Sunday, September 13, 2009

Eating Like We Mean It

I've been a scuba diver longer than a good percentage of our population has lived, a comment on my age and my passion. In the 1980's I left Texas, and everyone I knew and loved, for Miami where I could dive without getting into an airplane first.

I dove every weekend the wind didn't blow. And I loved every dive, even rubble dives.

An underwater moment with my sister. 

But the times a shark showed up were special.

I know the idea of being underwater with a shark sounds scary. And it could be. But it never was. We were lucky. And smart. We didn't fish, so no blood in the water. And with good visibility, we could see them coming, and they could see us.

Divers don't look like shark food, or sound like it either. We breathe through regulators, which on intake make a fuzzy sucking swishing sound and on exhale emit a soft trail of bubbles. 

Most of the time if sharks see or hear a diver, they cut the other direction, so fast they're gone before the diver can even point at them.

Denny and I don't eat shark now. The numbers are declining faster than they can reproduce and the oceans need sharks for balance. We don't eat grouper either. I've been face to face with goliath groupers twice my size, and shared hollows with Nassau, tiger and black groupers longer than my legs. It's hard to look into a placid big-lipped face and think about eating it. Grouper numbers are declining too.

It turns out that many marine species are in danger--overfishing, pollution, habitat destruction. I don't want to contribute to the problem. But it's hard to keep up with all the species... so I was glad to find this Seafood Guide from the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The guide is easy to use and folds small enough to fit in a wallet. Click the link, there are lots of good choices.

Happy eating. And I hope you get the chance someday to meet a grouper face to face.

This fabulous Nassau grouper is from Scubaben's Flikr stream. To see more: Nassau Grouper by Scubaben.

Copyright 2009-2013 Kathleen Scott, for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.

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