Nature took the lead as we waltzed onto the deep blue stage. As I swam alongside the boat, huge swells would cause it to list from side to side, sometimes as much as 40 degrees, revealing parts of its bottom and views into the top of the cabin, over and over again. Careful not to break the rhythm of our dance, I made a quick study. When the swells turned to chop and I was tossed around like a rag doll, dutifully I followed as the ocean asserted its dominance.
For me there is an absolute thrill and exhilaration from being submerged into a realm completely out of my control. I was a lone alien passing through this magnificent world.
Swimming in water over 4000 feet deep you could taste the purity of the vast ocean and it was awe-inspiring to make these surroundings my temporary home. As I reflect on this experience days later, it’s still difficult for me to adequately describe the joy and marvel I felt as perhaps the first humans ever into that space.
It was a privilege. The sea creatures’ interactions with us were often full of wonder and I could not help but ponder what they might have thought at perhaps seeing their first humans up close. I could almost hear their bewilderment. Strange and silly swimmers causing a spectacle…
It was clear we were no threat but mere travelers that incited curiosity in some, and indifference in others. Birds sat undisturbed on the surface of the water looking for nourishment as I passed inches from them.
Swimming through the real Monterey bay aquarium I saw all kinds of jellyfish, some with 4 foot long tentacles dancing below, floating like ghosts.
A sea lion swam behind me at one point, I had dolphins escort me from behind during one swim and a seal doing flip turns two feet beneath me during another. My first interaction came on my first jump in the water at night when a seal gently touched my feet. Bioluminescence like gold glitter floated off my arms as I stretched them off into the distance.
This feeling of awe was as intense as it was fleeting and as the hours and minutes ticked by, inspiration began to be ground down into routine, exhaustion and the looming unknown.