Janet Frame, Faces in the Water
If there's something I'm really afraid of, it's deep water. With every step into a lake or the sea, my aversion grows parallel to the water line. When the water reaches my ribcage, my heartbeat hastens with every wave that pulls at my body. When I lose ground, I hyperventilate, panic and swallow water. For this reason I never learned to swim, although they tried hard to teach me. I also avoid to tread on the ground of boats, but I feel safe on ships where the surface of the water is not that near. I don't know the reason for this fear. I like the air, I love to fly. But I abhor the deep waters which pull you in and never let you go.
Later in life I discovered that other members of my family also suffered from this phobia. What a strange kind of heritage. Maybe it's endemic in coast dwellers like us, who know very well the risk of drowning.