On the way out to North Rock the young people in the boat started to wonder why they had come. Despite having lived on an Island their whole lives, most of them had never been out of sight of land. They were nervous and spent the ride worrying about currents,sharks, the weather, and the depth of the ocean.
“I’m not getting in,” most of them decided on the ride, but once they get toNorth Rock there was no question of getting in. Into the water they leaped. “Whoa! It’s really pretty!” one child said looking down into the water with amazement. Another said: “Wow.Look there’s a blue headed wrasse and its wives. There’s a parrot fish!”
The children were part of the new Kids on the Reef programme, and their wonder and excitement was exactly what the programme was about. Kids on the Reef, funded by Catlin Bermuda, is aimed at young people who would not normally have the chance to experience Bermuda’s outer reefs. It was done in conjunction with the Bermuda Zoological Society (BZS). The programme’s instructor was South African freediving champion Hanli Prinsloo.
“I love seeing the journey that happens from fear to joy,” said Ms Prinsloo. “That is something you carry with you in life. Once you overcome something you feared you start asking what else do you fear,and what else can you overcome. That is what is so valuable with these experiences where fear is overcome because you are never the same again.We have seen their confidence growing so much. That is phenomenal.Water and the ocean has that power to deliver transformational experiences.”
(Originally published in the Bermuda Royal Gazette. Keep reading for the whole story of a JOURNEY FROM FEAR TO JOY!)