Waves move through me as I float a few hundred yards out in West Bay; breathing toward the next dive.
Shadows shift between the rays of light; seeming to expand and slow.
A bright object appears in my peripheral vision; a leaf maybe, or a small stick.
But it is moving, deliberately…
In that moment when you first sense the presence of another, alien, awareness – and that you are the focus of it’s strange attention – theres an interesting gap, a sort of bardo of recognition, wherein you see and feel a thing before naming and knowing about kick in; before you think you know what it is.
Its a measure of how relaxed I was that I didn’t completely freak out.
This little gar swam directly beneath me and seemed to know that it’s color scheme went well with my monofin.
It waited patiently while I reeled in my float, unzipped the bag and grabbed my camera.
Gar are by no means common in west bay – in fact the last time I saw one was when I took the picture below in 2005.
This one was convinced that I was an excellent thing under which to lurk. So much so that it was hard to get good angles for pictures – with the fish doggedly pursuing my monofin as I chased my own tail trying to line up a shot.
At one point it began to swim away. When I followed and caught up with it, it stopped, turned and formed up with me again.
I think of their strangely docile behavior as linked with the fact that their species goes back to when rayed fins were a novelty.
Maybe it gives them a different relationship with time and identity.
A wave, not a particle.
Maybe this is why they’ve got a whole different set of boundaries than other fish. They’d rather you didn’t touch them, but if they are checking you out they like to get really really close.
Here below you might notice the tip of it’s nose is a little out of focus. Thats because it was just a few inches from my wide-angle lens – which was zoomed all the way out.
Its amazing what shows up sometimes, right out of the blue..