Do what you love, one day a week: Paddle boarding!

After my last attempt, in less than calm waters and with a few adrenaline pumping wipe-outs, I went out on the board again this week.

It was beautifully calm in Lyall Bay on Sunday. Barely a ripple of a wave broke on the shore. I found my feet quickly and plunged the paddle deeply into the clear water, with quiet, determined confidence.

Calm waters on Lyall Bay

Elation washed over me, as I stood and kept my balance, recalling distant memories of ‘staring at a spot on the wall’ as I practiced my pirouettes in ballet and, more recently, ‘tree pose’ in yoga.

Paddling back into the break waters.

But the feeling of elation was rooted deeper than the seeds of triumph that come from learning something new. I felt elated to be free.

I’d paddled out past the rippling break waves without a glance back at the shore. My dear husband, Dan, told me to, ‘Go!’ with the added reassuring words I needed to hear, ‘Alice is fine!’ (my youngest daughter – nearly two). Indeed she was. There was no cry for her Mummy. I gave her no time for second doubts. Dan took this photograph of her whilst I was out on the water – no little toddler clinging at her Daddy’s legs or crying for Mummy. I like to think there’s a look of admiration even?!

Admiration from Alice?

It felt so liberating to be out on the board. I could hear only the dip of the paddle in the water, the cry of a seagull and the occasional shout of encouragement from the shore. I smelt the air so fresh and free, it lifted me heart and soul. I thought of my parents returning to the UK, flying home to snow after a six-week respite from winter in New Zealand. I felt connected to them, even though they were already half a world away.

I felt calm.

And when Monday came, a national holiday for ‘Waitangi Day‘ in New Zealand, we went out to the sea again – as a family. I wasn’t the only one doing something I love.

Dan watching the girls swimming to the diving platform

Dan paddled out to Tapu Te Ranga Motu Island (Island Bay), with Sophie sitting on the front of the board.

Dan paddles out to the island with Sophie

She came back beaming and quick tongued to tell of water so clear and a ‘coral reef’ like scene of plants on the sea-bed.

Sophie on the front of the board

Alice happily ran in and out of the break wave at Island Bay, periodically asking for me to take her swimming. She egged me on into deeper water (I was thankful for my wet-suit!), so she could lie flat and kick her legs, ‘Like a mermaid!’ she said – with a beaming face. She dipped her face into the salty water, looking at the minnows swimming around us in the waters of the Taputeranga Marine Reserve, and got a surprise at the taste of the water!

Quick footed Alice

Charlotte swam strongly out to the diving pontoon and back (as did Sophie a couple of times too – but with a life-jacket and boogie board).

Charlotte getting her flippers on for a swim

I don’t think Charlotte would say swimming is her ‘love’ – as ‘dancing’ definitely takes first place, but she is – and always has been – so happy in water. Whenever she has been stressed or troubled over something she knows water calms her. I love to watch her swim – especially now she has the confidence to duck her head under the waves and swim through them like a Pied shag (better known as cormorants outside of NZ).

Dan watching over Sophie and Charlotte on their boards.

So we all did something that felt good this week – and I managed to get out on the board at Island Bay, for a second time in a week, too! The long weekend was just what we all needed. Charlotte is settling back into her school (a little tired with the early starts after the holidays – but she’ll get there!). Sophie is enjoying home-schooling (as we received our certificate of exemption last week) and I am enjoying it too. Alice is chattering away in full sentences with a quick mind that will test us all in time, hee, hee!

And – good news – my folks made it home to the UK – only took 48 hours or so – with a slight detour and stop-over in Frankfurt to wait for the snow to lift at Heathrow! So we have all LOVED being able to talk and see one another on Skype again.

Hopefully you have found some time to do something you love this week too? x


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Project 52