WHO ARE YOU CALLING AQUA-PHOBIC ?

Today, my show case feature is on Bayo Owolabi. He shares his feat on overcoming his fear of water.  Be inspired!!

I was born in Abeokuta, a sleepy town in the south west of Nigeria and lived there for the first five years of my life. I have very vague memories of the place and some of the lingering vivid ones are; the trip to the photographer’s on my fifth birthday, a fearful Santa Claus we visited, and the terror I felt any time we drove over the bridge that traversed the River Ogun. From Abeokuta, it was off to Ibadan – a landlocked city with little in the form of aquatic delights. I was very afraid of anything bigger than a swimming pool. It might be genetic (if fear can cross generations) seeing that my mum is terrified of the sea till today.

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I remember one time when we were visiting my mum in Lagos while she was completing a distance learning course. My dad took us all down to the lagoon front at UNILAG. When I saw the seemingly endless stretch of water, I almost lost my nerve. I wondered how my brother and sister could run right across the edge looking for pebbles and shells. All I could think of was being right in the middle of it all, sinking, unable to get away. It was not a fun time; I wore a brave face through it all but I was fascinated by the stuff. How deep is it? Where does it end? How can ships float and stones sink? I was enthralled.

Fast forward to today as I write floating about 80km off the West African coast on a ship. When I walk on the helipad and look out across the water, there is no fear. I love the heaving motion of the ship – I sleep so soundly because of the rocking. I can enjoy the view (and they can be gorgeous) and not bother that there is no quick way back to land. This is the Atlantic ocean, not the Lagos lagoon, but even the knowledge that there is a real risk does not cause me to degenerate into a bumbling mess like the little boy from yesteryears.

Growing up was a part of it, but I think ultimately it was that fascination overcame fear. It took me till the end of high school to take the first plunge into a swimming pool, and what a splash that made. I think after that first contact, I had a hold on the fear – tenuous, but there was something there. I still can’t swim properly but I now work on water. I’ve kayaked on a lake, punted in a river, jet skied on the sea and most recently snorkeled in the wonderfully azure waters of the Indian Ocean. Haha! The fear is gone.

I wish I could tell you the 10 steps to overcoming your fear, or 3 strategic principles to demolish that angst! But I had none of that through this journey. I took one step – off the edge of the pool, and followed one principle – don’t look back. And I guess this is the message, sometimes the only way to get a hold is to let go. Take precautions of course, don’t be stupid. Let someone who knows better know what you’re about to do, but take that first step. You never know where it’ll lead you. I certainly couldn’t do what I do now if I was going to lose my nerve each time I stepped out of the cabin. There will be no platform to deploy my knowledge/expertise. So, what are you afraid of? Go on! Jump!

View more photo’s of Bayo’s aqua-ventures below

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Bayo Owolabi is a Deep water certified Drilling&Measurements Engineer. He’s in love with technology, photography, literature, arts and travel. He tweets @bhary0ur

“Please email eclectictope@gmail.com, if you would like to share your feat on my website. Remember that no feat is too small, be it finishing a whole book, or climbing the great wall of China.”

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13 Comments Add yours

  1. oluchi says:

    Life-changing story and well written too, Congrats Bayo and thanks for sharing.

  2. Banke says:

    It’s funny how you end up doing things you could never imagine doing from the start. Now I’m motivated to go jump as I’ve got some shivers for heights…hmm maybe skydive
    Nice one Bayo

    1. Bayo says:

      Thanks. Planning to do that jump as well. 😉

  3. Kikkismiley (Tomi) says:

    Hmm I’m definately inspired, I think am more Aqua phobic than you were tho. But I’m willing to do the Ryan Locthe Olympic dive hahaha let’s not go too far, baby steps here lool. Mayb u wud accompany me. Good one tho 🙂

    1. bharyour says:

      Kikki, the sea is just behind the house. So we can take the first plunge when you visit 🙂

  4. TDee says:

    When I go hill climbing, there’s no phobia for heights no matter what, but when I’m in tall buildings (6 floors and above), the fear is huge. I guess there are two or more varieties of the fear of heights (What is called by the way? Heightophobia?). I’m inspired to hit the swimming for the first time 😀 Also, more than ever, I look forward to Sky diving. Bayo, one water experience left though, SURFING 😀

    1. bharyour says:

      TDee, oya now? Cali or Miami?

  5. Alex says:

    Many atime when we’re anxious about something, be it work, a relationship or an exam, it can help to think through what the worst end result could be.

    “Bayo took one step – off the edge of the pool, and followed one principle – don’t look back”

    Sometimes the worst that can happen is a panic attack.

    Am inspired enough to jump now…

    Thank you for sharing. I’m inspired.

  6. bharyour says:

    Reblogged this on Agbólóhùn and commented:
    Earlier this week I sent an entry to wifey’s blog. I’m reposting it here cos I’m lazy like that. Enjoy 🙂

  7. @MielP says:

    I’m so inspired! *in Waje’s voice
    But how does one overcome the fear of the Banking Hall. Or Wires and Cables. Or DOGS. I mean how?!*#¥
    I like the subtle way this experience instructs. Got me thinking damn fear already!

    1. bharyour says:

      Miel, do you fear the banking hall or dislike it? As for dogs, it’s baby steps. Tope knows about this.

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