Last Christmas I was home for the holidays and my good friend from way back, Mandy, had mentioned to me that she has been Paddle Boarding. Her excitement was contagious and she promised to take me out if I wanted
Fast forward seven months and I'm back in Bermuda. Mandy and I are texting each other for
For the non-Bermudian's reading this post I'm from Warwick, Bermuda, where the southern Atlantic Ocean kisses the beautiful white sand beaches. I grew up walking into the ocean with the very rare occasion of jumping off the rocks or dock like most kids from other parts of the island. There is a friendly debate as to which experience is better and my position is the beach lol!
|Me at Shelly Bay Beach before the phone call.|
So we opted to change our location to Shelly Bay Beach. A wonderful little inlet that I swear at high tide you could walk out two miles and the water would never come above your hips. That was more my speed. I was happy and confident. I was about to have a new experience. Mandy told be later, that when she got the text that said I couldn't swim she was dumbfounded. Firstly, who grows up on an island and can't swim? Secondly, who would want to go paddle boarding if they didn't know how to swim?
Once at Shelly Bay we met up with another of Mandy's friends who would be joining us and we got the boards off the car. Then the call came in. Miguel, my paddle board guide and instructor for the day, was calling to say he could not make it to Shelly Bay. Could we double back to Devil's Hole?
... Surprisingly the only question I had was does he have a big girl life jacket. Ummmmm
was the view I was greeted with when I arrived at Devil's Hole. Absolutely gorgeous. Mandy and Lisa got set up in the water and headed out to meet up with Miguel's wife who was learning as well. Miguel and I headed inside to handle the business end and for paddle board instruction. We talked about the life vest and I decided against it. We headed back out to the water where he showed me how to sit on the board and paddle and off I went. pic
|Me focused and following instructions|
My instructions were to keep looking in the direction you are heading. If you look down you are liable to fall. To say I was focused would be an understatement. So when I heard Mandy at a distance saying something about a life vest I I shouted back that I decided to forgo it. I took a quick glimpse in her direction to see her paddling towards me, but I had to turn back and focus. I was beginning to wobble. I could now hear her calling out to Miguel about the life vest.
I think it was only because of the urgency in Mandy's continuous request of the life vest that Miguel truly realized that I did not swim but that I could not swim. I remember him paddling out to me and calmly sitting down on his board next to me and gently asking me, "So if you were to fall off this board now, what would that look like?" LOL! My response, "I'm going down." Things suddenly got serious. Everyone sobered up, but I must give it to Miguel. He was direct yet calm and took control of the situation. It was only then that I was able to look back and realize how far out I had paddled.
|Miguel to the rescue. Far from shore.|
Looking back, I think everyone thought the day was a bust. However, I was oblivious and very much looking forward to the next step. Miguel made a plan. Mandy and Lisa were to paddle on either side of me over to the island while he went to get his boat. What island? I kept asking him, which probably added to his concern. When I saw what he was referring to and how far away it was I was shocked because I thought it was the other side of the sound. Why he was getting his boat, I had no idea.
|Me trying to show you just how far away Trunk Island was and how far I peddled.|
Off we headed across the sound peddling for Trunk Island. Everything was beautiful, majestic and outstanding
! I don't have words for the beauty and the peace. It was incomparable. Someone mentioned and I would have to agree and add zen divine. There were no nerves and no fear on my part. I was taking it all in. Disciplining myself to develop a level of fitness had allowed me this opportunity. This is what it is all about. In my euphoria I mentioned that I hadn't even prayed and Mandy broke out a prayer loud enough for us all to hear with lots of "in Jesus names" in it. She covered us and every eventuality in that prayer. LOL! Thanks Mandy.
As we approached the island Miguel returned
his boat and threw me a rope to tow me around to the back side of the island. It was only when I missed the rope and immediately upon hitting the water it disappeared did I realize how deep the water was. I caught that rope the next time and followed his instructions to lay down on the board as he towed me. Thank God for the yoga I have been doing. on
|Getting a tow around Harrington Sound|
The tow was fun and allowed me to relax and enjoy the amazing elements. Again, gorgeous! As we rounded the island we came upon a small beach and shallow water where I practiced standing up and paddling for more than an hour. I fell in a number of times and even scared myself a few
times, but I kept getting back up and trying at my own pace. Here is a clip of me standing for the first time. At some points I was moving so slowly you might think the video froze, but all is still working. LOL! no
You can see more videos on my YouTube channel.
All in all it was a phenomenal day on so many levels. Thanks to Miguel for his skill and wisdom. I highly recommend him as an instructor. If you are in Bermuda and would like to try paddle boarding or if you are going to be visiting Bermuda and would love to try it out you can email me for his details. Miguel estimated that I had paddled approximately two miles. I'll take that! He also noted that the fastest growing demographic for paddle boarding is women. Come on ladies, let's take it over. Paddle boarding is
a fabulous core workout and you feel your muscles working from head to toe. At one point I had to stop and relax my feet as my arches were cramping up from trying to stabilize myself while basically standing on water.
|I did it!|
Thanks also to Mandy for introducing me to paddle boarding and for being my guardian angel. She advocated for fiercely for the life vest even though I didn't think I needed it. You can see her in every pic near me in the water, making sure I was safe. Even when I went under in the deeper water in my panic, I could hear her voice. We had great laughs when the day was done, but she was serious about not having to make any
disturbing phone calls to the Hubbs. Thanks Mandy!
oarding, I will be back as soon as I get the chance and a few swim lessons.
While I was searching around the internet for a good picture of Harrington Sound I came across this little bit
. Trust me, if I would have had these facts, there would have been no paddle boarding for me! information not at Devil's Hole. Aleast
I wish you could have seen me after I read this. I looked like a wide eyed, blank stare, emoticon.
Ignorance Is Bliss!
Would you have tried paddle boarding not knowing how to swim? Do you consult the internet for details before an adventure?
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