Monday, April 27, 2009

"I must go down to the sea again...

to the vagrant gypsy life, To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife; And all I ask is a merry yearn from a laughing fellow-rover, and quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over." I love these words by John Masefield, a man who trained for the sea life in order to break his "addiction to reading." His time aboard a ship only fueled his reading time and from this he decided to become a writer, a story-teller. I smile as a I write this because as bloggers we have all become storytellers, who knew?

My earliest memories are of water. My mother and father spent summers at Jones Beach and Cape Hatteras in the 1940-50s and when their eldest daughter was born, it was only natural that she be carried to the sea along with the picnic hamper. I remember sitting in the sand and digging holes to China, building sandcastles and decorating them with the seaweed that the tides would bring in. I would carry home sand in my shoes and pockets full of shells and sea glass. The sea shells I still have today, along with rocks and minerals and crystals and fossils and other bounty from nature, but that is for another blog. I have a photo of me all of 9 months old, sitting in the sand wearing a sun bonnet at Jones Beach...funny little black and white photo that I cannot put my hands on. Once I find it, I will upload and add to this posting.

It was 1957 and the "burbs" were calling so my folks left the city and moved to Lincoln Park, New Jersey. Dad got tired of the long, hot bumper to bumper drive to Jones Beach and decided to install an in-ground pool in our backyard. Big stuff in 1960, it was a tiny little thing (10 feet by 20 feet) but we loved it and lived in it all summer long. This family shot of the women around the pool, from left to right - "me" (eight years old and in fins--natch), my sister Barbara age 6 and my baby sister Renee, age 2 and our beautiful mother.

As a child, I discovered that a towel, tightly wrapped around my legs would not make me a mermaid, so I would have to seek other alternatives to becoming waterbound. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the only two people who met that criteria were Aquaman and Mike Nelson (Lloyd Bridges) of Sea Hunt. I devoured Aquaman comics and sat glued to the black and white Magnovox watching Mike Nelson save the day. At the conclusion of each episode, Mr. Bridges always made a public service announcement to the viewers to treat the sea kindly. A steward of the water world, he was handsome and had a tank on his back with a mouthpiece that fed you became a waterbreather. Even then I knew that I must have this amazing apparatus that will let you breathe underwater.

Fast forward many years and I am a 54 year old woman with a dive certification, scuba gear, and a man who is a Padi instructor. I found my Aquaman and we both travel the Keys and the Caribbean in search of water worlds.
It's me...a siren of the sea!
Big, beautiful Southern Stingray sleeping in the white sands of a Bahamian Reef. (Canon Elph digital/Ikelite housing)
Say hello to my little friend! this 7 foot Caribbean Reef Shark followed me for about 8 minutes, coming about a foot from me. Thank goodness he looks fat and happy because I had no interest in being an underwater happy meal. (Canon Elph/Ikelite housing)
The beauty of a Grand Bahama Island reef. These are the natural colors of these corals set against brilliant turquoise blue waters. (my dad's old point and shoot underwater film camera.

Port Lucaya beach at sunset. a perfect end to a day in the water.

And so I go down to the sea whenever I can for it sustains me.

1 comment:

One Vintage Hag said...

i too would go every opportunity ~ gosh dari your pictures underwater are as good as the ones you take on land.
glad you are blogging and even more glad that i get to read all your post.
~one vintage hag