Silence or at least the semblance of silence surrounds us. There are sounds but they are muted and unfamiliar. Water washes about our bodies and we drift as if suspended in space. We are back in the womb again but since we have no real memory of that time we pretend that this is what it was like. Now, with mask and snorkel we simply escape to a place so different from our everyday world that are uncertain whether we exist at all. We are on a family expedition.
Beneath us spiny urchins creep at a glacial pace across a rocky outcropping. Anemones in pink and red wave their tentacles trapping planktonic creatures invisible to our eyes. Sea stars scrummage, piled one upon the other. Fish with horizontal stripes flit here and those with vertical ones dash there. An eel’s sinister countenance appears fleetingly in a deep dark cleft. And then there is an eruption of activity. Whiskers and pointed nose appear to attack our masks. Teeth are bared as if to scare and then a graceful brown body twirls and glides away, only to stop, turn and appear to laugh. Sea lions, particularly young pups simply love to play. Take a family expedition, a cruise, to the Galapagos Islands or Baja California and swim with the sea lions. Children of all ages love to be in the water, to play and splash. And all are fascinated by the underwater world discovered with no more equipment than a mask and snorkel.
But what of those too young to snorkel or too frail to be in the water? Must they miss this fascinating world? And what if the water is freezing cold like in the Arctic or in Alaska? How can we survey the bottom? On most Lindblad and National Geographic voyages, including family expeditions, an undersea specialist is on board to film what guests have seen themselves or to deploy a remotely operated vehicle so all can share in what is there beneath our feet as we cruise on the seas of the world.
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