Monday, December 10, 2012

The good kind of peer pressure

I know how to swim. I do. But not very efficiently, and while I'm confident I could keep myself from drowning if it came down to it, in the end I am not very comfortable in the water. Something about going underwater and feeling it pressing in on me makes me very claustrophobic.

A few weekends ago, we went to Fujairah to spend the day at the beach with friends. One of the attractions on offer there was snorkeling. I knew I wouldn't like snorkeling. It combined all the terror of being underwater with it all pressing down on me with the awkward inconvenience of not being able to breathe through my nose, which only compounded my fear of the water. I was absolutely planning on "oh, I'll go later"-ing my way out of snorkeling and if I was lucky, I knew that all of a sudden it would be too late for me to go and we'd just have to pack up and go home with everyone else having snorkeled but me. Oh well!!!!!

What I didn't count on was having two very patient friends who also happen to be expert snorkelers (and scuba divers, as if snorkeling weren't enough). They kind of wouldn't take no for an answer and before I knew it, I was swimming out to Snoopy Island and snorkeling.

There were some hitches, like how I didn't have fins, and how I was somehow completely incapable of de-fogging my mask, but I saw some awesome underwater scenes and I more or less figured out the breathing thing. In fact, I believe my Christmas present this year will be my very own fins/mask/snorkel. I enjoyed it that much.

I'm so glad I went snorkeling and I'm so glad for friends who weren't afraid to push me beyond my comfort zone...but still like me even if I failed. That's the best kind of peer pressure.


Kathy Haynie said...

Good for you! I've never been snorkeling before, either. It would take friends like that for me to try it, I imagine.

Liz Johnson said...

Right on! I admit that I hate snorkeling for the exact reasons you mentioned - breathing exclusively through my mouth, and never being able to de-fog my mask. I tried scuba diving as a teenager and it majorly freaked me out. It's been a while since I tried either - I wonder if things would be different now?

Ariana said...

I totally know what you mean about the claustrophobic feeling in the water. I can swim just fine, but going more than like 1 foot under the water gives me the willies. It doesn't help that my ears are extremely sensitive to pressure changes, and even at just 5 feet under, it feels like my ear drums will burst. (In swim lessons as a kid, they would throw pennies all over the pool and to pass, we had to be able to retrieve one from the 5ft deep part of the pool. I did it once, and vowed never again. It hurt! Kudos to you for trying out snorkeling. It looks so fun!

Sarah Familia said...

I totally relate to your feelings of claustrophobia and breathing through a snorkel. I don't like snorkeling, and never have. Especially the part where you have to come up to the surface and blow the water out of your snorkel before you can breath.

But I did get scuba certified with my husband while we were engaged. Predictably, I had a miniature panic attack when we were doing the part where we had to demonstrate our proficiency with a snorkel. But scuba diving is actually way better than snorkeling, because you don't have to hold your breath, and you don't have to deal with the awkward in-between at the surface. It's like being in another world.

Bridget said...

Oh, I didn't even make it all the way below the surface. I understand the mechanics of the blowing the water out of your snorkel thing, but in practice it would freak me out.

Crys said...

I love friends like that. I had this good friend Amy is college who could always get me to do things I had absolutely no interest in, and the crazy thing is while I always had these reservations that they were going to the worst thing ever, most of the time I had a lot of fun. I love being in the water and have no problem with having it all around me but I also hate that feeling of having to breathe through your mouth. I currently have a nice cold and I said to Dr. J, "Seriously what is the deal. I know it is better to breathe through your nose but why does my body have to freak out like it is suffocating when my nose is stuffed up. It isn't like there isn't a mouth." Relax body, just relax. I also have some seriously irrational fears about being attacked by sharks, so probably no snorkeling ever for me... except maybe in a pool :) But it sounds fun for someone else! I definitely think you should get fins for Christmas :)

Suzanne Bubnash said...

I went snorkeling the one time we were in Hawaii. For about 10 minutes. The below-the-surface scenery was spectacular. But if the breathing through my mouth (and being afraid I was going to suck up water) wasn't unpleasant enough, I got seasick real fast, bouncing up and down in the swell. Had to get out. Perhaps it would work for me in a perfectly calm sea, if there is such a thing. You can be my coach on my next visit.

Yvonne Anderson said...

I'm just annoyed that I never managed to get a decent picture of you. Good thing you are game to go again so I can give it another shot. Yeah for snorkeling - one of my all time favorite activities!


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