I'm a water baby. One of my earliest memories is of being plucked out of the freezing harbour at Aberdyfi and swiftly shoved up my dad's jumper to warm me up because I'd made a beeline for the water. I learnt to swim at an early age and won quite a few awards at school swimming tournaments. My family and I used to go canoeing and sailing on a regular basis and, now I'm older, I'm a keen boogie boarder and kayaker. It may seem odd, then, when I tell you that sometimes I simply can't approach the water.
The sea, estuaries, rivers, canals and lakes are all beautiful places to me. I feel most relaxed when I can hear a bow wave splashing nearby or the pinging of ropes against masts. Put me in a wetsuit, chuck me in the water and I'm in my element! But add a large, man-made object to that equation and things change dramatically.
Take this for instance:
The rotting wreck of the RV Sarsia in Birkenhead's East Float. I went there earlier this year with Coyote and I couldn't get anywhere near the wall to which she was moored. My heart raced, my palms got sticky and my throat constricted. I had to stand back far enough to know that even if I stumbled and tripped, I would be nowhere near this horrible thing. I was so scared, in fact, that when Coyote approached the edge of the wall - showing no sign of fear at all - I almost begged him to step away from it. Just looking at the photograph now makes me feel physically sick.
I've never had a scary experience in the water. I've never been on a ship that sank or been tangled up in anything near or in water...so I can't explain this fear. Basically, it's anything large and man-made in water that sends me into a complete panic. I'm bad enough just looking at them from afar; but the thought of being in the water next to them fills me with such a fear that I can't even think straight.
It's not just boats. Finding myself bobbing up and down next to any of these would paralyse me:
I trawled the internet trying to find a name for this phobia. It's not megalophobia because if any of these were on dry land I'd be perfectly happy to bounce all over them. It's the fact that they're partially submerged. If I was in the water and knew there was a shipwreck several hundred feet beneath me, that wouldn't bother me either. This, however, does bother me:
The very thought of my feet touching that sends a chill down my spine. The water's beautiful...but that vile hulk lurking just under the surface petrifies me. (Trawling Google for these images was hell!)
I guess what I'd like to know is if many others out there share this phobia...and is there a name for it? Loving the water as much as I do, I find it bizarre that I should be so scared of such things. It's not just an 'I don't like it' fear, it's an 'oh my god I'm going to die' fear.
So if anyone can shed light on this - or if you have experiences to share - please get in touch via the usual channels. It's be great to hear from you!
PS - I'm also scared of Huw Edwards.