You look outside the water. Everything is just so calm. You see 1 or 2 persons chilling in the nearby boat. All around you, back of heads and tubas are poking out of the water. It’s the same feeling as entering a room full of people glued to their cellphone. You’re surrounded by people, but nobody is actually there. There is only one thing to be done in those moments: get into your own little universe. Even easier than turning on a phone, you dip your face in the water and there you are: gazing at a coral reef, aka a world that should only exist in the most far-fetched of fantasies. But here it is, so real that if you don’t watch out, a fire coral might scratch your belly.
In this wonderland, you have no bearings. The only things you know from this world come from fiction stories. You look at that water, showing off every best shade of blue that exists, from the surface down to the very bottom of the sea, and you think, look, that is the same water as in Finding Nemo! Ok, also, pretty much every fish you recognize comes from Finding Nemo. Thank you, Disney, for some solid intro to the marine world.
You then approach the mangroves, of which you can now only see the roots. They are covered in sponges and strange other things. Doesn’t that look like Will Turner’s dad’s face in Pirates of the Carribeans?
Slowly learning to manoeuver your fins you start speeding up, flying over various scenes of everyday marine life. Schools of tiny fishes swimming purposefully. Jelly fishes floating around. Fishes that go hide into their hole in the sand when you approach. Other ones that just don’t care and carry on nibbling on their corral. But isn’t that just exactly how Harry was swimming, while he was crossing mermaid land during the second task? You realize only now how much of a dork you are. Good thing nobody can read your mind. You just don’t know how ill-advised your future self might be.
You laugh to yourself, take a big breath and free-dive just to swim next to a silly looking fish. That, you think, is most definitely not borrowed from another story. It’s just you, the fish and the sea. And then the song that goes by this name starts playing in your head, because, you like your Quebec singers, don’t you?
In this giddy mood you reflect on how lucky you are to be in this place. Trying to understand what brought you here, you can only be more bewildered than you already were from this moment. In the last few weeks you have: caught pretty butterflies to never release them, smashed snails with a hammer, gleefully set up false-crabs fights, destroyed ants’ nests to then drown ants in alcohol, destroyed spiders’ nets, carelessly dug with a hammer in million years old mounds of fossils. How is it that Nature still wants to treat you with one of its finest piece of art? But really, are you going to question the whole functioning of karma when it’s actually treating you so well?
You decide to stop for a moment. Now, you are floating just an arm’s length away from corals. A single square meter of this environment is so filled with wonders that you know you could spend the whole day just gazing at that square meter. All of the colors of the world seem to be in this spot, in all possible shapes and textures. You think Nature must have messed up somewhere when it moved life outside of the water, for it forgot to bring out most of these flashy colours out of the sea. I mean, look at that, some fishes are even neon colored!! Why aren’t there neon colored moose running around in Canada already?
Then on your already pretty festive square-meter of sea-land, enters the king of all sea-creature, the octopus (of course it’s the king!). The sea-floor is its dance floor and it’s doing some pretty wicked moves with its funky tentacles. Then its floppy head turns in a way that makes its sort-of-empty eyes look at you. Uh-oh. Are octopus dangerous for humans? It depends. Could Ursula be considered as an octopus? Maybe this is how karma is finally getting back at you. Then you remember. In Finding Dory, there is an octopus and, apart from being grumpy and driving a truck into the ocean (spoiler alert), it was quite inoffensive.
Oh hello, octopus!
And instantly your mind cranks up the volume on “In an octopus’s garden”.
Good lord, it seems that main-stream culture has already trained me to become an awesome marine biologist. I’ll be waiting for the offers!