Wednesday, October 27, 2010

12 New Things - Snorkeling!

Since I was surprised with a trip to Jamaica for my 30th birthday, I made an executive decision to change my list around a bit (edits can be found on the original list here), so for October my "new thing" was snorkeling!

Why do I have "new thing" in quotations? Well, last year we went to Jamaica and I attempted to snorkel once before, so it doesn't make it entirely new. The problem was that I didn't breathe properly and instead of being calm and trying to figure it out - I panicked. And when I panic, I become afraid and averse to trying the thing I panicked about again because I hate the feeling of fear that comes along with a mild panic attack.

Leave it to my husband to know when to push with something. As part of the surprise trip, he went on Amazon and bought us each a dry snorkel & mask set (meaning a snorkel that will not open if it goes underwater). Because he knows me well enough to know that when I get nervous all I need is a bit of coaxing to realize everything is going to be OK, he went in the pool with me two days in a row before anyone else got in to give me a "snorkel lesson". Day one was mostly learning to breathe above water in and out of my mouth with the snorkel, and day two was actually spending time swimming with the mask & snorkel. When I asked for a day three (there was my nervousness) - Steve looked at me for a good minute and said "OK, I'll sign us up for tomorrow's 9:30 snorkeling session".

Out in the open water. Oh boy.

Terrible picture of a nervous me on my way to snorkel. Barrington is driving the boat. He rocks.

The boat took us out a couple of miles to a dive site with a coral reef and a sunken ship. Everyone threw on their fins and hopped off the sides of the boat... except me. I was having a hard time manipulating my flippers, and when I finally got my legs over the side of the boat - I felt my chest start to tighten and I looked at the water. The panic was starting to set in - but then I heard Steve from about 10 feet away calling me. I looked up and he was smiling, and reassured me that he wasn't going anywhere until I was in the water. So... I took a deep breath, and jumped in.

...and swallowed a ton of sea water, which resulted in about 3-4 minutes of coughing to get it out of my lungs and passages. Good work, Danielle.

Once I was done returning the ocean to its rightful spot NOT in my body - I looked around and saw Steve 5 feet away from me. He looked at me and smiled, said "You can do this, I'm right here." I put my face down in the water, and Steve stayed right beside me with words of encouragement until I was comfortable pulling away from him on my own.

Look, Mom! No hands!
Just keep swimming...

We were out in the big blue ocean for about a half an hour before they called us back in. I kept my face down the whole time, and my reward was lots of hugs and smiles from Steve. What was really cool about the whole experience was that I was able to see a whole part of God's creation that humans don't typically get a chance to see. I was a silent, floating observer to the whole world down below in the deep. I saw beautiful fish swimming in coral reefs, and even had a small school swim by about a foot beneath me (I stayed still as they passed by). I understood why Steve had so loved the experience last year, and am actually a bit excited to go snorkeling with him again. I love that we have one more thing that's so cool that we can do together. 


Steve Athanas said...

Based upon your experience last year, and your water-up-the-nose right after getting out of the boat this year, I can't adequately explain how proud of you I am for sticking with it.

Now.. how about those SCUBA lessons? Australia anyone?

Laura Haven said...

I love snorkeling! I'm so glad that you got enjoy it, Danielle! Maybe someday we can go somewhere together where there is snorkeling.... ;)

Mags said...

Yay!! I'm so glad you had fun and that you snorkeled.