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The Silent World

This is an approximation of what Lake Tenkiller looked like at 11 a.m., in broad daylight, 60 ft below the surface, with my dive light on, on my first deep dive as part of my Advanced certification.

There are lots of things I'm scared of, but one of the actual "I might die" scariest things I've had to do was let go of the anchor rope after our descent and trust my dive buddy/instructor. Sounds fairly simple, but I'm not a very trusting person, and I was mildly freaking out already. I didn't have my light on yet, as I had assumed that the others' description of the depths as "black" just meant low viz. NOPE. On top of being in the cold blackness, my left ear wouldn't equalize. I had the rope in my left hand and a person in my right. I was trying desperately to equalize with no hands, and finally succeeded. As the pain subsided, I felt a tug on my right hand. Thinking it was the other student freaking out, I resisted, held on tighter to the rope, and make a disgruntled noise. "Mmph!!" Another tug. And another. I spidered my hand up the arm to see who I had. Pigtails. Dive instructor. So I slowed my breathing and let go of the rope. She guided me away slowly, my fins scraping something below me. I flipped my light on. Another hand found my left and crushed it in a strong grip. Alex. Dana led us both away, where we floated in the dark, our dive lights creating orangey-green orbs that danced with our body movements. We stood on the bottom, swaying slightly. The only noises I heard were my Darth Vader inhale, and bubbly exhale.

The fear was still there. But wonder and joy rode alongside it. I was somewhere most people will never go.

Then, we began the ascent. With two hands to hold I couldn't touch my BCD. So I was careful not to kick too hard. As I craned my neck to look up, it was a good 7 seconds before the ambient light changed away from ink.

To blood red.

To Mars orange.

To chatreuse.

To sunlight.

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