It’s happening again. I’m daydreaming of diving. So to soothe my pain, I go back to the roots and visit old friendly places. Paradise Divers on Little Cayman is one of those. Their web site used to be my baby, and re-reading the newsletter, I couldn’t help but to laugh out loud. So I’ve decided to reproduce here my two favourite articles. I wrote them both for fun and in a comical interview style, but the facts are true and those Nassau Groupers really existed and behaved the way that is described. They were (still are, I hope, as far as Jerry is concerned) the funniest thing!
This first one appeared in the Fall 1999 newsletter.
“Those who have dived with us already know Ben the Grouper®, the famous friendly mascot of Bloody Bay, living on Mixing Bowl, Marilyn’s Cut and Donna’s Delight. In an exclusive interview with two of Paradise Divers’ instructors, Ben revealed a few of his secrets and talked about his Benpreoccupations.
Harold: Ben, how do you explain your fascination with scuba divers?
Ben: Well, it goes back to my early childhood, when I was still a wiggling minnow. I was always attracted by the noise you make underwater, and frankly, you are rather ugly and most clumsy. But on the other hand, you are also very large, strong, colorful and a lot more efficient than the cleaning fish.
Vinny: Then you just consider us to be large cleaning fish, is that it?
Ben: Of course. Why, do you serve another purpose?
Harold: Hmm. Ben, tell us about your reef neighbors. Do you have enemies, friends, or business partners?
Ben: Definitely. The reef is a complex and quite amusing society. I don’t really have that many enemies, apart from an occasional shark cruising the top of the reef. I’m too fat for the barracudas and too small for the sea monsters. Actually, the real danger comes from the fishermen who come here despite the fact that it is forbidden to fish in the Park.
Harold: What about friends?
Ben: My nephew Jerry is my best companion, even though he sometimes gets on my nerves by imitating me. But he will be perfect to take over my contract when I get too old for this. Otherwise, I get along with the green morays, we sometimes hunt together, or at least I like to think of it that way…
Vinny: Ben, we are aware that you’re a pretty busy grouper, so would there be a last message you’d like to give to the guests of Paradise Divers?
Ben: Yes. I love playing with the divers but only as long as they respect me and my environment. I don’t really like to be poked in the eyes and simply hate being petted against my scales. And regarding your long plastic fins, they can cause tremendous damage to my reef gardens. Please be cautious and remain well above them. Oh, and one last thing: Jerry and I are probably a bit strange, liking human-fish contact the way we do. But the other creatures don’t, so try to leave them alone… They have a right to a peaceful existence.
Vinny: Thanks a lot, Ben. We hope to see you soon underwater!
Ben: You’re most welcome. My reef is yours to enjoy.”
– Qu’est-ce-que signifie «apprivoiser» ?
– C’est une chose trop oubliée, dit le renard. Ca signifie «créer des liens».
[Antoine de Saint Exupéry – Le Petit Prince]