The sea lion and the fin swimming
In view of the World Fotosub Championships in Mexico I had a dream in which I wondered if this discipline – the fin swimming – was born to emulate the exceptional swimming skills of these magnificent animals native to Los Islotes.
by Isabella Furfaro
It’s still a few days before the start of the competition and our dives keep taking place. Planned destination set in the second and fourth day of our stay in La Paz is a place where a colony of sea lions called Los Islotes lives.
“The seal” is, in fact, one of the 5 themes foreseen by the rules of the championship and strong is the curiosity that animates all of us for the next few days.
We will go there and visit Los Islotes, one of the places almost certainly selected by the Federation as a field of competition.
We enter into the water and the first word that comes to my mind to define my state of mind is: ecstasy! Dozens of sea lions slipping from the rocks, they come there to meet and revolve around us, swimming next to divers and snorkelers!
It looks like you have entered into the world of Disney cartoons. Puppies, coming here and getting together with curious attitude and innocent challenge, grab anything that arouse their interest: fins, camera cables, cylinder straps.
From the moment our boat has approached the rocks where, undisturbed, the sea lions lay, I remain struck by their noisy verses and, in particular, by the deep breath they emit in pulling the head out of the water and then diving again. An intense and powerful breath similar to that of a swimmer in an echoing swimming pool.
While awkward in moving on land, sea lions show an amazing swimming style in water, a very fast and elegant one that recalls the style of fin swimming discipline, a sport that I particularly love.
On the wave of these suggestions I went on to read … fin swimming was born in the mid-fifties of the last century, not only as a result of the fact that in the second world war fins were used for operations of sabotage of enemy ships in Italian ports …
Then I HAD A DREAM in which I asked myself: was this discipline maybe born out of the human desire to emulate these beautiful mammals in their fluid, effective and elegant movements – which do not belong only to dolphins – and with their particular fins remind of the “bifin” and the “monofin” used in the fin swimming?
While observing these splendid specimens of sea lions, I spontaneously think of those people who have difficulty in moving smoothly and relaxed on the mainland; who knows if they can move in water in a more fluid and easier way, as indeed I noticed several times in my experience as an underwater instructor.
Why not steal, then, some secrets from these very particular mammals?