Scuba diving offers the rare experience of being immersed with the life that exists under the sea. There is something soothing about hearing nothing but your shaky breath as you explore the ocean floor. After diving four times in the last month, I have gained new insight and perspective about getting the most out of my dive.
My dives typically began by jumping off a boat into the wide, vast ocean that will become my escape for the next half hour. Your gear is weighing heavy on the back, but once you hit the water, you are weightless, almost forgetting that you are carrying your only source of air. Before you know it, you press your button and begin to drop down into the deep sea.
It is hard to believe how much life and color exists beneath us in the ocean. My most recent travels had me scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef and small islands in Savusavu, Fiji. Being able to see the Great Barrier Reef was incredible. Your inner child comes alive as you see every fish featured in Finding Nemo, such as clownfish, Moorish idols and blue tang fish. To be able to explore their homes is unlike any experience. While the Great Barrier Reef is probably the most famous scuba site, it was no match for what I saw in Fiji. While exploring, I saw reef sharks, magic coral (which is coral that changes from pink to an icy white upon touch) and I even visited Turtle Island (Disclaimer: I did not see any turtles). Seeing these fish swim and live their lives while you are an outsider is such a surreal experience.
While I like the silence that comes with scuba diving, it is sometimes unnerving. It is just you, your group and a never-ending body of water. While there is so much for you to see, it is nerve-wracking to be such an outsider. You don’t always know what is safe for you to touch and what fish and animals could hurt you. There are also just the nerves of being underwater for such a long time. You must remind yourself that scuba diving, while an extreme sport, is safe. You won’t just run out of oxygen.
It is always bitter-sweet ending a dive. I am usually drained after a dive, but sad to see it end. As I begin to equalize on my way up, I say my own silent goodbye to the dive site. As I sit on the boat, feeling both exhausted and having a sudden burst of energy, I usually reflect on my dive.
Being immersed with marine life forces me to think about the impact humans have on the oceans. Unfortunately, in the last few years, there has been evidence that the Great Barrier Reef is becoming extinct in some areas because of humans. In fact, while I was there, my instructor picked up a notebook dropped on the ocean floor. If we don’t work to protect marine life, areas like the Great Barrier Reef will disappear before our very eyes. The animals who life here will either be left homeless or become extinct themselves.
It is so important that we take responsibility in protecting ocean life. The ocean is not “ours” to destroy.