I went snorkeling last weekend in the relatively barren beach at Subic.
I was tooling around looking for the supposed eel area, when I noticed a
little yellow fish. It was the same color as my facemask with little black
stripes outlined with white and maybe about half as long as my pinkie. It
was right near my hand and I tried to touch it, but it stayed just a half
a centimeter away. It kept that close distance even when I stopped moving,
and basically hung out with me all day. It adopted me.
Fishda Pescado I named him, since isda is Tagalog and pescado Mexican for
fish and FP was a pal. He or she was like a pilot fish, always swimming
just in front of me, at my goggles if my hands were behind me, or just in
front of my hand. I swam as fast as I could underwater with just fins and
it kept right in front of me. If I stopped and did other stuff like examine
debris on the bottom, Fishda would do his own thing and as soon as I took
off again, He'd be there soon enough. I even took him inshore for my sister
to see, and even Jon (who was mostly there to beat on his brother's standup
Jetski that is about to get sold) saw him. My sister, by he way, is also
a major fan of small wildlife and she spent the afternoon catching small
crabs that she later let go. We both like nature documentaries, too.
Fishda da fish and I went for a major swim to the far end of the beach,
and I found a newish can of 7-up, and Señor fish especially enjoyed
leading it. The thing that was funny was that it was like it could read
my mind, although I know that it was just used to schooling behavior. But
I didn't see any other fish like him, and we went around quite a bit, all
afternoon, in fact.
I caught a couple of crabs and a clam for Mister Fish to eat, but he only
took a couple of dainty bites. There were more fish by the rocks, but they
liked to keep a distance, and would only eat my offerings when I backed
off a bit. But turnout was good. We saw a little school of similar sized,
although different colored fish but Mister Pescado eschewed them and hung
with me. After a couple hours, My sister and Jon rented a sitdown ski for
awhile that I got to ride (anyone can ride one) and that involved leaving
Mister Fish to his destiny. I felt real remorse upon abandoning him although
I'd known it would happen eventually the second I realized we were friends.
There is a remote possibility that I'll see him again, and a less remote
chance that if anyone else goes snorkeling in the area that they will be
accompanied by FP. I only wish I'd been able to take a picture of the guy,
since there's no way I'd want to see him in a tank. I hope he makes it to
maturity and has offspring and all. The hot shit.
The point I suppose is that you don't need expensive gear to find wildlife.
What's more important is to appreciate it. And what's more, once you clear
your mind, step back to basics, and really see what's out there, you can
start to understand the simple things. Those simple things are starting
to thin out, and if we're not careful, there will come a day that there
won't be much of anything to see in the ocean, and that loss will make itself
known all the way up through the market and into our stomachs. Even jetskiing
away from Mr. Fish was symbolic of my own culpability in destroying the
oceans, since boats leave toxic petroleum procuts inthe water. I'm as guilty
as most, but there are a lot who are worse. Mr. Fishda Pescado told me so. ©1996