One of my colleagues at work is married to a baker. I reserve a spot on my desk in case he brings in leftover cake or cookies or the results of various baking experiments. I’m generous with my office space that way.
A couple weeks before Thanksgiving last year, his wife, we can call her Mrs. Baker, decided to test out different recipes for rye bread. My office-mate, “Mr. Baker,” brought in two loaves (different species, we might say) on Tuesday, along with a cheese spread. I am not a huge fan of rye, but I was hungry and cut a chunk. It was good. On Wednesday, two more species of loaves appeared. And the leftover cheese spread. I cut a piece again – still moist and tasty. I started taking photos of the bread, which was always beautiful, no matter the species. Thursday brought yet two more loaf species. Mr. Baker didn’t work Friday, so it was Monday before we saw more rye bread. This time, Mrs. Baker had upped the ante to one loaf of 70 percent rye flour and one loaf 80 percent. Mr. Baker commented that those species should have been cut thinly and dried for crackers. Tuesday? Yes, it’s true. More rye bread. By now I was starting to worry just a little about her health and well being. But the most incredible thing? Each day the loaves were consumed in their entirety by staff on our floor. None went to waste.
I’m telling this story because I just came from a local dive site where I have done countless dives – a spot here in Seattle that is not particularly spectacular but is easily accessible and offers a variety of dive options. It’s called Cove 2 at Seacrest, and I know people who’ve done 75 percent of all their dives at this one location. It isn’t the best site in the region (not at all), but like the rye bread, it is easily accessible, you never know what it’s going to be like on a given day until you try it, and you might be really surprised at just how good it is. You simply never know until you sink your teeth in (or get your face wet, as it were).
That is one of the reasons, I think, we divers keep diving – to see what’s new today. What is there today that wasn’t there the last time. Today I saw a fried-egg jelly trapped amongst a bunch of giant plumose anemones; another really large jelly – a lion’s mane – skulking about on the bottom (!?); a veritable pile of rock sole and red rock crab all in a seeming frenzy over what must have been a food source that I could not discern; a species of warbonnet I have not seen in a couple of years; and a massive school of thousands of some species of larval fish far too small for me to identify. One small phenomenon after another, all at this incredibly common shore dive just below and a little to the right of the Water Taxi pier, where the hopeful go fishing, athletic enthusiasts speed by on bicycles and inline skates, and tourists line up to take photos of the whacky divers emerging from the deep, dark unknown.
There is no reason to ever be bored underwater, even if you visit the same place over and over again. The ocean and all its creatures are ever-dynamic: seasons change and bring different animals out in number at different times; breeding cycles usher in mating behavior, territoriality, eggs, babies – and all at different times of the year for different species; and nightime is a parallel universe as all the nocturnal fish and invertebrates get moving. In short, even a small dive site in a tucked away corner of the world hosts constant change and activity. It turns out there is nearly an infinite number of species of rye bread – just imagine what the ocean will show you if you show up and just look.
A Guineafowl Puffer (above) – a common species in many parts of the world, including Cocos.
Everytime I see one, I want to get closer…get a photo – they are endlessly fascinating and fun.
One of the gems at my “ho-hum” home dive site – a Decorated Warbonnet hiding inside an old piling (above).
Curious about the rye bread…?