When I look back over a year, the best moments usually occur in conjunction with a similar cruising altitude. In other words, my favorite memories occur on travels. This year, though, some of my favorite memories occurred 60 feet below sea level.
I spent an hour and a half underwater on the best day of 2015, swimming through a sunken ship and and across a reef somewhere off the coast of Fort Lauderdale.
Like the sun sets down, down until night takes over the horizon, I descended deeper and deeper until all I could see was ocean.
Once I checked my vitals - ears, good; buoyancy, good; breathing, good - I felt my brain change gears as the 85-foot tugboat came into focus. As I swam to rejoin my boyfriend at the port of the tug, he motioned my attention to the largest grouper I’ve ever seen, unconcerned and unmoving, a few yards in front of us. We let our eyes linger on this lumberjack of a fish for a few moments before resuming our exploratory expedition.
Coral clung to nearly every surface of the boat in an attempt to disguise the man made vessel from its God-breathed surroundings. Weightless, we floated like aqua-nauts through doorways and floor passages. I headed straight into a large crowd of small fish, reaching my hand out to give one of the scaly bodies a light pat, but they swam just beyond my reach, annoyed at my groping attempts.
And then it was time to go up.
Time, temperature, breathing pattern, all emotion and even the knowledge of a world above sea level had dissolved like a block of salt in water during this dive. My only awareness was of this unfamiliar locale bathed in blue.
In 2015, I discovered a new love 60 feet under, one that I will chase into the sea for the rest of my life.