Author : Andrew DiMatteo

“Now, there are a lot of channels down there. Some of ’em may surprise you. Be careful . It’s easy to get distracted when you’re Immersed. Always remember to pay attention to your surroundings and…”

The dive operator was giving us condescending instructions. Stupid local. Treating us like morons who’d never been in the water before, like he was some kind of expert on the tech, rather than a minimum wage deck hand. No way was he’s getting a tip when this is over. I tune him out, focusing on my gear to avoid listening to him drone on.

I start my dive as rays of light slice through the crystal water. Even fifteen meters down, the colors are unbelievable. The greens and yellows look like neon signs in a language I can’t quite comprehend. The reds and oranges that our eyes usually wash out at depth are still present, adding subtle highlights and flares of originality to the fish that pass by. Even the somber brown of the plainer corals and sponges seems stately rather than drab. The Immersion–ware is already partially active, working to integrate me, augmenting my senses.

Browsing the options coming into range on the mask of my rebreather, the number is overwhelming. I haven’t dived this reef before so I set it to cycle through the top rated channels. I can feel my senses sharpen fully as the Immersion takes hold and

Languid motion washes over me. I graze lazily, knowing there is nothing here to harm me. My shell instills a constant sense confidence. The slow, pulsing need to store energy drives me between seagrass beds at a casual pace. The painfully awkward crawl to lay my eggs on land will take much out of me, but that is many months from now. Until then I beat my flippers slowly in the rhythm of the current, gracefully migrating around

We are myriad. We build, we filter, and we grow with furious abandon. We are not a static feature. That is an illusion for slow-lived macro organisms. We build a new city every year and abandon the foundation. We are the substrate of all life in this world and they are blind to

Squeeze! The gaps in the rock are tight, but I am flexible! The crevice ahead is only just wider than my beak, but I get through to the juicy mussels on the other side. Grab, pull, eat! My patient suckers are more than a match for that stupid mussel. Shadow! Change color, match patterns, freeze

There is laughter everywhere – in the sunlight, in the waves, and in the water. My brothers and I laugh at the silly land dwellers with their masks and clumsy movements. Hilarious! I flip my tail and swim in fast circles around them to make my brothers laugh. One brother’s laugh to turns into a chitter of warning. Something hungry arrives. We could beat it – my brothers and I could beat it with our blunt noses, we’re so tough! But it’s not worth the effort. We leave, laughing again as

It moves slowly. It acts injured. It is no threat, it is prey. I sweep my head back and forth, sensing, smelling. It is not prey I have tasted before. No matter. I close in, my eyes roll back, and I taste

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