by Cacique Jane Drinkard Today was one of the longest days we’ve had here. It was a big day for all of us; Kayak groups 3 and 4 left for their 3-day kayak adventure and the rest of us broke off into our scuba groups to start scuba week. It also marked my weekaversary here at the island school (woohoo!) Many of us had never been scuba diving before so some of us were kind of anxious to get into the water. Maxey talked to us last night about how the underwater world makes up 98% of our earth yet we’ve hardly explored any of it’s depths. He lowered his voice and in front of a magnificent projected photograph of the earth he informed us that tomorrow we would all be “aquanauts,” which is the equivalent to underwater astronauts. After our morning exercise of psychos and swimming with our fins we embarked on our scuba journey. We spent a lot of time in our groups getting to know the unfamiliar equipment and were briefed on safety precautions for the water. My group drove the boat to a clear blue spot called the saddle where we put all of our gear on and learned the backwards dive off the boat. This was the scariest part for me because it required a lot of trust and that’s hard to have when you’re sitting on the edge of a boat with equipment that’s super heavy. I took a deep breath in, held my mask and regulator in, held my weight belt on my stomach and free fell off of the side of the boat. Breathing underwater was unlike anything I’d experienced before. The air from the regulator feels foreign and crisp. After we had gone down quite a few feet my favorite thing to do was look up at the turquoise surface and see the bubbles from my breath rising up into the sparkling sun. In those moments I understood why Maxey had called us aquanauts because it was like being in a whole different world. We went over many necessary skills in order to become certified scuba divers and ended the day exhausted and starving. Needless to say I slept pretty well and now I am refreshed and ready for the rest of scuba week!