“Are you ready Jess?”
Our guide called me Jess, and I learned to answer to it after a time. Jade seems to be a difficult name for most people to learn or pronounce, so I just go with the flow. In the Maldives, I was Jess.
We put on our fins, masks and snorkels, and prepared to jump into the water.
Firstly I should start out by saying, not only can I not swim, but I am the type of person who really likes to not die. I tend to avoid anything that can cause me even the mildest of physical harm. So going into the water at all was already outside of my comfort zone. But I mean, we’re in the Maldives – you have to go snorkeling when you are in the Maldives right?
It’s not that I am afraid of the water, it’s not that. I just feel no desire to be there. I grew up in the middle of the world’s second largest country, far away from any large body of water. My star sign is Taurus, the bull – which pretty much means I love being on the ground, and I am freaking stubborn about it. Even on a hot day in Australia, I feel no desire to even get my feet wet when I am the beach.
But I am afraid of physical harm. So while the water itself doesn’t frighten me, not being able to touch the bottom freaks me out. Another aspect of nothing wanting to cause myself pain is my avoidance of even the mildest of adrenaline activities – and that includes jumping off things. When I was at the glow worm caves in Waitomo, New Zealand, at one point we had to jump backwards into shallow water and land on an inner tube. Hell No. I protested so vehemently, and was even prepared to make my way through the pitch black cave back to the entrance, when finally the guide was forced to reveal that there were a set of stairs I could use.
So why on earth, when asked “Are you ready Jess?”, did I jump off a boat into the middle of the sea?
I’d love to say that my sudden impulsive leap suddenly swept away all my irrational (rational) fears and misgivings, and that I took to the water like a seal……but….
As soon as I hit the water I thought, “Fuuu*k!”. A wave crashed over my head, and of course, I inhaled. I tried to calm myself down. I pulled my mask over my eyes and nose, popped my snorkel in my mouth, kicked myself away from the boat…and…. lost a flipper. Luckily, the guys were not far off, and through my panicked sputtering somehow understood my dilemma. Our guide, Kubbe, swam back, dove down, and somehow managed to retrieve my flipper.
Realizing my incompetence, he even put the flipper back on for me, making sure that both were on extra tight.
While I was panicking about my lost flipper I had slip my mask up onto my head, because apparently, I can’t panic and breathe through my mouth at the same time. After Kubbe had secured my flippers, the boys again took off. In my flustered and embarrassed state, I quickly tried to keep up with them. Forgetting that I had slid my mask up over my head, I lay face down in the water, put my snorkel in my mouth, and for some reason, took a breathe through my nose. I’m drowning! In my fear I must have flailed particularly violently because I lost my flipper again.
This time neither Kubbe nor Daniel could find it. Not only had I almost killed myself but I had littered as well! Snorkeling in the Maldives – well it’s amazing (check out Daniels underwater video to see more), but it’s just not for me.