We finally got around to developing the film from our snorkeling trip. One of us has an underwater digital camera but forgot to bring it, so we had to buy a 35mm water-impermeable limited shot camera (sounds fancy, but it was just a disposable camera in a sealed plastic case). We were disappointed with the results – the colors were almost completely washed out and it did a terrible job of focusing. Well, what could expect, really, for $17. And we didn’t even pay for it.
Anyway, here are some of the shots.
We snorkeled Key Largo. In January. And the wet suits weren’t even necessary. Isn’t it lovely that we have a place in our country that is actually naturally warm in the winter? Huzzah. The fish weren’t too evasive, testament to the number of tourists they are probably used to seeing.
We miss snorkeling. It’s been about 15 years since we got to do any on a reef. Nothing in particularly was inhibiting us from going again except laziness (oh, and money). Given how much we enjoy it, we are committing ourselves to another trip this year if funds permit.
As for the coup de grâce, we didn’t get a picture of the nurse shark we saw at the end of the swim. The advancement indicator on the camera suggested that the film was out but it didn’t hurt to try snapping a shot or two. After developing it, we discovered that we were indeed unable to secure a photo of the beast. Shame, that.
The shark was dormant under a large boulder and when we first discovered it, we could only see it from the back. At first it looked like a large eel hovering between two rocks, but as we got closer, we could see that it was a caudal fin. Swimming around the side of one of the boulders, we could make out a pectoral fin. It was only about 8-10 deep at that point, so we dove down to get a look. It seemed mostly relaxed — just staring with its beady little eyes, slowly moving water through its mouth and out its gills. It was hard to figure the size since it had secured itself between two boulders but based on seeing the fin out one side and a lot of its body and head on the other side, we would guess it was at least 8′ long.
A group of other people swum by and the disturbance was too much. It pushed deeper under the rock and all we could make out then was the blackish mass of its body. Still, it was a very rewarding experience given that we had already seen so much. Anyway, since we didn’t get a shot of the nurse shark, we have decided to recreate the experience for your viewing pleasure.
So, what we’ve learned today is that even in the ocean …
Something had been bothering us. We’d been trying to figure out what the barracuda reminded us of. They were all over the place and just kind of sat there eyeballing us. In spite of the bad press, barracuda aren’t particularly prone to attacking humans and on the rare occasion that they do, it’s usually because they mistake humans for other food. Or because Phil thought it would be funny to poke at them with a piece of coral. And he shouldn’t even have had a piece of coral because, with the worldwide epidemic of dying coral, every inch of it is precious. Besides it’s verboten to even touch the stuff. At least in the U.S. If you’re in the Philippines, you are encouraged to break off pieces and fly home with them. The same thing is true of Filipino children (for the right price). Ain’t third world tourism grand? Who the hell is Phil? As for the barracuda (which is what started this meandering paragraph), they can get relatively large compared to other tropical fish and boy do they look fearsome.
Anyway, it was a struggle but it finally dawned on us what barracuda reminded us of. Remember the herds, flocks, whatever of small raptors in Jurassic Park? They kind of kept their distance as they followed the movie characters? And then they moved in slowly condensing the circle around an increasingly alarmed person? And then they attacked and ripped apart said person? If one let one’s imagination get the best of one, one might have been a bit spooked by the sight of several barracuda following behind one as one snorkeled the reef.
All this talk about barracuda and bother has made us hot and bothered for Heart. We’re not big fans, but this is a fun song. Enjoy “Barracuda!”
Lyrics to Barracuda by Heart
So this ain’t the end, I saw you again today
I had to turn my heart away
Smile like the sun, kisses for everyone
And tales it never fails
You lyin’ so low in the weeds
I bet you gonna ambush me
You’d have me down, down, down, down on my knees
Now wouldn’t you? Barracuda
Back over time we were all tryin’ for free
You met the porpoise and me, oh
No right, no wrong selling a song
A name whisper game
And if the real thing don’t do the trick
You better make up something quick
You gonna burn, burn, burn, burn, burn to the wick
“Sell me, sell you” the porpoise said
“Dive down deep, now, save my head”
I think that you got the blues, too
All that night and all the next
Swam without lookin’ back
Made for the western pools
Silly, silly fools
The real thing don’t do the trick
No, you better make up something quick
You gonna burn, burn, burn, burn, burn it to the wick
Ohh, barra-barracuda, yeah
Heart is a rock band that was popular in the 1970’s and 1980’s. It was somewhat unusual in the fact that it fronted by two women, Elizabeth Taylor (known better by her pseudonym “Ann Wilson”) and Lauren Holly (also better known by her stage name “Nancy Wilson”). We really don’t care for the 1980’s iteration of Heart (the 1980’s had some horrific hair bands and their soul-less music made us oh so sad…Heart succumbed to this travesty too), but we cannot deny the pipes and guitar prowess of the “sisters.” Heart re-formed for a few months in 2011 to raise money for Wikipedia.
By the way – on a serious note for a change – while “researching” for this article, we remembered that at one time, Ann Wilson had been quite a babe. Slender and pretty and a great voice to boot. We haven’t paid any attention to her after the terrible music from the 1980’s, so we were surprised to see how heavy she’d gotten. “Wow,” we thought to ourselves, “either you’ve got plenty of money in the bank to buy boxes of bon-bons by the truckload or your career has suffered so much you have eaten your way through your depression.” Our first reaction was to think of a bunch of fat jokes, but in keeping with our light reading, we discovered that Ann had always struggled with her weight. As a child, she had been mocked for her size and as she grew older, she deliberately starved herself to make herself more attractive as a public persona. After Heart’s star dimmed in the late 1970’s, she relaxed her efforts to stave off weight gain, but the band’s second rise to prominence in the 1980’s put her in a difficult situation. Video had made rock celebrities much more accessible, so her management and record producers were worried her heft would become a cause célèbre. She was pressured to lose weight, which she probably no longer had the same energy to do. Producers made every effort to conceal her larger appearance in videos by using clever camera angles and clothing. You can see that in Heart’s videos like “Never.”
So, Ann’s still pretty and she still has a rocking voice. She seems to have made peace with herself from what we’ve been able to tell in recent interviews. While being overweight isn’t a good thing, it seems to us that starving one’s self and covering up a personal struggle for the sake of others’ shallow expectations of imagery is probably just as bad or worse. Hey, guilty here too.
As for poking fun at her for looking like Elizabeth Taylor … well, she does. And as for making fun of Kim Jong-un, who is quite the pudgy lad, we don’t mind because his weight problems are much more likely to come from decadence and a disregard for the struggles of his people.
OK, enough with the serious talk. Rock on.