Category: Bonaire

Tarpon Buzz and Turtle Love

Tarpon Buzz and Turtle Love

SimoneLipscomb (1)The sun set over the mountains far from our entry point. Golden sky glowed with lingering day as night descended.

Twilight found me slipping beneath the surface….again. Into the turquoise water that appeared gray as light faded until my bright light illuminated it.

Small silver flashes zoomed past as I slowly kicked into the deep. Nighttime on the reef…a time of rest for some and action for others.

Not long into the dive a large hawksbill sea turtle was spotted foraging for food. We directed our lights away from it so it wouldn’t be blinded but another diver started shining his light directly on the turtle and began chasing it. Of course this lead to me kicking into high gear–quite literally–out of my relaxed blissful, happy place and I begin flashing his face. He didn’t stop until I intercepted and was about to grab his arm and direct the light away from the turtle. I felt molten lava stir within as this endangered species was harassed by a careless diver.

Once the turtle was safely moving on without the spotlight, my dive buddy and I moved away from the group and found in front of us another hawksbill, a bit smaller, and so we hid our lights so as not to reveal her presence.  We floated in the dark, gray ocean, barely able to see the outline of the turtle as we stayed between it and the other diver who was still searching for the original turtle. With loving hearts we fiercely protected our sea turtle friend.

After turning around and going into the shallower sand flat, tarpon began hunting with our lights. We came into contact with several other divers who were photographing and videoing the frenzy of these large, silver fish indulging in some easy dinners. We broke away from the crowd and swam on but had gotten just past the mosh pit of people when I felt a rush by my right side as a huge tarpon buzzed past me, using my bright cave light as a feeding beam.

The rush of such an animal, over five feet in length with shiny, silver plate-like scales and large eyes, zooming past me barely missing my side was wild. I knew he was going to come back yet each time he buzzed me I squealed into my regulator. We played a game of hunt the fish with Simone’s light. I loved every minute of it. It’s quite possible my face hurt from smiling so much while trying to hold the regulator in my mouth.

I sit propped up in bed now, yet still underwater moving and flowing with gentle surge. Nearly four hours were spent beneath the surface, communing with the Ocean and many creatures that live within Her. It was a dive of strong emotions….feeling protective, feeling ecstatically playful and mostly feeling immense love for all life. Oh…and grateful. Very grateful.

Bob Marley Speaks

Bob Marley Speaks

SimoneLipscomb (3)Dawn. I was walking with my scuba gear to the Ocean. As I approached the entry, an osprey cried and I glanced up. Just above the dive benches was the magnificent fish hawk perched in a tree. He flew out over the water as I continued walking. I’ve seen them many times but never perched on a tree…over the bench I was about to use. Pretty big smile to carry into the dive.

SimoneLipscomb (2)Nice dive, beautiful fish, easy 54 minutes of gentle kicking and gliding and watching life on the reef begin the day. No other human here, just the Ocean and this mermaid-woman hybrid. And today I went further, to an area where elk horn coral ‘trees’ are being used to grow this coral species. I felt resounding H O P E throughout my being. There are people that care, that are taking action to help. Another smile with my entire being.

SimoneLipscomb (1)During the time underwater I thought of a former dive buddy and smiled at the saltwater happiness we experienced in years past. My heart and mind sent him gratitude and love, that energy that never dies or changes…only grows and deepens as compassion grows within us. Heart happy goodness, a smiling heart for this human sea-creature.

Photo from the internet....don't know who to credit with it.
Photo from the internet….don’t know who to credit with it.

After the dive, as I was walking back to the condo…still dripping with sea water and lost in the peaceful feeling of saltwater baptism…I saw two bright yellow birds wearing bright, orange caps. The saffron finches watched me walk up to the sidewalk where they were perched and so I stopped and greeted them. They stared at me in my state of saltwater sogginess and gave me a message as we connected for several moments.

At the time I didn’t really know what it was they were telling me, but a few minutes later I got it. Even though Bob Marley sang of three little birds, that’s the song that came to mind and reminded me of the sweetness of life…in this moment…in the present. Now.

“Don’t worry about a thing, ‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright. Singin’: Don’t worry about a thing, ‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright. Rise up this morning, smile with the risin’ sun, ‘two’ little birds, Each by my doorstep singing’ sweet songs, of melodies pure and true saying’ this is my message to you…don’t worry about a thing. ‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright.”

There is hope within this mermaid woman today….for all life, for every living thing. So today, as I welcomed the day in my saltwater way, I smiled with the risin’ sun and it has been shining all day long within me.


Note: Many of you have asked me about the solo scuba diving I do. I wanted to write a tiny bit about that…first, I am an instructor and whenever I’m with students, especially new students, I’m basically solo diving with the added responsibility of whoever is with me. Secondly, I am certified as a self-reliant/solo diver. Third, as a sidemount certified cave diver I am basically solo diving in the cave (with other people present of course) because of the way my gas supply is configured. And lastly, I have hundreds of dives and use my cave diving ‘rules’ when solo diving…I turn the dive when I reach thirds so I have two-thirds of my gas supply to return on, etc. And I always dive shallow enough to do a controlled emergency swimming ascent to the surface if necessary. I do NOT condone solo diving and always, always encourage divers to keep in practice and get instruction for new kinds of dives. A solo diver must be well-equipped in underwater navigation skills and self-rescue skills….etc. So please do NOT go off on your own as a scuba diver unless you have extensive dive experience and proper training.

Elemental Magic

Elemental Magic

SimoneLipscomb (44)Being underwater is like home to me but being in the desert in Washington Slagbaai National Park is where I feel elemental energies of the planet the strongest.

The dirt roads of the park are filled with rocks, ruts, cactus bits, lizards and dust. The three hour drive through the park takes much patience to navigate the terrain. But to me the heat, dust and bumps that can make it uncomfortable only add to the uniqueness of this special place.

SimoneLipscomb (51)The island is shaped like the number ‘7’ and when visiting the north end of the island you begin in desert, connect with the Ocean on the east side of the island, north side and finally the west side while navigating through cactus and other desert vegetation. I could go on about the geology and natural history of it, but the reason I return every year is the way it affects me, the way it makes me feel, the strong sense of primal Earth energies that are still potent here.

SimoneLipscomb (25)My inner wildness feels drawn out as the sun’s heat draws moisture from my body. As my sweat mixes with salt spray blowing from the Ocean and across knife-sharp iron rock, my spirit is released to dance in strong winds–strong winds, strong spirit. There is no room for weakness here. Strength calls forth strength.

SimoneLipscomb (3)Shade only exists beneath thorny trees and near rock outcroppings made of ancient, fossilized coral so life is harsh, intense. Few humans exist here and efforts to establish dwellings have mostly failed. There are some places that should be left wild and untouched for the spirits of nature to roam and play and be untouched by humanity.

SimoneLipscomb (24)I too want to maintain wildness within me, never to be domesticated or tamed. Anyone who tries to tame my wild spirit soon understands the futility of the effort. I cherish it and love it and nurture it by connecting with places that sing to it through the dance of elemental magic.

A Little More Kindness

A Little More Kindness

Journal entry from 8am this morning:

SimoneLipscomb (2)My hands are still damp, I’m still in my wetsuit, but I wanted to write while the emotions are still fresh.

I had just turned my solo morning meditation dive when in front of me glided a large spotted eagle ray. Her long, thin tail trailing behind–a thin, black line against the blue sea. Her face beautiful in its beak-like design, eyes watching me as I watched her.

She arched across my right side leaving the sand flats where she had fed and headed down the top of the reef. I stopped and witnessed her graceful beauty–the slow, steady beat of her wings underwater–and felt my heart open as it does when beauty such as this touches me softly with its unexplainable magic.

So close to this magnificent creature was I, our eyes connected and thus did our innermost being.

SimoneLipscomb (1)She swam on and I did, too, parting with joy and appreciation. As I slowly kicked back, away from the ray, I felt a renewed commitment to cultivate kindness and gentleness for all creatures and especially those who are innocent of the abuses humans perpetuate apon their homes.

Floating in a Kaleidoscope

Floating in a Kaleidoscope

SimoneLipscomb (8)The second dive today I found myself alone with no other divers around me. That’s not a bad thing…I enjoy solo diving. It wasn’t intentional but the two folks that went in at the same time wandered on while I floated weightless in a kaleidoscope of color. I couldn’t move, so mesmerized was I by stripes and dots and shades of the rainbow.

The Salt Pier is an operational salt production pier where ships are loaded with sea salt that is produced on Bonaire in evaporation ponds. When workers are not present, divers are allowed to visit and enjoy the amazing sea life that claims the pilings as home. It was here–amid hundreds of French grunts, a yellow-striped fish–where I experienced weightlessness as geometries and wild colors danced within inches of my mask.

SimoneLipscomb (4)If divers are still and don’t flail through the water, fish can be surprisingly accepting of our presence. I know of nothing else in this world I’d rather be doing than floating relaxed and at ease with a large school of fish. Today they moved as one so once I settled in, I became part of their school and we swayed in the gentle surge together. Around we went, slowly…ever-so-slowly…winding our way through massive pilings filled with sponges, soft and hard corals and colors as brilliant as the fish. Christmas tree worms decorated sponges in brilliant colors. Blennys less than half the size of my little finger popped in and out of their tiny holes in the coral and sponges, their eyes smaller than a pin head. The variety of life expressed in the Ocean, in one small area, is simply mind-blowing to me.

SimoneLipscomb (6)Slow and steady breathing through my regulator, motionless except for small pushes the Ocean gave me and my fish friends, I was truly at home. At peace. At home within myself.

A turquoise, pink and yellow rainbow parrotfish would occasionally dash through our school creating a cooperative parting of the mass. A jack would dart in and out and we simply moved out of the way, creating space…floating…existing in harmony.

SimoneLipscomb (3)Right now green parrots are screeching outside the screen porch as I sit and reflect on the day. Palm fronds sway and rustle in the wind. The Ocean is 50 yards from me and one would never guess the amazing life that lives just below the surface. Such beauty, amazingly, profoundly present just 30 feet under the surface. It makes me wonder what beauty lies just beneath the surface of each of us. If we only realized this….