by Caciques Hannah T and James Cacique Blog Time stood still as we descended 95 feet to the lively coral beneath us. A group of yellowtail snapper skimmed past our faces, treating us as if we had just become a member of their underwater world. Before we knew it we were surrounded by the busy life of this bright, foreign ecosystem. As I looked up towards the boat above me, the sun melted on the surface of the water, reminding me of the familiar life and experiences occurring up there at that very moment. A rush of adrenaline filled my senses as I thought about midterms coming up next week, the eight-day kayak trip, morning exercise, my art project, and our grades coming out soon. I returned my focus to the area around me and was immediately flooded with an array of sights and emotions. I was submerged in an atmosphere of tranquility, surrounded by vivid shades of blue, yellow, and green, all blending together to create this watercolor masterpiece. The coral towered above me, providing entertainment and protection for the hundreds of fish winding within the crevices and interacting with each other. In groups, we explored the reef to discover new species and observe their relationships. Parrotfish, angelfish and grouper slipped past us as we recorded the abundance of the surrounding fish. This world engulfed us in its beauty and enthusiasm, and although seconds seemed to pass as hours, we had to ascend before we knew it. As a group, our Marine Ecology class gathered to begin our journey back to a place where we could breathe without air tanks and see without goggles. Our surroundings that had only just become familiar began fading away as we neared the surface, sun and fresh air awaiting us.