Listening to Red Red Wine on the balcony of the Landing Restaurant in the West End drinking a strawberry, limeade, mint smoothie and eating shrimp and avocado tacos surrounded by palm trees, blue waters and sunlight, I began to make my very specialized plans for Roatan i.e. to face an old demon.
My friend and padi certified scuba diving instructor offered up his lovely two story house with a private pool in Roatan for the week in an effort to share his love for Roatan’s underwater world with me so I signed up for the elearning class at padi.com and signed up with West End Divers to complete my open water scuba diving certification. Doing this is actually very difficult for me as it forces me to face a traumatic childhood experience from when I was when I was originally certified. At 14 years old, during my first open water test, my ears didn’t equalize and I suffered a pain at 33 feet underwater that was so horrendous that when I think of it today my eardrums begin to actually hurt again. My fear manifests this physical anomaly. Like probably most people would do in this situation regardless of their age or training, I panicked and tried to rapidly ascend thinking my ears would pop back to normal. My scuba buddy grabbed my ankle and yanked me down and tapped on my goggles and pointed up. My head had been a mere few inches from an overhanging rock structure before he halted my ascent. The good news is I completed the dive back when I was 14 and fell in love with life underwater. The bad news is the extraordinary pain in my ears lasted for weeks. I learned afterwards it was a mistake to finish that dive so long ago. The instructor should have ended the dive to avoid long term serious injury to my ears among other things given the lack of a controlled ascent. The even worse news is that I never got back into scuba gear again until David started my confined water dives in the pool last year some 27 years later. With David we worked on overcoming my fears one on one in the pool at the Gigglin’ Marlin in Houston and now it was time to get back on the proverbial horse. The truth is I should have straddled that horse decades ago as I am a firm believer in attacking your fears immediately rather than carrying them with you. In any event, I was going to try to face them now and after one of the top 3 sunsets I’ve experienced in my travels at the Sundowner, I headed back to the house and until 3:00 in the morning did my online padi assessments in preparation for tomorrow’s “horseback ride”.
So for those of you who have a traumatic experience to work through (i.e. all of you), please send some prayers and positive energy my way as we need all the help we can get when battling fear. Fear is a healthy thing and generally a gift from above and should not be discounted lightly but when it is debilitating we should make an effort to face it. That’s what I’m going to do – make an effort and what better place than the Caribbean underwater paradise of Roatan.
That’s all for now from paradise in Roatan, Honduras.