In 2014, I spent a wonderful vacation with my family in Egypt, and one of the activities available was scuba diving.
Now you have to understand that scuba diving is not something I have ever wanted to do, as I am slightly claustrophobic. I do have Galeophobia (fear of sharks), although I suspect I am not alone in that. I have also tried snorkelling several times, and on each occasion, I thought that drowning was the most likely outcome.
However, I thought I wouldn’t let my prejudices stop my kids from trying it if they wanted to, and if you’re going to do it, then there is no better place than the Red Sea.
When I suggested it to them, I expected them to say no thanks, but to my surprise, they said ‘Yeah absolutely‘. So now I was kinda stuck, did I admit my fear to my kids and let them do it alone, or did I decide to try to overcome my fears and give it a go?
As we were only going to do an introductory dive, which involved nothing more perilous than us walking into the sea, I decided I would give it a go.
To my surprise, I found it quite enjoyable, although I did try to breathe water at one stage which I can honestly say should be avoided. The sights we saw were truly beautiful, the coral; the multitude of coloured fish; an octopus as well as a Moray Eel.
I felt slightly triumphant and was glad to be able to say that I had, if only slightly, overcome my fears to try something new.
When we had changed and given our gear back, the instructor asked me if I was interested in gaining my PADI certificate which would then allow us to dive anywhere in the world.
To be honest I wasn’t keen, I’d tried it, and enjoyed it, but 4-6m was more than enough for me.
My son Dan then looked at me, he was 21 at the time, and said ‘Hey dad, let’s go for it, then when we go on holiday elsewhere we will always have the option of being able to do a dive’.
As much as I’d rather not do it, I really liked the idea of having something that I could share with my son, it would give us some common ground, a hobby we could participate in, something that would help keep us close together.
When I looked at it like that, I decided to go for it, it was a great motivation and it gave me a desire that was stronger than my fears.
We spent the next 2 days studying the PADI course, which involved a lot more reading than we had imagined, as well as 2 dives down to 12m, which were great fun.
We received our certificates and my son Dan said that next year we will have to come back to Egypt so we can do some more diving, which pleased me greatly, and when we showed the certificates to my daughters, Jessica 18 and Lucy 15, they said next year they would definitely do it too.
I’m still claustrophobic, I still do hear the Jaws music when we dive, but the motivation of being able to spend time with my children doing something they like was motivation enough for me to overcome those fears.
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