Monday, June 22, 2009

The Undersea World of Gadj Dileau

The best thing about my recent Mallorcan holiday was leaving the girls on the beach nattering about knitting patterns or Emmerdale or whatever and donning my snorkel, mask and flippers and striding into the inky, bottomless, widow-making ocean... full fathom five thy father lies, of his bones are coral made... pretending I was Jacques Cousteau or Sean Connery in Thunderball or perhaps Jürgen Prochnow off of Das Boot. I may be a newcomer to this activity but that hasn’t stopped me compiling an authoritative list about it:


1: No fish, however exotic, looks like a used condom. They’re easy to catch but really not worth the bother.

2: Jellyfish stuck in your snorkel? Stop sucking!

3: Snorkellers are a silent fraternity: if you wave to them either they’ll not see or they’ll think you’re a twat.

4: Your snorkel says a lot about you – everything, in fact, when you’re cruising, “periscope up” - so make sure you get one that’s handsomely proportioned and in this year’s fashions.

5: If there’s no fish, it’s not an unlucky day - you’re near an industrial waste pipe or a nuclear power station.

6: Develop a birdwatcher’s mindset: be as happy to see three different types of small grey fish as you’d be to see one enormous red and blue stripy one.

7: Resist the temptation to undo swimmers’ bathing costumes, even they appear to be fastened with a simple cord within arm’s reach.

8: Don’t go out expecting to find either sunken treasure or your dinner: you’ll be lucky to come back with an interesting bit of seaweed.

9: You can get really close to a shag: see where it’s perched on the rock, cruise up at periscope depth then resurface about a meter away!

10: Dive quickly flicking your flippers in the air: this makes you look like a dolphin, persuading women you’re a sensitive and beautiful creature of nature.

11: Errr...

12: That’s it :-)

The Cousteau Society rather arrogantly describes itself as "Custodians of the Sea Since 1943". 1943, eh? "Custodians"? Did you know that we know more about outer space than we know about what lives at the bottom of custard? Fact, that is.


Gorilla Bananas said...

So no mermaid looking like Daryl Hannah, then? I dunno, the seas seems so uninteresting these days. Even the sharks seem less sharky than they used to be.

The Dotterel said...

Matching flippers... nice!

Lulu LaBonne said...

How long did it take before you realised the condom wasn't a fish - had you got as far as tossing it in a little oil?

Gaw said...

I found the key skill is to be able to distinguish between a sea cucumber and a turd without recourse to the sense of touch. Once mastered this saves a lot of unpleasantness.

Any photos of your bevy of beached beauties?

Scarlet-Blue said...

It's worse when the used condom is floating in your bath and you mistake it for the soap.

M C Ward said...

You look in good shape for your age. Is that really you (I'm thinking about your famous OU diet).

(Sorry, re-reading that it all sounds a bit gay.)

Madame DeFarge said...

Does this mean that you grew a fetching little beard like Jurgen? Maybe I could try snorkelling in the Thames, taking account of your advice. It's the closest water to me, so I should make the most of it.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Bananas, to be honest I never rated that Daryl Hannah much either as a mermaid or as an actress, and sharks have alwyas seemed a bit pathetic since Viz Magazine did that exposé.

Their funky, aren't they, and the Blue Lagoon style has come right back in this year.

Lulu, the missus is very found of calamari, and they look like delicate (and tasty) baby squid when you first see them; but I realised my mistake when the batter slid off revealing the maker's name.

Mr Gaw, I'm still uncertain what a sea cucumber is, though turds are familiar enough. We do have many pictures of The Bloom of Romanian Womanhood sitting on the beach, but unless you're looking for a wife I hestitant to post them.

Scarley, hmmmm, impressive, that must be one big bath you've got, or else you and your young man are quite compact!

MC, thanks, but I must confess the picture was taken 2 years ago - and it's not even Mallorca, it's Crete! I've fattened up since then as they gradually eroded my will to refuse Romanian food. Plenty of posts about that and about things "a bit gay" coming up!

Gadjo Dilo said...

Madame, I did once grow a beard like Jürgen, but it was ghastly and the only thing it attracted was biscuit crumbs. When snorkelling in the Thames one might prefer the Cotswolds end of it, though kneepads might then also be a requisite!

Pearl said...

Have never been to Mallorca, or even anywhere, say, within a thousand miles of it, but I have snorkelled (snorked?) in the Caribbean, where I believe the rules you compiled hold as well.

Have not had the urge again for open water since having seen, um, Open Water. Have you seen it? Don't. Did for diving/snorkelling what Jaws did for drunken night swimming.


Kevin Musgrove said...

Only a pedant would hunt down a photo of the correct subspecies of shag.

And only another one would check in his textbooks. (-:

The photo shows the fragile ecosystem of the River Helminth showing an aggregation of the larvae of the endemic Helminthdale Caddisfly and, centre-left, the moulted carapace of the red-listed Potted Meat Swimming Crab.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Pearly, ooerr, no, I haven't see Open Water and maybe I shouldn't. Or maybe I should - but were they doing normal snorkelling or were they in the freakin' Amazon Basin? Come to Mallorca, my dear, it's all very safe there.

Kevin, yep, I made sure I got my facts right :-) Though the ones I saw were more handsome than that example - rather elegant when not necking down fish, and with glossy feathers and a clean white bib. River Helminth has clearly made great strides since the days when it was merely a sluice for dyestuffs and rickets casualties; we await the return of the Envelope Eel (Durex Expendis).

Daphne Wayne-Bough said...

I like the sea but only when viewed from the terrace of a 5 star hotel through a pair of polarised Vuarnets. I once ran on water back to the shore after being frightened out of my wits by seeing a large dark thing right under me. I later realized it was my own shadow. As Billy Connolly so wisely said once: "We don't belong in there".

Were you about to attempt a backward flip off that rock?

Gadjo Dilo said...

Daphers, you and Mr Connolly have a point in that we don't have fins or webbed feet and stuff, but I'm just weird and I feel that the fish are my friends. No, if I'd attempted a back flip from there I'd have left a slick of crimson blood that would have polluted 5km of otherwise pristine beach.

Andy H said...

Fact: A friend of mine (and object of major crush at various times) is Jacques Cousteau's granddaughter. She's lovely. But in a wetsuit it's all just too much.

Anonymous said...