Outside comments, debates, chronics
It was a beautiful day in Indonesia’s Banda Sea. Richard rolled back into the warm waters and swam over to join his wife, Florence. After exchanging signals, they descended together, heading for a patch of bright yellow sea fans on the reef wall at 30m, where their guide had promised to show them pygmy seahorses. The guide was already there below, searching for the elusive little creatures.
In his book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, historian Yuval Noah Harari traces the path left by Homo sapiens as our species spread over the world, causing the extinction of other human species and sub-species, and half of the planet’s big beasts. He describes the extinctions as happening in three waves.
In 2014, off the Coromandel Peninsula in New Zealand, a diver on a discover scuba experience died when she became separated from her group and ran out of air. She was discovered on the surface, floating face down. The inquest found that the dive operation involved was to blame because they had failed to supervise her properly.
At some point, many keen divers entertain the notion of giving up their 9-to-5 job and following the dream of becoming a professional scuba diver, making a living from their hobby and combining work with passion. After all, the advertisements for instructor courses in the dive magazines make it sound easy. All you have to do is sign up, fork out the dough and take the plunge. What could possibly go wrong?
You are chatting with a diving friend and the conversation turns to mutual acquaintances. “Do you know Bob and Carol?” your friend asks. “Oh yes, good divers!” you reply. We will usually refer to someone as a good diver when they are not around. We will rarely say it to their face. And it is something that we all rather hope people say about us behind our backs.