I have come to realize something in the last couple of days. It has taken quite a long time for me for this to come to the front of my brain but eventually if I experience something enough times I see the light. One of the things I like about diving is coming upon something as it happens naturally. One day we went around a coral head off Australia and stumbbled upon cuddle fish mating. We were voyuers and took photographs the entire time. We didn’t feel bad about it, it’s part of the reason we dive, to experience the unusual as it happens.
In most of the places we dive it is understood things under the water should not be interfered with. It is extremely difficult not to bump into the coral or the occasional sponge. Diving takes place is a 3D environment and to know where you are at all times is not easy. But it is not that hard to keep hands off.
On Dominica, and to be honest not just here, not handling the animals doesn’t seem to be followed to the letter. Yesterday, the dive master managed to cup a small balloon fish in his hands. As a defensive stance the balloon fish puffs itself into a ball to make itself look big and fearsome. This poor little fellow was so scared it was vibrating. I had never seen a fish puffed up like this and started to video the round ball. Debbie took a couple of pics but then we both realized, at the same time, the fish was in distress and we decided not to participate in the action any longer.
Today the dive master steered a turtle back towards the group. We had a good look at the turtle but I don’t know how many years this action took off the turtles life. Again we did not photograph this.
We are never crazy about when dive masters ‘play’ with the critters but as I said sometimes it takes a while for the realization to hit home. The poor shaking puffer fish was the incident that rang my bell. From this point forward I will try not to pay too much attention to acts caused by human intervention and concentrate on natural happenings I come upon as I swim through the undersea world.