And when I mean swim with the fishes, I mean scuba dive.
Every year, my AP Environmental Science teacher assigns her students a research project on anything they wish to research (permitted it be related to the environment). One of the options were to do a marine research question performed on a three day boat trip to Catalina, after the completion of the NAUI scubadiver certification course.
I chose to write my research question about the population of wavy top turban snails using size frequency. (Size Frequency shows the estimate of a population’s health by using the sizes of the organism one chooses to do. The ending variation of sizes shows an age suggestion of the population. If the size is varied, then the population’s ages are varied, signaling that the population is healthy. If the sizes are larger, the population is older, and not reproducing regularly.)
The trip wasn’t just work, toil, and hard research as one would expect work on the field to be. It was absolutely blissful, from the food to the dive spots.
Yes, the boat rocked and swayed me into wall to wall, but that was the fun of it. It was part of my first diving experience.
But by the Gods, I’ve never been more in love.
I steadied my hand on the railing, placing the tips of my toes, underneath a neoprene boot, with a fin on top of that. I jammed the regulator in my mouth, taking shallow breaths of dry air, steadying it with my hand. I held my weight belt, octopus, and air gauge in the other arm, and took a giant stride into the cold California waters. A few minutes later, I descended into the amber sargassum forests, surrounded with twinkling schools of fish, darting here and there, like shooting stars among the twilight sky. It was breath-taking, but I couldn’t stop breathing. My heart rose in my chest, but not out of nervousness, but out of admiration and fascination of this underwater realm, seen never before with my naked eyes. I was immersed in this ocean, this beauty, and I giggled through my regulator, my laughter encased in air bubbles, dancing towards the surface.
“The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.
– Jacques Yves Cousteau”