However brave and self-confident we may be in a controlled everyday environment, most of us have at least one major phobia or a potential critical situation in which panic and horror tend to get the better of our rational selves. For some people, clowns are terrifying; for others, it’s the height that can prove quite paralyzing; some people are afraid of open spaces while others are petrified of the deep blue. Continuous work on overcoming your phobias is essential if you want to grow and develop beyond your current psychological limitations, and here we have some useful pieces of information as to how to combat your fears through new experiences and approaches and start enjoying your scuba sessions at world’s most loved diving spots to the fullest.
Psychology behind diving fears: It’s all in the mind
One of the most prominent reasons why some people develop diving phobias and intense fears of depth lies in our innate survival mechanisms deeply ingrained in the collective subconscious. Great water expanses mean full exposure to the whims of Mother Nature, absence of protection, limited quantity of oxygen and absolute loss of control, which is alarming from the standpoint of the survival-driven ego. Though psychological blocks and phobias related to water can sometimes be extremely powerful, there are efficient ways to overcome them successfully with the help of an experienced scuba diving instructor. Most accredited dive teachers are open and understanding when it comes to individual limits and are qualified to help you steadily master your fears of the open seas and the deep blue, based on graduated step-by-step lessons tailored to your skill level and phobia intensity.
Slow but steady work: How to overcome your diving phobias
In case you have any fears, concerns or full-scale phobias related to open waters, you are strongly recommended to consult your dive master and inform them about your mental blocks, previous dive experience and maximum diving depths. In case your open water- or depth-related phobia is extremely intense and your instinct to avoid situations you perceive as paralyzing or potentially threatening, your instructor may advise you to start off lightly by diving the training pool and continue patiently working toward your first open water dive over the course of several months.
Take the plunge: Best places to conquer your dive fears
Once you’ve mastered the scuba diving basics in the training pool under the watchful eye of your instructor, you will probably be allowed to taste the open waters for the first time. If you don’t know where to take your first plunge into the underworld or are eager to take your diving skills to a whole new level in a new environment, here we have a list of some of the world’s best dive locations for you to check out and take a big scuba bite of:
- The SS Yongala Wreck near Townsville, Australia:
Probably the best dive spot in the whole world, the SS Yongala Wreck is a cyclone-sunken 110 meter steamer featuring a stunning range of marine life, including sea snakes, manta rays, octopuses, fish, spectacular corals, giant trevallies turtles, bull sharks, barracudas and tiger sharks;
- Richelieu Rock in the Surin Islands, Thailand:
Famous among divers worldwide for its breath-taking underwater scenery and warm water, the Richelieu Rock is probably the best dive spot to go on a whale shark chase and look for large pelagic fishes and similar intriguing marine critters to capture on film with your water-tight camera;
- Koh Lipe, Adang-Rawi Archipelago in Thailand:
If you want to experience diving at its best, try diving in Koh Lipe, a much-loved destination of professional divers and scuba enthusiasts. With an abundant marine life and impressive coral reefs, Koh Lipe is a perfect location to take up a beginner diving course and learn scuba in the company of experienced instructors, or improve your diving skills and enjoy day tours of the neighboring islands with striking scenes of underwater beauty;
- Barracuda Point, the Sipadan Islands:
The best-known dive spot in the famous Sipadan Islands group, Barracuda Point is a home to large coral walls, huge barracuda shoals, reef sharks, jacks, turtles, hammerhead sharks, white tips, groupers, bumphead parrotfish and other pelagic fish, so make sure you bring along your underwater camera for some stunning pics;
- Great Blue Hole, Belize:
A unique wonder of nature located in the middle of Belize, the Great Blue Hole is one of the world’s favorite dive spots outlined by coral reefs and populated by sharks. With 30 meters of frontal visibility and warm water that shifts from fresh to salty at around 15 meters of depth, the great Blue Hole is an ideal dive destination for lovers of octopuses, sharks, tuna and other pelagic fish, and if you dive a bit deeper, you will also be able to inspect stalagmites and stalactites of ancient caverns up close.
Overcoming the fear of diving is not easy, but it is feasible. With a little patience, continuous effort and willingness to push the limits of your comfort zone, you will be able to witness the stunning marine miracles of nature at their best and brightest so don’t give up if your diving career doesn’t start off seamlessly at first. Remember, when the going gets tough, the tough put on their scuba masks and take a daring plunge into the great blue expanse. Almost all phobias can be beaten, including that of the great blue deep, and once you manage to counter your fear of great water expanses, you’ll find that life “under the sea, darling it’s better” and far more visually rewarding than you ever dreamed it could be.