great white shark from afar

In these first few minutes – I’m enjoying the wait.

“It’s totally different down there. Everything’s changed.” Nautilus Engineer Dale looks at me with surprise as we switched Divemaster duties in the starboard cage. “It’s surreal”, he says. On our first dive day at Isla Guadalupe, I anticipate the curious (and cheeky) schools of yellowtail jacks and enormous clouds of bait fish that kept us company last week, swirling around the cage and nipping at the bait sacks. The cage dropped down and I see..nothing. Nothing but a gradient of blue, pierced by rays of sunlight streaming through the bubbles of exhalations. In a world where every smartphone beep and computer screen is fighting for our attention, this soothing vacuum of stimuli sharpens the senses and forces us to focus. Every diver is twisting and turning in the cage, craning their necks and squinting their eyes to see if that blur of white is a trick of the light or the belly of a Great White Shark. Nearly 200 miles away from the concepts of “high-speed” and “instant”, the anticipation is palpable. It reminds me of many times spent staring at the horizon, holding my breath and trying not blink in order to catch a glimpse of the green flash at sunset. What else but nature can make us wait this patiently, whether for the first snowfall, the perfect wave, or the toothy grin of an approaching Bruce? Of course the sharks will come but for now- in these first few minutes- I’m enjoying the wait.

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