from a stranded blog, 2015, May 23 /

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the key to discovery, growth and change is to not get to attached or dependent on any one thing. to challenge yourself to respectfully acknowledge and use every resource presented to you and to not lean solely on the successes or failures of anything that becomes present to you at a given time.

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getting back into the water for my second free dive snorkel was my most recent reveal of this as a truth to me. having the security of some familiarity of diving into unknown open waters with not only a couple friendly faces, a quick escape within reach back to the charter boat full of a group of divers and snorkelers of various skill level presented a confidence and ease. the connection experienced this go around from the moment the first drop of water touched my warm skin felt different, i felt somewhat foreign to myself in this atmosphere.

my relationship with the ocean offered an ease and allowed for exploration that i think one only experience when they take a deep breath and let down their pre-set expectations.

it took me a few moments to settle my heart rate and a few breaths to ease the gasps of air into a more steady flow. once these both slowed and became parallel, i took a jump in, hands on mask, and with more comfort than i’ve felt on land over the past days, began exploring as far as my legs and fins would paddle me.

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unlike past snorkel trips, or even my first wade out freely into open water, this one was exhilarating in ways unexplainable as i found trust in my gear, in my instincts and in my group of friends who i would share the weekend and water with.

i went through cycles of panic and gasps for air quickly followed by moments of holding my breath and calming my thoughts to ground myself as i often do in yoga, consistently circling reminders of what is the intention of this moment.

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the longer i floated, the freer i felt. the more i observed my free diving buddies and their fearless dives deeper into the ocean floor, swimming with the marine life, taking moments to connect with the seafloor and testing out their own endurance and patience and fluidity with the waters rhythm, the more i felt the obsession with testing my own capabilities and connection with the ocean.

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i floated around at our first stop at the surfaces edge with ashley, observing fellow lovers of the water at various levels tackle the salt water in their own ways and once i became too tired to swim any longer, i returned to the boat to wait to head to our next spot. as we motored over to the next location a couple miles out, i told jonathan with a slight shyness that i was ready to go down and wanted him to take me with him. he promised to not leave me and show me the way.

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jonathan and i lead the way into the water, jumping in off the side of the boat with less traffic and swam out a ways where we were met by andres and ashley shortly after. for the next hour, we all swam within close proximity of each other, the guys shared pointers on how to hold my breath, clear the pressure from my ears and how to go down and get deeper.

they spent their time between the space of the water’s surface and the sandy sea floor, chasing the creatures of the sea and creating videos. i spent my time floating with ashley in the choppy waters and testing out my lungs, anxiety and trust in myself to see how deep i could get below the water before panic or pressure set in too much for me to bare.

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as the hour passed and we paddled in to get back on the boat and return to land, i felt a slight bit of disappointment to return to life again in the bit of reality that i had somewhat escaped for a few hours living as a being of the sea. some may not understand how you can instantly connect with a stranger, nor how you can instantly fall in love, but in this moment, as the 4 of us road back to our hotel in key west, sharing moment of silence mixed with jokes and laughter, i materialized how mere moments of freedom, trust and exploration are the binding points greater than any other connection created and registered these hours spend with this group of friends as magic.

it was in this moment that i really understood how some say that they cannot live without the ocean, and it was in this moment that i joined this bevy, mixed emotions of necessity and obsession for the salt that was caked in my hair and crusting off my skin to be a part of my regular routine.




 video by |
andres + jonathan

images by|
jonathan + e

About eunique deeann

Creative Director, Editor in Chief + Founder of Stranded on Land. Writer, photographer, creative producer, yogi + serial roadtripper. Comfort zone pusher on a mission to explore to create, storytell to inspire. Home base: Leucadia, CA.

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