by Chloe Unger
photo by Jennah Caster
After I giant strode into the clear blue waters of the Pacific, the first thought that came to mind was, “I don’t think we are in Catalina anymore.” The water was 80 something degrees — a complete one eighty turn from the waters in Catalina where we had been diligently preparing for this very day. I effortlessly descended to the bottom to join my buddy group. A change of scenery from the cold Catalina waters ensued. The first change I noticed was, I could actually see more than a few feet in front of me. All throughout the dive site were relics and reminders of WWII. The reef floor had scattered cans and old Coca-Cola bottles from soldiers posted in Guam during the war.
After picking up bottles and showing them to our buddies, we swam ahead and came upon our first piece of wreckage. I am not quite sure what it was but that didn’t take away from its wonder. Everyone in my dive group floated up and down and around the wreckage exploring every little crack and bump. It was truly amazing to see — something we have only learned about in a textbook was finally right in front of us. After a while Professor Haw urged us to move on.
Reluctantly, we all continued, soon ignoring what we just saw as we swam up to a wrecked boat. The boat was right up against the breakwater and it was an impressive sight. Immediately, everyone was consumed by the sight — checking it out and pointing out cool things to each other. To add to the amazement, there were all sorts of colorful fish swimming around us. Some students had their Reef Check books out and were trying to match the colorful fish to their species name. I was on a mission to find a Parrot Fish and as soon as I saw one I decided to follow it around as much as I could without losing the group. The only thing that pried us from the boat was one of our classmates, Mariah, signaling for us to come over to look at what she had found. We all rushed over to see what she was pointing to and immediately came across a patch of sea anemone. Peaking in and out of the sea anemone were a few clown fish, which playfully weaved throughout the anemone tentacles.
The dive was almost over as I looked at my dive computer and saw that I only had 1500 psi left. As the group started back, everyone still wanted to stay down and keep checking things out. Professor Haw had to round a few of us up and get us to join him at 15 feet to continue our swim back to the boat. Looking down I saw more bottles and cans, some large black sea cucumbers, and even more tropical fish. After we all ascended to the top the first thing we talked about what everything we just saw. While I was swimming back to the boat I thought to myself, what a perfect first dive here in Guam.