So I haven’t blogged in a while… (sorry!), but I definitely have things to talk about, so I will try to get up to date in the next week!
First I’m going to talk about our excursion to Tulum.
Tulum is a beautiful town on the coast of the Caribbean and our main objective for going was snorkeling because the majority of students here are in a tropical ecology class. I am not in the class but was really looking forward to the chance to tag-along because I’d never snorkeled before. I’m not the strongest swimmer so I was a little nervous, but overall I was just excited… especially once we got geared up!
However, unfortunately despite my positive attitude, my first snorkeling experience was awful. I could not wrap my head around the idea that I was supposed to be breathing even though my head was underwater. Each breath I took was panicked and shallow, and every time water entered my air tube, I began to flail and scrape my knees against the rocks below me. When they finally called us out of the water, I was more than ready.
After that, we snorkeled in a lagoon. It was better for many reasons… the water was still instead of in waves, and I had a life jacket. I was slowly improving my breathing skills, but it still wasn’t enjoyable because there wasn’t much to see just floating on the surface.
(me on the left)
The next day, we swam out into the sea. Overnight, I completely lost any improvement I had made the previous day. I had a life jacket again, but every time I put my face underwater, water seeped into my mouth and eyes, and I surfaced spitting up water, gasping for air with my eyes stinging. However, no one else seemed to be having any problems, and I was definitely falling behind. One of the guides ended up switching masks with me and pushing me forward, so I could catch up with the group. I honestly hated it and spent the whole time hoping we’d return to the shore soon. However, we saw some pretty awesome sea turtles, a sting ray, and a lot of cool fish and coral.
The following day was our last time snorkeling. We were going in boats farther out into the sea this time. At this point, I had no more optimism about snorkeling. I was completely over it and dreading jumping out of the boat. I had definitely given up on it and decided that I never wanted to do it again, but I got in the water anyway. To my surprise, it was by far the easiest snorkeling so far. I had absolutely no problems and saw a lot of really awesome things and even held a live, moving starfish. I’m not sure what it was exactly that made the difference, but I suppose it just took me longer than most people to get the hang of it. If I hadn’t tried it again, I would have left with a horrible attitude about the trip and hating snorkeling, but instead, I thoroughly enjoyed the last experience, and now I would definitely do it again.
Like so many new things I’ve tried since I’ve been here, at first it may seem bad, strange, uncomfortable, wrong, or awkward, but if you give it a chance, you may find yourself growing to enjoy it. Much like speaking Spanish, I found that snorkeling just takes a lot of practice, persistence, and patience. There have been many times where I’ve wanted to give up learning Spanish, but hopefully someday like with snorkeling, I’ll be glad I didn’t.