The Big Blue

i had just finished school and was about to begin my first year of teaching. the motley crue of friends and i chanced upon a Luc Besson film called The Big Blue.
it is based on the true story of two free-diving enthusiasts, Jacques Mayol and Enzo Maiorca. the story is about friendship, rivalry, love and finding one's self.
at that time, it seemed to be the story of our life.
as life often imitates art, suddenly, we were free-diving enthusiasts.
in a nearby pool we tried various breath-holding techniques:

1. relaxed zen-like breathing before breath-holding (not deep hyperventilation which can cause shallow water blackouts--not good)
2.learning to resist the urge to breath and finding out that it can be overcome once or twice.
3.recycling oxygen trapped in the body's cavities by "moving" the air contained inside you.

the weeks ahead were planned around road trips to the ocean where we tested ourselves and competed secretly with each other.
fearlessly we were spelunking in an underwater cave, daring each other to jump off cliffs and diving in the pitch-black waters of the night amidst bioluminescent organisms.

we crashed and clashed.
we camped, spooned and disbanded liaisons.
we never tired of repeating the line from the Big Blue movie:
"it is better down there"
we were as unconcerned and intoxicated with life as we would ever be.

pagudpud beach, ilocos norte, philippines