We are pleased to present our first Master Divers Life contest blog by contestant Alex Martin
Imagine with me if you will, a forest underwater. Silent, save for the sound of the rolling waves above. Sunlight creeps through the blades of kelp floating on the surface, a yellow brilliance that blocks out direct sunlight until a ray shines through and catches your eye. Under the canopy of kelp stalks, an eerie silence takes hold as you make your way through a forest covered in a blanket of thick fog. The murky existence is breathtaking and beautiful to those willing to embrace the chill that comes with exploring this environment.
Now close your eyes and lets travel to another part of the world. As you open your eyes, you look to the left, and to the right. Along the 100-foot span of a steep underwater wall a large ecosystem of coral, soft and hard alike, covers everything you can see. It is alive with thousands of organisms. The sound of something like cereal crackling like you’ve just poured milk in the bowl is audible. It is a metropolis of underwater life. You want to race around and see everything you can, but there is no prize for first place. If you take your time and look closely enough, shrimp, plankton, and even maybe a sea horse can be found hiding in the multitude of coral species they call home.
I have had the joy of spending 300 or so hours in this world. It has brought me closer to nature, and I have found beauty in the smallest nooks and crannies within the ocean. Moments appear and disappear with the currents. It is a place that gets you as close to being an astronaut floating weightlessly in space as possible. A world so different than the one we walk in day to day, yet so similar. These creatures live in tepid harmony, some in symbiotic relationships of peace, some as predator and prey.
This world and its global ecosystem has the same degree of symbiotic life. Our oxygen comes more from the ocean than anywhere else. It is as vital to our existence on this earth as any other resource. It is the cradle of creation where life began in this world; where the first organisms emerged and began their evolutionary journey to where we are today.
Many of us try to give back to what got us to where we are today; to our parents, our schools, our friends, our community. Yet for some of us it is hard to give back to something we don’t see as particularly related to us, even though it is the origin of life on this planet. There is so much that makes us who we are that it is hard to think of it like this, but we must try. In all facets of life we must attempt to do better, to be better.
Back under the waves, a group of divers is on a daily mission to clean up an area of the Caribbean that has brought them much joy over their trip. A bag full of bottles, plastic, and other miscellaneous garbage in tow. A young juvenile sea turtle swims up to the diver and tries to nip at the bag, looking for food. It is a very adorable moment, an awesome moment for the diver holding the bag that has the opportunity to have a turtle so close and so friendly. It is also a reminder of how much of what we manufacture, how much we consume and discard, can affect what we don’t see on a daily basis.
A possibility of a new path has opened up. Koh Tao is considered by some to be one of the most environmentally conscious islands in the world. Also known as Turtle Island, it is major hub of diving certification, it is a brilliant display of knowledge and understanding to what it means to be not only a safe diver, but an informed diver. Concerned with conservation, the team at Master Divers look for individuals that share in their love of the ocean and hope of preserving it to join their ranks. It is a place that I have never been to before, which brews excitement. The possibility to learn in a new place, with new conditions and new adventures. I hope that soon I can be included among them. A chance to continue my education in diving has been on my horizon, and this opportunity is welcomed with joy and resolved that no work is a simple task. We all have a further opportunities to take in life, and I hope that this can be my next step.
This ecosystem has brought me so much joy, so much excitement, and has taught me more than I can ever hope to retain. In my travels, I have only learned that there are more places I want to go. More experiences I want to have. My desire to share that with more people is a dream I’m willing to go the extra mile for. There is so much beauty everywhere we go. There is so much more to learn.
So please, follow along with me as I journey this world to discover new places to dive, new ways to explore, and new ways to communicate and share this world. It is a beautiful place. One that will be here long after we are gone, one way or another. I hope you come along with me and share in the joy that this underwater world brings.