It’s ironic that I was born a Pisces: I’ve never been comfortable in open water, I get seasick, and I’m petrified of fish. When I was in first grade, I’d check to make sure a goldfish hadn’t sneaked into my sandwich. During a family trip, I ran from an Oahu beach screaming when I saw that I was surrounded by schools of fish. Nowadays, I weasel my way out of beach getaways — and have had friends go through magazines and use Post-its to cover up fish photos before I read them. That’s how much of a land mammal I am.
A few months ago, I decided this was holding me back from experiencing more than half the world, and it was time to tackle my fear head-on — and alone.
So I took a solo trip to Bermuda with one mission: Return as a true Pisces.
On the Surface
As I rode across the Causeway before midnight, the full moon cast an otherworldly glow on the ocean, making me feel enveloped by the world, yet so alone. Why was I here to dive into something that causes me anxiety? Maybe this was a bad idea.
By morning, the sight of Bermuda’s soothing blue waters had calmed me. I was staying in the capital of Hamilton, the center point of the island, so I rented a Twizy — an electric minicar, the mode of transport for many visitors — and drove to the oldest cast-iron lighthouse in the world, Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, where I climbed 185 steps to scout out the scene. The clear skies allowed me to see the entire 21-square-mile island — and the endless ocean beyond. If I were to embrace the open water, this pastel paradise was the place.
I headed to my first challenge: wakeboarding.
I hadn’t anticipated how hard it would be to get on the board. Despite direction from a competitive water-skier, Kent Richardson of Bermuda Waterski and Wakeboard Center, I kept falling. Each time, I returned to position, floating on my back in a ball with my feet on the board. The salt water left that icky sting in my throat that I hated, my quads were shaky, and my grip was…