Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A View To Snorkel

Oh how I wish I could get over this foolish fear I have of being chomped on by a shark if I get into the water.

The area across from my house is the perfect snorkel place in August. The water is calm and warm and the water is crystal clear.

The dark spots you see in this picture are lava rocks, some just barely under the surface




I have tried snorkeling here twice in the last six years. The first time I ended up hyperventilating and rushing back to shore. The second time went a little better and I managed to stay out for fifteen minutes. Until I looked up and saw that my companions were too far away. I panicked and rushed back to shore again. I have not been in this water for almost four years now.

My neighbor, the recently married Carlos, asked me recently if I would like to go snorkeling with him. I politely thanked him and explained my fear. He did not laugh, as I expected. Instead, with all sincerity and looking me right in the eyes, he said, "I will protect you!" I told him that if we can get six people to all go at the same time, I would try it again. I have my fingers crossed that he can't find that many people!

The below picture is directly across from my front porch. The little beach you see is where the turtles have been coming to lay their eggs. Always a joy to behold. Even if it is too dark to really see any great detail. It is enough to know that they are there.


I have taken seriously some of the advice given to me recently in the Comments section. I am determined to get out of the house at least once per day. Over the next two days, we are going to take a little trip to the beaches downtown and see what has been happening there.

20 comments:

lisa said...

Oh the fear, let me tell you, I know where you are coming from, I would go to my sons baseball games and basketball, and I would sit by myself 90 percent of the time because I was not comfortable talking to people I don't know. If I went into a gas station and it was full, I wouldn't even attempt to go into it, I would find a station that was practically empty, because the situation made me nervous, I have thought about taking my horse and going to a trainer and clinic, I haven't done it because the situation scares the hell out of me. People just scare the hell out of me and new situations. I hate it, I want to be able to do things without feeling that way. But I am trying and as I get older the better it gets but I am still not there by a long shot!

KfromMichigan said...

I'm so glad you are getting out of the house. Now don't you feel better? (at least a little) Be careful in the water! I'm a stay at the edge person.

Theresa in Mèrida said...

I share your fear of sharks. It isn't irrational, oh, no. Of course, you can minimize the dangers by being smart. I also am scared of being under water.
I am glad to hear that you are venturing out. Life is too short to spend it a prisoner.
regards,
Theresa

Ann said...

That's great, Wayne! Little steps will lead to more & more.

Kathy said...

Learning to snorkel can be a little disconcerting.

Sharks don't eat people. Too many crunchy bits. Taste, maybe...eat--no. You're not on the menu. Do not under any circumstances enter the water with "dun dun dun dun dun dun" running thru your head.

I'd recommend doing a few test runs up in the shallow sands and very calm water of Playa Norte. Wade in, put on your gear (spit in the face mask and rub to make sure it doesn't fog up on you!) check the fit (no leaks!) and slowly sit down in water that is a few feet deep. Put your head under and face - down. That way if you get overwhelmed you can just look up. Learn to blast your snorkel...with a little air puff it out your mouth as fast as you can. That clears water out of it so you're not sucking lungfuls of water (which freaks me out!) ..then float...face down, and just relax. Let the current carry you. Breathe slowly. Don't swim, just float. Arms out...legs relaxed and look around. Feel your snorkel..it should be angled back just a little. See? No sharks. Maybe a few fish. Certainly a few small rays. Barracuda love to hang out in the first few inches below the surface...can you see them darting away? Silvery-white. They don't bite either.

If you get out on the rocks or coral, look for the slender antennae of reef lobsters. They back into crevasses and stick their antennae out. Reef squid love to hang out like fighter pilots in formation, flashing colors. Sargent Majors are very nosy and aren't afraid of swimming right up to you! They don't bite either.

I know there's some deeper spots on Playa Norte where sargasso collects. Float over those. Sea cucumbers hang out in that...they look like twisting moving zucchini with wings. They don't bite.

I'd totally hold your hand and help you. I love teaching people to snorkel. Imagine Jacques Cousteau in your head.."welcome to zee unerzea world of Jacques...Cooostow...."

Good luck! I saw someone on tv once who took on every challenge thrown her way (Allie Wentworth to be exact...during the winter olympics) and I think it was Robin Roberts who said.."You are a YES person, aren't you Allie? You say YES to everything..." and Allie said.."Saying No stops me from experiencing life..and since this is my only shot, I'm going to say YES as often as I can."

I love that. (But I still won't skydive.) (Or eat oysters)

Anonymous said...

hi wayne,

what a lovely little beach. i can relate to your fear of sharks because after seeing "jaws" i developed that fear myself and didn't go back in the ocean for about a year. however, i eventually overcame the fear (actually it's still there to some degree) and have gone snorkeling many times, in quite a few different countries, even going out alone once which was not smart, but thank God i haven't had any problems. still we can't just tell you to go in the water. that decision is yours and yours alone. i hope you do eventually overcome the fear so that you can enjoy the beauty under the water.

have a great day!

teresa in lkae stevens

Linda Dorton said...

Oh buddy, do I wish I could come and help you out of this one! When I learned to scuba dive, I was CERTAIN I would kill myself because when I got scared I held my breath, and the one thing you DON'T want to do is that...thus, I became a good instructor because I had to overcome a major fear to open myself up to the wonderful world underwater. And one thing that struck me was what a perfect world it is below...no one messes with you unless you mess with them. In the calm waters of the photo I am looking at, if you ever saw a shark it would be a nurse shark, and they are so docile we used to pet them. Think of them as giant catfish.

It is important to snorkel or dive with a good buddy, one who is by your side. Communication in water is limited to hand signals, unless you are bobbing up all the time, and that is NOT the best way to snorkel, flipping away at the reef with your fins, stirring up the water, becoming uncomfortable....it is best to make a complete plan before you even enter the water, such as...let's swim fifty meters against the current first, then swim out a bit, and return slowly with the current toward the shore, getting out at this/that point there. Then stay together. Hold hands. You can point out cool stuff if you hold hands, one squeeze means look over here. Oh watching fish and imagining life underwater is fascinating and I hope you are able to conquer your fear of sharks.

DO NOT watch any frikkin MONSTERQUEST shows or shit like that because they will sensationalize situations that have simple explanations...not involving humans. The animals are not rebelling all over the oceans and mountains. I don't believe that.

Anonymous said...

hi again,

tried to e-mail this but can't figure out where to push "send" using that format. i've tried using it other times to e-mail other people or businesses, but haven't figured it out. any clues? even my husband who is much more computer savvy than i has trouble with it. i remember we once found an icon of an envelope and pushed that, but now i can't find it. anyway, here's my story.

yesterday i was out with my walking partner when we heard some loud barking. we looked over and saw 2 little dogs, a fat chihuahua and a dachsund, barking their little heads off at a huge dog. it looked like a yellow lab but bigger. i immediately thought about you and what you had said about possibly getting a little dog because they bark a lot. at first i thought the dogs all lived there and that they were just playing, but all of a sudden all we could see was this big ball of yellow fur being chased by these little guys on their tiny legs. they ran past several houses, right down the middle of the street. of course the big dog hightailed it out of there. he went into the wrong yard, he was so scared, and then found his way home. i felt so sorry for him, but at the same time it was quite comical. so wayne, if these little dogs can chase away a huge dog, they would surely scare off an intruder, although, God willing, you will never go through that experience again. so it's time, get out there and get yourself one, or maybe two, of those little yappers.

teresa in lake stevens

p.s. in the middle of writing this it dawned on me that i could have just copied your e-mail address and written from my e-mail acct. next time. sorry this was so long but i just had to share that story.

Linda said...

Good for you on being determined to get out, Wayne!!!

Linda
IC

Anonymous said...

wear a flotation device while snorkeling. gives you a sense of confidence.

el oso

CoreyAndMarye said...

Hey Wayne, why not just mosey on up to the Avalon Reef Club and snorkel in the King's Bath. Tons of fish, no sharks and it is only about 5 feet deep. Bring some dry cereal, they lovvvve frosted flakes. :)

Jackie said...

Baby steps...

AHealey said...

I am glad you are venturing out Wayne. My Mom always says to just take one step in the right direction, even if it is a baby step. This has kept me going and pulled me through some awful times in my life.

I share your fear of the water, not because of sharks, but because I think I am going to get swept away by a current and drown. How about snorkeling by the Avalon bridge first, even I feel safe there. When you feel more confident you could go out by your house. By the way, how nice to have such a good and understanding friend in Carlos. A friend who will respect all your fears and worries is priceless.

Life's a Beach! said...

Craig snorkels out in front of Luna Turquesa. A local told him to tie some kind of brightly colored innertube or something to him so boats know he's there. I'm not a big snorkeling fan because the mask makes me feel claustrophobic, but I do it once in awhile. Glad you're getting out! Been there with the fear and anxiety. No fun.

BlueSky said...

How wonderful to have such great snorkeling so close!! I am so jealous right now!! I can understand your fears, I was scared too when I first started snorkeling but now I LOVE it! Just keep at it and eventually you will get over your fear. It's a whole other world down there and it will take you to another place if you let it....

D and B W said...

Thumbs up Wayne thumbs up! So glad you are getting out a little at a time.

Jonna said...

Hey Wayne! Come over and visit me in Akumal this weekend! I'm going to be there for the weekend and we can go to YalKu which is snorkel heaven - it's shark free too. It is an inlet where fresh water enters the sea and is too shallow and rocky - no sharks, honest. Or, a cenote. no sharks there either. I'll buy you dinner.

Islagringo said...

Before I address your comments, know this: I am a very good swimmer and have no fear of drowning. I know how to snorkel, I just am afraid of it.

Islagringo said...

Lisa: I am shocked to learn this. I would have never guessed that you had any fears at all. Like people have been telling me; baby steps. You are such a beautiful person, you need to give people a chance to get to know you.

kfrommichigan: I hear ya!

TheresainMerida: you are so right. I have undone my home prison shackle and am determined to start living again. Except not among the sharks!

Ann: Let's hope so!

Kathy: thanks for the refresher course. Very sound advice and I bet your are a great teacher. I know how to do all that stuff, plus how to clear my mask without standing up. I just don't enjoy doing it yet.

teresainlakestevens: I really hope I can get over this. Funny thing. In Huatulco last year on the Pacific, I snorkeled everyday. Not very far from shore, but i did it every day. I think that 14' Mako that was caught by the Avalon Beach Club really freaked me out.

Linda: it's thanks to comments like yours that I am putting on my shoes again!

el oso: I have tried them and I find that they just get in the way. Same thing with boogie boards.

CoreyandMary: I remember swimming in the Kings Bath long before the Avalon existed. it was still ruins of El Presidente out there. The pool had a stone ledge running around it but the center was really deep, maybe 30'. I wonder what happened that it is so shallow now?

AHealey: your Mother was right. And Carlos is a good friend. I value his friendship more than I can say to him.

LAB: I should know where Luna Turquesa is but I can't place it right now. There are hardly any boats ever in front of my house. And if there are, they are way out because the rocks are too close to the surface here for them. Good advice to be sure you can be seen though.

BlueSky: I certainly hope so!

DanBW: thanks!

Jonna: that sounds like a wonderful plan and would be a great tonic. Except I can't this weekend. Please invite me again but with a little more warning.

Islagringo said...

Lisa: I am shocked to learn this. I would have never guessed that you had any fears at all. Like people have been telling me; baby steps. You are such a beautiful person, you need to give people a chance to get to know you.

kfrommichigan: I hear ya!

TheresainMerida: you are so right. I have undone my home prison shackle and am determined to start living again. Except not among the sharks!

Ann: Let's hope so!

Kathy: thanks for the refresher course. Very sound advice and I bet your are a great teacher. I know how to do all that stuff, plus how to clear my mask without standing up. I just don't enjoy doing it yet.

teresainlakestevens: I really hope I can get over this. Funny thing. In Huatulco last year on the Pacific, I snorkeled everyday. Not very far from shore, but i did it every day. I think that 14' Mako that was caught by the Avalon Beach Club really freaked me out.

Linda: it's thanks to comments like yours that I am putting on my shoes again!

el oso: I have tried them and I find that they just get in the way. Same thing with boogie boards.

CoreyandMary: I remember swimming in the Kings Bath long before the Avalon existed. it was still ruins of El Presidente out there. The pool had a stone ledge running around it but the center was really deep, maybe 30'. I wonder what happened that it is so shallow now?

AHealey: your Mother was right. And Carlos is a good friend. I value his friendship more than I can say to him.

LAB: I should know where Luna Turquesa is but I can't place it right now. There are hardly any boats ever in front of my house. And if there are, they are way out because the rocks are too close to the surface here for them. Good advice to be sure you can be seen though.

BlueSky: I certainly hope so!

DanBW: thanks!

Jonna: that sounds like a wonderful plan and would be a great tonic. Except I can't this weekend. Please invite me again but with a little more warning.