I’ve always found writing to be the easiest way to express myself, probably because when I write, I’m not addressing anyone in particular. Writing is just putting something out there, so I don’t have to worry about how my message is being received, that I’m not funny enough, eloquent enough, keeping the other person engaged, or all of the million ways that my people-pleasing nature trips me up when I’m speaking to actual real people. So I write.
I write when I’m moved by something (which is often), or when I’m enraged, sad, frustrated, or just in the mood. I feel that by putting pen to paper or my fingers on the keyboard, I can express how I truly feel in the moment, without any watering down or filters, just letting the words pour out of me. For many years I’ve filled page after page of journals with the random thoughts in my head, I’ve written never-ending posts on social media, and for a long time I’ve wanted to start a blog, but I never knew what to write about.
Last week I watched the documentary “A Life on Our Planet”, in which David Attenborough retells his life and work and bears witness to the changes he’s seen in our planet during his lifetime. It struck me how fortunate I was to have seen so many natural wonders myself, especially under the sea. When I watch ocean documentaries with other people, it still shocks me how many of them find it all so incredibly new because they have never been underwater at all, or sometimes not even been on the surface of the water. They’ve never seen in person all the miracles that have become such a defining part of my own life and dreams. They’ve never seen a pod of dolphins jump up in the air in twists and turns while they race your boat. Or seen a turtle giving you the side-eye making sure you don’t get too close while it happily chomps on algae on a coral reef. They’ve never played hide and seek with a shy blenny hiding in a tiny hole on the coral that it inherited from a worm, waiting for the big scary bubble-breathing thing that’s disturbed its peace to leave so that it can carry on with its day-to-day life. Or been moved to tears watching a humongous humpback whale mother, so big that she doesn’t fit in your field of vision, half napping while still keeping an eye on her calf as it plays around with those strange two-legged things with flippered feet that jumped into the water to see them, peacefully trusting that we’re the kind humans, the ones who just watch and don’t harpoon.
So many people have never had the privilege of living these experiences, and if we continue on the downward spiral of ocean destruction and planetary devastation that we’re in today, they may never do. And whenever I tell anyone of the marvels I have witnessed, or when they see images of what lies just under the surface, they can’t help but be moved. So I thought that this would be as good a topic as any to write about, to document the things that make me happiest and see if I can transmit just a tiny fraction of the magic of the underwater world to anyone who might care to read it. The more we know about our planet and what it is we stand to lose, the more that we’ll fight to protect it, so here goes my little part to help. As Jacques Cousteau said, “the sea once it casts its spell holds one in its net of wonder forever”, so I hope you get caught in this watery net just like I have been.