My Jamaican Dive

As I look at the blue Caribbean Sea,
and then from a different angle it turns turquoise green,
I can see the coral on the bottom from my entry point;
with ten metres or more of depth.

I don my equipment
and with Tam I do a buddy check;
I need to keep a close eye on Tam as he has MS.
Then I make a two metre giant stride entry from the cliff side,
come back to the surface and join my dive buddy.
Together we start our descent.
Dropping gently towards a sandy bottom,
we control our buoyancy and move slowly through the water.

We are now at fifteen metres and a few feet above the coral.
I can feel the warmth of the sun on my back
and the visibility of thirty metres is incredible.
I feel like an astronaut, weightless in space.

The coral; beautiful, diverse, colourful and alive.
A vase coral, like a huge urn,
as if from a sunken palace it sits;
Staghorn coral, brain and fern coral.
I move forward, controlling my buoyancy with my breathing
And have that feeling of being part of the coral,
In a timeless day to day life.

As I glide over the top and down the other side,
Like the condor soaring above the Andes,
I am conscious of the noise of marine life;
the constant hiss and crackle,
like the static of the universe
or a badly tuned radio.

I exhale and create a second sound, that of the diver,
Like a child blowing soap bubbles.
They rise to the surface, expanding as they go.
Removing my regulator, I make rings as I exhale.
They too expand as they ascend to the surface,
Like smoke rings in the sky.

A sea snake with its head in the coral
is tugging away at its prey;
Two feet long, grey with white spots along its back.
Black sea urchins abound, feeding, but also becoming prey.
Purple and yellow neudebrank, featherlike gill on its back;
a sluglike creature, so colourful,
but it’s a warning – I don’t taste nice.
A deep blue damsel fish, the male guarding the eggs;
the beautiful butterfly fish,
deep gold with black and white striped head;
a parrot fish chomping away at the coral
with its false looking protruding teeth.

Then for me the best of all;
the deadly but beautiful lion fish,
Its quill-like fins tipped with poison.
Black and white striped body,
getting whiter as it radiates out to the tip of its fins.
I just sit and look in awe at the abundant life all around me,
my breathing so relaxed at twenty metres;
the need to stay overwhelming.

But with my air supply getting low,
And like the bottle nose dolphin,
I need to replenish my air supply,
we slowly ascend ‘til we break the surface,
full of enthusiasm for my next dive.

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