October again. On the twelfth day of this month it will have been three years since our friend and colleague Audrey Mestre was lost to us in the abyss. I don’t suppose I’ll ever forget that day or fail to mark it when the season turns.
I’ve neither seen nor heard from Pipin Ferreras since January of 2003, about three months after Audrey’s world record attempt in the no-limits discipline ended catastrophically in the waters of Bayahibe, Dominican Republic. Pipin has moved into that realm inhabited by the other sort of person, for whom celebrity is as air and obscurity the Devil’s own fellow. There was his book, The Dive, which came and went, and the on-again-off-again intelligence concerning a feature film based on the book, or on Gary Smith’s Sports Illustrated article, to be produced and directed, or not, by James Cameron.
I’ve been in occasional contact with some of the other key figures in the drama of that awful day. I suppose everybody’s said about all there is to say on the matter. If there are still any secrets, they would, arguably, rise only to the level of denouement : the climax has already played out.
I don’t know what I would do, or how I would feel were I to be shocked out of my habitual indolence by a trailer for the Cameron film shrieking from my television screen in the middle of my Sunday morning cartoon shows. I don’t know that I’d be interested in seeing the film, after all is said and done. Movie distribution and marketing are, in the order of my knowledge of the great wide world, somewhere between Bantu gastronomy and housekeeping: I know little of either, and am interested in neither. I do know that nobody in my circle of friends and cronies has brought up the Audrey Mestre affair in a very long while, not since the sturm und drung of the aftermath petered out with no actual physical casualties. This being Miami, one never knows.
In the meantime, there has been a feature film released with a freediving theme, titled, oddly enough, The Freediver. I’ve not seen it. I don’t think it has demonstrated the staying power or attained the cult status of The Big Blue – if the producer wishes to curse me for saying so, he knows where to find me. Maybe the wily Cameron is going to spring his feature – if at all – only after the events themselves have faded from the public consciousness and receded into the domain of legend. That would certainly be a liberating environment with respect to the facts of the matter, a further grant (as if Hollywood needed any !) of artistic licence. Hell, maybe it could be a great film. Jim Cameron is a master of the cinematic art, and the story line is perfect. A titanic film about the abyss, terminated with prejudice. Go see it if indeed it is made and released. Write a review, submit it to Deeper Blue.
Me, I just think about the girl, the stoic –exotic diver who was lost to us that day. It comes around every October. At this point in my checkered life, Audrey Mestre is but one of a long, long list of friends, comrades, adversaries, relatives and acquaintances who have slipped the mortal coil in all manner of ways, but for some reason I may never understand, this one just won’t stay down.
Dive safe, my friends.