 dives, today was also the first time I ever witnessed a fish nibbling on a baited hook, only to be ripped in panic out of the ocean to that cruel world on the other side of the pier. Life really is such a mixed bag – one minute, you are wishing you could reach your dive knife in time to save a fish from some cruel fate; the next minute, a dozen fast-moving fish slap you in the face to teach you how to smile again.
Sincere thanks to my buddy Geoffrey Whitehorn – you couldn’t possibly know how much I needed this dive!
To that gorgeous random dog that decided I needed someone to play a feisty game of post-dive fetch with in the carpark, thank you too – you turned my frown upside down! (I so wish I had thought to take a selfie with you …)
And tanks once again to everyone who has chosen to follow me on this bizarre journey of life. Fasten your seat belts, friends – this ride is about to hit another speed bump …
Love and bubbles,