Cooling Sunlight


The water felt cool even through my wetsuit as I dived deeper into the open plains of the ocean. Sunlight, gentle and soft, streamed through the surface and danced with the bubbles expelled from my regulator. I shifted it a little in my mouth as I took another breath, watching in awe as the bubbles floated up to the surface and continued their duet with the golden light. My hands felt clumsy in the gloves I recently bought for this scuba dive as I pulled the camera up from the strap around my neck. More bubbles continued to float upwards while I took a picture of the dazzling view.

I’d only scuba dive in the late mornings, when the sun is high and the light a clear yellow gold that pierces through the ocean’s surface. Granted, there was only so far the sun’s ray can touch in the ocean as there were plenty of space below me where the light couldn’t reach. I could see blurry shadows of what the ocean protected from my eyes until I reached the ocean floor to see for myself what lurked. Instead of focusing on the fear of notknowing what possibly laid in wait—after all, I’m not the top of the food chain here in the ocean’s domain where the Great White shark and other predators could easily tear me to pieces.

Quite a lovely thought to have while scuba diving alone in my opinion. Which is why I try not to think too hard while I’m here and not with another diver. Or period, since this is my little sanctuary.

Often times I came to the ocean to dive or snorkel with the intent of just feeling the cool salty water around me—to feel suddenly small in a vast ocean of creatures that scientists still believe have yet to be discovered. The weight of college, responsibilities, and the unknown future don’t matter to me while I’m here. I can choose to float—to feel weightless while I let all my worries fall off around me for the current to take away.

Out the corner of my eye, I can vaguely make out a school of dark figures that are much too big to be small fish and too many to be sharks, unless they’re nurse sharks or those who gather around a possible meal like black-tip sharks. I turned toward it, squinting through my mask before nearly squealing in delight at the sight of dolphins. Not very often I see them around here, the only time I’ve ever seen this many before was when my cousin Darryl came with me one time.

They sped up after noticing me and I could hear dimly the high-pitched squeaks of their own communication as they neared. I could barely contain my excitement, vibrating with glee as I reached out to brush my gloved hands along their gray skin as the first one swam directly to me. He didn’t hesitate as he circled around, ensuring that I touched his dorsal fin all the way down to his tail, before nudging side with his nose. Two more joined the male, one going above my head while the other swam just underneath my flippers. I watched the in awe as another joined the male circling my sides until the last three divided themselves to join the dome caging me in.

My eyes widened as I continued to gawk at the show they willingly gave me free of charge. I took my camera, wishing suddenly that I had someone else with me who could take a picture from outside the dolphin-created dome. Whatever the case, I was still completely overwhelmed with what I was seeing—I’ve never once heard of dolphins doing this before let alone seen it in person. The scenery of it all was breathtaking. The sunlight caressed their gray and white flesh, the bubbles from my regulator joining in and swirling around in a vortex as they drifted from my face. My mind felt like it could float away with the bubbles I was so in awe and shock at what was happening. Tranquility flowed through my system, the waves of calm making me lose all other thought about life outside of the ocean as I continued to be entranced by the dolphins, the bubbles, the sunlight.

As my fingers snapped the picture, a smile was fighting its way to my lips. The cooling ocean rolled and swayed by an invisible beat only the dolphins could hear. I don’t know how many pictures I took or how long I stayed within that dolphin vortex until they left with another twirl and an underwater flip.

I checked my oxygen tank and nearly lost my regulator at how much oxygen I’d taken since the dolphins’ arrival. Before dropping into the water, I had half a tank and now, I had barely a quarter left, which would get me to the surface but not to the ocean floor like I’d initially planned. After what transpired though, I wasn’t in the least bit upset anymore.