20.01.2017 - 24.01.2017 24 °F
“Bucket List" defined by Google (GTS) is "a number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to have or accomplish during their lifetime." Urban Dictionary defines it as, "a list of things to do before you die. Comes from the term "kicked the bucket".
I haven't necessarily been too keen on adding things to a so called "bucket list" but if I did, traveling to Australia for an extended period of time would have been the first drop. Check.
And more specificly I have always dreamed of scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef. When I was still in primary school I was so mesmerized by Jacque Cousteau and his unparalleled adventures in the underwater world. So much that I was inspired at a young age to be a marine biologist. This was all well and good until I discovered that my fascination and love of the deep blue was matched only by my intense fear of being underwater. Not the best combination you might say. So I gave up my young aspirations of pursuing a water based career and continued a land locked education. All good, although the fascination of the ocean never left. I accepted at the time, the limitation.
Fast forward 20 years. My second trip to the Land Down Unda. After last year's debacle I was bound and determined to get to The Reef. To finally experience the underwater world I had had a love affair with for ages. A two night sailing trip in the Whitsundays booked, including one night spent under the stars anchored on the Outter Reef. Check.
Bait Reef- Great Barrier Reef, Whitsundays, Queensland Australia
Adventure and excitement where the order of the week. Embarking on the flight from Sydney to Airlie Beach I knew it would be a stretch for me, but I wanted it so bad. So bad, I could taste the salt from the air. I was sure that 20 years of age and maturity, not to mention countless yoga classes and breathing exercises that I could overcome the voice of panic in my head and silence the fear.
It was a stunning trip of a lifetime. Perfect weather, confirmed by our Skipper Brent that it only happens 5 percent of the time. Smooth, crystal clear water and warm, beautiful Australian sun. We had a spent the previous day sailing and playing at Whitehaven Beach.
Outrageous. Legendary really. Snorkeling in the water that put to shame all the other snorkeling I had done in world renowned places as Malaysia, Costa Rica and Hawaii. I found a keen peacefulness from the surface of the water; gliding along the reef with schools of colorful fish, sea turtles and heaps of vibrant coral. I was sure I was ready to go down. To go under the surface and see what I had only witnessed on TV and National Geographic magazines.
Previous photos courtesy of Ariana Tetai an awesome Kiwi, Chef and Photographer Extrodanaire. Thanks heaps Ari!
The next morning we geared up after a review of our technical scuba skills and it was time for the beginners to give it a go. Still at this point I had the best of intentions; I was all in. I wanted it so bad.
I wanted it so bad that I was sure my physical body would cooperate with the desires of my heart. But even in the hands of an incredibly capable and darling Aussie dive instructor I could not silence the panic. I couldn't even get my knees on the sand five feet below the surface. He gently pulled me under via my vest and I wouldn't even begin to sink. He added more weight, nice try. The bubbles rushing past my mask were extremely unsettling. What is this rubbish; I thought this was supposed to be peaceful? Everything but.
Yoga breath I coached myself...woosaba...
No chance, the panic had set in and my breath was intensely shallow and erratic. Frankly, I don't recall a specific barrage of thoughts about what could go wrong, it was literally like my body said, "woman, we bloody do not belong below the surface and there is no way you're gonna take me there!"
But I wanted it so bad.
After the third try I came up, I'm sure spewing four letter words. Chris was amazingly patient and after I gave the defeated nod he whistled for the skipper to come and fetch me in the tinder.
Salt. Tears. Defeat.
It was a tough disappointment to accept. After all, hadn't I lived for this moment?
In the weeks following this experience I found myself reliving the disappointment as if there was something deeper attached to it. As if I had been here before and this crushing defeat wasn't so unfamiliar and finally it dawned on me. I recognized that tightness in my solar plexus. The pang of disappointment in my heart. The gut wrenching reality of not getting what I wanted.
I had wanted my marriage to work so badly.
I had wanted to live happily ever after to the man I had committed to as my life partner. Till. Death. Do. Us. Part. Bloody hell.
Reality check, just because we want something with all our being does not make it so. There, I said it. Shall I say it again? Just because we want something with all our being will not will it into existence. I'm still working on accepting this limitation.
But all was not lost for either life experience. I've found a very keen sense of peace on the surface snorkeling and have even learned to dive down 3 meters to take a looksee at something fascinating and come up and clear my snorkel as if it were second nature. A trip to Rottnest Island, multiple snorkeling excursions and the patience of a cute Aussie bloke introduced me to these excellent adventures.
I'm concurring my fear of the ocean and replacing it with the awe and wonder I always anticipated. Slowly but surely I'm partaking of the adventures I always wanted; even though they look different than my cheeky expectations.
I'm satisfied beyond belief.
And the same goes for the broken relationship in my life. I have no regret, regardless of the heartache, grief and disappointment. Because this I know is true, nothing ventured nothing gained. I'm a risk taker, an adventurer and an eternal optimist. Even in the face of excruciating loss of the two things I've held dearest thus far in life: my dear Mum and my marriage.
Still. I. Rise.