What’s Your Biggest Fear?

Sea Trek Walking with Sharks

What’s your biggest fear; something so paralyzing that it gives you shivers just thinking about it? Just two years ago, I was so desperately afraid of marine life that the sight of a minnow sent me in the opposite direction. I loved to swim and I spent my entire life in the water, but I could never even think about what lurked below. I was curious but too afraid. Today was a monuments day for attacking my fears head-on. I walked with 22 sharks, 20 feet under water with Sea Trek at Atlantis, Bahamas and a state-of-the-art clear-glass helmet and I will never look at my fears the same way again. 

Sea Trek Walk with Sharks
It was intense at first. Just putting my legs in shark infested water. Being exposed! Then, I had to walk down the ladder and stop on every second step to acclimate my ears. My back was to them. They could attack at any second and I wouldn’t even see it coming. It’s not like the rules of engagement where you can’t shoot an unarmed civilian. It’s the exact opposite. These guys prey on the weak and dying. I was shaking so badly that every step seemed even further apart. Do you know how difficult it is to walk down a ladder with a 70 pound helmet on your head to a tank full of sharks while trying to acclimate your ears and hold on to the rails? I’m a great multitasker but this was a little much.
Sea Trek Walk with Sharks
When I finally did turn around and get a good look around, I wasn’t given a few minutes to adjust calmly at the bottom of the tank. Nope, three of them were swimming right toward me. Their sleek, graceful bodies and menacing eyes on the hunt. It seemed like they were swimming for me. Would they turn away? Was this it? It was a lot to take in all at once.
Sea Trek Walk with Sharks
They turned. Thankfully, they turned. I was shaking so badly that I couldn’t walk. All this and not even 5 minutes had gone by. What was I thinking? I couldn’t survive 30 minutes down here; I’d be lucky to survive the heart attack that I was going to have so I really didn’t need to worry that much about the sharks.
I tried to separate myself from the situation. I thought about the big glass helmet. It was like a looking glass. The sharks were on one side and I was on the other. I was safe. It gave me a false sense of security but it was exactly what I needed. For the next two minutes, I thought of myself as being on the other side of the glass like at an aquarium. I was safely on my side while they were on the other.
Sea Trek Walk with Sharks
The ground was somewhat distorted too depending on how you looked through the glass and it was confusing. It was like a bad dream, a nightmare, filled with my biggest fear and hazed vision. I just kept thinking… they can’t hurt me. They are on the other side of the glass.
Sea Trek Walk with Sharks
But then I started walking and I thought… my legs are exposed; no wait, I’m exposed. They are all around me. I can’t even tell if one is going to attack. I started looking around more and turning my body. I lost focus. When I looked ahead, my guide was dancing. Not metaphorically, literally. He was sliding his feet on the bottom, bouncing a little and moving his arms, smiling. I started to laugh and he grabbed my arms and started making me dance. He gave me the thumbs up sign and I did the same and somehow it was actually true. I was ok. We were dancing on the bottom of the shark tank and I was ok.
Sea Trek Walk with Sharks
The sharks were all around us but had no interest in us. I can remember the exact moment my breathing changed. I put my hand down after giving the ok sign and I turned my head slightly to the right. Two sharks were coming around the corner and I looked one directly in the eye. His eyes were shifting and he didn’t even make eye contact with me. I was non-existent and I was happy with that. Rather than seeing this massive shark as aggressive, I noticed how gracefully he moved through the water. I realized I had nothing to fear. It was like a dog but in water. Something had changed for me. With knowledge and interaction, I realized I had nothing to fear.
Sea Trek Walk with Sharks
I continued the rest of the walk, almost 20 more minutes, with a huge smile on my face. I was experiencing sometime only a select few will ever get to experience; not just walking with sharks, but overcoming my greatest fear. I will continue to attack fear head on because the results are beautiful and worthwhile in itself.
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77 thoughts on “What’s Your Biggest Fear?

  1. Pretty cool you were able to do that.

    People tell me I am nuts when I tell them my shark stories. I am not crazy and no one wants to get bitten. With time, like you said, you can read them like a dog. 99% percent of the time they are mostly curious and have no interest in you.

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  2. This is amazing! I love adventure and would love to tread on something unexpected but keep giving myself the same age old excuses of no money, no time. So glad to see someone doing something different 🙂 Kudos to you.

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  3. We all have our fears and you was so very brave to face your own fear.
    This make you grow mentally and give you the chance to face other kind of fears without being so scared from beginning.
    Very well done Lesley and thanks for sharing and the beautiful photos.
    Irene

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  4. OMG, good for you! I can’t image walking with sharks. Had goosebumps just reading this. So, so cool. I’ll bet you’re were riding a high the rest of the day, eh? My biggest fear, beyond the usual: bears on the running trails, being charged by moose, getting lost in the mountains, etc., is that I’ll look back on my life with regret. Never want that to happen, which is why I read your blog, you know, for the inspiration. Cheers and keep it up.

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  5. I have the same fear, I’ve always loved the sea but tried not to think about what was in it. Sharks are my biggest fear. I’ve slowly come accustomed to them over the years, they keep popping up everywhere, but I think I’d still rather dance in a tank with minnows than voluntarily get in a tank with a shark. I consider fearing sharks a rational fear 🙂 So well done you!

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  6. What a fantastic experience for you! I’m very jealous. I conquered my fear of being in water at all a few years ago and now love swimming but I’ve always wanted to do more deep sea kind of diving. To go walking with sharks is just something I wouldn’t have conceived was a possibility! It’s now on my bucket list 😉

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  7. I absolutely love this!!! Conquering your fears can be so liberating..But, I gotta tell you I’d be scared not so much of the fish but that I would panic and drown myself in that giant helmet you have there!

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  8. Great experience… we see that in your smile! 😀
    Thanks for sharing.

    Last summer, i swam with dolphins, in the ocean… was amazing. But the first thought i had before entering in the water was about the possibility of a “meeting” with sharks… No problem, it never happened.
    Next summer, i want to repeat that experience. 😀

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  9. Wow incredible! Well done! I doubt I would ever be able to do that! What made you decide to do this? How did you manage to step into the tank?! Such bravery, well done for facing your fears head on and with a smile! 🙂

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  10. WOW – that is totally awesome. I can’t believe you did that. So cool that you were actually in the water with all of those sharks.
    My biggest fear? Meeting Jimmy Dean. Snorts and shivers. XOXO – Bacon

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  11. Water is my biggest fear and right up there are big creatures who live there. Nice to read about your experiences, not without a little hand-wringing, because I will NEVER try this. Keep up the good work, Leslie. 😀

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  12. awesome! My fear of the sharks would only be superseded by my fear of being trapped beneath the water’s surface! Claustrophobic, and nearly drowned twice as a child. I CAN swim under water, but going deep with breathing apparatus – now that’s a different story. Congrats, proud for you.

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  13. This picture would be my greatest fear. No way I’d get in there with them. I admire your bravery. Thanks for liking my post about the York Dungeon. It is indeed a scary place! You’d love it! Much love and light to you and have a blessed day! Queen Of Hearts

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  14. Inspiring!
    When I was a kid I used to play in huge sections of pipe in the train yard (we weren’t supposed to be there). An optical illusion creates the other end to be smaller than it really is. I would start in, see that the other end was too small and back out. It didn’t matter that my older brother crawled through without a problem, or that I could see from the outside both ends were the same size. I know about the illusion now, but I developed a fear of being in confined spaces. I love caves, but don’t want to go in one. After reading your experience, I think I’ll give it a try.

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  15. How exciting! I swam with sharks in Bora Bora- and ever since Jaws I’ve been afraid of being attacked by a big shark. Most were small but there were some 9 footers cruising slowly below. I was nervous because I had just been bitten by a sting ray (yes bitten) so I was bleeding a very little. No one had ever been attacked by the sharks but who gets bit by a sting ray? so I was worried I would be that first one to be bitten- hehe

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  16. Great post. Good for you! As a child living in Brooklyn, I used to jump the roofs. Literally, jump from one roof top to the next roof top. Dumb! At 19, I had a fall from a second story. Have Been afraid of heights ever since. Trying to overcome this phobia. Good read, brave one. 🙂 Blessings.

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  17. Well done! You should be proud of yourself 🙂 First time I was swimming with sharks in the Maldives, I was very nervous too, but I think they are more afraid of us than we are of them. All the best xo

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