Sunday, October 9, 2011
Caught in the Gyre
William Butler Yeats accurately captured in words and poetic images the force of the deep ocean gyre (see previous post). I am not an especially strong swimmer by mermaid standards, so when I found myself in the cold Arctic waters off the coast of Norway recently in a widening gyre, it took all my strength to escape it.
The only way to escape the pull and fury of a gyre is to swim under it, and that is what I did. I swam almost straight down, several hundred feet at least, until I reached the ocean floor. Looking up through the miasma, I could see the gyre in the shape of an enormous funnel channeling the frigid aquamarine water, a tornado of water taking everything into itself.
Drawing on the power of my mind and ethereal body, I swam down and away from the gyre in a 5 mile semicircular path until I was finally free of it. I had been submerged for more than a day before surfacing again, in the Gulf of Finland's gentler waters. Seeking rest upon a rock, I tended to my skin and scales, injured by stones, shells, and swirling sand. My hair emerged tangled in long strands of green, red and brown seaweed.