The best dive of my life – Saturday 22nd November, 2014 (supplanted today by a better one, coming soon)
As-ever with such things, it occured when unexpected and was the best for reasons I wouldn´t have predicted. After a brief simulation of swimming to the surface from 18 meters – as if we were out of air – Santiago and I began our dive.
The simulation had required us to start in open-water, away from any reefs to get the required depth. Our boat had a go at dragging us – in water – close to the reef to begin our main dive. But there was only so long we could hold on for, and we began with a swim, required to get to the reef. Down we sank and began our swim, following a compass bearing of 60 degrees.
This was the first time i´d been so deep in what appeared to be an empty stretch of ocean (i.e. no rocks or reefs to be seen). The sea floor was sand as far as I could see, and only occassionally we saw a fish, a vast blue-expanse all around, and a vast sandy floor.
On we swam and as the minutes passed the scenery barely changed. But slowly, I was changing. I started to notice, or rather feel the wonder that I was inside the ocean. As if prior to now I had just been getting on with the actions of diving – engrossed in what I was doing with my equipment and so on. Then, like magic, I began to appreciate that I was, right now, under and in the ocean. And every sight and colour around me was the ocean – alive and full. A few years ago I never imagined i´d be having such an experience, delightful sea-life centres were the closest i´d got.
I later learned that even seemingly empty stretches of water are full of life: tiny microorganisms that float all around, providing food for shell-fish and filter-feeders like whales. We swam on and as I hoped found a ray laying on the sea-floor in the sand. As if realising I was surrounded by life took me quickly to the big life we usually associate with seeing on a good dive.
A few more minyutes and we came to the reef, adorned with shoals of fish. Here I spotted the first barracuda i´ve seen – one-foot or so long, stalking the other fish.
We explored rocks and crevases before surfacing, exhilerated. For Santiago – too – a diver with a couple of thousand dives under his belt – this was a great dive.