This summer I went back to the beach where I spent most of my summers as a kid. It is my happy place. The beach is clean, the sand is white, and the ocean is generally lovely—and there are rarely many people.
There are small children with red buckets and blue shovels, building sandcastles or trying to catch small shrimp or tiny crabs in the shallows. The older ones joyfully play in the waves. Meanwhile, their grandparents enjoy a leisurely swim or just bobbing about.
We have more than 7,300km (4,536mi) of coastline here in Denmark, so no matter where you are in our country, the sea is not far away.
As the international diving community has recently come to witness, a scandal surrounding Ahmed Gabr’s world record for deepest scuba dive has surfaced. Was it faked? Some accusers, who have opted to remain anonymous for reasons I shall not comment on at this point, have alleged that his record dive was faked, and to that end, have presented to the public a quite comprehensive compilation of evidence in support of their case. The documentation was compelling, but the jury is still out.
It has already been way too long since we got wet and who knows how much longer it will be before we can go diving again, other than alone at a local dive site that may be open, if we are lucky.
The coronavirus outbreak is an eyeopener in so many ways. It is giving us lessons on what is important. When the pandemic hit in earnest, many of us suddenly found ourselves focused on more basic needs than usual. If not food and shelter, then at the least, safety and health, and the wellbeing of our loved ones, some of whom we were not permitted to visit.
Who would have thought that the day would come when I would publicly state that there are more important things in life than diving. After all, the aquatic environment has been my passion and calling for as long as I can remember. I was that toddler on the beach collecting starfish and small crabs in my red bucket, the public swimming pool was my preferred playground after school, and I specialised in aquatic ecology for my master's degree, not to mention taking up diving early on and becoming an underwater photographer.
The international dive community was shocked and grief-stricken when the news broke of the devastating fire that consumed the award-winning California-based liveaboard Conception and the 34 people who perished, including divers and crew members. The accident struck close to home, as many of us have taken dive trips on liveaboards at some point. Some among us had even been on that particular vessel.
The way our weather twists and turns can catch out even the most experienced meteorologist, as Michael Fish found out to his cost, following his infamous broadcast on Thursday 15 October 1987.
He stated "Earlier on today, apparently, a woman rang the BBC and said she heard there was a hurricane on the way... well, if you're watching, don't worry, there isn't!"
Operation Overlord, June 5th 1944. All the factors have been accounted for, apart from the weather. 350,000 lives depend on the most important forecast of the 20th century.