"Let us go into the Sea of Cortez, realizing
that we become forever part of it."
John Steinbeck
The Sea of Cortez

At another level of barometry, "I have been under a lot of pressure lately." I have been diving down under, stressing delicate mechanisms like Nikonos strobes and middle ears under 7 or 8 absolute atmospheres of salt water in such breath-squeezing sites as the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, the Red Sea (from both Saudi and Egyptian sides), the Caribbean, The Indian Ocean and the mid-Pacific.

In one of the world's unique natural features with one of mankind's most extravagant artificial reefs, I dived the largest lagoon in the world. Truk Lagoon in the renamed Micronesian state of Chuuk is the resting place of the Japanese Imperial fleet where all but the carriers were sunk in 100 feet of the 1000 square mile lagoon by Operation Hailstorm of the US Navy 52 years ago for perfect coral entombment, now bedazzling, of the once hideous carnage of warfare's waste. I made my first entry into Truk Lagoon as a night dive following the sunset seen here during dive preparation, to swim through the Fujikawa Meru's operating room, now eerily decorated with bioluminescence entrapped in waving soft corals.

I have dived the Wonderland of the crystal clear Red Sea, where I had spent my birthday two years ago off Hurghada, Egypt hovering over the reefs teaming with all the colorful variety life can display in this unique environment. My recurrent favorite is the night dive into the "wreck of the RMS Rhone," the Royal Mail Steamship which went down 150 years ago in the Sir Francis Drake Channel off Tortola, British Virgin Islands, in the fiercest Caribbean hurricane ever recorded. For those who remember the same underwater site as Jacquelyn Bisset swam through it in "The Deep", there were a few terrors in the sunken sailing ship. Not for the claustrophobic, a night dive in which I had penetrated the lower decks of the wreck once brought me into an abrupt face-mask-to-maw encounter with "Abraham", the ancient and huge resident jewfish, a black grouper estimated at over 500 pounds and 200 years old, before his disappearance following Hurricane Hugo's Caribbean disruptions.

There are many more raptures to be found and even a few to
be photographed, in "The Deep."
--"Raptures of the Deep"