Imagine the open ocean. You have already been diving 6 times in the space of 3 days. You’re tired, wired and now you are about to plunge yourself meters deep into the choppy, Ecuadorian sea at night. Pitch black. I mean, it’s exciting isn’t it? But hell, a little nerve racking too. I was completing my last dive for my advanced PADI certificate. I had no idea what to expect, what we would see. All I had was a flash light strapped to my wrist, along with every other awkward bit of equipment a scuba diver needs. However, once I got down and deep, I couldn’t explain anything like it. All I can honestly say is that it’s just 1% similar to being an astronaut in the deep space universe.
Floating, swaying, swimming, kicking into black open space. It was incredible. A true Zen like experience. It’s so peaceful diving at anytime, but when it’s pitch black – with only the lights of plankton or the beautiful illuminated colors of coral reef your torch is shining on – this whole effect feels like you are in a different world. A different planet. A different trip. You are away from earth. From walking, from speaking, from light. It did not feel scary just unusual, but beautifully strange, unique and outrageous. Being able to breathe deep breaths of air while exploring the underworlds was one of the best experiences I’ve had to date. Like I said, I had no expectations, which is normally a good thing with doing anything new since you breed complete experiences with nothing to compare it to. I can only imagine Space would be like this.
A great thing about it was that it also made me feel like a real scuba diver. It made me felt like I’ve developed and achieved. This was my 16th dive over 4 countries, and it’s took some time to adapt, but this made me feel that wow factor. For me, the whole scuba experience is a form of freedom. To be able to float at peace and explore confidently is something that is difficult to achieve in most day to day things. It really is the essence of freedom. The incredible colorful and florescent aqua life adds immensely to the whole experience. However, you just forget everything and are allowed to explore something. Humans are a curious species and scuba diving is such a underrated activity in this world. To see a new life right beneath us is incredible.
The good thing about diving at night is that it’s productive too. You have to think about it; it’s a challenge. You are looking for the weird and wonderful creatures that do not come out during daylight hours – those that base their own life’s existence on the dark of night. I could of done it again and again. It really does make you forget about effort and energy; it opens your mind. It wasn’t about taking photos or selfies of yourself, it was really was just being there, experiencing this new type of phenomenon. That sense of adventure being fulfilled.
At one point, all the divers gathered in circle on the ocean bed, switched our flashlights off and sat there in complete silence apart from the ripples of the deep underwater. Just nothing. We exist, but we are nothing. Our eyes are open. We can breathe. We can feel. But we cannot see. We are not in pain, nor in struggle. We are just there. At the bottom of the sea. We are the ocean now.
Then came a surge of plankton. Beautiful silver-blue dots, like fire flies underwater. This is our only sight. We flutter our hands with them, exaggerating their movement and glow. It’s like having a sparkle at Halloween but without holding onto anything. This was the best part of the dive. This was peace, which we all want. We swim again, not knowing what depths are beside us. Not knowing what life is under us. The current is strong and is the only contributor in our journey. The next minute you are being tossed, floating gently to another part of the ocean, with a cliff of coral to your left, and then bottomless pits to your right. But you are really in control. You have to be.
Ascending and descending was cool. You feel a sense of being born again, rising up into the world and into civilization, into the light where everything physical, spiritual and mental comes back into you within a split of a second. You hear the echoes of life above you as you rise, and before you know it, noise begins to present itself again. We entered and left a part of the underworld. With no light. We were the ocean, and existed with it.