A distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, or pain, anticipation of the possibility that something unpleasant will occur.
Who among you wanted to do something, yet fear stopped you?
How many of you did it even though it was risky?
How did it feel? Wasn’t it fulfilling? Wasn’t it fascinating?
Friends, what we fear is often the possibility, dream or challenge in disguise. Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.
Like most people I have many fears. However, I did not let these fears stop me from doing what I love to do. I am a person with a lot of affection for adventure and my all-time favorite is Scuba diving. Although I was scared to rely on one little hose for oxygen, I did not let the fear stop me from experiencing it.
My first dive was in 2009, in Subic, Zambales, Philippines. I was the only Female Filipina in that class and most of them were guys from different countries. Our instructor was a PADI certified dive master. Before going to an open water, the instructor took me and other new divers to practice the basics needed to make sure we would be safe under water.
We practiced using our regulators, we tested our equipment and got used to the feeling of breathing underwater. Once we learned how to clear our masks, popping our ears and replacing our regulators, we hopped on to the boat and headed to the site to explore the bottom of the ocean.
As soon as we got there, the instructor showed us how to jump backward with our gear. When I first hit the water, and felt that I am going down with my heavy gear, I was terrified. The fear of sinking and the logic that I can't breathe even though I had breathing gear was quite scary. That fear is an all-consuming vacuum of terror, something that forces me out of water and never to dive again.
Nevertheless, I faced that fear, cleared my mind and reminded myself of my purpose going to the ocean. I was there to witness the beauty of underworld. I followed my instructor, and the rest of the divers and I descended into the ocean. Before going deeper, we stopped at about 5 meters for few minutes to pop our ears and clear our mask. As we descended further and further, another world opened up. The site was stunning and I was amazed with the experience. All the fears I felt earlier were gone. Swimming with all those fishes was exhilarating.
After my first dive, I was in love with it and couldn't wait to go back. After a few more reef dives I decided to bring my diving experience to the next level, a shipwreck diving. There are many World War II wrecks around Subic Bay. The one I liked the most was the USS New York, the first armored cruiser to enter U.S. Navy service. It was built in 1890's used in WWI and II, with 8 guns still intact lying deep in the mud with a depth of 17-27 meters.
It is said to be the scariest and trickiest shipwreck site in the Philippines. Because of that I was thrilled to go deep and witness the breathtaking experience. It was scary knowing that there were few good divers that lost their lives in this wreck.
The visibility was low and the wreck being surrounded with the green algae made it more difficult. Floating in the luminous green water was very disorienting experience. I can't imagine a more terrifying death than being stuck inside a pitch-dark wreck, disoriented and panicking as my air runs out. On the other hand, my love of diving and adventure are stronger than my fear.
After diving in more thrilling sites like shipwrecks, coral reef got boring for me, even though the scenery was beautiful. The thrill of being scared became a part of my diving experience and if I don’t feel it, I didn’t like it. Wreck diving is a different type of diving, because you can see history as it was left behind, as well as the effect of nature taking over.
After a bit of research, I found out that Coron has a wide range of scuba diving sites. From hot volcanic lakes, caves, and coral reefs to World War II Japanese wrecks, that sunk in September 1944.
The first site was the Akitsushima 32-38 meters deep It was a fascinating wreck covered with corals and plenty of marine life. The ships were exciting to explore. Some were quite intact and because of the good visibility, I knew I was in a big shipwreck. Big Shark was swimming few feet from us, which was perfect for the thrill I was looking for, since I was always scared of sharks.
As I am rolling in the deep of the ocean's floor, exploring ships and knowing the history that lies behind it, I told myself if I did not face my fear I wouldn’t see and experience the beauty of scuba diving. Yes, it is risky, but life without risk is life without living.
The Choice is Yours
Rolling in the deep and exploring the new world that we don’t see in our everyday lives is an experience of a lifetime. It was like a dream I don’t want to wake up from.
Always remember, fear is only as deep as our mind allows it. Next time you want to do something you love yet fear is stopping you, remember, life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it. Risk and dangers are real but fear is a choice. The choice is yours. You either start living, or continue fearing. I faced my fear and lived my dreams. I made my choice.
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