Diving Deep and Surfacing
Though born under the sign of Aquarius, I am not a natural water baby. Truth be told, I’m happiest floating in the shallow end of the pool. So spending spring break in Bonaire, a premiere diving and snorkeling destination, seemed an unlikely vacation choice. On the other hand, my best vacations have always been about embracing the adventure. I was excited to be learning something new.
Dear friends Patrick and Hettie, both experienced snorkelers, were patient and supportive coaches. They helped me get into my gear and gave thorough instructions on navigating through the coral without getting hurt or causing damage. Patrick, sensing my rising anxiety, stayed with me and encouraged me as I tried to learn how to breathe underwater. I was hyperventilating through the snorkel and fretting over each drop of water that seeped into my mask. I popped my head up every few seconds, trying to orient to the shoreline. I am not a strong swimmer and feared getting pulled into deep water. This was not fun.
Perhaps because I doubted my competence to make it back to shore on my own, I stuck with it. I willed myself to focus on the spectacular landscape and brilliant fishes that pulsated below the water’s glassy surface. And then I got it. My breathing slowed. My fins, if still awkward, were beginning to feel like an extension of my feet. And though not yet ready to try a free dive, I was snorkeling.
I’ll be back in the classroom coaching my three students this week. I want to tell them about what I learned on my spring break: that trying to do something new and hard takes courage; that having a coach who cares about your success helps a lot; and that when you stick with it and keep practicing, you will get better. And it might just turn out to be fun after all!
Pat Abrams, Executive Director