adjectiveadjective: euphoric

  • characterized by or feeling intense excitement and happiness.

  • “I often think I am dreaming yet I am quite awake. ”

    I guess that’s what happens when your passion becomes your life career. It swallows you whole and it’s all you want to hop out of bed and get on with. It becomes the only thing you dream about, think about and talk about. 

    It’s apart of you and your success, your failures, it is the one thing you would die for. It’s what manifests within you, you want to share it with others and educate others about it. Life would be so much simpler if humans found a passion within what makes them happy, their careers, and success. (would it really be life it was that simple?)

    “Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life.”

    Cant, we all just push ourselves harder and harder towards our achievements, never giving up just because it seems to “hard?” Or what about, trying to mind your own business and placing that energy into your greatest achievements?

    I guess that’s asking too much… ‘Shrug’ I encourage you to take time to focus on your dreams and goals. ‘Laser Focus!’

    I am so grateful to have found my happiness and my success. I failed countless times along the way but I was so determined to succeed, I understood that to be successful at something you will fail.

    Copyright ©Katie Storr

    I am awake:

     Gazing into the horizon, the sun is beaming its warm ultraviolet light onto my face and the smell of saline never gets old. The blinding turquoise blue waters paint a picture so one of a kind there isn’t anywhere else in the world quite like this. Oh, how I love my home, The Bahamas. 

    Gazing…”Snap out of it Katie!”

    Jumping and Wiggling into my wetsuit, I absolutely hate this part, but it has to be done. As I try to zip it up, I feel my buddy, Sandy, grabbing the zipper and am in! My wetsuit always has a way of making me feel as big as a whale.  “There my cat woman look is complete! How do I look? She replies, stunning darling.” We both laugh, love the fact that she encourages my humor. We giggle at the fact that this is every scuba divers struggle. Squeezing there way into skin-tight huggies. There is a distant chatter about the dive game plan. It’s very important we have a plan, this ensures our safety and we return to the boat with enough air to complete a safety stop. Dive boats are usually filled with eager divers waiting to hop into the ocean for the long-awaited dive. For some, they haven’t dived in months, for me, it’s my career.

    I imagine most may not understand one’s intensified emotion for what’s beneath the ocean, however, the moment my head sinks beneath the surface silence consumes me and the only thought in my head is “I hope we see a shark!” (Wait, I know what you are thinking, I thought she would say something emotional. ahahaha I said shark. Yeah, if anyone knows me they know I have an undying love for sharks.)

    Copyright ©Katie Storr

    Copyright ©Katie Storr

    Copyright ©Katie Storr

    Copyright ©Katie Storr

    Copyright ©Katie Storr

    Copyright ©Katie Storr

    Copyright ©Katie Storr

    The ocean is my travel ticket to another world, a place where there is no judgment and no one speaks. (It is extremely quiet) Nobody cares about appearances, or how many followers you have on Instagram. It’s a world with unique experiences and fascinating activities. Scuba diving can take you almost anywhere around the world and it gives scuba divers the opportunity to meet new people who can sometimes turn into buddies for life. It brings us all together in a special way and with every experience, our love for the ocean gets stronger and stronger.

    My purpose: 

    Marine Animals find my camera gear quite interesting. Often times with curiosity they get really close. I imagine to them it looks like something out a sci-fi movie an alien invasion of some sort. My setup has a huge dome port that gives a mirror effect often making them appear larger than they are. Which makes for great images! Maybe they can’t resist my mermaid charm.

    Copyright ©Katie Storr

    Copyright ©Katie Storr

    Take for instance this turtle, (above slideshow) he swam right up to me and literally placed his nose on my camera. What an experience! I then share this with you and give information about this species which encourages conversation about the animal and its habitat.

    Throughout my career, all I have ever wanted was to inspire and bring others to the ocean through education, photography, and film. It is the bases of my business plan and has been forged into my brain from the moment I figured out what it was I wanted to be successful at. It gives me strength and power to survive knowing that through my actions I can inspire someone to care for the ocean and turn fears into love and understanding.

    The Dream I am awake for:

    Ready, Set, Jump in! I hop into the water it’s salty but I like it! Such a sense of healing. As I descend, I can hear only my breathing, in and out. Air bubbles are everywhere as divers descend into the ‘abyss.’ I kneel down at the bottom which is about 35ft. (Above the Wall Drop off, San Salvador, Bahamas) It is time to set my camera, I custom white balance and go through my video settings. As I check my air gauge I clip my camera to my BCD, it is now time to start the dive. I signal to my buddy I am OK and ready to make our descend. Looking around at the other divers always seems to make me chuckle. The way we communicate underwater using hand signals and gestures it’s a secret language we as scuba divers all share and understand.

    Because I have worked as a dive instructor for so long even if I am just diving for pleasure I always seem to lend a hand to others being the first to spot things that if otherwise wasn’t pointed out become a problem. I swim over to assist the diver who is having an issue tucking in his submersible gauge. My eyes smile at him, the ocean brings out the best in all of us. We look out for one another we are all apart of a huge community, the ‘diving world’ and we are family. Safety is also key from the moment we step on the boat.

    As I look around there is so much life beneath here. Do fish and marine life see us the way we see them? Maybe aliens do exist, I guess to them we are!  I imagine it must be scary for a very small animal. Think about it, seeing huge piercing eyes, bright beaming lights, huge streams of bubbles, very loud breathing and a creature, unlike anything you have ever seen descending from above. Swimming up to you getting closer and closer and all you can do is hide in your shell.

    I would piss in my shell! LOL :D creepy humans…

    My buddy and I decide to descend a bit deeper. At this point, our max depth is 80ft, as we descend it gets colder and there is less light. I turn on my strobe lights. There are tons of bright orange sponges and whispering sea whips. “Aim, rule of thirds, focus, and fire! Flash… and I capture this.

    How beautiful is that? Sandy never poses for these shots she always just seems to be floating effortlessly cruising along the wall, looking out for algae and checking out small critters. As you can see my strobe lights produce a burst of light that compensates for the lose of natural light due to depth.

    I tell myself: “What an incredible capture Katie! Great exposure and composition.” I just love doing this, it’s so much fun to produce images I can use to educate you about what it looks like under there. It’s such a unique experience to be so deep and gazing at the surface. It gives me a sense of being so fragile and small in such a huge ecosystem thriving with thousands of different species all co-existing. Only 7% of the ocean has been discovered and we have yet to explore the vastness of such a huge mysterious being. Can you imagine what must be swimming around down there? (oooohhh so creeeeppyyy! LOL) There is so much I want to know about it! So much I want to talk about… But you have to experience this for yourself one day.

    Digging Deeper: 

    When I was a child the ocean consumed me. Facts! I have this vivid memory of my dad taking me to the beach one day when I was 7. I remember standing on the rocks at the south beach shore and staring into the horizon. I was in a daze, I don’t remember much from that day other than the fact that I was staring looking for something and the ocean had me hypnotized. My dad was calling my name and I pretty much drowned it out. I remember crying my eyes out because I couldn’t go swimming or on the boat. For years I felt so lost without the ocean. It is the place I grew up, it has changed my life, it consoled me when I thought I would just ‘give up.’ I have cried tears beneath the ocean. (which may seem impossible but I bawled my eyes out under there, strangely I was able to calm down and breathe lol.) It was my first heartbreak and I went to work and cried most of the day underwater. Hmmm… No one noticed everyone’s eyes were wet anyway! LOL  I also remember making a crazy decision on a rough day to clean the coral nursery with Alex, and I had my first ‘Ear Squeeze’. Omg… we both cried looking into each other eyes, holding hands and at 15ft. (a romantic scene I know but it was more like horror!) The weather was super nasty, and we both knew we shouldn’t have gone. If we descended my ear would hurt and if we tried to ascend my ear would hurt. We were stuck hovering at 15ft in a slight rainstorm for about 10-15 mins. She was having mask problems and I was having ear problems. I remember her squeezing my hands to reassure me we were ok. I don’t know what I would have done that day if she wasn’t with me. From that day we became best friends! We both let our love for the ocean fool us into thinking it was ok to dive. Which made us realize how powerful the ocean is and how humbling of an experience it was.

    Despite all of this, I don’t regret any of it because the ocean has washed away my tears and made me who I am. It’s made me realize that life is precious and you must grab it by the balls, in every sense. (don’t judge me) It reminds me every day how strong I am (really!… I lift very heavy dive and camera equipment.) that I am a badass, one of a kind woman that swims with sharks, saves coral reefs, educates and inspires others and there is no one else in the world as fortunate as I am. (Well maybe someone else is but l am super grateful for my life.) The ocean is my home, I live and work in places people dream of visiting. Who else can say the ocean has done so much for them and has changed their lives the way it has mine? If so, let’s connect I would love to hear your story. <3

    Back to Reality:

    Sandy and I start to ascend, as we make our way up I swim into a thermocline! Ahhhhhh… my favorite. It’s so warm and comforting. I don’t want to swim out, it’s relaxing. (A thermocline is an abrupt temperature change. Above and below which the water is at different temperatures.) Warm rippling water tickles my face, how euphoric, a complete sense of bliss. I can get lost here forever…. beeeeeppppppppppp!!! Ugghh my dive computer goes off waking me up and back to the harsh reality of the fact that its time to ascend. (it reminds me of the alarm clock in the morning, that makes that horrific sound and all I want to do is throw my phone across the room!) But without it, I would be lost here in my dreams that I may not wake up from. Why wasn’t I born with gills? That would solve it all… As we ascend my heart gets heavy, I am in love. I can’t make sense without this body of water. Every minute I am away from it seems meaningless like I am missing something. Sigh! I look down, wave and say I’ll see you tomorrow. 

    As I break the surface there is laughter, excitement, and intense emotion. Sandy and I get onto the boat, and as I look around, I can’t help but notice everyone’s faces. Smiling, laughing, expressing their love for a mutual connection and a love that bonds them as a family of adventurers.  ‘The Ocean a beautiful, vast, mysterious, majestic being we have yet to fully understand that we would cease to exist if it weren’t for it.

    If you would like to know more about scuba diving in The Bahamas contact me I am always up for the conversation. Talk soon! Xoxo Katie 

    “Salt Life or No Life!”

    All Images taken by Katie Storr

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