I am the only diver I know. Like, personally. Which really isn’t surprising because…well, you know. Though black people DO swim. Side bar: google why we tend to not swim as much as others. It’s not just a stereotype, it’s history. Anyway, I learned to swim at 8 months (shout out to my parents), I was on a swim team in preschool and I’ve loved the water ever since. Diving was a natural progression for me.
I typically dive on location with strangers, though they don’t stay strangers [the dive community is a friendly and supportive group]. So since people in my real life don’t dive, they don’t know what it looks like to be 70+ feet underwater. This post is for you all who always ask me “how is it?” Spoiler alert: it’s frickin’ surreal and magical and terrifying and addictive and wonderful and exhausting. The first time I went — in the Bahamas about a few months after Open Water premiered, yikes — there was a teeny tiny moment when, as I was kneeling on the ocean floor patiently waiting for the rest of the group to descend, I thought “what if I die?…..I could totally die down here”. And sometimes that thought floats around in my brain from time to time still. Like when I look up and see only a hint of sunlight faaaaaaar above or when I stare off into the opaque blue beyond my visibility and imagine a shark racing towards me suddenly out of the darkness. And sometimes I bite down a little harder on my regulator if I remember that it’s the only thing keeping me from drowning. Does that sound like I love it? Because I totally do.
I got certified last year but I’d been on several dives before that. I’m always excited. I’m always tired. So far, each time, it takes a couple minutes to remember what “normal” feels like when I go under, breathing just the right combination of gasses to keep me alive, alert and not hallucinating. The adrenaline. Then the calm. It’s like flying. It actually FEELS like flying, more so than swimming. It’s always indescribable. Chiefly, the feeling of being so simultaneously close to danger and peace. Complete peace. Only the sound of your own bubbly breathing in your ears (oh also don’t forget to equalize those ears every few feet of descent so your eardrums don’t explode LOL. That’s a thing). To be able to observe sea animals in such a natural, untouched-by-humans domain, the COLORS under the water. My God, the colors. It’s frustrating that cameras can’t capture what our human eyes can. But then again, maybe that’s good. It’s a reminder that there are moments we should just enjoy as God intended; unabridged, undisturbed, uncaptured.
I do take video though. So here’s some video from my most recent dive with Aqua TCI. It’s certainly my favorite dive to date!
First drop into the water, instantly surrounded by unbothered schools of fish.
Look up! Just to give you a glimpse of how far we were in the shallow part of the dive (about 40 feet or as tall as a 4-story building). Ignore these time stamps. IDK what was up with my camera. Definitely took these videos four days ago.
Just to give you an idea of how crisp and vivid the video is above water. Also, I was completely out of my gear in this clip. Just floating around sans equipment in the middle of the ocean. #LikeABoss.
Hello there. #1 rule of diving (after all the 400 rules intended to keep you alive), don’t touch the wildlife. I haaaaaaaaaaate when people go poking their fingers and GoPros around, trying to grab the fish and whatnot. Hope you lose that hand.
Uninterested reef shark in the distance.
Are you finished or are you done? This ray could not be less interested in being on camera.
You know, I started to get right up close to these sharks and then I remembered that’s not what my people do. This is close enough. #ImGood
Was told I’m super fortunate to have seen a hammerhead shark this early in my dive career! They’re deep water sharks and rarely come up this far. Some divers in our group had 200+ dives under their belts and had never seen one. I feel blessed!