If you can’t afford your own private submarine, or are afraid of diving, there’s always Google: Google has already taken their street view maps to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and many other places in many lands. Now they are venturing out into that other seventy percent of the earth, the sea.
You’re weightless. You drift over a technicolor landscape of sponges and soft corals. Beams of sunlight filter through glinting swarms of jellyfish and waiting barracuda. You gaze down upon the whorled shell of a leatherback turtle. Trumpet fish tilt towards the lips of an invisible Lois Armstrong as ten thousand blue tang shimmer in the hull of a sunken ship.
No, it isn’t possible to describe this underwater dreamscape. Finding Nemo captures a hint of this cartoonishly real world, as do the films of Jacques Cousteau and David Attenbourgh. But unless you’ve been there, it’s like explaining stars to a blind person or Bach to someone who was born deaf. I’m a fair-weather diver and when I found that I was no longer using my SCUBA gear I decided to give it to away to a friend who lives in Egypt.
But a recent experience snorkeling in the north Atlantic reminded me just how much I miss the sea. I can’t afford a submarine so I was happy to hear that Google is expanding their street view maps to cover parts of the Great Barrier Reef, Hawaii and the Philippines.
Could Bahrain’s new artificial reef be next?