Growing up Australia’s east coast and being surrounded by the ocean infused a great deal of respect for the water and the marine life within it. I spent much of my time in Australia swimming or just out on the water I general. When I left Australia in 2013, I took that deep love for water with me where ever I travelled.
Throughout the next 5 years of travel, many beaches, and bodies of water I visited only strengthened my connection for the water, but also the sea life within it. Snorkelling was always one of my favourite activities. Actually being immersed in the water and watching fish and other marine life go about their daily routine. I began to get more proficient at diving and holding my breath which allowed me to stay down and experience the underwater world for longer. Scuba diving soon became high on my radar and while it took a year or so
In January of 2018, I booked a ticket to Thailand with two friends with the sole purpose of completing our open water diving certificate. It was the next step for me in getting acquainted with what’s under the waves of the ocean. After a few days exploring Bangkok, we took off to one of the most famous islands in the world for diving certifications, Koh Tao.
Koh Tao is well known as one of the cheapest places in the entire world to get many diving certifications. The day after we arrived on the island we were learning the academic side of the lessons. The very next day, we were putting what we had learnt into use.
Suiting up on the boat and taken to a very calm and protected section of water and jumped in. We swam and practised some drill on the surface before heading under the surface.
My favourite and most memorable snapshot memory are my very first breaths underwater. Every sense was confused and mentally, I thought I was going to suffocate. All I could instantly think of was “humans can’t breathe underwater!”
I inhaled my first breath underwater and instantly smiled. As might senses adjusted I noticed they were somehow heightened. All I could I hear was my breathing sucking oxygen from the tank strapped to my back. Bubbles that ran along my face and exposed skin is very often the only thing I could feel. Sunlight began to filter out even just a couple of meters under the surface, my eyes slowly adjusted to the eerie depths and a whole new world became visible. On top of all that, I felt weightless. Oxygen was used to inflate my buoyancy vest, or BCD, which most of the time kept me floating through the water. I was much more in tune with my breathing, as inhaling and exhaling would be the main way to ascend or descend depth in the water.
My snapshot is special to me as it’s not only a bucket list item, but it’s a unique feeling I haven’t come close to experiencing elsewhere in my life. I’ve never felt more disconnected from my regular life, yet connected in the present moment as I felt with my first few breaths of diving under the surface of the ocean.