Since I announced my intent to attempt the record for the deepest female dive, a lot of people have asked me why I’m doing it.
My initial, flippant, answer was simple and unsurprising
“Because I can”
That wasn’t enough for most people, and it made me realise, why AM I doing this dive?
I thought the answer would be obvious to me, a simple motivation, but the more I thought, the less that seemed to be. Over the last few months I’ve come to several conclusions, and each one is different, depending how the question is asked.
Why do I want to break the record?
I first started thinking about going deeper when I was supporting Ahmed Gabr during his training, and eventual breaking, of the Guinness World Record Deepest Dive. I was regularly going to 90m, which was the depth I was supporting him at. Ninety metres is already about three times deeper than most recreational divers go. I’d been further, although not by that much, and every time I went down I’d stare into the depths, thinking about what it was like down there. Ahmed had to put up with my questions every time he came back up: What was it like?, How did you feel?, What were you thinking?
His answers were always the same,
“I’m not feeling, I’m just concentrating. If you feel anything, you die”
Whilst I had a grasp of this, I knew I wouldn’t fully understand it until I’d been there myself. I told Ahmed I was thinking about breaking the record. To my surprise he told me
“Go for it”
I thought he would say I was being stupid, that I didn’t have enough experience, that I was too young or that a woman shouldn’t go that deep. I mentioned it to one of the other support divers, and he said the same thing; “Go for it”. That nearly put me off completely, I’m the kind of person who if someone tells me I shouldn’t do something, will immediately think of reasons why I should. But then we did another dive. Again I looked below me and heard the sirens calling. And I made my decision; I was going to go for it.
I’ve been involved in outdoor sports for many years, and the one thing I’ve seen is that women are often more hesitant to push their limits than men. I believe this is the main thing that is holding us ladies back, we’re too scared, or maybe too sensible to find out what we can really do. The opportunities are often there, but are denied because we have families, or we should be concentrating on our careers, or saving our money for something else. I know these apply just as much to men, but women seem content to grasp these excuses rather than trying new things. On the flip side the lower testosterone is what keeps us alive more often in these environments.
A few people have suggested that if I’m going that far, surely I shouldn’t have any guys involved at all, but I’d rather have the best people for the job, irrespective of gender. I believe my planners and co-ordinators are the best in the world, and I don’t know of any women who could do it so smoothly, or who I trust so completely.
So that’s it, that’s why I’m going for it, and why I think we ladies need to stop (excuse the expression) pussy footing around, and take some risks. Push ourselves. Show the world what we can do.
Because I think it’s an awful lot more than what we’re doing now.