Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Fear and spearfishing

Do you occasionally suffer from fear in spearfishing?

I certainly do!

Sharks are often the main source of fear, well apparent source of such fear.
Fear of being eaten.
I am sure it is genetically present in all of us and most animals too.

I had a chuckle while driving to work this morning - looking at the murky water in the Algoa Bay and remembering my earliest swims out at the Slipway at Humewood Beach.
Gun in hand, I edged past the front pillar - shitting myself - I could not see the bottom and the compressed feeling that dirty water induces pushed those imaginary sharks still nearer to me.
Show me any diver who has never experienced this!

Now I am quite content to swim out there in viz that was atrocious. Why what happened to change that?

Time after time I ventured out further and gained confidence and the fear edged away bit by bit. Some years later I would go off on solo shore dives and swim out 1-2 km spending up to 6 hours out at sea with essentially no fear - except perhaps that my stringer was bitten off.

We often fear something new where we have little or no experience. Then by subjecting ourselves to to the source of fear we conquer it bit by bit, or in huge chunks depending on the exposure. Nowhere do I see this more clearly than in my kids - fear often becomes completely reversed and the previously feared(or fearsome) item is actually enjoyed.

My approach when I feel fear is to do a little more of what makes the fear come along and keep at it till it fades. Normally I increase exposure and thus evapoarte the fear.

On level of exposure - there is nothing like an agressive gerat white to make a raggy seem like a puppy dog!

A common fear is not being able to see the bottom. I used to suffer from that and on occasion still do - nowadays it is mostly a fear of not seeing the bottom when I am touching it. I mean that if I swam into the bottom and still can't see it - so the viz is less than half a meter.

If you fear not being able to see the seafloor then dive when you can't see it and in due course your comfort zone will expand to include less viz.

"No FEAR" stickers should perhaps rather read

"Do the thing you fear in small but increasing increments till you no longer fear it"

The other way to reduce fear, or to learn to have more fun is to find a use for the very thing you dislike. i.e. Make your dislike a likeable thing.
Bad viz - I used to hate it - learn to use it to your advantage - Use bad viz to hunt fish that are normally spooky in clear water - dive in viz such that if you can see the fish you can shoot it. Such bad viz hunts can make it real easy to get spooky or cautious fish such as soldiers, poenskop and white steenbras.
I prefer to do such hunts in less sharky zones - if there are great whites around then I would use a shark POD.

Can you find a use for the wind? PE is teh windy city and I have a use for the winds. Having a model that describes the sea conditions in your area may well give you use for the wind - after such a wind blowing for x amount of time at a certain speed I expect such and such conditions - it's like a flag pointing out potential success - or a flag showing when not to go to a certain area.

Obviously modelling and mindset are key aspects in my mentorship programs.
see http://www.freedive.co.za/mentorship.htm for more info.

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