I’ve been scuba diving now for close to 10 years and have done so in multiple countries with multiple types of dives. Despite that, my favourite part of the sport has been the same: the first moment my head bobs below the surface.
Sometimes the water can be so clear that when you’re standing on the boat you can spot fish darting around and make out the shapes of coral. But the full wonder of the underwater world isn’t completely revealed until you empty the air out of your BCD.
It is almost unfathomable to behold the stark difference between above and below, and what is revealed to you when your eyes drop below sea level. Usually when you dive wide eyes are considered a song of distress, but mine are always stretched right open as I descend towards the coral city I am planning to explore.
The contrast isn’t just about the scenery though, it’s within me too. When I haven’t got a regulator jammed in to my mouth at 40 feet, it is nigh on impossible to shut me up. Unless I’m faced with a rather dashing bloke I can’t stop words from tumbling out of my mouth in quick succession. People often tell me to slow down my speaking; my mind races along as my mouth struggles to keep up with the pace.
But all that changes when I dive. There’s no choice but to keep your mouth shut, tightly clamped around the thing that’s delivering the air supply. While you can use hand signals or eyebrow wiggles to convert messages you are ultimately silent when you dive. The only sounds come from your inhale and exhale, or the fish going about their daily business around you. And for me, the forced silence becomes underwater meditation. I watch my thoughts flick past along with the fish, as quiet underwater as I am talkative above.
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