Posted by seahunt on May 05, 2001 at 21:23:20:
Brachiate... To travel using ones hands and arms.
When you use fins, you are pushing against the water which can move away. If instead, you are pulling your way along against rocks and kelp hold fasts, there is no give. You can really fly, especially if you are using it to ride the surge. It doesn't work everywhere, mostly on rocky reefs and you have to be a good close in swimmer, but many places, it's just my way to swim. It is especially effective in wide open places like Talcott Shoal, the Badlands of Nic or Cortes Banks. It must be done carefully to avoid unnecessary damage to the bottom. Don't try it near coral. There can also be a drawback. You can wear out gloves fast... I made a comment about this in one of my Nic essays.
As for Heliochoptering, I don't know if that was a good word to use, but I was trying to illustrate a contrast between diving/swimming styles. I suspect that Michael swims relatively like a fish in a straight line with "his hands in front and proper trim". I swim with more the style of an otter, a creature adapted to the reefs I dive on. They are extremely limber, twisting, hovering and backing up in small tight places. It is something to watch. They use their front paws for many things, not just holding them out. So call it swimming like an otter as opposed to a fish.
I just found some pictures from Steamers Lane and Pidgin Point Lighthouse that will show where I used to like swimming. I'll try to post them at some point. They may give you an idea of the conditions that I learned to swim in and that it's a lot different from the kind of swimming that the DIR folks think of.
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