Friday, August 21, 2015

Paddle Boarding In Paradise / Fit Faith Link Up # 4






























BBlissful: an adjective meaning full of, abounding in, enjoying and conferring bliss.

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.  I decided there and then that when I returned next summer I would take her up on her offer.

Fast forward seven months and I'm back in Bermuda.  Mandy and I are texting each other for meet up times and locations for the big paddle board experience.  I'm pumped.  Then she texts me the location.  Devil's Hole.  Wait, what? I was entertaining at the time and I said to my guest, "Does Devil's Hole have sand? I don't recall a beach down there."  "NO! There's no sand down there", my guest replied incredulously laughing!  I texted Mandy back - Maybe now would be a good time to tell you that I'm a non-swimmer?! Crickets!!!

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 because of this beach advantage (lol, you like that jab!) combined with my living abroad on and off for 30 years I have not had the need, per se, to swim in open water.  Yes, I've had many swim classes growing up, but I was never proficient at it and I didn't have a fear the water so it was never an issue.  I guess if my life depended on it, I could muster up a doggy paddle or something, but for the purposes of swimming at Devil's Hole, in Harrington Sound.  That is a negative!

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?  Ummmmm... Surprisingly the only question I had was does he have a big girl life jacket. 

The title pic 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.  

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 zen and I would have to agree and add 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 on 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.


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 no all is still working. LOL!





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!

Paddle Boarding, 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 information.  Trust me, if I would have had these facts, there would have been no paddle boarding for me!  Aleast not at Devil's Hole.

I wish you could have seen me after I read this.  I looked like a wide eyed, blank stare, emoticon.
"Bottom of the Harrington Sound is the lowest point in Bermuda. It's estimated to be some 70 feet deep near Devils Hole. Many once thought that the sound was part of a bottomless volcanic crater." ~ Bermuda Attractions 

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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52 comments :

  1. I really want to try SUP and that looks like the perfect place! Stopping by from Jill's link-up - great to find you! ;-)

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    1. It was gorgeous. Thanks for stopping by Coco

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  2. That sounds like fun! I tried SUP in Puerto Rico. It definitely takes a little getting used to the feeling. Congrats on getting out there and doing it!

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    1. Ooo, that must have been gorgeous Kelli. Thanks for opting by.

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  3. I would LOVE to try paddle boarding one day! Looks like so much fun!

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    1. It was a lot of fun Michelle. You would love it.

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  4. Look at you!! SUP is so much fun once you get the hang of it. I've tried it a few times and love it

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  5. I tried paddle boarding recently for the first time. IT's a lot of fun and it would be even better in a paradise like that.

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  6. You are so brave!!! Congrats to you for not letting the deep water hold you back from trying something new. I have always wanted to go paddle boarding and now wish I had when I was in Bermuda a few years ago. The water there is so beautiful!

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    1. Awe maybe you will get another chance Nicole!

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  7. This looks like so much fun! I know I would have been freaking out. I don't know how I'd feel about being in the middle with such a small boat lol I mean board 😊

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    1. Lol, looking back it was a bit crazy but what an adventure.

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  8. You were so brave! I love that little video :-). I haven't had a chance to try paddle boarding yet, but it always looks like so much fun. Good luck with the swim lessons!

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  9. This looks like so much fun! My husband and I recently went on an anniversary cruise with the option to paddle board, but they charged some outrageous amount of cash to do it. Next time I'm at the beach I'll have to look for a cheap local surf shop to give me lessons.

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    1. Oh no but don't that discourage you. You will be glad you tried it.

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  10. This must have been so much fun ...oh, you are so brave. I haven't try paddling need to learn to be comfortable in water.

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    1. You should try some swim classes over the winter do you will be ready for next summer. That's what I'm going to be working on.

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  11. Looks like you had a ton of fun with some amazing views! I loved paddle boarding. It was a lot of fun and a good workout. I was surprised I didn't fall in either.

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  12. SUP has been on my list of things to try for AGES. One day.....
    That water is absolutely gorgeous.

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    1. Ange, the view, the water everything was perfect.

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  13. Oh, I've wanted to try SUP for so long! I need to try it! Looks like you had an amazing time!

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  14. I just learned how to swim this year. I might have tried it before that as long as I had a life jacket on. Looks like so much fun!

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    1. Lol, yes despite my actions I do suggest life vest. Congrats on learning to swim.

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  15. looks like you really had a lot of fun! :D

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  16. That sounds like so much fun! I have no idea when I would be in Bermuda, but I definitely want to try it out!

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  17. I love SUP! Props to you for trying it when you don't know how to swim. So many people wouldn't be able get over their fear of the water.

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  18. I"m officially jealous of your adventure! SUP has been on my to do list forever.

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  19. This looks like so much fun! I'd like to take my wife to do this in the near future.

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    1. It would make for an excellent active date Jonathan. I hope you get the chance soon.

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  20. Paddle boarding is no joke! I tried SUP yoga one it was so hard! It looks like you had a great trip!

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    1. I've heard of Sup Yoga but I can't even imagine. I could barely stand up.

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  21. That has to be one of the best adventure stories I have read! LOL I love that you were willing to try something new despite your deficiencies. I don't know if I would have opted for paddle boarding if I couldn't swim but it looks like you had an AMAZING time! I am looking forward to trying it one day myself!

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    1. Awe, Thanks Stephanie. It good knowing something I wrote resonates with someone. I hope you get to try it one day soon.

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  22. Oh that looks like so much fun! Great core work on the board too!

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  23. This looks like a lot of fun. I can't swim either so I don't do a lot of water activities. I need to get some lessons because I'm missing out on all the fun.

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    1. I'll be taking lessons this winter. There is so much fun to be had on the water.

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  24. This looks like a cool experience to have. I've had some unique experiences in my travels, but never done paddle boarding.

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  25. You are brave I would not have paddleboarded without a life vest without knowing how to swim!!! You did a great job and it looked gorgeous. I loved Bermuda and would love to paddle board there next time I go, although maybe not at Devils Hole....

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    1. Thanks Toni! Yeah, I don't think I would want to do it again in Devil's Hole knowing what I now know lol!

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  26. This looks so much FUN! I would try this, but first...let me get a life vest. lol

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  27. That looks like a lot of fun. I'd love to try that, as long as the water is less than 6'deep :)

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  28. Oh, this looks like so much fun! I need to learn to swim so I can do all these fun things. I would love to visit your Bermuda :-)

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  29. WOW kudos to you lady! I need to upgrade my swimming ability and concur my fear of water more but this looks like so much vest and I am with Joanna, mama is gonna need a serious life vest on first LOL

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