“It may not look very elegant but it’s a lot of fun,” yelled my English friend from the beach as my wife and I approached. He appeared from the sea looking like a character from Star Wars. “What the hell is that…and can I try it,” I shouted back.
Technology moves on quicker than a man with diarrhoea running for the toilet. In all sectors of life, from culture to sport and business. And it would seem that technology has also been working hard on beach equipment. Gone are the days when we could wander down to the beach with just a towel flung over our shoulders. Now we have to take a whole array of gadgets just to go for a swim. Of course smart phones are at the top of the list.
I mean you can’t go to the beach without taking a provocative photo for Instagram, can you? Watching young ladies pose in the shallows always brings a smile to my face. There is obviously a certain pose that emphasizes attributes, one leg slightly bent, head looking back over the shoulder and bum sticking out. They busily share it on social media and then wait for the comments and likes, reminds me of digital fishing. They cast their bait, normally bums, boobs or bulging lips, and wait for a fish to bite. Thankfully my generation didn’t have the pressures of looking like a Victoria Secret model.
So we made our way down to a very popular beach in Konavle. Rucksack full of towels, coffee, biscuits and swimming gear. As we undressed ready to jump in the Adriatic, for only my third swim of the season, I remembered a Jerry Seinfeld joke about shoes on the beach. He was so right. “When you go to the beach and leave your wallet in your shoes…I mean what criminal mind would think to look inside a show,” he joked. The show, trainer or flip flop on the beach seems to have a magical force field around it that hides money, phones and keys from potential burglars. So yes I “hid” my keys in one shoe and my wallet in the other.
Whereas before we would maybe take a mask and snorkel to the beach now this has been upgraded to a 2 in 1 mask. My friend had two of these masks. They are full face masks that have a snorkel attached at the top of them. So you can just swim along and breathe normally without having to chew a snorkel between your teeth. The idea is pretty good; the design is less than sexy. It basically looks like you are wearing the glass circle from a washing machine on the front of your face with two straps around the back of your head that gives the impression you are wearing a rucksack on your head. Never mind that I look like a gold fish bowl I had to try one. So I strapped one on my head, it felt a little weird and that was before I put my head under water.
I slowly dipped under the surface like Captain Nemo about to go 20,000 leagues under the sea. What an odd sensation. I was breathing normally but underwater. Was I now a fish? In fact, I was a little unsettling at first. I had the feeling that I was going to breathe in a lungful of salty water. I bobbed on the surface like a yellow plastic duck in a bath. Below me was a whole new world.
Water covers 70 percent of our world and 95 percent of it is unexplored and unmapped. That seems a little lazy. I saw an interesting diagram the other day which had a picture of the moon, Mars and the Earth. It read Moon 100 percent mapped, Mars 100 percent mapped, Earth’s oceans 5 percent mapped. My mission to discover and map another percent was cut short as water was flooding into my mask.
Quite clearly I hadn’t fixed it correctly and my face had sprung a leak. Whereas with a normal mask you can just float on the surface and fix the problem with this considerably bigger one it is rather more challenging. Spluttering with a mouth full of water I fought with the mask trying to get it back on my head. I turned my head to see how far I was from shore and was slightly embarrassed to find myself still in the shallows. People on the beach might have thought I was being attacked by Jaws as I spun about tugging wildly at the mask. “It takes a bit of getting used to,” shouted my friend. He was stating the obvious. I lost more energy battling with the mask that I did swimming. Is it me or was life much simpler before?