Cherishing the Mundane

Too often, divers seem to devote disproportionate time and effort to seeking out animals that are deemed rare or unusual. I guess it's just part of human nature.

Most people will want to see something if they believe it's rare. In contrast, things that are considered ordinary...well...yawn.

How many times have you heard "I want to see that little brown fish that lives just by the jetty in the hundreds." as opposed to "Oh, oh! You have to show me the purple Rhinopias. You have to. You have to!!!"?

fire goby

In fact, I came across a study about a similar concept relation to endangered species. The notion, as explored by the researchers, was that by merely assigning a label of "rare", "endangered", or something similar to a particular type of organism, the chances of it becoming extinct increased significantly.

Why? The more rare something is perceived to be, the more people want to see (and hence disturb) it...and in many cases, the more people there will be who want to poach whatever it is as soon as possible (so that they can cash-in on a dwindling, and hence appreciating, product before it's too late).

Screwed up, right? But it makes sense in a depressing, "Wake Up Humanity!!!" kind of way.

To get back to the point...what I'm trying to get at is that when you're diving, it's often worth taking time to observe the ordinary. Look at what everyone else is not looking at. Ignore the frenzied pursuit of whatever critter happens to be "hot".

There are "plenty of fish in the sea", to somewhat mis-use the expression, and often, you can get really nice photos of fish and other animals that few other people pay attention to.


Instead of waiting in line for your five minutes with the fish that everyone else wants to photograph, consider spending a quality 45 minutes with something that no one else even takes notice of.

Think of it this way: Probably > 99.999% of humanity has never seen the things we divers are fortunate enough to see. So a plain little matter how "normal" probably going to be interesting, perhaps even exciting, for most non-divers. It should be for us (spoiled) divers too.

And if you're a photographer, chew on this: 45 minutes of quality time with no one bothering you vs. five minutes of rush-rush-rush with six other divers waiting their turn. Hands down...I know which odds I prefer.

Cherish the mundane, and it's amazing how exciting and fulfilling every dive can be.


On that note...I'm off to Bangkok for the Thailand Travel & Dive Expo. I'll continue posting Ambon photos as and when I can, though I suspect the days will be too packed to do much posting for a while.

(Incidentally, can anyone tell me what the middle and bottom fish are?)