Becoming Captain Snorkel~Diddie

Becoming Captain Snorkel~Diddie

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I distinctly remember the day my Aunt pushed me into a crashing wave on the shores of San Diego to “remedy” my intense fear of the ocean.  I was 4 years old, and my very young parents had just been divorced.  My mom took custody of my little sister and me, and joined the Airforce in her best effort to take care of us.  Unfortunately, it meant that I had to stay with my relatives while she endured boot camp.  Of course, I misunderstood and thought my mom had left me.  I was devastated and began to develop a fear of practically everything in the midst of this separation anxiety.

The ocean, in it’s mysterious, overwhelming power, terrified me. Needless to say, my Aunt’s push didn’t help.  It only led to my choking down what seemed like a gallon of salt water in between panic-stricken sobs that would later have my little face purple with broken blood vessels. I felt betrayed by my family and violated by the Mother Sea. Lost in my own abyss of hurt, I carried this insult with me for way too long.  It took many years of troubled living to sort out my messy pile of resentments. Like waves of the ocean, hard lessons would come crashing into my world as I chose to act from fear instead of love.  Miraculously, a breaking point occurred in 2000. My first step was made toward true healing as I entered sobriety.

I had a badass of a spiritual mentor who put me on a fast-track plan of brave actions.  She insisted that I learn how to swim- literally. Desperate to feel better, I followed her directions with vigor. Every day, for several months, I took to the shallow lane at the YMCA. To my surprise, I became a fairly decent swimmer. My inner mermaid was ignited!

In my second year of sobriety, a few close buds and I created our own mini-triathon. The Southeastern coast of North Carolina was fierce that afternoon, but I was determined to follow through. Something happens when you hit a tipping point.  I was done relinquishing my life to fear. I plunged into that water and sliced through the charging waves with all of my child-like might. Halfway through the swim, I nearly fainted as the chop kept tossing me around. My swim-mate grabbed hold of me, and we took it slowly, together, the rest of the way. Key word: together. My soul opened up to community – a new family of my own choosing, and I found that I never had to face my fears alone again.

Flash forward to my 11th year of sobriety as I snorkeled for the very first time on a Sweet trip to Isla Mujeres, Mexico.  It couldn’t have been a *sweeter* experience. My Dear One witnessed my initial head-duck into the water as I squealed like a giddy little girl.  The reef was alive and dancing with spectacular color. I had never seen anything quite like it before. This was the beginning of a whole new chapter in my life. Since then, I’ve explored The Great Barrier Reef in Australia, and just recently (& quite reluctantly) returned from 20 magical days on the Big Island of Hawai’i.  I am a changed woman. From a frightened little girl to Captain Snorkel~Diddie, my courage outweighs my fears today!

Feel free to peruse my photos, (taken by my brand new Coolpix underwater camera) and bare witness to the glorious sea-life of Hawai’i! If you need some help in planning YOUR snorkel adventure, I strongly suggest

Captain Snorkel~Diddie

The big Island of Hawai'i is THE place to get your snorkel groove on! Check out to make your own snorkelicious adventure dreams come true!

210 Photos

Also, if you want more tips on some of the BEST of the Big Island experience, be sure to look for upcoming articles in Curve magazine!

Sweeties, be sure to hit up Babs, aka Ms. Bomb Diggity, to schedule a snorkel outing with me while in Cozumel.

Shout out to United Airlines! They have a brand new direct flight from Los Angeles, Ca to Hilo, Hawai’i.  Less time in the air & MORE magnificent time in the water.

NEXT WEEK: I’ll be posting Part Two of “Becoming Captain Snorkel~Diddie” with video footage & more lessons from the Mother Sea.  Stay tuned! xoxo, ~t




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13 Responses »

  1. Where have I been all your life?

    Sorry, I’m dyslexic… 😀

    If you enjoy snorkeling, you must come to Australia and do the Great Barrier Reef. I’m a native American who traveled abroad to be with her “soul mate” or her one true love and have conquered so much in my own life since. Australia is absolutely gorgeous. I highly recommend it.

  2. key word: together. and fearlessly. You’re such an inspiration. very nice story. perfect timing for me. I can not explain my feelings.

  3. Traci, I’ve run out of superlatives for you and your endeavors, whether it is acting, singing, dancing, writing, expressing your self on a tele-summit or swinging on the trapeze!! You are incredible. But most of all it is your courage, your spirit of self revelation and your generosity in sharing yourself with all of us that touches us most. We are all the better for knowing you and your story. Thank you and many blessings.

  4. Dear Traci

    I got moved reading you. I’m puzzled .. when I saw you swimming in Elena Undone I was deeply impressed by the force energy passion you had in the water but most of all by the capacity of showing emotions while swimming. Now I understand where al those perceivable feelings came from. When one is able to overcome any fear, pain , wound by facing it and getting deep into it,holding it and going through it,well that’s what I call not only being brave but becoming whole. Which is our call to greatness,happiness and fulfilment. Thank you for being an inspiration to us by telling us your own path through your wounds and fears! Wish you to always aim to overcome your boundaries.and wishing the same to us all!

  5. I love reading your blog! Your water adventures have been bringing me so much joy for a while now. I must tell you, I work at a Library and some of us were watching your synchronized swimming in the pool and giggling ourselves silly! what joy you spread… oh and we decided even though there’s only “one” of you you are still synchronized swimming – synchronized with your spirit!!! 😀 ♥

    thank you for sharing so much with us!


  6. Thanks for sharing…I know I have found new found joy in my life from taking the journey recently by sharing parts of me to cyberspace. May your journey of wellness continue.


  7. Traci – It’s so courageous that you openly share the experiences in your life that have made you who you are, both good & not so good. I truly believe through our individual vulnerabilities we can help one another overcome just about anything. Your story is inspiring in so many ways, thank you for sharing!

    Congrats on the sobriety – there has been no greater gift in my life then learning how to live fully without a drug to cloud my experiences.

  8. I am reading your entry above and see the parallels of our young lives. My father died when I was only two and my mother sent me to a convent and then I moved from relative to relative to strangers. I understand my mother’s struggle to work and raise three small children on her own and it took the support of family and friends to get us threw it all. I was four when she finally married again and was adopted by my new dad. He was a loving husband and worked two jobs to provide for us.

    What “clicked” for me in your blog was your mentioning of your fears that developed when you thought you were abandoned. This too, is when I developed all my fears and insecurities. I remember I got anxious when snorkeling in Mexico (’86) and my fear of the water took over. It seemed like a strange world that was not like mine and I had no business down there. Just ask the fishies.

    I appreciate and accept the challenges that life brings to me now and I have conquered many of them. My life is a constant work in progress and I shall always be mindful of facing life through love and not fear.

    Thanks for allowing me to share. Stay well and happy. Peace.

  9. Traci,

    I’ll patiently await “Part Two of ‘Becoming Captain Snorkel~Diddie’ with video footage & more…”. 😉

    What you’ve shared so far is beyond anything I had imagined.

    You have a generous heart to gift us all the way you do.

    Love to you this day, and all tomorrows… _/\_ Judy

  10. Traci –

    Wow. First, I have to say that after reading this post, I really want to hug that scared little 4-year-old girl. I can just imagine how frightening that experience must have been at the time. Second, I never would have guessed that you only fairly recently started snorkeling. From the little I’ve seen of your adventures here and on your fan page, it looks as if you’ve been doing it forever. You most certainly have earned the title Captain Snorkel~Diddie! Your photos are absolutely gorgeous too.

    The other part of your post that stood out for me was when you talked about acting from fear instead of love. (Have you been peeking at my diary? ) Here’s the thing, when I read the sentence about scheduling a snorkel outing with you in Cozumel, a wave of fear came over me. You see, I’ve never snorkeled before and the thought of doing that for the first time in Cozumel, and possibly making a fool out of myself in front of you of all people is terrifying. I mean you are so healthy and trim and graceful and awesome, and I am…well…not. I totally understand that my fears are holding me back from living the kind of life I’d like to have, and I am trying desperately to break free of that thinking. It’s damn hard after spending so many years in this place. The fact that I am going to Cozumel at all is a huge step for me.

    Okay, wasn’t that fun? 🙂 I really do appreciate reading about how you’ve worked hard to change your life for the better. It gives me hope, or as you might say, it lights me up!


    Fan #5167

    • Traci,
      First time finding your page. Caught you on Dr. Phil by chance. What a surprise to see we have some things in common. I am from southeastern NC on the coast. Inspired by the underwater pics and your courage to conquer your fears. Enjoy the adventure!

      • Traci,
        Correction, caught you on Dr. Drew. Admire your courage to share. Inspired me to respond. Big deal indeed, you motivate us!

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