DIVE DRY WITH DR. BILL #900: FIN IN MOUTH

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drbill

The Lorax for the Kelp Forest
Scuba Legend
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Santa Catalina Island, CA
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DIVE DRY WITH DR. BILL #900: FIN IN MOUTH

No, I didn't forget to filet my latest fish for dinner. Nor did I swallow a live goldfish whole. Last month I stuck my dive fin fully into my mouth during an interaction with another diver. You're probably wondering if I'm doing yoga these days to get limber enough to do that. Well, in this case it didn't require such flexibility.

I was down at the dive park "diving dry." Low tides and surge have been keeping me out of the water far more frequently than I like. Instead of submerging, I brought another Clive Cussler novel down with me to dive into. A friend of mine who formerly was an instructor on the island came over after a dive. He introduced me to a woman who was visiting him in San Diego from South Africa. She had wanted to dive our giant kelp forests so he and his GF brought her out to the island.

Given my less than adequate memory these days, I later asked her to repeat her first name when she walked by my golf cart. She responded "Pippa." Hmmm. No way it could be the same person... must be a common name over there, right? Since it was filmed in South Africa, I asked if she had seen the Netflix film "My Octopus Teacher" which had just won the Oscar for best documentary. She said yes, she had directed it!

Pippa and I talked for a while about the film. I had been a bit critical about it earlier and I explained my criticisms (and also praise) for the film. The aspect that I really enjoyed was being able to see life in the South African kelp forests. It is a destination I would have liked to dive, but given my health issues I had to experience it vicariously. The two things that bothered me about the film were the anthropomorphism involved in the free diver's (Craig Foster) narration. This means attributing human characteristics to other life forms.

The other aspect I disliked was a bit more egregious in my eyes. At the end of the film, Foster is shown holding a number of different marine species in his hands. Divers are taught not to touch marine life out of concern for harming them. I thought that after establishing his bond with the octopus, this was a bad message to send to non-divers watching the film.

Pippa was understanding of my concerns and took my two criticisms well. Her response was that this was not a film for marine biologists (although many will enjoy it). Their desired audience was the multitude of people in South Africa (and obviously elsewhere) who might never see the underwater world for themselves. The crew wanted to reveal that habitat to this audience in a desire to get them to understand and protect it.

Of course Jacques-Yves Cousteau once said "In the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught." Pippa, Craig and the team produced this film with a similar philosophy... and the Oscar and viewer's comments about the film indicated they were successful at that.

When she explained this, I realized that their goals were very similar to mine. My 900+ columns and dozens of (non-Oscar winning) videos were created not just to give divers a better understanding of the life below the surface. One of my main audiences has always been to give non-divers a better understanding of the marine life and issues in our own waters. I was frequently rewarded when hotel employees, store clerks and checkers at the grocery store would say how much they enjoyed my latest column or video. That was the "reward" I cherished.


© 2021 Dr. Bill Bushing. For the entire archived set of over 900 "Dive Dry" columns, visit my website Star Thrower Educational Multimedia (S.T.E.M.) Home Page

Image caption: Dr. Bill with fin in mouth and my octopus trying to film its story; two octopuses on reef; octo climbing up giant kelp and youngster spreading its wings... er, arms.

DDDB 900 fin in mouth sm.jpg
 

drbill

The Lorax for the Kelp Forest
Scuba Legend
Messages
22,823
Reaction score
6,034
Location
Santa Catalina Island, CA
# of dives
2500 - 4999
Careful. You're about to lose your weight belt!

Amazing enough it stays up there but maybe I do need to grow bigger hips!
 
https://www.shearwater.com/products/teric/

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