so when u don’t have a fancy underwater camera that captures night photos rlly the only way to remember a night dive and engrain the amazingness into your head is to write it all down. so here I go. this is what a night dive is like.
So you arrive at the dive shop, check out your flashlight, get on the boat, and set up your gear. Maybe if the captain took a liking to you in the morning he’s already set it up for you and you’re lucky. Then you put the weights into your BCD and your watch on your wrist—but if it’s one of those fancy bachelor watches with dashes instead of numbers you’d better make sure it’s rightside-up and not upside-down because otherwise it’s an issue. Then you sit down, and everybody sits down, and the captains give their spiel and take off.
The sun starts to set. And you’re looking around, people watching, petting the boat dog, & staring at the sky. From all angles. Every skyview angle is some sort of unique painting, and it’s hard not to feel very emotionally raw in that moment and just tell your life story to whoever is sitting next to you. The sunset from the middle of the ocean is sublime.
Dusk hits, the boat stops, you slip on your wetsuit, and your dive buddy helps you put your BCD around your arms and buckles you in. Then you put on you mask & fins and stand up like a heavy little marine man. Your buddy gets ready. You walk to the edge of the boat. Put your regulator into your mouth and breathe. One hand holding your regulator & one hand holding your mask. Big step into the water. Keep breathing. Fiddle with your flashlight until it turns on. Wait for Buddy to hop in and join you.
You stare at your buddy until he signals that he’s ready then you both go down. Or you mess with your BCD until you figure out how to deflate it while your buddy waits for you to join him at the bottom.
Underwater. Now you’re breathing underwater. All you can hear are your breaths, the squeak of your old rental regulator, and the bubbles blowing out of your mouth and swimming away. Breathe in. Breathe out with lots of bubbles. Those are all the sounds you’ve got.
And this is when you start to feel like some sort of underwater Indiana Jones adventure lady. Because it’s getting darker and darker. And you’re swimming around coral reefs, pointing your flashlight at whatever’s in front of you. Nocturnal fish. Rocks. Coral. The colors are so bright.
The darker it gets, the more it feel like you’re in a cave, and the less you can see. Point your flashlight away and suddenly you can’t see a thing in front of you. You are floating in darkness, literally. Amazing.
But if you’re a space cadet, even though you know it’s amazing, you find yourself thinking about something completely unrelated—like your weird aboveground personal life issues. You’re floating around passing fish by, wondering about some random idiot you have a crush on or whatever worries you have about your future professional life.
And eventually it hits you, wait am I really thinking about these petty things right now…look at me I’m in the middle of the ocean in the dark staring at a coral reef with a giant tank on my back…why can I not enjoy this moment lol. And then you try to snap out of it and take it all in.
On that particular night, we had about an hour and a half of bottom time, so at one point we floated to the surface to swim back to the boat & check our air. Staring at the night sky while floating in a giant abyss of ocean is the most amazing thing I have ever experienced in my young life. R & I took a moment & said some nice sappy words about how glorious life is. It was amazing. The moon was a waning-waxing whatever, the stars were so pretty, and lightening was flashing some section of the sky in the distance. We swam-waddled back to the boat and took a little breather. Drank some water. Then hopped back in and swam past the reefs to a small sand clearing.
We got on our knees. Held hands and turned off our flashlights. So dark. Pitch black on the ocean floor—can you picture this? But the night sky was so bright and we were shallow enough that our eyes readjusted a bit to slightly see. We waved our arms around like crazy people. And bioluminescent plankton appeared. Little sea lightening bugs.
What a thing to see.
Water is so wild. Like, the fact that it covers most of our planet and there’s this whole world living in it. I mean it’s amazing. None of it makes sense when you think about it. Why is it here. Why is any of this here.
Anyway, I am a lucky child. I don’t know why I get to be healthy right now. I really don’t deserve to be. I don’t know why I get to live here. But I just hope that I can shove all of my little insecurities aside and give away-slash-invite everything-slash-everyone in this life that I am supposed to. Because at the end of the day, nothing matters if you don’t share it. I met a crazy old lady while in the Keys this weekend, naturally, and she told me to never stop having dreams—just keep having dreams, even if I don’t know how they will work out. Just have them. She said that life is meant to be fun not miserable. She also highly recommended pole dancing for sport.
okay. that’s my epic diving story. viola.