Can I be real with you all for a minute? I’m not an avid swimmer and it’s a shame. I’ve gone swimming countless times but my swimming typically entails a few strokes below water before I get tired and scamper off to the edge of the pool to catch my breath. So what did I do when I found out snorkeling was one of the activities we could take part in on our honeymoon? I said, “LET’S DO IT.” I said this mainly because someone told me we’d snorkel in a shallow area of the ocean. I was pumped to experience this for the first time with Chris and tackle my fear of swimming in the ocean. But as the boat stopped about 5 miles from the coast and we were told to start lining up at the edge of the boat I began to panic. The water was far from shallow! I watched the first person slip into the water and awkwardly told our instructors I wasn’t ready which fell onto deaf ears since I was the next person that had all of their equipment on. Womp. I looked at everyone else fastening their life vests and adjusting their fins and masks and wanted to freak all the way out (or at least hold someone’s hand the entire time). I inflated my life vest a little more then gently got into the water and internally started to lose my marbles. I don’t think anyone was paying attention to me at first as I frantically tried to navigate the water using fins. Chris jumped into the water soon after me and instantly activated his awesome swimming skills. I sternly told him to stay by my side (sorry babe) and he tried his best but everyone was so concerned with the beautiful schools of fish and coral reef that I didn’t want to ruin their time by throwing a fit in the water.
Note: I’ve got to thank one of the instructors that eventually saw me act a fool and let me use his lifesaver. I’ve also got to thank Chris and our friend Ryan for untangling the rope on the lifesaver that got caught around my fins.
It took me about 10 minutes to master mouth breathing and to quit panicking every time I put my face in the water. The water was at least 10 feet deep. Everyone else swam at an easy pace admiring the sea creatures but I was frantically swimming to avoid getting stuck at the back of the pack and potentially getting devoured by a shark. Dramatic, I know, but I obviously wasn’t thinking very clearly. Twenty minutes later I was still swimming faster than most of our group out of anxiousness and it was hard to go slow enough to match Chris’ pace so I ended up on my own. Looking back at it I’m thankful for the alone time in the water because I actually started to enjoy the process. I was apart of the ocean swimming up close and personal with turtles and fish. I eventually managed to slow my breathing down and allowed myself to float to conserve energy. The water was serene and peaceful. I was peaceful. I gave the lifesaver back to the instructor and trusted that my body knew exactly what to do. I felt natural and for the first time – in control. I was so proud of myself that I opted to get back into the water when we visited an area with starfish. The snorkeling experience ended with me getting seasick on the ride back to the resort but that didn’t take away from what I had experienced. I faced my fear of the open water and confronted my borderline irrational fear of swimming in deep water! I realized that sometimes you have to ditch the pep talks and hand holding and jump into the unknown. You never know what experiences you may miss by being held back by fear. My next task is to take formal swim lessons then snorkel without a life vest – because, go big or go home!
I’m sure I was off swimming aimlessly when this photo was taken of Chris and his swimming buddy but it’s a cool shot nonetheless!
Have you been snorkeling before? What was it like for you? I’d love to hear from you and feel free to share any awesome snorkeling locations you know of!