Flying Through the Dream Forest

Channel Islands, May 2018, Part 1

When people ask me what diving is like, I often respond that it’s like lucid dreaming. The feeling of weightlessness, the constant, lazy swaying of the currents, the bizarre colors and creatures, it’s an experience totally foreign from life on land.

Giant kelp forests are one of my favorite diving environments. Giant kelp is an amazing organism that grows prolifically in the temperate waters off the coast of California. The Channel Islands, off the coast of Southern California, are home to large swaths of lush kelp beds.

The Channel Islands are frequently explored from liveaboard dive boats. This dive was our fourth dive of the day. The first three dives were kinda meh for me. Visibility wasn’t great and I was still settling into the liveaboard groove. But dive number four captivated me. We anchored at a site called Coches Prietos, on the southern side of Santa Cruz Island and jumped back into the bracing water.

Visibility was noticeably better here, with hypnotizing turquoise waters bathing the kelp stands. As we roamed through the forest, the alluring beauty swept away my thoughts and I was enthralled in the wonder of the experience. Gliding through the gently undulating forest, encased in the canopy of kelp, all my cares and worries dissolved in the natural beauty.

Towards the end of the dive, the current picked up a bit, bringing back the greenish, murky water. But the magic of the forest kept me in its thrall for the remainder of the dive.

Returning to the surface was like waking from a dream, feeling refreshed and invigorated, cleansed, by the grace of the Pacific.

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Waking from the dream

Check out a longer video here:

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