You looking at a sandhill with waving seaweed in the distance. You are swimming closer and can’t believe your own eyes. The sand is completely bare. What was that? A mirage? Nitrogen narcosis? Hold still for a minute and you will notice something. It is wriggling and appearing out of the sand. This is a garden eel. They spend most of their lives being buried in the sand with only their upper body exposed. At the first sign of danger, they easily hide into a safe shelter.
Only a motionless underwater artist can earn the trust of the entire “garden”. I was lucky that I was a solo diver, and there was nobody around who could scare the eels. I was able to get a closer look at them and even capture their bizarre curves in the painting. When I started to work, I was suddenly attacked by a school of sergeant major fish. They started to run around shamelessly. I wasted no time in capturing them.
P.S. Underwater artist Olga Belka appreciates the Alexei Chernyaev’s diving club in Dahab for all the help and support in creating this painting.