“The godfather of coral”, Dr. Charlie Veron, has just released his memoir through Penguin Books, titled A Life Underwater. It’s touted as “The extraordinary memoir of marine biologist Charlie Veron, a maverick Australian who transformed our understanding of coral reefs … Exhilaratingly eye-opening, provocative, funny and warm, A Life Underwater is an inspiration to the young and the young at heart.”
Quite a few online retailers are carrying the memoir; you can find the entire list at the publisher’s website, HERE.
In the meantime, enjoy this excerpt:
“Reefs in poor condition feel like graveyards, because divers only hear the bubbles from their own breathing. Between breaths such reefs are morbidly silent. Healthy reefs are the opposite; the healthier they are, the noisier they are, because they’re full of little animals all with something to say. This is especially so at night, when even a torch beam can start a cacophony of crackles, chirps and croaks. Some come from fish and are identifiable, but most come from unseen little critters, of which there are thousands of different kinds.
Diving at night is to enter a spectacular world, for the diver’s torch reveals these tiny animals by the thousand: iridescent clouds of plankton of all shapes and sizes, swimming frantically, lured by the light. At night corals open their tentacles to catch these frenetic little animals, transforming themselves into anemone-like creatures with long sinuous tentacles, quite unlike their daytime guises. At night, too, large predators of every description move through the distant darkness. Sharks roam unceasingly, sensing the presence of anything moving in the dark.
Photographers sometimes capture these scenes, by day and night, but they can never convey the emotions of those of us fortunate enough to have looked upon this world. The greatest reefs of the Great Barrier Reef seldom fail to instill awe and wonder. The sight of large animals – whale sharks, manta rays, giant groupers, a dozen kinds of big, ocean-going silver fish, sharks and the occasional whale – never fails to thrill.”
featured image courtesy of EARTHNATIVE, used with permission from Charlie Veron