The boat rocks in the choppy water. The heat of the day burns onto the top of my head as I try to pull the wetsuit onto my body. The unresisting rubber rips off the skin on my knuckles as I continue to struggle with it. I finally get my body completely immersed inside the suit. My chest feels tight from the intense claustrophobia I feel. I waddle over to my father who sits beside the oxygen tank. He places the straps of the vest on my shoulders and I push my arms through. The weight almost pulls me supine and I quickly adjust my center of gravity.
“Are you ready?” he asks. I nod my head in response before I leap into the water.
The rubber wetsuit allows me to float for a moment on the surface as I adjust the air in the vest and I slowly sink below. The silence is oppressive. I can feel the icy cold water rush into the empty spaces of my wetsuit. I look around myself to get my bearings but all I see is the dark kelp forest swaying ominously in the current. I clench my teeth around the regulator and guzzle down air until I feel lightheaded from the pure oxygen. As I slowly enter the darkness all I can imagine is tentacles reaching out and pulling me inside. I fear it will hold me in its clutches until my oxygen tank runs out.