There is a paper-thin border that separates the land and air we know so well, from the green-tinged, sun-veined underwater.
The coast around our little Island – within reach by an hour or two of even the most land-bound towns – is a life plastered wilderness, where wide-bodied, multicoloured fish hide in the shallows, and jellyfish ghost their way between snake-charmed flotillas of seaweed.
To the rhythm of your calm breathing – drawing air from above the water – you become completely absorbed in the weightlessness of the Sea.
Dark green seaweeds float on inflated pockets; downy, emerald sea grasses shiver on the white gravel bed, and tiny barnacles – encrusting the bare rock in a swathe of stone pores – spread out tendril palms that filter out the riches of the Ocean.
When you hold your lungs and dive under, everything sharpens into absolute focus. A hermit crab, scuttling along the sand, leaves a cloud of powder-dust in his wake. The orange ringed, black pupils of a camouflaged fish stare back at you, as if through glass. Striped rock – layered like the pages of a huge book – emerges from the blue-green mass, growing out of the water swamped distance.
And then, the most incredible silence engulfs you.
It only seems fair. Your eyes are so overwhelmed by the array of colours and the diversity and abundance of life, that this most encompassing quiet you are ever likely to experience allows yours ears to rest.
A shoal of silver-scaled fish swim within a metre of you – a row of shining, mercury-plated predators – maybe they’ve come to exploit the shadow you cast, or, maybe, just to see what you are.
They are tracking the sand eels that come into view – a shoal that’s thousands strong. Pencil shaped and writhing through the water, they form a motorway of life, a ribbon of synchronised movement that confuses your eyes. Trying to follow one, individual fish, is almost impossible.
They weave a hypnotising path that spans as far as you can see. Left-to-right, a seemingly endless thread of lives are unaware of the hunters that shadow them.
By the time you clamber out of the Sea, back onto the beach, you walk clumsily. You’ve adapted to the water so well that the weight of gravity feels cumbersome and intrusive.
For a while, you’re back on dry land. The seaweed forms a brown mat on the surface of the reflective water. It looks slimy and uninviting.
But now you’ve seen the elegance of the underwater. A place where silver bubbles rise from cracks in the rocks, wavering upwards, where plants cover the rock as densely and fascinatingly as a rainforest, and where a whole new and unreal host of life plays out its existence.
You know that the seaweed that looks limp and bland from above hides a world that is waiting to amaze you, the next time you dive under.