My first open water dive. I stare at the immensity of the Sea of Cortez and my stomach is full of butterflies. I think I am nervous and very.

My diving knowledge, limited to a mask and a snorkel, definitely makes you understand why I am unsure about this. I know diving is  a challenge and if I skip on this one, I might regret it. Specially knowing that I am in Cabo Pulmo, the only hard tropical reef in North America. The southern most unbelievable underwater treasure of the Baja Peninsula.

Cabo Pulmo is an unmatched oceanic refuge that functions like a breathing organism, cycling life continuously.  Schools of thousands of fish, mollusks, corals and many incredible unknown creatures are endemic to this place. Humpback whales, whale sharks, hammerheads, tigers and silver tip sharks are only a few examples of the many species that inhabit this incredible reef.

After staring at my instructors directions on how to go about diving, something is clear in my mind: Just relax and breath deeply, it is all meditation. The first try, will be a test. I will be carefully studied to see my behavior underwater and act fast in case my mermaid instincts come back to me and I try to give myself away to the deep blue. Henri will then decided if I need more serious advice about how to behave underwater.

I load the heavy equipment on my back and finish struggling with my wet suit that has started to boil under an unforgiving desert sun. I hold my mask against my head and I leave the boat backwards, divers style. Splashes, frantic bubbles, confusion.  A refreshing flow of cool water calms my overheated body. Then, everything is silence. Aquatic silence.

My body enters a suspended mode and my heartbeats are almost nonexistent. You are submerged in a slow-motion kingdom where gravity  doesn’t play a role. When myriads of silver fish let you  get lost inside their immensity, you become one with this element. I believe it is better than flying.

After the second immersion I am sold to the idea of becoming a regular underwater visitor, and eventually turn into a certified one. This way, Florian can count on me while photographing a place that can quickly erase your memory of your terrestrial roots. Someone has to remind him that we humans have to return to the world above for air.

I’ve been under the sea.

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Über Florian

Als professioneller Naturfotograf widmet sich Florian Schulz dem Schaffen von einzigartigen Naturaufnahmen. Seine Bilder werden in Magazinen wie National Geographic, BBC Wildlife und GEO veröffentlicht. Schulz stammt aus Süddeutschland und verbringt im Jahr durchschnittlich acht bis zehn Monate im Feld, um mit seinen Fotografieprojekten gesamte Ökosysteme zu dokumentieren.

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