Sunday, September 11, 2005
Have I told you how much we love kayak diving?
Last week we set our departure date for this coming Tuesday. That meant we only had a few more days for kayak diving. So, we went out on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. We have gone out kayak diving 6 of the last 10 days! The weather has cooperated marvelously. I have been thinking for days about the words to write in this blog that can convey how we feel about kayak diving. Words that will allow you to experience a little of this unique sport. I keep searching for words but coming up short. No words can do it justice ... but let me tell you about it anyway. It's the perfect outdoor recreation. You're in hot weather, but you get to be wet. It's not strenuous, yet you do get some exercise. You share it with companions, yet when you're underwater, it's very individual and solitary. And, it's a combination of activities: kayaking and scuba diving. Although I like both, neither one alone would have such a power over me. It is truly the whole which is much greater than the sum of it's parts. Paddling on the ocean is beautiful. Your own personal watercraft. No engine noise, no gas smell. You're barely separated from the ocean itself. Just sitting on the water with a little bit of plastic holding you up. On a good day, you can see the coral of the reef below. You can see a little of what I mean in this picture. I wish it was better, but I don't dare take my good camera out there. This is taken with a disposable underwater camera. Then, after you've enjoyed the paddle for a while, you stop over the reef in your own little space of peace, quiet and communion with Mother Ocean. You can sit and enjoy the view for a while, or, if you're anxious, you can get right in the water. If you want to see what is entailed in getting in and out of the water - check out the little videos I posted in a weblog entry last year. Diving is being part of another world. Not as an observer, but as a participant. For a short time, you are weightless. You are flying. And, you are up close and personal with very foreign creatures. Today, we saw a beautiful green moray eel. Some of the most spectacular eels in the world are right here off Fort Lauderdale beach. This one was about 6 feet long and probably 10-12inches around. Usually you just see their head sticking out of the coral. Today, the eel ventured out and free-swam alongside us for a few dozen feet. It's so graceful, like a ribbon, then it just slithers into a hole in the rock and disappears. The colorful tropical fish are everywhere, as well as the intricate corals. It's not just the sights that I like. It's the feel. The warm water flowing on your skin. The absence of any sound other than your own breath blowing bubbles. The weightlessness. The way the current carries you along on your journey. I find it a meditative experience. The ultimate expression of 'go with the flow.' Jim would add that he enjoys the thrill of the hunt. I let him catch the lobster, although I enjoy looking for them. It gives you a reason to look under those ledges ... and you see all sorts of things. And, I sure enjoy eating them! Our freezer is pleasantly stocked now. And reservations have been made with several friends and family along the way for a nice lobster meal. Then, eventually (about an hour and 15 minutes) you run out of air and have to return to the surface. I often hang out in the water for a while, just enjoying the awareness of what an insignificant speck I am, floating on the water of the ocean which covers two thirds of our planet. The enormity of it makes everything else disappear. ToDo items I haven't done are unimportant. Money, or lack thereof, doesn't matter at all. All that matters is this warm, wonderful ocean holding me up, the sun on my face, my kayak that is my way back, and my companion - my husband. Kind of Zen-like or Taoist. Oh yeah - you do meet other people out on the ocean too. Like this nice (really!) officer from the Fish and Wildlife Commission. He wanted to measure the lobster that Jim caught. They all passed and he wished us a pleasant day! Have I told you how much we like kayak diving?!