Never in a million years did I think I would be sitting here writing about snorkelling in the Maldives! Of all the things I wanted to share with you about this magical place – I honestly didn’t think snorkelling was going to be one of them.
Let me tell you why. I don’t like water.
Now when I say ‘don’t like’ maybe that’s a bit strong and not exactly correct. I do like water, and of course why would someone travel to the beauty that is the Maldives if you don’t like water – it just doesn’t make sense. The Maldives has some of the most beautiful water I have ever seen. The colours are incredible!
What I actually mean is that I’m not much of a swimmer. I can swim – but not very well so I tend to stay out of the water if I can or at least go no further than my feet can touch the ground. I don’t really know where this fear of water has come from. Nothing has happened to make me feel so uncomfortable in the sea but I just worry that if anything happens I’m not a strong enough swimmer to get myself out of trouble.
Are you like that or is it just me?
Over the years my confidence has grown but I’m definitely not the first person to jump into the sea when I’m on holiday.
Now I have to admit to this also (and I’m praying that some of my fellow black women can relate) – I don’t like going into water because I don’t like getting my hair wet! Yep I said it! Super vain I know.
Until recently I have been wearing extensions and even though I have now taken them out, I generally don’t wash my hair more than once a week. It just makes it to dry, so if I’m going swimming then I have to wash my hair more often and if I am wearing extensions and wash them to much then they go really dry. I know, I know, so very vain but I’m just being real.
So when I found out that we were going on holiday to the Maldives of course I was super excited but did wonder what I was going to do about the water. You can not go all the way to the Maldives and not swim – that’s criminal. The water is amazing! I also knew that my partner would want to go snorkelling.
So I decided that it was either now or never. There is not a better place on this earth to learn to snorkel than the Maldives – even though you can pretty much just look at the sea and watch some amazing fish swim by.
We stayed at the One & Only Reethi Rah and they had a snorkelling trip to the see the turtles. I wasn’t sure whether I could do it but signed up anyway – this was either going to be really brave or really stupid!
I had two days to learn to snorkel on the beach and the fact that the water was so shallow was a blessing. It really helped me get used to wearing the snorkelling equipment and to keep my head under water.
Now I’m not going to lie, I did panic a few times. It just felt so unnatural to not be able to breathe through your nose and so I had to keep stopping but sometimes in life you have to give yourself a pep talk and change your thoughts. I tried really hard to keep thinking positive thoughts and just breathe as normally as I could – and it worked!
All of a sudden I started to enjoy it and was amazed at what was underneath the sea. It’s like another world down there.
Yes I was still a little scared but was so in awe of the amazing fish that it was a great distraction from my fear and knowing that the water was shallow enough for me to stand up in any time really helped.
I honestly felt like even just practicing in the water was such a big achievement for me. I think the fact that the water is so beautiful in the Maldives really made the difference. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. Crystal clear, all shades of blue and as warm as a bath!
I felt comfortable here from the moment I arrived and it just felt like the perfect time to overcome my fear.
Will it be easy – no, but in life you have to take a chance. Whether it leads to success or failure, you can still be proud you had a go.
So the big day came and I was quite shocked at how calm I was on the boat. Obviously the sea was a lot deeper than at the resort so that did worry me and the hardest thing was actually getting into the water but I knew I wanted to at least give it a try – even if I only stayed in the water for 5 minutes, at least I’ll have tried.
When I looked back at the island it looked so small and we were so far from land that it did cross my mind that if anything goes wrong I’m in trouble.
I can’t swim that far. I’ll never make it.
As you can see – my mind was having a mini panic attack but the water was so peaceful it was like God had ordered stillness just for me because he knew I would’ve been petrified if the sea was choppy.
Once in the water I managed to remain calm – I think that was a combination of knowing I had on a life jacket so couldn’t drown and having the most amazing guide to help me. He held my hand the whole way and I will be forever grateful.
There’s nothing wrong in asking for a bit of help when you need it. It’s much better to feel the fear and have some support than to be totally paralysed with fear and do nothing.
He guided me along pointing out the turtles, fish, octopus and checking every few minutes to make sure I was ok and I knew that the boat was close by so if ever I felt like I’d had enough he would call it to come and get me.
I managed to stay out in the water for nearly 1/2 hour and never panicked once. Who would’ve thought?
Two days ago I had never snorkelled in my life and here I was swimming with the fish and experiencing how awesome sea life is. I saw turtles and fish of every colour and size – truly magnificent.
My confidence grew the longer I stayed in the water and part of me thought ‘Why haven’t you tried this sooner! What were you so scared of?’ Better late than never eh!
I know that nothing happens before its time and I know that this will forever be a reminder to me of the beauty that lays on the other side of fear.
I honestly still can’t believe I did it and I know many people will be thinking that I’m being a bit dramatic and that snorkelling is easy but I’m sure everyone in life has a fear of something.
Whether it’s flying, spiders, public speaking, having no money or changing jobs – there is nothing wrong with being afraid.
Deciding to finally launch out into the deep and try to snorkel not only opened up an amazing new world but also showed me that once you make a decision to at least give something a try you’re one step closer to living a life that is a bit more bold, brave and beautiful!
Finally a big thank you to One & Only Reethi Rah for an amazing experience and to Philippe & Simone for the underwater images and who knows, maybe I’ll see you next year for a swim with the sharks!