Bananas are banned on boats. For new divers, this can be an embarrassing lesson to learn. Bananas are a healthy snack of choice, so it is all too easy to just chuck one in your pack for later.

But no, imagine the look of fear and horror on my fellow divers’ faces, and the captain – visibly shaking, when I produced my between-dive-snack and began to peel that mother. Then I saw the sign, a little yellow banana with a red line through it, much like a ‘no-smoking’ sign but obviously much more detrimental to your health…

no-bananas-fishingThere are many superstitions relating to bananas on boats, dating back centuries. The story told to me (amid frantic headcounts and with darting eyes) was that trade-ships that sunk were left with only the bananas floating in their place. Of these flotillas, the only ones to sink in the storm were the ones with bananas on board.

Further research revealed a more likely scenario, of venomous spiders hiding amongst the banana cargo, which inevitably made their way out of the hold and poisoned the crew by biting them. Yet bananas in any form can anger the Sea Gods. Banana bread, logos on sunscreen (maybe even wearing a yellow outfit with a black hat… who knows?), even saying the word is frowned upon.

These days, bananas can be deemed responsible for many events. Fish going off the bite, seeing a shark, or a random storm whipping up will generally entice the captain to check bags and toss the offending fruit overboard. For them to take this so seriously is testimony to every fiction being based on fact. Though the times of extreme superstitious behaviour has now long passed, no one in ready to change the game. It’s safer that way. I know I now believe in the myth, because when that yellow devil was ripped from my hand that day, the sun went behind a cloud, a cool wind swung from the north, and a bird screeched overhead that sounded like a soul in hell…