Notes on Advanced Open Water Dive Course

Diving has made me a diva. My warped city eyes parse underwater beauty as the lushest fashion spreads imaginable—and Fall fashions, too, tropical island or not. Ava Gardner would wear a coat with a collar of that rich, muted, swaying anemone. Coral reefs conjure Missoni knits, where the zig-zag openings occasionally swallow matching fish. Moray eels peek out of perfect pinkish funnel necks. The purity of a sea urchin in clear water would make Phillippe Starck pant to carve out a neat salt-shaker opening. Gorgonian fans wave as languidly as a front-row couture patron, accessorized by toning and contrasting fishies. And all the muted jewel colors—very Romeo Gigli.

I wanted to peel myself out of my wetsuit and order the deep to clothe me in the richness, the softness, the weightlessness, the boldness it hides from the surface. I wanted to glide down Fifth Avenue with the grace I have underwater, where I move through breath alone. I wanted to have an entourage of angelfish and parrotfish. I wanted to be the Coco Chanel of Koh Tao.

Even at 30 meters deep, I am shallow.