Students relaxing on the Cobia on the way out to The Barge. Last Sunday, for the first time since scuba rotations, K3 and K4 went on a fun dive! We took the Cobia out to a site called the barge. Half of the group sat on the roof, with the sun warming us almost to sleep. When we finally arrived at our dive site, called the Barge, we went through our buddy checks, and then my group took the plunge. With the Cobia rearing up and down next to us, we slowly kicked our way to the mooring line, gave a thumbs-down/descend symbol to our buddies, and sank beneath the waves. The first sight of the barge was awe-inspiring. It looked like someone had just dropped a giant grey rectangle in the middle of the ocean and left it there for the reef to claim. Throughout the entire dive, though, the coolest thing that I saw wasn’t on the boat, but under it. When Peter gestured to the crevice under the barge, I initially had no idea what he was pointing at. But as my eyes slowly adjusted, the shape of a triangle head sporting an open mouth filled with jagged teeth came into focus. The eel stayed in the shadows, but I couldn’t help slowly drifting away from it.

The descent to The Barge.

I spent the rest of the dive peering into portholes that led only to blackness, looking at lionfish discretely blending into the surrounding coral, and watching the countless colorful fish always surrounding these reefs darting in and around each other. When we finally ascended into the rough water above, I didn’t want to leave. But with much calmer weather on the ride back, it felt so good to just sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.

-Maddie Nystrom