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?

31 Responses

  1. I might have thalassophobia or perhaps it’s something else. I love cruising and that doesn’t scare me one bit, but I don’t want to get in the water as I am terrified of sharks that are in the deep ocean.

  2. Looks like you had fun even if you initially faced some challenges going into the water! I’m a bit hesitant when it comes to underwater activities as well.

  3. i don’t have fear from water but when first time I was doing underwater walk I was really nervous because I don’t know swimming.. But did it well.

  4. This is one of the most funnest posts ever! I can so relate to your experiences! I am deathly afraid of water, yes, including swimming pools. But I have been snorkeling in the ocean, probably because I was wearing a life jacket and I hovered at the top of the water! I, too, was concerned about not being able to see (my vision was -600 in each eye) and I had special scuba glasses made in my prescription (they were really scary because the lenses were so thick) and I was able to enjoy whatever happened to be swimming by. All of this happened in Hawaii more than 30 years ago! I’m so glad you were able to experience the joys of the ocean and that you shared this with us!

  5. Good for you for facing your fear, and so happy that you had such a fun time in the water with your brother. I love the helmet you are wearing. I would go to if I could wear one of those. I have never seen them before.

  6. Hi Stacey,

    Inspiring! I am looking right at my fear when I see you walking on the sea floor LOL. My wife Kelli and I chatted about diving last night. Or, doing sea trekking. Our next fear to conquer. We’ve faced down spitting cobras – in the wild – in Bali and we sat in a cage with three, 400 pound tigers. Next step for us.

    Thanks for sharing!


  7. Sea trekking looks like so much fun! It’s hard to conquer your fears. I’ve always wanted to try diving, but I just can’t bring myself to do it yet. Maybe sea trekking would be a good way to “get my feet wet” so to speak.

  8. If you were scared you didnt look it 🙂 also how cool you guys can talk under water. This adventure seems like a good alternative to diving without the hassle!

  9. I never knew there was a word for it, but I definitely have thalassophobia too. That’s why I have never tried diving so far. I think this I could do though. I like the fact that you could hold on to that railing. Gives you some sense of security, doesn’t it?

  10. Cool! Never heard of sea trekking before. Looks interesting and weird at the same time!

    I also struggle with my vision and usually bring prescription swimming goggles with me just in case. They usually fit with snorkelling masks, etc. Otherwise I wouldn’t see a thing!

  11. That looks amazing although, like you, I am afraid of large bodies of water and I’m not sure I would have enough courage to try this, but after reading your post I’m more confident that this fear can be conquered! Thanks!

  12. This is the second post that I have read of yours, and I think it is so interesting to read your travel experiences as a deaf person and how you overcome that. It’s such a neat perspective and I really like reading what you have to say!

    It looks like you had a great experience going underwater and seeing all of the animals. I would love to do something like that 🙂

  13. We did ocean trekking in Bahamas and trust me you are not alone, I was apprehensive at first, but after spending some time under the sea I really enjoyed it and was at ease. I was really sad that the time ended so quickly. So, I totally understand your experience.

  14. Amazing adventure! I’ve never heard of sea trekking, or seen those kind of helmets being used under the sea but this sounds like such a fantastic day! And really, the use of sign language is probably working to your advantage under the sea – you can carry on a conversation with each other when no-one else can!

    So glad you enjoyed your experience – I’ll have to add this to my list!

  15. This looks like a really cool experience! Am I understanding correctly that the water did not come in that helmet at all? Is there a seal against your body or did the air just keep the water out? That looks like FUN!

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