One of my favorite-memories-for-life is of sitting on the bounding bow of a boat in the water over Roca Redonda in the Galapagos Islands, listening to "Train in Vain" by the Clash on my Walkman, eating M&Ms and watching porpoises leap out of the water. It seems incredible that anyone could have that for a memory but I do.
"Train in Vain" came on my iPod today while I was waiting for the T in Davis Square station and I was brought back to that moment in 1987. The amazing things I've had the good fortune to do.
Back then I was also feeling pretty satisfied with myself because I had chosen not to do the dive at Roca Redondo that day. Chris McFarling, our naturalist guide, had made a big hullabaloo about how challenging the dive would be. He predicted masses of huge hammerheads, overpowering currents and I don't remember what-all else. Wonder whatever happened to that guy?
Anyway, I wasn't intimidated by what he said, I just wanted a day off. Isn't that funny?
We'd encountered hammerheads before and they were, well, comical. There were two of them. They spotted me and my brother and were so startled that they bumped into each other head-on then took off in opposite directions. Maybe that was a lucky one-off but that was my experience of them. They didn't faze me. Nor the bull sea lions or the overpowering currents. What the hell does faze a twenty-something? Dreams about being naked in class on surprise final exam day for a class you forgot you'd enrolled in is about it.
I just decided I wanted a day off and I was damn proud of myself for taking it and not caving to pressure of any kind. I was having such a great time up there, on top of the boat and not under water, listening to my music, devouring my chocolate.
I imagine I probably rewound "Train in Vain" at least a few times so I could enjoy it over and over. That thought reminded me of the old technology and how you had to rewind. You had to wait for the tape to spool back so you could play it again. Not anymore.
I tell ya, back in my day...
Well the old lady's mind is going for sure. I bet I've told this whole memory here before. Maybe not the part about rewinding.
But golly gee, you can still take a dive trip on the same boat, the Encantada, today! Amazing!
The folks who went on that dive reported a great dive when they got back but no one was eaten or lost at sea. I sound disappointed about that, don't I? I just feel that in retrospect, the dive didn't live up to Chris' hype. No doubt for the best.
Of course in the Galapagos there are no "safe" dives and no boring dives.
What a privilege.