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Updated: Jun 15, 2019

I've never really been a good swimmer. Let alone trying to keep myself afloat in the water. When I was younger, I had two near drowning experiences that put me off venturing through deep water for life. I was too afraid to try again because I was still emotionally scarred by the memory that I would drown in the ocean. It wasn't until recently, that I discovered the meaning behind the word 'FEAR'. If you did some research, you would find that 'FEAR' is often described as 'False Evidence Appearing Real'. There is an unknown quote I read today which says: "You have to remember,

Fear is not real. It is the product of the thoughts you create. Don't misunderstand me - Danger is very real, But fear is a choice."

When I was in Hawai'i, I decided to put my fears to the test and take the deep plunge....literally! When we were on the big island called Kona, we came across a charter where you can experience snorkeling with Manta-rays. The thought of it sounded exciting, yet I was terrified at the same time because the location site was in 20-30 feet deep of water. Surprisingly, I was told that it was something that even the most non-confident swimmers could do. They had a special surfboard which floated on the ocean with an attached railing that you could hold onto while looking down at the water beneath you. So this gave me some level of comfort and reassurance.

During the one hour boat ride to the location, I used that time to gather my thoughts and practice breathing exercises to calm my nerves. Ever repeatedly telling myself "It's O.K. You're going to be fine." Once we arrived, it was time. We jumped into our wet suits and put on our snorkeling gear. Mind you, I was shitting myself on the inside even though I had a smile on my face in this photo that my partner, Alex, took of me!

Our tour guide, Sage, ensured the safety of everyone and made sure each person entered the water carefully. And then, it was my turn. I sat down at the edge of the boat, took a deep breath and slowly submerged myself into the water. Before I knew it, Sage had already guided me to the surfboard with the rest of the group. No turning back now!

After a few moments settling in, Alex turned to me in excitement and said "Look down into the water!". And as I did, my heart stopped. I let myself go and gazed in awe and wonderment as I came face to face with the Manta -rays, watching as they glided, somersaulted and frolicked like a dance in the ocean. I've never seen a more graceful creature move so effortlessly under the sea.

I knew in that moment that if I didn't try to face my fears after this magical experience, I would have regretted it forever. It has now motivated me, now more than ever, to learn how to swim again so that I can regain full confidence for when I return back to the Hawaiian waters.

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