The Division Bell, Observations & Thoughts, Hippie with a Work Ethic
The division bell clanging across this planet is ringing soooo loudly right now, not only can l hear it, but I can see it and feel it reverberating throughout my being. It’s too loud, it’s making my head ache, I can almost hear it ringing underwater. Well, JK there, nothing steals my mojo while I’m underwater! As for seeing the divide, look no farther than the cars you’re passing on the road. This morning I passed four cars in a row each with two people in them, each car had one person wearing a mask. My scientific thought process after seeing that…’Hmmmmm??’ We’re divided over something so simple as whether to wear a mask or not? I’ve got no problem putting a mask on and going inside an establishment. Some people are acting like the request to put on a mask is like having a gun pointed at your head. Even if it doesn’t provide an ounce of prevention, if it eases other people’s anxiety and makes them feel better, then why not? Some conferences are playing college football, others aren’t. Some people are steadfast in their thoughts and beliefs, others are protesting (or vice-versa). We’re sooooo divided.
I’m seeing the divide in that myself and 15 other people will be divided from Cayman Brac this October, where we were supposed to be. Bloody Bay Wall will have to wait until 2021. This pandemic and civil unrest has mostly bothered me in one specific area: It has taken the headlines and momentum away from my hero Greta and our attempt to save the planet and help Mother Nature out! Although I’m being serious, I’m not trying to diminish or downplay the negative effects of this pandemic and certainly I am a strong proponent for equal rights for all people. So let’s create the vaccine, solve all the racial injustice problems and get on with the program: Dive, Dive, DIVE!!!
Thankfully, I have had the opportunity to make observations of our underwater marine life frequently this summer. I must say that the report from down below is much more rosy than up above. Although I just heard that the stock market is at an all-time high…HMMMM? OK it took me a minute but I figured that one out, it’s the division between the rich and the poor growing wider! Enough on division, let’s focus. I had the thought earlier that this pandemic and social unrest is easier for me to stomach than the red tide phenomenon of 2018. No sports, safer at home, wearing masks, and social distancing fail to compare on my sadness meter to what watching our marine life suffocating and struggling for oxygen did to me. That really tore me up inside. Ask Paul D, he offered Kleenex, fed me, and talked me off the ledge after an horrific dive September 23rd, 2018 that left me sobbing like a baby. Thanks again for that Paul!
I’m observing that there are multiple species here locally that continue to be very scarce over the last two years. Most of our local species I’m seeing with similar regularity than before the toxic water came through. A few species I’m actually seeing more of.
Decimated: Florida Regal Seagodess; our beautiful blue and yellow nudi-branch is all but gone in depths less than 60’. Arrow Crabs; have a more positive outlook as we are finally starting to see more of them. Polka-dot Batfish have vanished and Leopard Toadfish are rare. The one that perplexes me the most is the Southern Stingray. They used to be very common in the summers around here. Not right now, I can’t remember the last time I saw one and Instructor John believes it’s been since May that he has had a sighting. Did they go elsewhere and haven’t returned or are they gone gone?
Increased sightings: Barracuda; they are always prevalent in the summer here but we saw them all winter long which is a first for me. Mangrove Snapper; every dive site that we are hitting has a very healthy school of mangroves on it. There are some hefty big ones but many sites have schools of 100 or more snapper in the 6 to 10 inch range. That’s positive!
Rebounding:In the last few weeks we are finally starting to see hogfish again with some frequency. Snook have been present on most sites and plentiful on some. I thought it was a bit silly when back in 2000 the Florida state legislature changed the name of Jewfish to Goliath Grouper. 'Don’t they have anything better to do with our taxpayer dollars'? I admit that I was wrong and somebody was actually way ahead of this racial sensitivity trend on that one. The Redskins are no longer the name of Washington’s pro football team. The bad news for some local fishermen is that the number of juvenile Goliaths in the 50 pound range is very high. By far more than I’ve ever seen! That’s great news for divers! Unless you’re a spearo. Gags and red grouper also seem to be doing better here of late.
Hippie is a polarizing word! To many, a hippie is just lazy, good for nothing idealist. To others those hippie ideals are the only thing that gives true meaning to this human experience. How in the world can anyone have a problem with peace love and happiness? My current thought thread on this started after I watched ‘The United States vs. John Lennon’ a couple nights ago. I thought it was an excellent production and extremely informative on John Lennon‘s ideas and his unyielding attempt to change human consciousness (entirely for the better) in my opinion. Some of you could perhaps debate me down to ‘mostly for the better’ there. Take the time to watch it if you haven’t seen it! I have a new respect and admiration not only for John Lennon but also Yoko. He was labeled a Hippie. I’ve been called a Hippie on numerous occasions. I wear that moniker just like I wear the moniker ‘weird’... yes I am, thank you very much.
I’m not lazy though, I’m a Hippie with a work ethic!!
Live, Love, Dive... seriously, you should be diving, the Gulf is in the high 80’s!!! —Jeff