I am terrified of the ocean. It could be that I'm a terrible swimmer or that I'm afraid of being swallowed up by its strong current.
When the itinerary of a recent Maldives trip landed in my mailbox, I vowed to steer clear of any snorkel activities.
'You can view from the boat,' our host Karina told me on the phone.
The first time we snorkelled, the sea was choppy. Storm clouds hung over our dhow boat. There's no way I'm doing that, I thought to myself. With no pressure, I retreated to the top of the boat to watch others glide in the ocean in search of fish and turtles.
Leap of faith
Watch from 7-minute mark
Our next snorkel trip took place at Turtle Bay, an activity hosted by The Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort. The activity promised turtle sightings, coral and other fish under the sea.
I intended not to partake again, but midway through the boat ride, I decided to give it a try. I feared the worst and hoped for the best.
"You don't have to be a good swimmer," said our snorkel guide, Ahmed Shamrooh.
"Give it a try. If you don't like it, we will bring you back to the boat," his reassuring voice added.
I put on the life vest, slipped on my fins and paced around the small boat.
When it was my turn to jump into the ocean, the cheers of support allowed me to conquer any fears still waning in my mind.
Soon, I jumped into the ocean, my life vest holding me up.
It took a while to adjust to the fins and the snorkel gear, but thankfully Shamrooh was close by to ensure I was safe.
During my water adventure, I got to see a baby turtle, another adult one, schools of fish and coral.
Although the rough waters were challenging, my body kept pushing, my mind determined to enjoy the experience. I'd thought I'd be in the water for a few minutes but ended up swimming for more than 45 minutes. Would I do it again? Hell, yes! Hopefully without the life jacket.