…and then Dad said, “You know what I believe? I remember in college I was taking a math class, this really great math class taught by this tiny old woman. She was talking about fast Fourier transformations and she stopped midsentence and said, ‘Sometimes it seems the universe wants to be noticed.’”…That’s what I believe. I believe the universe wants to be noticed. I think the universe is improbably biased towards consciousness, that it rewards intelligence in part because the universe enjoys its elegance being observed. –John Green, “The Fault In Our Stars.”
Our natural world can be abused and the coastlines have suffered. Now we value our natural environment more and better protect the conditions that allow it and us to thrive together. The power of our local universe to recreate its once-abundant beauty demands attention.
Get your gills wet.
One of my favorite free dives is south from the Pearl Street Beach, taking the shortcut past the blowhole, across the pinnacles, boulders and sandy stretches that make up Moss Point down to the pirate caves at Rockledge and back.
The kelp seems to be making dramatic contributions to sea life on our reefs, providing both nursery and habitat for all sorts of marine life and possibly even allowing for abalones to make a comeback.
My older son, Schuyler and I did a reef tour recently and were surprised by the abundance of rays, calico seabass, lobster, and even the occasional abalone shells.
Only five or six years ago, it was rare to see a halibut and most of the fish were confined to limited grassy and rocky outcroppings. I recall being surprised to find a large sheephead in a cave at the base of Second Reef when we had so few game fish left. Now white seabass, once thought to be heavily endangered, are becoming more common.
The beauty of breath-hold or free diving is the calm quiet and element of surprise in discovering marine life as we snake along the bottom contours, crevices and kelp forests. It also means that over-friendly and curious spotted harbor seals can create unsettling moments when they surprise a diver in friendly sneak attacks from the back.
The Genesis creation poem says, “And the spirit of God hovered over the waters.” I think it is where she, the spirit of the universe, meets us. Enjoy our reefs and be sure to give notice.
David Vanderveen is a Laguna Beach resident, husband, father and energy drink entrepreneur. His email is [email protected]