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diver-dons E-zine
October 14, 2019
Dive safe we owe it to those who love us!

The Contemplative Diver

Hello fellow divers

Welcome and thank you for subscribing to my e-zine.

Phillipe Diole was a colleague of Jacques Yves Cousteau, and has been called “the first contemplative diver”. Here are a few paragraphs that he wrote back in 1951 as a prelude to his book “The Undersea Adventure”…

I have no “stories” to tell. Breaking the surface of the sea, roaming about in the deep waters of the ocean, going down slowly, eyes open, watching the flicker of mullet and the dance of sea-bream, the butterflies of these liquid skies: this does not make a “story”. But if I do know any stories, I have perhaps lived a miracle, one which I want to talk about: I have travelled to another world in which “action is the sister to the dream”. I have swept away in the heart of the sea, at a depth of several fathoms, all my anxieties as a man. Worries of the moment, scientific curiosity, metaphysical doubts, have all been hurled into the sea and I do not regret any of them. Like many others I do not feel in perfect harmony with our age, and the solitude of diving lulls and stays a deep rooted dissatisfaction. Down below, where dream and action move silently forward through the dense waters, side by side, man feels for a moment in tune with life…

Sitting at my laptop, having read Phillipe’s prelude once again, I cannot help feeling how true and relevant his words are still, though almost seventy years have passed since he first wrote them. Each and every time I, or we, sink below the waves, it is like a new adventure, for even the familiar sites that we frequent, constantly change. Sunny or inclement weather, the tides rise and fall, ocean currents, the season… but most especially the light (or lack of), forever change our view of the watery landscape, its features, and its creatures. On just my last dive, which totals in the hundreds, I and my buddies saw several Giant Pacific octopus (one was truly a giant!), a Grunt Sculpin, a juvenile Puget Sound King crab, and wow, a Stubby Squid! What an incredible dive! The egg pouches of squid I have seen (both for the Stubby and Opal Squid), but to actually see that special little creature out on the flats, with 3 or 4 little sole hovering nearby, waiting for what? It was wonderful, but strange, and oh, such an amazing sight! I am just so grateful to be able to partake, and witness this surreal and watery part of our world!

As I believe Phillipe Diole was trying to convey in his prelude, there is a lack, or absence of language, when it comes to describing the world we see and experience below the waves! I often chuckle at comments preparatory to diving from one of my buddies, as we both agree, getting suited up for diving up here in the Pacific Northwest, what is known as “temperate water diving”, must be quite similar to an astronaut going to the moon… Thank goodness for all of the factors that come together, that we here on Vancouver Island, can enjoy such an incredible, and often spectacular sport! I hope wherever you are, and whoever you are, and those you dive with, can enjoy the sport, as much as I and all my buddies do…be well, and dive safe

P.S. The Sea Lions are back! Visits at Nanoose sites are common, but Wall Beach is the best!

Cheers and safe diving!

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