The Ocean

I sit at the edge of the boat – so excited that my feelings border on desperation, anticipation; fear. One hand kneads the other. I lift my head to the sky, feeling the warmth of the sun on my nose and ears and the heat envelopes me. One foot nervously taps the floor. I lick my lips and taste salt – the salt of the water – and it calms me.

I check the pressure of my air tank; put on my fins. I suck on my regulator to make sure it’s working. Everything is ready to go. The gear is heavy on my back as I wait my turn to jump into the Caribbean. I waddle to the deck and jump.

The warmth of the water sends shivers up and down my spine. I’m inhaling more air than I should – no matter how many dives I complete, the rush still gets me every time.

I start my descent; my breathing slows. I hear my inhales and exhales (bubbles) from my oxygen tank. I look around. I’m in another world, and instantly peace overtakes the stress that usually occupies my brain.

The fish dart here and there. I look up and down….looking for Jason. He is my leader, my safety net, my guide. I spot him just below me. He gives me the “okay” sign as I descend. I nod that I am.

You might think that being underwater would be a quiet experience, it’s not. There are sounds from everywhere. The boat’s motor as it slowly leaves the reef. The sound of your breathing – the hiss of the intake of the cold, tank air and the bubbles that you blow to relieve your body of it. Holding your breath under water is dangerous for divers, and I remind myself constantly not to do it.

My hair dances around me, I listen into the abyss – hoping to hear dolphins. A turtle eyes me cautiously as he glides by. Plankton skitters away from me. Fish nuzzle into coral; eels dart out from hidden caves. All of us float with the tide.

I look out into the darkness….wondering what lies just past my view. Am I desperately searching for something that’s watching me with curiosity?

I do a flip – I’m upside down, and flying through space. I lay sideways, then flip upright and hug my knees. Do you want to know what it feels like to fly? Try scuba diving.

I take the regulator, my air, out of my mouth, and gulp in the salt water. Pure. Life. Calmness. Everything.

Watching a coral reef is like watching the inner workings of a major city. Everybody has a job, there are predators and victims. Some are smart and have figured out the game – darting around in defiance. There is life. There is death. There just IS.

I couldn’t imagine being without the ocean; I am part of it and it makes me whole. The sights, the sounds, the scents, the magic of it. I am not one that normally likes surprises. I do not live for “the rush” or the adrenaline of the moment. Some people think about jumping into unknown waters and immediately dismiss the idea.

For me, it’s peace, home. When I dive into the water, I’m anxious until I see what is underneath me. Life as usual. What we see as beauty and undeniable pleasure is just another day for the sea creatures that inhabit the land.

Water gives life, and it takes it away. Exactly as God meant for it to be.

And so it goes…

I wrote this prompt for the Red Writing Hood. The prompt: Water gives life. It also takes it away. Write a short piece – fiction or non-fiction – inspired by one or both of these statements. Word maximum is 600.


  1. wow.... beautiful
  2. you have a very wonderful way with words! prob why I follow you ..*wink :)
  3. My husband loves to dive. We took a trip to Egypt so he could dive the Red Sea for weeks. I laid on the beach, reading. In 15 years he has yet to convince me of the beauty..but your post "almost" has me intrigued. ;) Beautiful writing.
  4. from a fellow diver, very well said. I couldn't live without the ocean either.
  5. The mad woman behind the blog says:
    I too have this love. I felt my pulse slow, finding my calm as I read this. Beautiful.
  6. You are a true California girl, Natalie! You make diving sound so wonderful. I've only snorkled in Hawaii, but being next to the turtles and all thos Nemo-looking fish was awesome!

    Great post...could picture you as I read it.
  7. tsonodablog says:
    I always wondered what it would be like to scuba and you just took me there. Lovely piece, and beautifully written! Wow
  8. Brandon Duncan says:
    Always wanted to try diving... Just like you described, there is a whole other world down there... I need a vacation... ;)
  9. I have never gone diving. But after reading this I think I will have to add it to my Bucket List.

    Simple and Beautiful
  10. I love living near the water and would be lost without it.

    I earned a *resort* scuba certification once while on vacation in Port Elizabeth, South Africa and loved every minute of it. You describe it to a tee here. Snorkeling is a good fall back.

    Beautifully written, Natalie.
  11. Jen Has A Pen says:
    So beautiful. I was nervous the whole time I was reading it, because I felt like something might be sneaking up on you. But even though I was anxious, I was charmed by your choice of words in every sentence. Good stuff. Thank you for sharing.
  12. Mama Jules says:
    I would love to go scuba diving. I know I would be a nervous wreck before entering the water, but you confirmed that it would be a great experience.
  13. DaisyGal says:
    that was so good....
    my favorite line: I do a flip - I'm upside down, and flying through space. I lay sideways, then flip upright and hug my knees. Do you want to know what it feels like to fly? Try scuba diving.

    I am not a scuba diver, but this helped me understand the attraction to it.
    Thanks for sharing.
  14. Leighann says:
    I love reading about under water adventure cause I'm too scared to do it in real life.
  15. I have been diving and could relate to your words- it is like flying. So very peaceful.
  16. This is great. The soothing pacing, the sense of exploration, especially inward, is strong. It sounds like underwater, muted and rhythmic and present.
  17. Jennifer says:
    I thought you did a great job of capturing wonderment for all that you see and feel in the water when you dive.
  18. Kimberly says:
    So very descriptive. Love this. The imagery you created is perfection.
    I have never been seadiving and don't think I ever will...I am terribly claustrophobic ;)
  19. Wonderful description! I really felt like I was diving with you, which for me is as good as it will ever get. I'm a big fat chicken when it comes to stuff like that!
  20. Andrea (ace1028) says:
    This was beautifully written. I admit that I was a little afraid, too, as I wasn't sure if you were going to turn this on me into something scary, but once I got over that (at the end) I could go back and reread and not be nervous!

    This line: 'My hair dances around me' I could totally see and feel. I've never dived, but have gone snorkling once, and loved it, I know that's not even close, but the water is so incredible. Thanks for sharing!
  21. Brittany at Mommy Words says:
    That was beautiful. It sounds so magical down there and from seeing so many pictures over the years it is something I would love to do. I am a total scaredy cat though and have thusfar only snorkeled. It's even worse because I have been to some of the best scuba places in the world. Maybe you have inspired me to take the class and get my ass all the way under water!

    Great post!
  22. andygirl says:
    mmm that was lovely! I love the ocean and I love snorkeling and have always wanted to scuba dive. and now I really want to!
  23. How beautiful! I love how you equated it with flying there - I never thought about it that way. Now I know that I need to try this myself. I've always been too scared, though...
  24. With as much as I love the ocean, I've never tried this. Would love to, though.

    Beautifully written.
  25. Gorgeous.

    You made me want to try scuba diving, and I am terrified of scuba diving.
  26. I don't scuba dive but I may be willing to give it a shot now!

    My sister & her husband dive and take trips often to do it. The pictures that they've shown me are beautiful, almost exactly as you described.
  27. adrienzgirl says:
    I can appreciate the wonderment you describe so eloquently in this piece, but I cannot see myself to swim with things that can eat me. As I read, the dread of what lurked in the darkness was as real as I ever want to experience!

    Nicely done.
  28. Wonderful! I love watching nature shows about the oceans, lakes, rivers. You made it sound exciting and calming all at once.
  29. I've snorkeled a bunch, did snuba once, but never have dived. I still have some fear of what's under there.

    But the way you described it has me thinking about it again - if we ever get back to warm, clear water again!
  30. You made me want to try scuba diving. I'd say that's a successful piece of writing!
  31. Mandyland says:
    I've never dived but this post makes me want to.

    Of course, I'd have to learn to swim better first.

    But still...the part at the beginning where you licked your lips? I do that every time I'm at the beach. It's like tasting the ocean in a teasing little appetizer.

    LOVED this post.
  32. Never been scuba diving but the way you described it makes me want to try it at least once!

    Beautifully written!
  33. I have not been diving in years...I love the quiet of the water...thanks for the reminder of the beauty!!
  34. MamaRobinJ says:
    I've done a couple of dives, and it's a lovely experience. I feel the same way about the ocean.

    So nice to see the side of people this prompt is bringing out.
  35. From Tracie says:
    Amazing. This absolutely makes me want to try diving. I honestly never thought about what the sounds would be...that was interesting.
  36. Sluiter Nation says:
    I have grown up on/near the water. I have gone through boater saftey classes and swimming lessons.

    I LOVE boating and beaching and swimming.

    But yet? I am terrified of the power of the water. Terrified of the "takes life away" part.
  37. Elaine A. says:
    I love the ocean too (my post was about it was well) but I've never been brave enough to scuba dive. I've swam with fish while snorkeling but that's it. Thank YOU so much for describing it so well for us. I love the description about how it's like flying...
  38. amygrew says:
    This is such a beautiful piece! You can really feel your love of the water! I love picturing your "hair dancing."
  39. Him and Her says:
    Heavenly. I felt so connected to this. Beautifully written.
    Visiting from TRWH
  40. I envy you. I wish I could scuba dive, but even snorkeling gave me a massive panic attack. I have to be able to breathe through my nose or it is over! I had to be dragged back to shore by my adorable husband LOL! Lindsay recently posted..My Favorite Posts of 2011My Profile


  1. [...] The Ocean had me yearning to scuba dive, something I haven’t had a chance to do since a couple of years before Ethan was born. [...]