Turtles shaken up

Suddenly, everything was shaking. I could feel my body vibrating on a very low frequency. “This is what an earthquake must feel like”, I thought. Oh no! What if a giant tsunami is going to hit the beach I am staying at? Should I get up and find higher ground? It was probably a dream anyway. Dreaming of earthquakes – what would Freud make out of this… I should probably just fall back to sleep and finish this made up story. I was never really awake anyway. Too tired. Can’t be bothered. Not waking up.

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How odd it is, when you sit on the breakfast table the next day and read about an earthquake in Greece, half around the world. Was it foresight? Turns out, it wasn’t – it was an actual earthquake right here almost simultaneously, I just managed to sleep through it. Many others did too, that’s why this quake wasn’t even mentioned in any conversation until midday until I finally learned that I didn’t make this whole thing up! The village and the integrity of the buildings seemed to be unharmed, I checked. And since it was a relatively harmless quake, there was no tsunami. It does make you think though. I was looking for this cool Facebook feature, where you can mark yourself safe. There is one for every bigger event these days. Just not for Mohéli. I guess not even Facebook knows the place I am at.

But a few do. After a fantastic week of diving with Leopard Eagle Rays, spotting a Blue Marlin and finding rare Seagrass Ghost Pipefish, I finished my free online lectures on sharks (www.sharklife.co.za). I came to the conclusion that life couldn’t be much better right now, but it turned out it could: When Bernarnd Delemotte, original member of the Cousteau Society and Jacque Yves Cousteau’s chief diver appears in your dive resort to stay with you for two weeks! He’s an absolute legend and brings over 60 years of actual dive experience to the table. Hearing his ludicrous stories of a time, when decompression models were in the making, no one really had a precise idea of the physiological impacts of different gases at depth and everything was experimental. A time when visionaries built the first underwater villages at 160 meters under the sea. When you couldn’t breath in the gas you are diving with at the surface because of its toxic effects, so you plunge to a minimum depth without inhaling, holding on to a brick of weight pulling you down. Reefs were unspoiled then, before men started decimate 90 percent of all the fish/shark population, acidification and ocean plastic was of minimal concern.

What a great disappointment it must be for such a man to pursue his life passion these days. I can’t begin to grasp what encounters he must have had, on board of the Calypso or elsewhere. How can you not despair, if you see such demise of all that is beautiful down there. Is it beyond saving? I will have to ask him. I have a lot of questions and can’t wait to hear his take on things. I the meantime, we’re trying to get close to Humpbacks. I can see no other man better fit to lead us: His documentaries about whales are world famous, he simply seems to have an instinct for large mammals. So keen, it almost cost him his life, when a large whale breached on his boat. I better bring my life jacket…

Here some more impressions of Mohéli. I have a slightly better internet connection now, so I can present some pictures.

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