Getting back on the (sea)horse…diving the Ningaloo Reef

Time to conquer my fear!  I’ve been trying to get back into diving since a gnarly dive in Komodo, Indonesia a couple years ago.  I still have a lot of anxiety but am confident I can conquer this.  The fear will be there but I need to dance with it.  I’ve done almost 100 dives…I’m a good diver skill-wise but my mind is scared.  Mind over matter…what a great opportunity to jump back in.

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I actually sleep very well the night before and wake up ready to do this…less anxiety than I used to get before dives, even before I got spooked.

Conditions seem pretty good, a little surface wind and chop but much better than the previous day.  I have Nick as my divemaster.  Nick also has been living in the hostel so he’s a familiar face and is really chill.  He talks about just cruising along, no worries.  I get under water and I’m feeling pretty good.  Then, as has happened a bunch of times since Indonesia, I feel panicked, like I want to go back up.  And then my mask starts leaking and I’m trying to clear it but nervous so not clearing it well and getting flustered.  I get Nick’s attention, make the hand-shaking (not well) gesture, then point to my mask.  He holds my mask up to clear it and I blow out and it’s all good.  My eyes sting a little from the salt water but the whole thing was actually a nice distraction from my fear.  My mask kept leaking a little that whole first dive but I had regained my poise for the dive and did some swim throughs, upside down maneuvers, and spins though I still felt a little shaky.

Second dive felt really good and comfortable.  No panic, no anxiety.  I felt a short twinge of it but nothing really manifested. I think I just have to do a bunch of more dives consecutively in easy, warm water to get my confidence back, refresh my skills, and learn to dance with the fear.

NEAT SWIM THROUGHS
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COOL OCTOPUSES:
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RANDOM COOL MARINE LIFE
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I think the difference now is that I’m no longer resisting where I am and what I am feeling.  For a lot of the last two years or with any “loss”, I’ve really resisted accepting the fact that I’ve lost something (e.g., a comfort level wit diving, a heart with no palpitations, a boyfriend) and been upset with the reality.  It’s really impeded me from moving past and forward.  On this trip, I finally accepted that I might always feel this fear from now on AND that I can dance with that fear and move forward and still enjoy diving…maybe more so now than before.  I can enjoy just being out underwater in a magical landscape.  I might feel pangs of panic for a few moments but that’s okay because I know I can push through them and be great the rest of the dive.

Maybe, that is what thriving at life is about…just accepting reality, rolling with whatever you are feeling without resisting it, and then figuring out how to move forward.

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