When I was younger I was really afraid of the ocean.
I never wanted to go in, but when I did go in, I would only go in up to my knees. My fear of the ocean was because of one reason and one reason only, all the animals in it! Well, four days ago that all completely changed, we went on a sea-kayaking trip on the Sea of Cortez.
It became clear to me on the first day of this trip, that I would be forced to overcome my fears of the ocean. Our guides took us on a motorboat through really big waves to an island that was home to a sea lion colony. Our entire group was supposed to go snorkeling! My plan was that I would just stay on the boat and watch everyone – but to not go into the ocean.
However, the guides told me that we all had to go. So, I put on my wetsuit, and grabbed my flippers and goggles, then sat down on the side of the boat and waited, still not wanting to go in. I sat, staring blankly at the murky water and saw little dark shapes below me lit up by the little amount of light that reached under the surface. I was terrified and scared, with thoughts running through my mind: “You will get bitten in the water,” “ You won’t go in because (fill in any of the million different reasons the water frightens you).”
I sat there, not looking anywhere else but the dark waters below me and not paying attention. Suddenly, Juan, one of the boat drivers, took the initiative and pushed me off the side of the boat. I fell in the water shocked and scared.
Acting like a fish out of water, I floundered about, desperate for air and something to hold onto for reassurance that I was safe and not in danger.
My partner Sergio calmed me down by holding my hand. He encouraged me to look underwater, so I looked, trusting that he would not have put me in any danger. Below me I saw a magnificent array of colors and shapes of fish, coral, rocks, and water. At that moment I felt like I couldn’t be touched by anything harmful. I realized I was not scared anymore of the ocean and its deep, scary waters. I slowly let go of Sergio’s hand, and swam around becoming more and more interested in the ocean’s wonders, my mind filling with questions.
Swimming with the sea lions and other fish, I was learning that the ocean isn’t necessarily a scary place. The ocean is filled with creatures that are both interesting and enjoyable.
Now as I look back at that specific event I realize that I had nothing to be afraid of at all. My fears were based on the stereotype of the ocean being dangerous.