I was in line, looking at the television screen where they were promoting deals about sea trekking, snorkeling, encountering with different sea animals and more. I knew what’s coming – goosebumps came and my hair on my arms raised at the thought of being in the ocean.
I have thalassophobia.
Actually, I never have been diagnosed with that, but I do have a big fear of deep ocean. I am even frighten of large body of water in many kinds, such as lakes and rivers. If you’re wondering if pool is included, then no, that’s not included, haha. Despite that I jumped into a cenote called Ik Kil a day before, my fear just doesn’t fade overnight.
I can see the anticipation in my brother’s eyes that he was looking forward to snorkeling. His eyebrows raised, eyes wandering from different television screen that was displaying different aquatic activities. “Which one do you want?” he asked me, I tried not to hesitate even though he already knew that I wasn’t fond of the idea, but I sensed that he was promising that he would be with me. “If I do snorkeling, can I use my contact lenses?” I wondered, which my brother asked one of the staff.
Here is the thing: I have a really poor eyesight. “You’re blind as a bat, Stacey!” Lilo teasingly remarked after trying on my glasses. How really bad is it? Well, your face is still blurry when you’re merely two foot away from me, facing me. You gotta be at least one foot away so I can see your face crystal clear.
“No, I don’t —- water can come —-“ I tried reading the staff’s lips and hear her blurred voice with my hearing aids on. Her expression was apologetic as she scrunched her eyebrows together.
Even though I missed some words, I sometimes can figure out the puzzle – something that many Deaf people naturally have.
I figured that it would be something along the line like this: “No, I don’t recommend it, the water can come in and you may lose your contact lenses.” Not wanting to ruin the fun for my brother, I asked for other option that I could go with my contact lenses on. The staff recommended sea trekking. She explained how we would get training prior sea trekking. “Okay, let’s do it” I said with mixed feelings of excitement and nervousness.
Next thing I knew, the ocean was up to my shoulder, waiting for instructor to put the helmet on me. Once he put it, he pushed to my shoulder as I descended down the stair. The helmet was pretty heavy that it didn’t let me float up the surface. I felt a strong vibration on my upper back where bubbles were exhaling through a hole.
Rail was installed on the ocean floor for us to hold on to and follow the path. I reached for the rail immediately as if I would fall into the darkness or something – silly, right? My brother was ahead of me, he looked back and signed “are you okay?”
The best thing about American Sign Language is that it’s a visual language, therefore we can communicate well underwater.
I signed back, “yes, I’m doing okay, not so bad…so far…” haha, I was nervous (as you can see in the photo below). I love how the instructors were using gestures underwater, such as “I’m good” (thumbs up) and “I’m not doing good” (thumbs down). I thought how interesting when many Hearing people (referring to who are not Deaf or Hard of Hearing) often use gestures in certain situations, other than their daily lives.
Through the glass of my brother’s helmet, I saw his radiant smile when he was looking something behind me. He pointed and signed, “look!!!” I slowly turned around and spotted a grey rounded shape with its prominent tail – stingray! I gasped, not as in fear but astonishment. The next thing I knew, “turtle! turtle! look!” my brother signed. There it was, a gorgeous wild sea turtle was swimming among us, saying hello. Certainly, it was accustomed to humans since it didn’t fought back when an instructor grab hold of it and turned its belly upside down to show us. We had the opportunity to touch it, and it was absolutely beautiful. My brother and I couldn’t be anymore excited.
I was distracted from my fear, or rather, my fear slowly subsided.
Although the water wasn’t pretty clear due to being right nearby the attraction, it was good experience. Before I knew it, 30 minutes was up. I wish we had more time to explore; regardless of its limited time, it was worth the experience! I personally recommend sea trekking at Xcaret than going on two separate pool encounters, stingray and sea turtle – which cost separately!
Is there any fear that you had faced or plan to face during your travel?