In retrospect, maybe it wasn’t the best move to try snorkeling for the first time in choppy waters. Every time a wave came at me, my instinct was to gasp in a quick breath. Breathing through my mouth into a snorkeling tube was completely unnatural, and immersing my face in the water while breathing through that tube was one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever done. I was sure I would drown. I didn’t have the rhythm of the breathing down yet, and the waves added to my discomfort. I was fairly hyperventilating into the tube, which as anyone can tell you, is most certainly not the way to snorkel. I clung desperately to the floatation device our instructor threw out, scarcely daring to let go when I dared to peer underwater. Once when I took my face out of the water, I spit out my breathing tube and promptly sucked in a huge mouthful of saltwater. If I thought snorkeling was terrifying before, I assure you, it’s nothing compared to the feeling I had after swallowing saltwater. I coughed violently and couldn’t take in air. I sounded like I was having an asthma attack (or maybe even like I was dying), so much so that our instructor swam over to me, ready to save my life. Yeah, nothing to see here, folks. Just your typical novice doing everything the wrong way. The trouble was that I wanted to trust myself and my own instincts rather than trusting the equipment to do its job.
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