Claustrophobia vs. Freedom


Time and time again, when people discover I am a scuba dive instructor, many respond with “Oh, I would love to try it, but I am claustrophobic”.  For many who haven’t experienced it, scuba diving instills a feeling that they are trapped, confined and restricted.  They see diving as being trapped under so many feet of water and confined behind their mask and their movements restricted.  Diving is a sport that is fundamentally psychological where your mind is actively involved in all the physical components as well.

For me, as soon as I enter the water and begin to descend below the surface, air slowly being released from my lungs in the form of bubbles, I am embraced by a gentle sense of peace.  Movements are slow underwater and the hectic sounds of the day are removed and engulfed by my everlasting companion, the water.  Even when the ocean is rough and seems to be pushing me around, I give myself to him and trust my experience and instinct to move with him and vow not to fight him and the encounter is always better below the surface.

At the bottom of the ocean, hovering just above the sea bottom, a new and fascinating world is exposed.  Colours that don’t exist on the surface with animals seemingly hand-painted by some concealed artist flick in and out of coral crevices oblivious to my unseemly presence.  In pairs, butterfly fish dart over the reef in a life they will live together forever.  Opposite to feeling entrapped, a sense of freedom is unleashed upon me as I glide through a medium others believe to be inhibiting.  Drifting through water is what I imagine a bird feels like who soars through the sky, but only slower and more meditative.

When you learn to dive, for many, there can be overwhelming feelings of excitement, apprehension, exhilaration and even downright fear.  Not to mention, there tends to be an added dose of adrenaline thrown into the mix.  These can be alleviated significantly when you take your dive training with someone you trust and who is attentive to your learning.  The more you dive, the more tranquil the experience will be and the trust that, in the beginning, you give to your instructor or guide becomes the trust you have in yourself.



Judy and Mia at Canyon