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Lean Into The Adventures Of Life

Can you Imagine being 60 feet under the ocean? Three months ago, it sounded crazy, dangerous, and I simply couldn’t imagine myself doing it. But today, I’m writing to you as a changed woman to tell you my story and to encourage you to embrace the challenging things in life.

I’ve always been an “I’ll try everything once” kind of person and I try to travel and explore different cultures, people, food and more whenever I can. I’ve even lived and taught in Africa, on and off for years. But, SCUBA seemed like a completely different challenge and unknown risks I wasn’t sure I wanted to take on.

My very best friend, Alex, encouraged me to pursue a SCUBA diving certification to match his. I thought it was insane and I felt uncomfortable just thinking about it. Is SCUBA diving like breathing through a straw? What about the fish and creatures in the ocean… will they eat me? Is all the equipment heavy underwater? Oh, how wrong I was! After a quick “Try SCUBA” Session in a 25-foot pool, not only did I know I could do it, but I was also doing flips underwater, and I definitely wanted to do it again… it was really fun!

Training started here in Fort Wayne with the instructors at Deep Blue Divers Aquatic Center. They made me feel safe, confident, and comfortable above and below the surface. After about 20 hours in the pool, a few nights of studying course material, a written exam, and a practical exam in Ohio at Gilboa Quarry (with sunken airplanes, busses and more to explore), I was officially open water SCUBA diving certified!

Then, in early October, for the first time in three years, we decided to take a vacation, destination to be Cozumel, Mexico. But, one week from our departure date, I was in a car accident caused by an uninsured driver, and we weren’t sure if the trip would be possible. So, feeling better, we booked an Airbnb just 3 days before our plane left and decided to go where the trip took us. We were determined to enjoy every moment in the sunshine and ocean air, and a break from everyday stresses. We threw caution to the wind and embraced the adventures ahead and I was looking forward to the possibility of using my new SCUBA certification, as Cozumel is on the list of the top SCUBA locations in the world.

The first day on the island, we showed up at the marina, and I literally had no idea what to expect. After gearing up, we were soon 50’ underwater with the Cozumel Adventures SCUBA staff exploring Cozumel Reefs National Park’s reefs.

Never in a million years did I think I would be seeing the underwater world up close and in person. Like a scene from National Geographic, time slowed down under the surface and I got to witness a whole new ecosystem full of creatures living and surviving in harmony. The list of creatures I saw is long and diverse, but the highlights were: Stingrays, nurse sharks, sea turtles, crabs, lobsters, angel fish, barracuda, parrot fish, trumpet fish, jelly fish, triggerfish, sea cucumbers, conch, sea anemone, 1,000-year-old coral heads, and last but not least, the famous Splendid Toad Fish (exclusively found near Cozumel).

But what started as intending to do just one day of diving, quickly turned into an entire week of diving! We even watched the ocean come alive in so many ways as we dove at night by flashlight to see the nocturnal animals. I remembered asking myself at that point, “Am I a SCUBA junkie now? I think so.”

And so, the next morning we went cave diving! In The Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, there are hundreds of “Cenotes” scattered across the land. Cenotes (“seh-no-tay”) are natural sink holes where the ceiling of the cave has collapsed to create caves filled with permanent water, often connecting to other caves in a network of water routes underground. We were awe struck with the peace and tranquility below the waters in the caves with nothing but a dive light and the sound of your own breathing and heartbeat among the stalactites, stalagmites, and columns of the cave.

By now, you may be wondering if I’m saying that you should try SCUBA diving. The answer is, yes!

But, I didn’t write this article just to tell you about diving, I wrote this article to show you that sometimes entering into the unknown can be some of the most rewarding experiences.

As you go about life, remember to embrace adventure and that sometimes saying yes opens new doors and enriches your life. There’s nothing wrong with staying in your comfort zone, but once you venture out of it, I promise you won’t regret it. It will fill you with an appreciation of this world and all that is contains far beyond anything you thought you knew.

The Waynedale News Staff
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Megan Ryan

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