Fear filled my heart from the day I was recommended to the 'Beginner's Day' at the 4th Annual Pure Grenada Dive Fest - the Virtual Experience. For many Grenadians like myself, we don't like water beyond our knees, and though we are surrounded by water, a large number of us are not strong swimmers. Despite fear settling in the pit of my stomach, I decided to challenge myself and embrace the new experience. As a non-diver, non-swimmer myself, I was thrilled and excited to be a part of the event.
Marlon Forbes, from Eco Dive Grenada, made us feel comfortable as he explained and demonstrated skills such as mask and regulator clearing, wearing and removal of the buoyancy control device, emergency procedures in case of an out of air emergency in the pool of the Coyaba Beach Hotel. Hats off to Marlon! He's clearly a patient and experienced PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor. After our sessions, my knees felt far less shaky than they were going in. I was somewhere between fear, excitement and growing confidence. At the very least, I was confident that the Grenada Hotel and Tourism Association would no longer be risking their chief technical officer if we went diving in the open sea.
The Grenada Hotel and Tourism Association has been contributing to the dive sector for many years. They have contributed toward Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park, home to several of the sculptor's creations and is the world's first underwater sculpture park. Also to new wrecks like Anina and Tyrrel Bay - Grenada's first 'clean' purpose-sunk wrecks. The association was also happy to contribute to Grenada's first Hyperbaric Chamber; all possible through the Tourism Enhancement Fund fueled by tourists' contribution. Thanks to Marlon, I now endeavour to see these wrecks and dive sites in the not too distant future.
Before I do so, I want to step back a little. As part of my plan is to participate in the Get Grenada Swimming, an initiative to teach 8,000 Grenadians to swim (free lessons) by 2021.
Learning to swim or dive is fearful. But here are five lessons from my second beginner's dive experience:
Everyone feels fear some time in life; I believe it's natural. There is nothing wrong with being afraid, and it's okay to share that. But you have to embrace it. I was afraid the first time, but my second experience was far different when compared to the first. The reason for the change? I was able to embrace my fear.
One often underestimates the impact proper breathing has relative to control in situations of panic and fear. While executing the exercise, I noted that by making concerted efforts to control my breathing, it became easier to focus on the experience instead of the fears associated with it.
In scuba diving, it is all about breathing. Controlling the speed and frequency of your breath can help manage your buoyancy underwater.
It's a mind game. Being aware of your breath and gaining control over it, you can also gain control over your mind.
It's okay to get out of your comfort zone once in a while. I believe in those moments we create unique experiences we hope to relive. Take that leap, dive right in.
It is easy sometimes to give up. I wanted to give up so many times; however, my unconscious self reminded me that it only takes a single step to get better at anything.
As I was underneath the water, I remember Marlon's word of advice. "If it gets uncomfortable, give it a minute, and it's gonna get easier". I took his advice and stayed underneath and enjoyed every moment.
Don't let another person's experience hinder you from experiencing something that can be phenomenal. While you and I may indulge in the same thing at the same time, how we experience it, is unique to us.
Indeed I had a wonderful experience and so can you. You must experience Pure Grenada Diving 'Out of this World' experiences. So embrace your fear, control your breathing, take a leap of faith, don't give up, experience something unique and let's dive right in!
Photos by: Arthur Daniel Creative
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