Blogs > News-Herald Food and Travel

Food and travel captivate Janet Podolak, who chronicles both for The News-Herald. Get the back story of her three decades of stories here. Guest bloggers and fellow News-Herald staffers also periodically share details of their trips.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Why underwater is my nirvana

After reading my recent post about my love of being underwater, several people have asked me why. They know that I spent a recent birthday on the island of Bonaire so I could spend as much time as possible next to, under and on the water.
I've been giving some thought to those reasons and here's why I really enjoy the underwater world.
It's quiet down there.
 Except for the munching of fish eating coral there's no one talking, no music, very few sounds.One of the best sounds I've heard in my life, though, was the song of a whale underwater off Maui. My day-today world is devoted to talking, either in person or on the phone. I ask questions, listen for answers write them down and ask more questions, sometimes questions that are difficult to ask and to answer.
It's in the here and now.
Most of my professional life is spent writing stories that will run Thursday, Saturday, Monday or another time. So I'm constantly thinking 'future' in terms of appointments, deadlines and writing. Much of the subject matter is in the past so I'm also thinking about things that are over and done with and how they impact the now. I'm either planning or reacting most of the time when I'm on land. That doesn't happen underwater.
It's another world just inches from this one.
A whole lot goes on underwater, even if it's just knee deep and close to shore. Little fish groom big ones which hang motionless  in a state that seems a lot like the bliss I'm in when I get a massage. Some fish, like silvery barracuda,  are so  territorial that you can count on seeing them in a certain place every time you go there. I only just learned that the eels Ive seen opening and closing their mouths are not threatening me - that's how they breathe.Most of the time the creatures underwater are as interested in me as I am in them. And there's so much to learn!

Exciting discoveries await
 At night, when you shine a light back into a coral head you see things glittering like gold. It's just shrimp. Shy eels, who hide away and can be hard to see by day, crawl across the ocean bottom after dark, surprising me with their grace and size. Tiny little sea horses cling to anchor ropes set out by boats. You could swim right by and not notice them unless you take the time to look.
Dreams of flying
When I've spent time snorkeling or Scuba diving those delightful childhood dreams of flying return to me after I'm asleep. I think that's because I've been experiencing the world in a horizontal position and in a near weightless mode when I snorkel and dive - it's a lot like flying!

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