My title refers to a small group of people who, here on Hawaii, dive for ‘King Pearls’. These rare pearls are a bluish-grey colour and are about twice the size and value of the largest one on your Auntie Winnie’s favourite pearl necklace. Last year, oceanographers predicted that the king pearl oysters would settle in the territorial waters of Hawaii in December, ready to be harvested at the beginning of this year. January in Hawaii is hot.
I arranged an interview with one of the King Pearl divers. Despite my reservations, it was scheduled to take place on a desolate beach at an ungodly hour of the morning. I arrived early, sat and watched the sunrise, then saw my interviewee arrive. He was Lukie, a 19 year old who had been a King Pearl diver since he was 10. Although he had agreed to the interview, I noticed that he was, at first, slightly reticent. When I asked him if this was because of pre-dive nerves, his face broke into a huge grin and he suddenly looked ten years old again.
“There’s no such thing,” he said. Sometimes, when particularly animated, he managed to look very young. At other times, especially when talking about some of the other King Pearl divers, he seemed to age by about twenty years. I asked him what the attraction of diving for the King Pearls held for him. Read more…
The King Pearl Divers
Copyright © R J Dent (2009 & 2016)
Painting: The Pearl Diver by Carol UK
Copyright © www.caroluk.org/gallery/page148.html
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