During the lock down for this Covid-19 derangement we’re all deep into, we don’t get to do the fun stuff. Officially it’s not a four week, or longer, holiday. We’re to stay in our own bubble of family, whanau, or usual household group and keep a two metre gap from all others at all times. Very nearly all of us understand why this is, and remarkably, very nearly all of us are on board with it. But cancelling the fun is rough, and tough.
What happens after some days of isolation when some of us, out of sheer frustration, break the isolation rule, just to get out and away. Many of us feel we just have to get outside for a walk in a park or bush track nearby. If others turn up we can still keep a two metre distance from them.
When it was much worse
Right now I’m reading The Kiss of the Mango by Albert Wendt, ONZ, and I’m up to where the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 is about to impact. The novel takes a marvellous sweep through the lives of two or three generations over 100 years ago. New Zealand administrators allowed the SS Talune to dock in Apia though they knew the disease was on board, and the devastating effects it would likely have. The epidemic killed 8500 Samoans, 22% of the population, nearly as many as the 9000 who succumbed in New Zealand, my grandmother among them, one of at least 50 million who died worldwide, more than the toll from WW1.
What to do
When I began writing this in mid-March I was going to suggest you shouldn’t cancel your plans to go diving at an exotic location any time soon. BUT, I was going to suggest, do make your destination somewhere nearby, like the Poor Knights, or even Niue, the Solomons, or Tahiti. That’s all out the window of course. Now, instead, what we can do is get into some advanced research and planning on where, once this crisis passes, we can go and dive in future. Once this is over our Pacific neighbours will greet your visit with open arms. They will look forward to your visit, and love to see you more than ever.
Also between then and now you might go want to go through all those dive photos you haven’t properly archived yet. And/or get your gear maintenance regime up to speed.
You will see in this issue we have few ads. It’s no surprise that travel and all event advertising, on which Dive Pacific relies heavily, has been cancelled.
TecfestNZ won’t happen til next year around this time, the Underwater Tour likewise. The Spearfishing National champs are gone (though we have an excellent report on the North Island champs in this issue) as is the Whitianga Dive Festival. It’s unfortunate and sad. And it means we will be making an extra big effort to promote them when they are rescheduled, urging everyone to get out and enjoy them all the more, because by then all of us will be extremely aware we can never take such opportunities for granted!
The lack of ads means this edition of Dive Pacific is delivered at considerably less than it cost to produce. But we know too, that as you self-isolate, you’ll appreciate all the more the extraordinary photos and stories you’ll find here, to keep you engaged with the wonders, and responsibilities we all have to the oceans underwater.