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Doppler Doodles

Inimitable dive educator Steve Lewis, aka Doppler, reminds us to smile while immersed amongst wet rocks.

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Text and doodles by Steve Lewis.

🎶🎶 Predive Clicklist: Black Coffee by Humble Pie

There are so many ways to conjugate the present, and with it, the prose and fictions one followed to arrive here. All in all, a huge mass of tangled experiences like a ball of string ready to pick at and unravel when one’s asked: “Hey, how did this start?” and “What on earth lead from point A to now?”

Let’s pull on one of these hanging treads and see what comes loose.

Lanny and Claire Vogel have a little six-room boutique resort sitting on the sponge-toffee slab of karst that is Tulum’s cap rock. They host something called Cave Camp. The event has changed from when it started. It has evolved as good things do, but what remains are a small cadre of the like-minded gathered together as a community for a couple of weeks every autumn. The object: to cave dive, to exchange ideas, to have fun, to be safe. It works immaculately.

And I have had the occasional honour to be part of it.

Early on the first morning of the first event, nothing in the palapa except a clean whiteboard and a couple of dry-erase markers. And most definitely with nobody watching, I drew a REM (a type of cave diver’s navigational aid) with a speech bubble spreading a welcome message. There was no plan, no continuum to consider. Just a silly doodle. A one-off.

And so it goes. Behaviourists tell us that we seat habits after a week or two of repetition. It took about that. And now, always when in Mexico, mornings begin with a line marker cartoon. They belong there if they belong anywhere. If they work—and perhaps they do—Mexico is the only place that they are possible, the only place they appear.

There is also the medium. Pencil and paper, art crayon, and certainly not paintbrush and canvas, none of that seems to work. It has to be transitory. A whiteboard and dry erase marker are the perfect combination. Someone asked if that’s because these cartoons are a type of mandala: impermanent and ephemeral. Good lord, nothing as grand and cosmic or as serious and self-conscious. These are just doodling nonsense whose sole purpose is to make us smile before we go and look at wet rocks; or at best something to help us find our way home in the dark.

Enjoy.


For the record, Steve Lewis (AKA Doppler) is an author, retired cave instructor—but active cave diver. He is also an artist with a penchant for painting impasto oil landscapes when the mood hits. As well, he is the VP of Marketing for RAID based in the UK, although he lives in a converted 19th-century schoolhouse hidden someplace deep in the Canadian bush.

Art

Rock & Water

Sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor evokes the sacred, populating underwater seascapes with corporeal objets d’art, meant to be assimilated by the sea.

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Text, photography and art courtesy of Jason deCaires Taylor.

Crossing the Rubicon, Museo Atlántico, Lanzarote, Spain, Atlantic Ocean

“Museums are places of conservation, education, and about protecting something sacred. We need to assign those same values to our oceans.”

Nexus, Oslo Fjord, Norway
Museo Subacuático de Arte, Isla Mujeres, Cancun, Mexico
Museo Subacuático de Arte, Isla Mujeres, Cancun, Mexico

As soon as we sink them, they belong to the sea.

The Rising Tide, River Thames, Vauxhall, London

“The Rising Tide was located within sight of the Houses of Parliament. The politician on a petroleum horse was an obvious metaphor for how fossil fuel companies are embedded into our politician system. I think we really have to start holding people accountable for what they are doing. And that needs to be documented in stone rather than in a few words in a newspaper column that disappears. There are a lot of people whose actions need to be immortalised.”

The Raft of Lampedusa, Museo Atlántico, Lanzarote, Spain, Atlantic Ocean
Museo Subacuático de Arte, Isla Mujeres, Cancun, Mexico
Nexus, Oslo Fjord, Norway
The Coral Greenhouse, John Brewer Reef, Australia, Pacific Ocean
The Silent Evolution, Museo Subacuático de Arte, Isla Mujeres, Cancun, Mexico

“It is named a museum for a simple reason. Every day we dredge, pollute and overfish our oceans, while museums are places of preservation, of conservation, and of education. They are places where we keep objects that have great value to us. Our oceans are sacred.”

Check out www.underwatersculpture.com for a lot more amazing work!


Jason deCaires Taylor MRSS is an award winning sculptor, environmentalist and professional underwater photographer. For the past 16 years, Taylor has been creating underwater museums and sculpture parks beneath the waves, submerging over 1,100 living artworks throughout the world’s oceans and seas. Themes explored by these artistic installations include, among others, the climate emergency, environmental activism, and the regenerative attributes of nature. The sculptures create a habitat for marine life whilst illustrating humanity’s fragility and its relationship with the marine world. Taylor’s subjects mainly feature members of the local community, focussing on their connections with their own coastal environments.

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