The travel ban imposed in March instantly created the long-awaited opportunity for me to get started on writing a new book. From previous experience I knew it would take around three months to do the main script, requiring an extended period of uninterrupted time researching and writing. My first autobiography, “Portraits from the Deep”, was completed in early 2002 and so I pick up the story then and recount the different fishing, diving, and research expeditions undertaken by the GH team since then. In the course of doing this over long periods of time, particularly when working with long lived species like sharks, rays, and groupers, there are measurable changes in fish populations. Some changes are bad (shark fin trade) some good, such as the recovery of some species of grouper, of white seabass, the introduction of more fish sanctuaries and marine parks. The ban on importation of billfish into the USA is a major legislative achievement, closing off the main market for billfish and other loopholes. The script is about 110,000 words and will be liberally illustrated with my action jump shots as well as underwater photos. The book is currently being edited and the goal is to have it completed in early 2021.
Meanwhile, painting continued through the productive avenue of our Facebook Live sessions on Tuesdays and Saturdays, from my home studio here in Grand Cayman. The larger format paintings were best suited for this exercise during which we talk about different art styles, art media, and the life history behind each species being discussed. Jessica has done a wonderful job, hosting the series of FB live chats.
I turned my full attention back to art production in June, concentrating on a series of new fish designs for apparel focusing on freshwater species of trout and salmon. Now I am working on tropical reef species. As the pandemic continues and limits our ability to execute other planned expeditions to other
countries, we are making use of the added time at home to be even more productive. Grand Cayman has, thankfully, recently been released to go boating, fish and now to look after the stingrays at Stingray City which have not been fed by tour operators for three months. Just now under Suppression Level 2, here in the Cayman Islands, we are allowed to dive again. For Father’s Day, we went diving on the North Wall with Epic Divers. The reefs look healthy, fish numbers are up, but the lionfish are also back.
I encourage everyone, still under stay at home restrictions, to make the best use of this time to be creative and use the time productively. Stay well and healthy.
Fish responsibly, dive safely.