A Precious Gift

By Valerie Taylor.

Our marine world is a precious gift. A gift from nature that sustains all life on this planet yet we treat it harshly. We pollute its waters and harvest its life without thought for the future or a care for the destruction we leave in our wake.

It is said you can’t miss what you don’t know. This is true. You can’t miss schools of fish that take 20 minutes to pass if you have never seen them or 30 silver tip sharks along a reef edge if they are no longer there. What I have just written used to be how it was. The disappearance of these sights was fast. In 15 years they were no longer a common sight, in 20 they – like so much marine life we took for granted – were gone.

The underwater world is still a unique and wonderful place. It offers the visitor adventure and excitement but if we continue to destroy this precious gift, marine life as we know it will cease to exist. A farmer reaps what he sows, a fisherman just reaps. Marine animals are free for the taking but unless we change our ways one day there will be nothing left to take.

One of the up sides about being old is that I have known a world very different to the one we all live in today. I have seen our marine wilderness in its full glory untouched by man’s destructive ways. With my husband Ron I have slipped into virgin waters on far flung reefs where a kaleidoscope of color and life dazzle the senses. I have reached out and touched the new, the undiscovered. I have had the best life of anyone I know.

I would like to believe that my 10 year old nephew could one day do the same. Maybe not quite the same but to see the beauty, to feel the wonder and be enriched by nature’s gifts. Sadly, if the human race does not control its ever expanding defilement of our oceans and the life they support my nephew Luke and a million other children like him will never know even a little of what his Great Aunt took for granted so long ago.

It saddens me to think this, but experience is a great teacher. We humans hold the future of our planet in our greedy, careless hands and that means the future of ourselves. I need say no more.

Valerie Taylor
March 2021

Dear Shipmates

My Aunt Valerie Taylor, a living legend and icon in the underwater world, joins us on Seven Seas at least 2 or 3 times a year. Many of you have been onboard with her over the last 15 years. She is now 85 years old and not quite ready to hang up her fins. So keep an eye out for the latest production of her life story which I had the privilege of viewing in a recent screening with the production crew. National Geographic has bought the film and it’s due to be released in October.

Mark Heighes

Officially selected for the 2021 Sundance Film Festival in the World Cinema Documentary Competition section, PLAYING WITH SHARKS is a feature documentary from director Sally Aitken and producer Bettina Dalton about the extraordinary life story of pioneering scuba diver, Valerie Taylor.

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