Stepping down the ladder off the boat, the weight of the box pushes you nervously beneath the surface and you’re hit by the sound of your own heavy, slow, monotonous breath. A slight shudder of nerves greets you as your toes tap the ocean floor. You glance around, catching the eyes of those with you, every face the same picture – eye brows raised and mouths open in awe, or fear, as bubbles of wonder emerge from within their helmets.
I worked here for two weeks and that feeling never faded. Every time you put that box on your head and step down into the water, your body ripples as charges of excitement pulse through it. The colours under the surface of the ocean are unique. Deep turquoise swallows you whole as the yellows, purples and reds of darting fish flash past your eyes. Then, what really gets you, is the glimmer. The glimmer of light as the sun emerges from behind a cloud and your whole world is lit up by golden rays of joy.
You jump, you fly, you walk like you’re in space as two natural forces compete in pushing you up and down. Unlike diving, you are only a few meters below the surface, so the world above you is forever present, it’s not quite stepping into another world, more of an intermediate state between the two. You feel distant but not lost, an unusual perspective on how we interact with the in-and-out breaths of the sea. A way to interact with the creatures of the world that are usually hidden, hidden beneath what we see as no more than a blanket of blue and white waves.