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Expedition Briefing

Richard with the Moira in the background. ©






An Adventure

Adventure means not knowing exactly where you are headed before you start, and having some surprising experiences along the way.

The "This Magic Sea" section of the Thread of Awareness Matrix is like sailing directions. It describes where we are headed. But descriptions are no substitute for the real place.

I could describe the Bay du Prony in New Caledonia (where I am as I write this). I can show you pictures, like the sphere image below, of a small river right next to where the Moira is anchored. But you just can't stuff a real place into words, pictures or even videos. You have to BE there to truly experience it.

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This is an interactive sphere image. Click on the image and drag in any direction to see all around. To see the sphere image in full screen click here.

Lots of things can't be described. If you've NEVER had the experience, the words don't mean anything at all. For instance, Wade Doak told me of an interesting experience he had in a big sea cave on a small island just off the northern tip of North Island, New Zealand.

The Dolphin Discovery

The cave was big enough for their boat and their boat was big enough for a rock band. After dark, they lit up the inside of the cave with colored lights and the band started rocking. It was, Wade said, pretty spectacular. They lowered underwater speakers into the sea and people dove over the side to listen to the music underwater. That's when, Wade says, he made a discovery.

When he was underwater, he sensed the cave wall in the pitch black. Knew exactly where it was even with his eyes closed. He was not getting clues from the lights of the boat. It was, said Wade, the music. Human flesh is nearly the same density as sea water and the music from the underwater speakers went right through him as well as it did through the sea. Yet somehow, in some way unexplainable by our knowledge of human physiology and hydro-acoustics, the pattern of reflections of sounds created a - condition - so Wade knew where the cave walls were.

He could sense the bodies of other divers when he approached them. He told the other divers about this and they tried it out. They did it too. How they did it, why they could do it, and what it was really like to "feel" the cave wall and other divers because of the music, is not something anyone can describe with pictures or words. It was just something you did. A new experience.

A very sad dolphin, who knows all too well about detecting walls with sound. Click to read about him. ©

Wade, a New Zealander, makes movies, writes books and television scripts about the sea,  especially dolphins. He tries so hard to learn about dolphins he even had a special wet suit made with no legs and a pair of fins joined together. In this getup, he swims with a dolphin kick and becomes, in his own mind, a dolphin. Dolphins see the world around themselves by deciphering the echoes of their own voices in the sea. We know how they do it and how it works. Maybe Wade and friends discovered what it actually feels like.

Now think about this. Dolphins evolved from land mammals. There must have been a time, 20 or 30 million years ago, when dolphins swam in the sea but did not perceive the world about them with active sonar. At some point, a dolphin or perhaps dolphins in concert, made a discovery very similar to the one Wade and his friends experienced. The dolphins who discovered this had to demonstrate this new ability to others. Because echo location gives an enormous advantage over other means of perceiving underwater, dolphins who learned to do it survived while those who didn't learn the new ability died out over time. Today, all dolphins build a mental model of the world around them with sound. We can only imagine, poorly, what it must be like to have a communal sense where voices together can create a world image in the darkness of the night sea. Pretty neat, Wade says.

Hidden Perceptions

Here's the point. We all know about our common methods of human perception - seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, feeling, the sense of balance, direction, time, and so on. But there are some people - maybe all of us at special times in our lives - who seem to have a way of perceiving something else, something beyond our normal physical senses. I suppose one could call it the ability to sense relationships, or meaning, in the patterns we are exposed to by our physical senses. Or by our dreams. Everyone has the physical and mental equipment to have these sensations. But some are better at bringing these perceptions into consciousness than others.

Let's do an experiment to show you what I mean. The star field you will see after clicking on the "give it a try" link below, is a random-dot stereogram. If you look at it just right you will see a three dimensional pattern. When you see the 3D image, you will know where to click to return to this briefing. If you can't see the 3D pattern in the stars click on the word "escape". This will lead you to more 3D images and some suggestions for viewing images like this. Give it a try.

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