There’s something quite magical about being underwater. The least good place is in the bath, and even that’s pretty awesome. When you put your ears under and hear how different it is – that’s when it gets good.
The swimming pool is great, too (as long as you can stop yourself thinking about what else has been in that water you’re swimming in, and why the pool is so heavily chlorinated – yeuch!) and you can wear goggles and see underwater when you dunk in. You can swim underwater too, just to get the full experience.
Snorkelling’s fun. I had an approximate experience once in the South of France on a school trip with a leaky mask and a snorkel that wouldn’t, but I got to see some little fish and watch the way the light rippled on the sand and how everything disappeared into bright blue haze after a while.
Swimming in the sea around the UK is a somewhat different matter. Even at its clearest, there is no Mediterranean blue going on. The water is probably shivery (at best) and if you don’t keep your eyes under the ocean, you’ll likely discover you’re a)way out of your depth or b)centimetres from scraping your extremities on a hidden rocky ledge. Or (as I did this year) both.
I have the opportunity (at a cost) to undertake a PADI certificate. I’m not going to, not least because I’d be the only girl in a group of boys, and of those boys, most would be 5-10 years younger than me. Also I don’t think I’d ever use it. But one day, in the right place (by which I mean somewhere warm, reefy and sun-kissed), I’d like to have a proper go at being underwater.
It’s a terribly geeky thing to admit, but I wish I was brainier and science-y so that I could have a non-tourist reason to visit Woods Hole. I’d love a go in Alvin. And it’s not just because some of the scientists I most respect have connections with Woods Hole…really.
I also want to be able to surf. I bought a surfboard years ago (7′ tall, Cortez brand, blue and yellow and lovely) and had one highly auspicious go on a beach where no surfboard had business being (steep bank just offshore; huge waves crashing right onto the beach) and got wiped out before I even paddled out to sea, then got swept back in up the shingle, clinging to the board in a most undignified way. At that point I decided that prescription goggles were necessary, as well as a brain. I bought some more surf gear this year but still haven’t used it. I told myself I was waiting for a Summer that never happened…
I was delighted to come across this today on an art blog I follow. I love the idea of sculpture becoming reef, becoming living art. The photos are beautiful and if nothing else will bring something to your day you didn’t expect.
Underwater is a great place to be and I find it hard to comprehend (particularly when visibility is good) how people struggle with it. Maybe it’s the worrying-about-not-breathing thing. To me it’s magical. I remember as a child reading a description by Gerald Durrell of how he was floating near the shore off Corfu, listening to the music the waves made as they lapped at the shore, and how he thought the stones and shells were singing to him in a kind of ‘Wooooooosh scrunch, scrunch, crunch, tinkle tinkle’ and how, as night drew in, he began to see the phosphorescence in the water lighting up the swimmers’ bodies with a kind of ‘cold fire’ as they moved through the sea.
Water featured in my day today, though it was in large puddle form in a forest, rather than my favourite (the sea). Still, fun was had and dens were built. Maybe forests are a second best, but I do love being immersed in nature – I just prefer the blue stuff to the green.