This year marks the beginning of my 64th turn around the sun and I plan to celebrate by jumping in the ocean. I could achieve this goal in the shivery brine of Vancouver ‘s coast, but this time I will pamper myself and let the warm salt water of Indonesia take me under. If you have never been diving, you are missing one of life’s greatest pleasures. Take the plunge and go for a dive.
Diving is a marvelous sport for people of all ages, but as importantly, it is a magnanimous sport, forgiving the older generation their physical infirmities. Diving does not care if you are old or young, fat or thin, have good knees or bad, it accepts you as you are. When you are properly trained and therefore confident, being underwater levels the competitive playing field into one where individuals of differing genders, physical abilities and ages can participate together. The ocean, in its cradle of buoyancy, takes all comers.
Some of my most vibrant memories come from experiences underwater. I can close my eyes and recall a curious sea lion, the size of a camper van, hovering beside me, visualize the flying manta rays dressed in the formal black and white of a man in a tuxedo, the garish sea slugs and the ubiquitous reef fish, scattered on the coral like bright confetti.
I can remember the awesome sight of a hundred muscular hammerheads, sleek like Corvettes, hovering overhead. These memories are accessible behind my closed eyes and I activate them whenever I need a peaceful moment or the relaxation that hastens sleep. My memories from the ocean are meditations, doorways to a profound world, one where I experience a strange admixture of feelings – harmony, wonder, insignificance and reverence.
When I am too old to get to the high places that I love, when the thin air and rough terrain of the mountains extract too high a price, I will still be able to go to the warm salt ocean and throw myself in. It is there that in spite of my age, the ocean will lift me up and I will feel reborn.
Photos taken by my old and new diving friends. Thanks to:
Dr. Ian Marsh, Susan Dair, Dr. Peter Miscik