Algunos días son pura magia.
The angry coastline we all knew so well relaxed its grip for one day and turned into stillness. Force was replaced by softness. After many months of separation, an entire community came together and descended into a world many of us had never seen.
The marine station in Chile where I was located has a 1 kilometer reserve surrounding its jagged coastline. Due to the nature of the rocks, it is normally too dangerous to enter the reserve. Very rarely, however, favorable conditions make it possible for us to explore a world most will never see.
The difference between the reserve and the unprotected coastline is astounding. Schools of fish not normally seen in the unprotected areas take cover among the swaying kelps. The rocks are littered with sea urchins, sea stars, nudibranchs, and loco (a large snail that is a popular seafood item in Chile and is also critically important to the coastal ecosystems). We plunged into the depths to catch a glimpse of the unique world for a small period of time, only returning to the surface out of necessity.
In that precious hour, we did not work in separate labs. We were not from different countries. We were not men or women. We were explorers. We were visitors of the sea. It was one of the most beautiful moments of my time in Chile.
I miss those people dearly. I miss that sea. I miss those moments. But, I will always have them. We will always have those moments.
The sea can tear people apart, but it can also bring them together. That day, it brought us closer. Estuvimos juntos.