By Dorothy Long and Augie Cummings I woke up sweating my brains out at 6:15 this morning. Twelve sleepy “young leaders” surround me; this is one of Chris Maxey’s affectionate names for the students. It was still dark because the sun had not yet risen. This was just a start to all the water that would be in and around my pores today.
Followed by morning exercise, before I knew it, I was head over heels into the turquoise abyss.
The ocean was a bath tub: warm, which was a nice contrast to our freezing cold showers. As I slowly descended kicking my fins into The Saddle, a twenty foot deep drop into the sea, I equalized my ears and was quickly relieved that I was safe. I relaxed as soon as I felt my legs skim the smooth sand of The Bahamas. I had the realization that my decent was successful and that I had made it down alive.
This was only half the journey. The other half was this portal of aquatic life I had opened myself to. Peering at the surface made me realize who and what I was becoming. I had grown a dorsal fin and gills, like the school of fish that surrounded me; I was in scuba class, in an entirely different kind of school. Immediately my eyes darted around the ocean floor, searching for my fish friends. I spotted an eel, a sergeant major, and my personal favorite: a water slug. It felt like a squishy enchilada, and I was not the only one that enjoyed it. It blubbered in my hand, and it did not contest to the baseball I turned it into, as I affectionately tossed it at my dive buddy.
After a diving test, I put this underwater world to rest as my fingers were pruning. Several hours and showers later, we, as caciques, decided to invite everyone to enjoy dinner on the deck above the dining hall. There was a beautiful ambiance with soft acoustic music playing as half The Island School student body (the other half out on kayak) enjoyed dinner together while peering out at the water again.