When was the last time you free dived? Never? Me either. Until coming to The Island School, I never thought I could hold my breath for more than 10 seconds at a time. Hearing the crazy stories of Maxey sitting on the bottom of Cathedral, which is a giant rock that goes down 40 feet, felt like an unreal lie and heightened my self consciousness of breath holding, preventing me from ever trying. However, one morning when we were offered the option instead of sleep-in, a bold choice I know, I decided to take a leap of faith. Every morning here is an early morning, but there is something truly magical about being on a boat at 6:30 in the morning watching the sunrise over the water. All sleepy thoughts and foggy heads instantly fade once the golden beams break the horizon. I never truly understood the beauty of a sunrise until getting here. In the wise words of Peter, “the sunrise tells you all you need to know.” Getting into the water is the hardest part, but once your snorkel, fins and mask is on, the urge to jump in is unbearable. As a newcomer, you’re pretty much the worst free diver there, but with firsthand knowledge, that is not an issue whatsoever. Swimming over the massive rock, fish, coral, and sometimes turtles if you’re lucky, fill the reef with vibrant colors and movement. The first dive is always the hardest. Equalizing is awkward the first time and as much as you don’t want to accept it, patience is key. Diving deep into the blue abyss, suddenly a fire burns in your chest like no other pain you’ve felt before and swimming upward is the only escape. Breaking the surface, your lungs fill with air and the sensation is gone. But, then something comes over you and you have to do it again. This is the same feeling that makes you wake up every Wednesday morning to get into the water again. Until before you know it, you’ve broken the 10 seconds and can hold your breath for 20.
Check out Meg’s time lapse video of the other morning here: GOPR0128!