Sunday, December 7, 2008

Day 10: Eagle Harbor

The beauty of Eagle Harbor shines in these photos (today's exit point looking left and right).

As I'm swimming through Eagle Harbor I see some big gaping jaws with nasty teeth, it's a big shark. Oh wait, it's a joke buoy, an attacking shark where you can tie up your boat.

I did meet some nice kayakers halfway through the swim, they asked if I was keeping warm (yes). I mentioned my path, and they wondered aloud in a friendly way if I'm a maniac. Naw, just an ocean guy with an itch to do this Bainbridge Island underwater tour.

The shark buoy was fun after a moments hesitation. Not so much fun in the rest of the human presence in this yucky swim. Unlike all 9 of the swims before today, this one was more of a lesson. Garbage near marinas and houses, some dark murky water, too many docks to swim under or around and bunches of boats.

You can probably see it coming in this sequence of photos of getting in the water. First, here's dad and the kids as I'm getting ready, getting in the water, and then about to disappear under the first dock. I guess I shouldn't have been too surprised, but it was worse than I expected.

I'm just disappearing under the first dock in the larger photo above, that little white dot is me.

Today's swim tested my mettle, whether I'd stick it out and complete the shoreline. The water was a beautiful above. But beneath, the Heart of Darkness. This is what we do to our beautiful ocean when we love it to death.

It's not the wounded ocean of massive commerce. In some ways that would be easier to take. This is the ugly scene of you and me, looking out from our single houses and clusters of boats, and neglecting what's beneath the beauty. Below the mirrored surface of the water is where we find our true reflection in the ugly shallows of Eagle Harbor.

I feel dirty and swim fast. I want to slip through as quickly as I can. There's nothing for me here.

I see a spotted ratfish and feel sorry for the poor thing. Prehistoric and magnificently strange, and living in a junky harbor.

How many people know what's down here? What proportion of the live-aboards and live-on-the-shores have even put on a mask and looked down here? Maybe I should tell them how bad it looks. More on this later..

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