Tag Archives: Exuma

Travel Lessons: Just Keep Paddling

Michael and I have kayaks that we use almost monthly. We load up the boats on the top of our car, pack a cooler, get Finley’s life jacket and head out to the water. It is a favorite pasttime of ours.

Exuma Kayaking

Without fail, I always look to book a kayaking excursion when we travel. We’ve paddled cold dark waters in New Zealand and warm, crystal clear water in the Bahamas. We kayaked with a group, with a guide and by ourselves. We love to be out on the water. We do not have to have an agenda, just sunshine and a paddle. But, no matter the conditions, Mike and I have one rule – just keep paddling. I always smile when I think about Mike encouraging me from behind. “Don’t stop Diane!” “Just keep paddling Diane?” Water currents, waves and the wind all force you in their directions. Paddling your kayak keeps you on course for your destination. Sometimes these forces work in your favor, but other times they don’t. Just keep paddling!

I thought our kayak in Exuma would be easy, but as lucky would have it, it wasn’t’! We had to cross a busy channel. Of course, Mother Nature was against us and we fought an outgoing tide, wake from passing boats and a decent head wind. Mike handled it well. I, on the other hand, struggled to keep up. Half way through the channel I felt a pop in my rib cage and knew something was wrong. After a few not-so-lady-like words, I started to feel my muscles cramp. The, my hands lost grip. I wanted to stop and catch my breath so badly, but, I couldn’t. If I stopped paddling, even for a few seconds, I’d loose “ground” and just have to work that much harder and longer. I just had to keep paddling.

I ended up with a strained intercostal muscle from that experience. Breathing hurt. Laying down hurt. Laughing hurt. It was not a fun recovery, nor a short one. But, I can say with certainty, it was one of the most exciting paddles we have ever done.

Cathedral Cove Kayak New Zealand

Travel Lesson: When kayaking or canoeing, just keep paddling.
Life Lesson: Do not give up; life is about the ups and downs.

Doesn’t life seem like this every once in while? You take 3 steps forward, relax for a moment to enjoy successes, maybe even try to set your life on cruise control and then bam! Life smacks you down – a big project at work, family arguments, financial hardships. Life can come at you in full force sometimes. But if you stop trying, caring or hoping that negative momentum just carries you deeper in.

I think we forget that sometimes that struggles are life; not a time out of life, but actually a purposeful, meaningful, needed part of life. I wouldn’t like kayaking if I just sat in the boat and floated along – that is called a lazy river. Yes, I like moments of calm, but paddling is kayaking. Going through tough times is life. It is not a punishment, it is just life.

So don’t stop paddling; keep going. Sometimes the rough rides are what makes life different, unpredictable, fruitful and worthwhile.

5 Days in Tropical Paradise: Great Exuma, Bahamas

Some people think that five days in The Bahamas means five days of laying at the pool or beach. If that sounds perfect to you, you should go. Go now! Book your ticket and pack your bathing suit. But, if you like a little more adventure and activity, five days in The Bahamas might not be for you, right? WRONG! You should still go. Now!

Itinerary for Great Exuma Bahamas

Day 1 – I knew as soon as we began our decent into the Georgetown airport mid afternoon, that I needed to change into my bathing suit fast. Th calm, clear and warm water beckoned me. So, after we found our vacation rental, we found the water. Our property had a dock and sandy bottom swimming area that was perfect. A long walk to dinner at a local boutique hotel, Turquoise Bay, was the end to our first day on the island.

Day 2 – Being in the water was great, but exploring the surrounding waterways and islands was just as exciting. Our boat rental with Minn’s afforded us that opportunity. We cruised the harbor, had a little engine hiccup, cruised some more, snorkeled, ate lunch at The Chat ‘n Chill and swam in Elizabeth Harbor.

Huge Starfish in Great Exuma

Day 3 – We spent our third day on the island exploring land, not the water. We drove north, to the tip of the Great Exuma island as well south, down Little Exuma. There were mangrove swamps, sandy beaches, small villages and luxury resorts. We ate enough fried seafood at Santana’s (on Little Exuma) for an army and managed to find the Tropic of Cancer beach to build a sand man, play paddle board, swim and relax.

Sandman Exuma

Day 4 – I admit that seeing a picture of swimming pigs was the catalyst for our trip to Exuma and on Day 4 I was able to experience it myself. I swam with – OK, away from – pigs. I didn’t account for the fact that pig hooves hurt when they hit your arm or leg. The tour also included snorkeling, feeding lizards and easy walks on barrier islands in the area.

Swimming Pigs Georgetown Exuma

Day 5 – We spent our last day in Exuma kayaking around our vacation rental. The water was calm and clear and perfect for paddling around. Except for crossing a channel, the paddling was very easy. I would have definitely paid to rent kayaks here, but since the boats we used were free with our vacation rental we felt like we really lucked out!