By Brent Collier, Director/Cinematographer

You can feel the heat leave your body. First your toes, then ankles, knees. It takes time. The time between that first dip and comfort is counted in bated breaths. That 5mm layer of thermal insulation goes to work but it’s not instantaneous. Not in the least. It’s that time where the question, "What have I done?” is asked and just a few minutes later, answered.

Certification. #scuba #tennessee #getoutside

A photo posted by Brent Collier (@brentcollier) on

It started at an overlook. A breathtaking 40ft below the surface of Philadelphia Quarry lie the rocky earth, and I could see every fish on the way down. We sit and talk and wonder what the next few hours are going to feel like. We can already see that the experience is going to be worth it but no one is exactly sure if we’ll still “feel” anything after two hours in 52-degree water. 

We’re here to film Erick start his journey to become an open water certified diver and the 52° water temperature is very different from the 80°+ temperature I had when I got my certification in the Caribbean 10 years ago. Jimmy, the instructor, doesn’t waste a ton of time taking a few jabs at us for our apprehension. It’s time. I see people leisurely walking into the water with yips and yelps - their only way to vocalize what they are feeling. I can’t do that. Nope. It’s all or nothing. I rush into the water and immediately dunk myself. Total immersion. These seconds seem to be extended. Maybe the flow of time is directly related to the temperature of water. Maybe those atoms that are constantly bouncing around have slowed to a standstill. I don’t know. All I know is this is when I asked the question, “What have I done?”

Those few moments of cold, they really did something, though. A shock to the system that jolted me awake. Alive. We all felt aware of our existence and capable of doing things that only moments ago we were only sitting and talking about. The thought, "What have I done?" became, "What can I do"? I'll ask that question more now. What can I do? What can we do? Let's go do it.