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Diving: 2; Mo: 0

Okay so I’m zero for two with the diving thing. But I’m not done yet. I’ve decided that I need to spend more time in the pool first. I think I’m going to take a regular class when I get home.

This morning I sat through the resort course and then we got into the pool. I was familiar with everything and somewhat comfortable but I’m still uncomfortable with the regulator in my mouth. I breathe fine when it’s in. In fact, I breathe perfectly smoothly—I don’t suck air and I don’t hold my breathe.

I was feeling wary, though, when it came time to hit the ocean a couple of hours later. I talked to the dive master beforehand and told him that I was starting to have panic attacks, and he didn’t pressure me, but said that sometimes you have to spend a few minutes hanging on to the rope off the boat before you’re comfortable. I agreed to try that because I have gotten down about 40 feet before and knew that I could do this.

I got on the boat and I calmed down knowing that I could back out and just snorkel if I needed to. After a beautiful boat trip out to Sunset Beach I got my gear on—mask, fins, regulator and tank. I was feeling great even as I stood on the edge of the boat to jump in. I was awesome on the line while they double checked everything on us and I started to descend.

Not sure what happened, but about halfway down the rope—maybe about 10 feet—I had a panic attack. I was totally fine up to that, so I don’t get it. I came up, tried to get my shit together and went down again. Nada.

It’s so frustrating. I’m not sure what the problem is.

After a few minutes of this, I ascended, swam back to the boat, took of my gear, grabbed a snorkel, mask and fins and snorkeled for an hour. I swam out over a hundred yards or so over the most beautiful reefs in the world. I didn’t even have any problem descending about 10 or 15 feet with the snorkel.

As far as I can tell, I need to know that I can take the snorkel/regulator out of my mouth whenever I want. Even though I barely took it out the hour I was in the ocean, knowing I could just bob up made me feel comfortable.

So now I’m pissed. This is stupid. So the plan is to spend some time in the pool practicing with the regulator, just sitting at the bottom of the pool until I’m totally comfortable. It’s frustrating because I’ve got some mad skilz—I don’t have any problem clearing my mask, swimming, buddy breathing, recovering if I lose the regulator or any of that stuff. Now, it’s simply a case of mind over matter, and god damn it, I’m going to get my mind in line!

It’s so cool down there. I saw stingrays, I was stalked by a barracuda, I saw the biggest lobster (mmm, lobster) you’ve ever seen—and I swear it flipped me off like, “Yeah, I’m not afraid of you because you’re too chickenshit to dive down here”  and there were lots of beautifully colored of fish. I gotta go back.

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