Drift Away

This blog is a blog about memory, experience, and a feeling of utter bliss. And to truly paint the image that shines brightly in my memories, I need you to be in the right mood of reading. So sit back, relax, and let me take you on an incredible dive. It starts with you taking a deep, deep breath. Imagine a glistening ocean of the deepest blue, sparkling with reflected light. Feel the sun pressing down on you, caressing your skin with warmth, your toes buried in the warm then cool sand, a fruity iced drink in your hand. Do you feel the mood I’m asking for? Good, now let’s begin.

The setting

The most relaxing dive I’ve ever experienced in my life started with early rising, eating fresh fruit while watching the sun peak over the horizon. I brought all my equipment together and headed out of the small motel-like place where I was staying over my vacation - pink walls, glassless windows, palm trees and barbecue for infinitely relaxed evenings. But that evening was many hours away, with many adventures till then. I waited by the side of the road, watching the little shuttle get closer and closer. Sitting by the window, I let the sun shine on my face, as I half-listened to the talks of my fellow divers, half-listened to the recurring theme song of my vacation: Drift Away by Dobie Gray. (This is a good time to listen to it to further plunge into the depths of my story).

The bus ride lasted anywhere from 15 minutes to hours, I could never tell, it was always too short according to me. The song played on repeat, the divers chatted, the sun warmed my face, and the growing excitement within me became ecstatic. The Bahamas coast and small villages flew by me, slowly waking up to answer the rising sun’s call. And too soon, yet never soon enough, we arrived at the dive center, always beyond excited to get diving.

The boat

The dive center had pretty much become like a second family at that point, having spent an unholy amount of hours there. I navigated my way easily through the shop and docks until I found my boat. White Bungi. Again, because her crew was my ultimate favorite. I took up my spot near the rear of the boat, the stern, and set up all my equipment. We left a few minutes later, once everyone had climbed on. The boat ride out was long, but i took a nap on the second level, warmed by the morning sun, rocked by the motion of the boat, the waves being a calming lullaby. We arrived, got all geared up, and had the final briefing. Turns out this dive was going to be a drift dive, hang on to the line and descend along it, sort of drift dive. This stressed me out a little bit, it was my first time! But we jumped in, we descended, and diving became something entirely different.

The Bahamas EAC

Drift diving is absolutely amazing. As the current swept me away, and a neutral buoyancy controlled my depth, I felt as if I was flying, I felt weightless, beyond a care in the world. I stayed high above the coral below me, we have to stay responsible even in our hours of ultimate bliss. And I drifted, and drifted, and drifted. On my back, on my stomach, on my side, backwards, forward, up-side down. I flew above the incredible expense of colorful coral below me. And when I wanted to slow down, I simply sank closer to the peaceful coral, among the tiniest little fish scurrying this way and that. I mean, the euphoria of drift diving is indescribable, but I even managed to observe a hippocampus, which proves that this type of diving is superior to all others. Have you seen Finding Nemo, the Disney-Pixar film? When the turtles are surfing on an incredible current down the Australian coast? For your information that current is called the EAC, and I indeed felt like Crush during that dive. Anyways, the dive stayed rather shallow throughout, maybe 20 meters, and lasted over an hour. The water was warm, the fish were colorful, the coral was vibrant. The current was out of this world.

This was the first dive of the day. The second dive was a gentle dive through incredible rock formations, and a small wreck. Lunch was refreshing, filling and absolutely amazing. The rest of the day (and sadly my last day of vacation) was spent baking in the sun, reading one of my favorite books to this day. A day worth remembering.

Conclusion

Two notes before I conclude: 1. Smiling while scuba diving is not ideal, as water gets into your mask, and your regulator tears against your lips, 2. I am very good at clearing my mask now, (3. Wear sunscreen if you plan on falling asleep in mid-afternoon under a nearly tropical sun.)

On a serious note, drift diving is incredible. It’s freeing, it’s different, it’s immensely fun. And I recommended with the widest smile plastered on my face. Unleash your inner Crush from Finding Nemo, and ride the current as far as it will take you!

There is also plenty of good drift diving opportunities here in Canada, especially in the Saint-Lawrence river, so make sure to check them out (we have another blog about that!)!

So, as Crush would say: “Duuuuuuuuuuuude. First, you were like, whoa! And then we were like, WHOA! And then you were like, whoah.” That’s drift diving for you. :)

Marie Brier
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