[Rudimental – Powerless]
Two weeks ago I was supposed to leave Zanzibar, yet here I am rocking back and forth from left to right and watching water leaking into the boat. It is hypnotyzing. The tiny leak is located between two planks of wood. Water is only coming in when the boat is rocking to the right. It would take weeks for the boat to sink due tao this leak. I don’t get seasick but I realize when I limit my vision to the floor of the boat, ignoring the suroundings I get a bit dizzy. The anchor is dropped. “The water is shallow. Jump slowly.” The mask is to tight again and will leave me red faced for the rest of the day. I jump as slowly as I can into the water and explore the area waiting for Gita [check her blog] preparing her samples. She made good on her promise to recruite me for her work for one day. Meaning I get to take water and sediment samples while snorkeling in the reef.
At first glance the reef looks varied and alive. Yet once I know how a boat or anchor damage looks like it turns into a bombed city. The situation is masked by algae and colourful sponges that take over where the corals have been destroyed. I have learned quite a bit about the situation in Zanzibar over the past weeks. Fish numbers have been drastically declining over the last ten years, local fishers are partly irresponsible, fishing with dynamite and cyanite, or they have no other source of income and fish in the reefes and protected marine areas. The warming of the oceans and polution add their part. Another factor is the corrupt government that is partly in the pocket of the chineses who bought the offshore fishing rights from Tanzania and dictate fishing policies. Handing the responsibility for a very valuable part of your ecosystem to a non caring outsider, what could possibly go wrong? But Tanzania is full of short-term thinking and cash-outs. When they found the biggest coal reserves is Africa a couple of years ago instead of bringing in a company teaching them how to mine it themselves the whole thing was sold to the chinese who bring in there own workers and everything. Somebody got very rich. Tanzania stays underdeveloped.
I have been asked if this knowledge isn’t spoiling the fun. Divya and I had an ongoing discussion if more knowledge makes happier or not. I do think so. For example: Watching the news full of half knowledge it is an overwhelming flood of negativity. It can make one feel redundant, helpless, powerless. One reaction is retracting. To focus only on the things in ones little world. But for me that is like staring at the floor of the boat. When I loose sight of the surounding and the reason for the heavy rocking I get dizzy. Opposite when I widen my view, realize in what environment the boat is situated and how it is affected I can easily stand up without loosing my balance. So I can do nothing about the waves. But if I limit my view to the floor I just feel the rocking making me dizzy. Looking up you can at least prepare your self, get a bearing, steer the boat.
Enough metaphors. The water is very salty today. Actually 0.5 ppm more then usual. Getting the samples doesn’t take long. After that we just snorkel through the reef. And then suddenly I have this weird theory. Some of those corals look like brains. And brains swim in a fluid in the skull. The similarity is baffling. What if conciousness first developed in corals in the reefs? And their mental powers grew so strong that they could manipulate the matter around them. And the animal evolution was just their bio-engineered research programm to develop a way to explore the world around them. Animals as biosuits for adventurous corals. First animals for the water then dryland. Just like we are looking for a way to explore space now. But there must have been some kind of schism, some sort of falling out between the land walking corals and the ones that stayed at sea because why would the corals in our head so carelessly destroy the seas otherwise. Maybe we forgot?