At the end of every dive we would venture into what is known as “The Blue”.
You slip away from the reef, and let the currents take you out into open ocean. You are quickly over 6,000 feet of depth, miles from any nearest land source, and in eighty feet of water. It is a form of sensory deprivation as you are surrounded three hundred and sixty degrees by a monotone of rich, empty blue. All of your senses are dulled, you are weightless, and very exposed.
It is a very vulnerable feeling.
But this is where magic happens, as although you can’t see them, the animals within several miles beyond know that you are here, and they are wonderful. Sharks in numbers which won’t be a sight in five years, dolphins interacting with you for over twenty minutes, 40 foot whale sharks passing through, or a solitary turtle cruising past on the biggest highway on the planet. What makes these encounters so incredibly special, is that it is always the animals who have decided to spend their time to investigate you. They may be timid or bold, but they are here because they are curious.
In some ways this is very passive, as all you can do is remain perfectly neutrally buoyant for sometimes twenty minutes or longer, staring into an empty void of blue managing expectations by continuously scanning above, below, and around you for a shadow, a glimmer - anything that breaks up the featureless horizon. You are just waiting to receive whatever comes your way, and there is absolutely no action which can be taken which will alter an outcome. You have to let go of all control.
In reality, blue water diving is anything but passive. You have to be willing to expose yourself to the epitome of the ocean: vast expanse; there is no reef, wall, or ocean floor for visual reference or an appearance of security.. This is the unknown - and anything can come your way here. There is nothing to be afraid of - that’s not how the ocean works - only a thirsty anticipation of the possibilities. The work is to remain present for long periods of time in nothingness, and manage expectations of an outcome.
The absolute best dives I have ever done in my career have always been in The Blue. The encounters are the unicorn kind, where they are so magical that you will remember the details like a movie for the rest of your lifetime.
But you had to make yourself vulnerable first.
For me, the magic of the blue is a metaphor In the benefits of allowing vulnerability and leaning out of the edge of comfort zones, where the rewards can be pretty spectacular.