I’ve always wanted to scuba dive at night.
For some reason, it’s not as common practice as daytime diving. It’s certainly not a popular choice among our dive clan. This year, I was determined to make it happen, though. So I announced that I’d be going, even if no one else wanted to go. I found a female divemaster and booked the trip.
Last night, it finally happened.
We usually dive off of boats, but this dive was set up to enter from the shore. We got all our gear on, minus the fins, and backed ourselves down a ladder, one by one. Apparently the coral at the bottom of the ladder was very shallow and covered in black sea urchins, which will slice you if you touch them. (believe me, I already know about these)
Our instructions were to fill our vests with air, get our fins on as quickly as possible, put our regulator (breathing line) in, and then push, off the ladder backward, to swim on our backs to a little cove area in the reef to avoid the urchins.
All I could think about were those silly sea urchins, so as soon as I hit the bottom rung on the ladder, I pushed off. I started trying to swim backward and got nothing but a mouthful of wave. I don’t usually freak, but I kinda freaked. Swimming with a tank, and dive gear over shallow coral without fins, isn’t easy. . . even if you’re calm.
I frantically tried to get my fins on, while sinking up and down and bumping the coral in the water. The divemaster, who was waiting in the cove, was yelling for me to fill my vest with air so I would at least float. At that moment, I couldn’t remember which button was air in and which button meant air out. I pushed the wrong one.
Finally, I got my fins on, got my regulator in and met up with my group in the cove. When diving, breathing should be slow and steady. Let’s just say, mine was not. I kind of freaked again. I thought there was something wrong with my regulator. I made the divemaster check the valves to make sure it was working.
My air was totally working fine.
It was my breathing that wasn’t working. I was all kinds of worked up and I’d never been like that on a dive before. So the air felt so tight coming through that tube. We started our dive and within five minutes, my breathing normalized and voila! The air flowed freely.
I can’t even begin to tell you how extraordinary that experience turned out to be.
We saw countless stunning creatures. There were green moray eels, spotted moray eels, yellow stingrays, southern stingrays, lobster, brittle stars, bioluminescence and my favorite of all, OCTOPUS! (you guys, those things are incredible!!) When we focused our flashlights on the coral reef, it lit up light the most beautiful work of art, in a brilliant full-color display.
It was breathtaking.
I found myself giggling and smiling like a little kid the entire trip. Then I’d laugh that I was giggling. The mystery, the surprise, the unknown, it was all so strangely wonderful. Even seeing the crossing lights of other divers in the distance made me giggle. I felt like an underwater James Bond. 😉
It was seriously the experience of a lifetime.
As soon as my mask hit the surface, all I could say was, That was amazing!!! That was SO cool!!! I can’t stop smiling, even now, while I write about it.
I almost let fear screw it up.
It snuck up on me. I wasn’t planning to be afraid. There are a lot of worse things that could happen on a dive than bumping into a sea urchin, but I let it distract me. I lost my focus on the process and let fear take the reigns. What I knew, what I wanted, and all the planning were lost in my fear.
It’s a great reminder of the power of fear.
It can take hold in tiny little ways. It can pop up when you least expect it. Letting it sneak in can completely change your course. It can make it hard to breathe. It can pull you down and suck you under.
Where are you allowing fear to sneak into your life?
Are you nervous about a career change? Are you apprehensive about a new relationship? A child growing up too fast? College graduation? Are you afraid of a diagnosis? The dentist?? 😉
Let fear wake you up.
Let it make you alert, but don’t let it take you down. Don’t let it change your course. Make decisions based on facts and your heart.
Keep breathing slow and steady. Remember the process.
Pray, meditate, plan, connect with your friends and trust the process.
You might be amazed at what you discover.
To more love,