Overcoming my fear of deep water

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Overcoming fear l Instinctive Health

Forget dipping my toes in Tongan waters – it was go big or go home!

Since childhood I have had a fear of deep water and hated stepping across the gap from the wharf to a boat, let alone jumping off the side of boat. Last month I took the attitude that ‘This is OK for others but not for me’ and gave it a big shake out!

‘Release restore revive’ is the motto for Instinctive Health and that is how I feel after a week’s holiday in Tonga.  Beautiful beaches, snorkelling, surf, warm temperatures, fresh fruits, coconuts and whales and only two and a half hours from Auckland.

I mentioned whales. I wanted to go whale watching but the idea of swimming with them seemed too far from reality. The other three were keen but I had the wait and see approach after all they are huge, powerful creatures with very protective natures.

The first group of three humpback whales, two males and one female were mating, definitely not for swimming with, the second group was a mother and calf with a protective escort, not the best for swimming with but we all jumped in they were quite a distance away and they swam off. I was rather relieved and could hardly believe I had jumped in to the deep water, my legs were feeling like jelly.

The guide was very matter of fact and made it seem that this was something everyone does every day. I think we all had apprehension about it and in a way that helped us even though the fear was like the elephant in the room. After two sightings and the one attempt at swimming we had given up thinking we would swim with them when the skipper spotted a mother lying on the surface, a good sign that it is with its calf and maybe feeding.

If there was no escort this could be good. I still didn’t think it would happen. It was over the reef and relatively shallow. I had developed trust in the abilities and experience of the two Tongan men and I was to trust our guide explicitly. We were to keep our distance – about 10 metres – and stay at the side of the mammal, not get near the tail. We were in, following our guide through the water. He stopped and my first underwater sighting – on my right so huge and majestic and still, just the large flipper at her side moving back and forth, above her the calf probably 3 metres long. I don’t know how long the mother was, she was like a huge extra length bus.

I felt on the edge of fear, alert but calm inside with complete trust in our guide. I kept a watch to the side for any escort that may appear, I kept a track on the other three and our guide. I don’t know how long we were in the water with them. Sometimes the boat seemed close and sometimes it seemed far away and often I couldn’t see the whales under the water but when I surfaced they were so close. The whales came between us and the boat and the mother stirred up seaweed and sand before swimming on past allowing us to get back on board. She kept very close to the boat for a few minutes before swimming away.

You could say this is an extreme way to overcome fear but I no longer fear the deep water and stepping off the boat onto the wharf was a breeze.  This was a major for me and I feel I have changed the attitude ‘This is OK for others but not for me’ to ‘I can do it if I choose.’

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Instinctive Health
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New Zealand

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email: js@instinctivehealth.co.nz


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