This winter I submerged myself in freezing water (at least it felt that way). Why you may ask? Because I am a crazy lady who loves fish and may have been one in my past life. When I say fish I mean anything living underwater, because even the most insignificant looking species can bring tears of joy to my eyes.
I did say I was crazy!
So back to the point, I went diving in the UK during the coldest weekend of our winter. The dive trip I was on was aptly named icebreaker and I did, in fact, break ice in the car park. As you can guess I was a tad apprehensive coming from a warm water background where I struggle diving in a 5mm wetsuit in 21 degrees but I was determined. So like the Spartans when they placed their babies on the hillside overnight I thought this was a necessary step to toughen me up (disclaimer: I do not agree with Spartan methods of child rearing).
Fins on, mask on, regulator in, giant stride into the water and…wow! I could imagine warm water all I wanted but my mindfulness skills are not quite good enough to deceive my body to this extreme. At this point I was just bobbing on the surface and already my extremities were shouting ‘get me out of here’! There was no turning back though and after a small pep talk it was time to release some air from my BCD and submerge.
The coldness drifted from my mind, the world went quiet and now all that was left was me and my surroundings.
Weaving in and out of the sunken boats, buses, planes and other randomly assorted objects was miles away from the corals and fish I’m used to. However, this meant my focus shifted to the physical sensations of diving. If you have never dived it’s very hard to explain the calm that comes over you underwater as most people imagine the fear of being engulfed. The weightlessness and silence take you to a new planet and sends me into a meditative state where my breath is my anchor and my mind is free of all thoughts but the present moment. It is a unique and magical feeling I have never been able to replicate through any other activity. I was back where I belonged.
40 minutes later, however, my body had given into the cold and it was time to get out. My fingers were numb, my hair looked like a bird’s nest and my face was bright red but it didn’t matter because the wonderful post dive tranquil happiness had come over me.
Now as I sit here reflecting on the icebreaker weekend in my warm home I realise that although braving the elements was tough, and I did miss the fish, I simply love the sensations of diving – regardless of where I am and what I can see!