The 'perfect' thermocline, it almost sounds magical doesn't it. I have to say that for me it has that magical feeling about it. When I encountered this phenomenon I had never heard about the term thermocline before. In retrospect I scuba dived through several off them before, I just didn't know they where called thermoclines. A thermocline can appear anywhere in the world, however this encounter happened to be on a forlorn beach on the Caribbean island of Curacao. Not a bad place for some magic!
I was on Curacao for a three week scuba diving holiday to become a rescue diver and meeting up with a friend who was working (at that time) at the dive center I was diving with. This specific day we would go for some fun diving (not course related) and he had the perfect place in mind. A local beach not well known to tourists. It took some effort in reaching the beach and getting our gear down the many steep stairs, but it was all worth the effort. Als we had some help from his wife and the friend with whom I was on holiday. In the end we where the only ones on the beach during this whole day, not bad for a Caribbean island.
While his wife and my friend where enjoying the sun we set up our scuba equipment for our first dive. It was an amazing dive as we where the only scuba divers here. After submerging we made a really steep descend down a steep wall. Somewhere between 25 and 30 meters. I suddenly got the feeling someone poured a bucket of ice water over my head. I have to say we where scuba diving without a wetsuit as the water temperature was so warm. However this also meant that we could feel the thermocline very well! My buddy saw my reaction and turned my attention to the thermocline area. We floated above the thermocline and just let our hands float through the colder water and of course the otherway around. It's a really weird feeling that you have two different temperatures in the water divided by a thin line.
At last my buddy brought me with my eyesight on exactly the same level as where the two different layers of water met. Usually a thermocline isn't an exact straight line and the two layers are prone to mixing up. However this is where the magic happened and why I call it a 'perfect' thermocline. In this instance you had a perfect straight line. You could literally see the difference between the two layers as the warmer part was slightly a lighter color blue than the bottom part which was way darker. Also you could see a rimpling effect which you can compare with the rimpling effect on air on a road during a hot summer day.
After the dive my buddy explained what we saw and experienced was a thermocline and a beautiful one at that! Since than I experienced several thermoclines in many countries and dive sites, nonetheless none so beautiful and perfect as this one. Still I'm not done scuba diving and I have many more dive sites to explore, so who knows what the futures holds. I hope some more magic!
In the 'My Stories' series
1. My very first scuba dive in the Netherlands
2. A first dive without a guide
3. My biggest scuba diving mistake
4. Why I love wreck diving
5. What does scuba diving mean to me
6. Scuba diving in an emerald sea
7. The best wreck dive ever!
8. Using my rescue training in practice
9. A drift on the Red Sea
10. My weirdest dive
11. The annoying and dangerous dive buddy
12. The ruined night dive