Overcoming a phobia
Phobia, as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary is an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something.
During the years we’ve been working in the diving industry we have come across a few divers with some kind of phobia. A lot of people are scared of sharks (thanks to Hollywood) we all know, but some phobias are quite interesting! Here are just some funny stories we can remember (we have changed the names to preserve our diver’s privacy).
Sarah has been diving with us for many years, and by now we already know what to not show her: octopus. They absolutely terrify her! Usually divers love when we find them on the reef, as they are very interesting to observe. So intelligent and elusive, they are able to change color and texture in a matter of seconds. Her fear is so intense that she can’t even see them on picture or video. Luckily for Sarah, octopi are masters of camouflage so they are not that easy to spot. Regardless of her fear, she is a passionate diver and has recently become a divemaster.
The sea cucumber monster
Not so long ago, our diving instructor Margherita took Jennifer diving for the first time in her life! The program is called Discover Scuba Diving and it doesn’t require previous experience. We start in the classroom where we explain the basics of diving, and then head to a shallow lagoon. There we practice a few skills and then start to descend to a maximum 12m. Jennifer seemed super comfortable, a natural diver. They saw stingrays swimming by, a nurse shark sleeping on the reef, a big school of jackfish, all was well. Margherita could see the excitement in her eyes.
After 20 min into the dive, suddenly, Jennifer started to panic. She gave the thumbs up, signalling she wanted to go up. Margherita managed to calm her down and found out the reason for such sudden distress: a sea cucumber! Yes, you got that right, a SEA CUCUMBER! That slow moving creature, can you imagine it attacking a diver? Well, me neither, but it was her worst nightmare!
Still she faced her fear and joined us for two more dives. And we just kept pointing in the opposite direction whenever we spotted a dangerous “sea cucumber”.
How about you, what are you scared of?