Megan Gleeson, Colorado State University
Life as a Vet Student
The sun was deep below the horizon by the time we arrived to the dive site, with Kauai just off our bow. Sitting on the edge of the boat, I tightened my weight belt and put on my fins. The water looked cloudy. It had rained a lot in the last few days, and red dirt run-off was sifting over the algae reef. Seth, the dive master, began to tell divers about the site, Hale O’honu—in English, “House of Turtles.” True to its name, these reefs were usually busting with Green Sea Turtles. I looked at my older brother, Joe, who was also the captain of this boat. Needless to say, I had an easy “in” for a summer job as bubble watcher, deckhand, office manager, etc. Getting to join in on the dive tonight would be an added treat, and I was antsy to get in the water.
Joe gave me the “go ahead” nod. I pulled down my mask and snorkel and slid into the water. My hair immediately stood on end. The water was indeed murky, but in a more disturbing way than I’d predicted. About 15 feet below me, an expanse of brown murk had spread out so thickly that it might as well have been a hardwood floor between me and the reef. I’d been diving in cloudy waters before, but something about this murk filled me with anxiety. And most unnerving, I had the overwhelming sensation that I was being watched. Hopefully just by sea turtles, I thought to myself.
I pulled my head out of water and looked up at Joe, who was standing tall from the bow. I envied how far he was out of the water. “See it?” he asked. I spit my snorkel out with a bit of seawater and said, “Not yet. There’s a really weird murk layer down here.”