Funnily enough, it was movies that kept me out of the ocean for more than 20 years.
When you show an imaginative kid from a land-locked country town Jaws at a formative age, that’s going to leave a mark. And the mark in question is the firm belief, completely unconnected to reality, that every ocean is filled with toothy monsters hell-bent on devouring any hapless swimmer unlucky enough to cross their path, and me in particular. (If only for the irony – I had visions of my last words as I bled out being some variation of “I told you so!”)
Thus the ocean and I remained strangers for decades, until a buddy took up scuba diving a few years back and seemed to be having an absolute blast, and I decided that limiting your life experiences on the basis of irrational fear was a pretty dumb way to go about things, and so I took the plunge – literally.
It took some doing – you will hear that John Williams score claw its way up your brainstem an awful lot during your early dives – but it’s totally worth it. Scuba diving is one of the most amazing things you’ll ever do. You’re literally entering an alien world, wholly dependent on a few lengths of rubber and a can of pressurised air for your very survival, pitting your will, skill and gumption against a hostile environment where humans simply are not meant to survive.