My lovely wife Aubrey had dreams of becoming a marine biologist when she was a young girl. She always loved underwater wildlife but it seemed out of reach. She was forced into swimming lessons so she could overcome her fear of the water at an early age but it didn’t work to elevate her fear of the water.
I always wanted to be a scuba diver and I hoped to spend my days exploring the depths. I told Aubrey about my dream to live aboard a boat and I knew she thought I was crazy. She learned to understand and share the dream of life aboard the boat but her fear of the water was still evident, even when she got into a pool with wide eyes.
Aubrey came to pst of my classes as I was training to become a dive master. She saw me work with people who had a fear of the water and she heard my stories of all of the interesting creatures that lived underwater. I think she wanted to experience these things for herself. She started talking about learning how to scuba dive, as if she was trying to see if she could convince herself out loud. At some point she decided to take the plunge and do a discover scuba class with my friend who offered to get her into a pool to see how she would react.
I was watching the kids during her experience but I got see a video that she filmed as she did all things scuba in a training pool. I thought she looked relaxed and confident. The instructor said that she did really well and exceeded his expectations. She decided to get certified and signed up for the Open Water Diver course.
She did really well in the classroom and confined water sessions. I watched her pass her swim test and I couldn’t help but think about how she had previously been so afraid of the water. She swam faster than any of the other students and floated like a jellyfish. I was worried but I believed in her. I helped with her class and I was a happy dive master because she was my easiest (and prettiest) student. We had a lot of fun together in the pool.
She did her open water dives at a local rock quarry with poor visibility and I was a bit worried that she might not be able to get through her fears. I could tell she was anxious about the first dive and she said she didn’t sleep well the night before. She struggled within herself to complete the first dive but her competency and application of skills were top-notch underwater. I watched her help another student on the dive tour to stay buoyant.
She completed her last dive by going to sixty feet in the sub 50 degree cold and darkness. I was so proud and happy for her. It was never hard to distinguish her from the other students underwater because she was always the one trying to catch the fish with her hands.
I am very thankful and happy that she became a scuba diver and seems to love the water. I think we will spend many days exploring the depths in our travels. We do everything together on the surface and I am so happy that we can spend our time underwater!
Aubrey’s story is quite remarkable and her family can’t believe that she has taken to water like a fish. I’ve worked with a lot of people who have to overcome anxiety and fear to become divers. I think that fear of the water is more common than people understand. It is a unique privilege to work with people who have to overcome so much to do something that doesn’t worry others.