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Gio Underwater

Babette Thomas

“It feels like you’re sort of…. floating through space.”


Gio Underwater

G: Gio Santiago

G: It feels like a really out of body experience and like I sort of described earlier what felt like being really trapped in my body a lot of the time as a teenager and not being able to escape that– being able to do that, in the ocean which I love so much, in my body but felt like it wasn’t my body and to feel like I wasn’t experiencing gravity, like not experiencing all of these feelings that I’m normally supposed to feel, I became obsessed with it.

G: The trees, you could walk across the island in less than a minute. It was in the middle of nowhere in the second biggest coral reef in the world. And it was really difficult for me at first because diving is kind of hard, like being of a bigger size, being fatter than other people, buoyancy and all of that is something you really have to deal with more, so didn’t really like diving for the first week that I did it. But i was there for three weeks. But by the 2nd week i was really starting to come into understanding it. I just fucking loved it. I loved it.

G: You get into the ocean, like you dive into the ocean. You make all of your equipment work– I don’t know a very accessible way to say this— but you make all of your equipment submerge you. And as you’re like submerging deeper and deeper into the ocean, you’re like equalizing your whole face and body to change with the pressure of the ocean. Using breathing techniques, sort of having your body accomodate to the oceans different pressures– it feels unnatural, how am I supposed to be 115 feet underwater like my body should explode, but it’s not because our bodies are adjusting to this because the gas and chemicals our bodies bare breathing in is really helping us. Like it doesn’t feel real, it feels like you’re sort of floating through space. I’ve never been to outer space but that’s sort of how I would expect non-gravity to feel like. You’re underwater, and this machine and these tanks are keeping you that deep underwater, but at the same time you’re sort of just like floating.

G: You’re in a coral reef, there are not humans around you. The ocean is like a desert, so many people say that, but it’s so true. There’s nothing around you except a coral reef and a couple other humans and like it’s so quiet– especially when you’re that deep, when you’re deep diving, like when you’re deeper. You’re just immersed in that environment, if you look up, especially when you’re deep diving, all you can see is the sun piercing through the water. It’s a whole different landscape. You can’t really fathom that the first time you experience it. I remember one of my instructors telling me that, “Don’t look up! Don’t look up the first time you go deep diving! You’re gonna freak out. It’s going to look so far away and you might panic, so don’t do it.”

G: But of course I fucking did it anyways. When I looked up I was like, holy fuck, earth feels so far away– like it didn’t’ feel like I was on earth.

*underwater noises*

G: I still do have these dreams of one day making enough money, if it happens, and retiring and like moving and diving for the rest of my life. I genuinely still think about that everyday I’m like: one day I’m gonna retire when I’m 45, I’m going to give my life to a horrible corporate world maybe, if I become a lawyer, and then I’m going to retire and become a diver, for the rest of my time.