How cliff diving changed my life

By Fatima Shaheen Niazi

Remember movies such as The Beach and The Notebook that depict youngsters having the time of their lives as they jump off a cliff and dive into the sea? Well, its not as easy as it looks. In fact, during the activity, you are terrified.

For those who don’t know, cliff diving is a type of sport that is mostly done without any equipment. All you have to do is stand on the edge of a cliff and jump. Easy isn’t it? I beg to differ!

My first cliff diving experience was while I was on a group snorkeling trip to Charna Island. I can’t swim, but was given a life jacket to prevent me from drowning. While I was busy looking at the many fish in the sea, I heard a few of my university mates squealing as they jumped off a cliff.

I turned to my friend and asked, “Can I do this too”?

“Of course,” he said, “It’s easy and a lot of fun.”

Excited to be offered something I hadn’t experienced before, I happily followed him as he led me to the base of the 80 feet tall cliff.

As I climbed up, my head was filled with energy and excitement. I had been seeing people cliff diving in Hollywood movies all my life and FINALLY it was my turn!

Unfortunately, the excitement evaporated the minute I reaached the edge of the cliff and was asked to jump. Below me were rocks and water, and that really scared me. Petrified thoughts rushed to my head… “What if I fall on the rocks?”, “What if I sink underwater?”

Just thinking about all the disasters that could happen transformed my legs into jello. I turned away with my heart beating fast in my chest and told the instructor I couldn’t do it. He advised me to take a deep breath and just jump.

I glanced at the six other annoyed people who were waiting for their turn to jump and decided to go ahead with the adventure. Yes, unfortunately it was peer pressure that made me do it.

I turned my face towards the direction of the water, shut my eyes, and jumped. Then next thing I felt was a rush in my body and the pressure of the wind on my face. Then there was a sudden splash as I landed into the sea – the waves hit my legs like needles!

I dropped underwater for barely a second and was pulled up instantly by the lifeguard waiting below the cliff. It took a few more seconds before the adrenaline spun through me and made my skin tingle with energy. It felt like I had evolved and become a better version of myself.

After my brain finally adjusted to the mesmerising experience, I decided to cliff dive three more times – that’s how amazing the adventure was.

Why am I sharing this experience with you? Because this was an exploit that made me more confident as a person and gave me the courage to take risks in all aspects of my life. I don’t know why exactly this happens, but the minute you jump off a cliff, you stop fearing the other dangers in life.