Ben, with a turtle in the background. This past Wednesday in the early morn I found somewhat of a nirvana. I was out free diving at tunnel rock with twenty or so of my classmates, a few interns, some scientists, and the fish man himself Chris Maxey. For those of you who have never been to tunnel rock it is a huge coral head about a hundred yards off the coast. And its name comes from the huge L shaped swim through that runs through the entirety of the reef. It is an amazing experience fighting your mind against time so you can stay underwater for another twenty seconds. I personally find it exhilarating.

This particular dive however was almost life altering. I decided I was going to go through the swim through for the first time. So I dove down, everyone was watching and I went down and down until I reached the opening and found my way through it.  I reached the other side and was reemerged into the expansive ocean all around me. When my eyes adjusted to the light I could not believe my eyes there was a over a hundred year old ginormous loggerhead turtle waiting for me at the mouth of the tunnel as if it had chosen me for some greater purpose. I was already under water for about a minute but the second I laid eyes on my new friend oxygen was no longer a necessity. It swam all the way up to me and almost smiled. Something inside me changed inside at that moment I think I realized how much of an impact this world can have on you and amazing it really is; you just have to try.

-Ben Skinner