Peace & quiet: Chance encounters of the underwater kind

SO, WHAT is it that keeps you going underwater? A friend asked while viewing my photos of small fishes that aren't as awesome as manta rays and thresher sharks and even white tips.

True, seeing those elegant sharks and rays are breathtaking, but there is something comforting with catching the eye of the damsels and the hawkfish and cardinals and clowns, acknowledging each other's presence. Even the occasional eyeless nudibranch seem to wave as it moves forward to some unknown destination, waving its mantle and rhinopores.

Seeing Rhinopiases is an extra treat, especially when you get them both -- the weedy (R. frondosa) and the lacy (R. aphanes).

On normal days, it's already relaxing to just watch the corals and the tiny fishes and feel the serenity of just hearing your breathing, the chopping sound of a passing fishing boat, and your dive buddy's occasional ringing of his tank to call your attention.

So, what keeps me going underwater? Where stones may have eyes and turn out to be a fish and what you thought were plants would start walking and swimming, underwater is a whole different world that presents an escape from a world that sometimes gets to be too cumbersome and negative.

Aren't we lucky in Davao City that dive spots are just over an hour away at most? Other people are not as blessed. May this serve as a call for us to keep our oceans free of garbage, to dispose of our plastics properly, and reduce our use of these non-biodegradable materials.
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