Upon sailing south to the warm waters of Mexico, I've re-discovered something about myself that I had long ago forgotten -- a reality that I had not experienced since I was a child:
I love, love, LOVE to swim. To just be in the water.
Chris and I have been enjoying near-daily swims off the stern of Espiritu since the water has been warm enough to do so ('round about Mag Bay in Baja).
Unfortunately our swim ladder snapped in two a few days ago, so repairing/replacing it is now about #11 on our "repair/replace" list. Which meant we were temporarily boat-bound, as there is no way to climb back into the boat from the water without a ladder.
But yesterday it was so hot and muggy here in the La Cruz anchorage that I just HAD to take a dip. I told Chris to listen for me as he practiced the fiddle in the main salon of Espiritu. I would attempt to find a way to climb back onto the boat, either via the dinghy, or rigging some sort of rope contraption, etc, with Chris standing by inside the boat listening for any calls for distress. Plus, it would be smart to figure out an emergency way to get back onto the boat in case we accidently found ourselves in the water without our ladder.
So I dove on in.
There is something so comforting and invigorating about finding ones self floating in warm crystalline water...weightless, yet gently supported by unseen physical forces. The ocean calmly embraces you, nudges you along, caresses you and welcomes you for as long as you choose to stay in her encompassing womb.
All of the stresses and worries of the day are literally washed away, like a baptism.
My parents tell me that when I was a toddler, I would swim like a little minnow in our apartment building pool in Costa Mesa for hours on end (and this was before water wings, people!). Later, when we owned a home in the same town, my sisters and I just about died and went to heaven when our parents decided to build our own pool in the backyard!
Complete with a SLIDE! :-)
Those were some amazing years back then, with countless joyous hours spent swimming, playing Marco Polo, floating and just hanging out in our backyard pool.
If I haven't told you lately, Thanks, Mom and Dad. :-)
Anyway, after I grew up and we sold the house, like most adults I rarely swam anymore. You know the drill -- working more than full time, then there's dinner to cook after work, etc.
So, back to yesterday. I enjoyed a 20 minute swim around the boat...sometimes just floating and letting the current carry me, other times doing gentle, relaxing strokes to get a bit of exercise in.
I attempted to pull myself up into the dinghy several times, which involved some awkward contortions of my hapless body, limbs akimbo.
I continued my leisurely swim for another few minutes, then tried awkwardly to climb aboard Espiritu via the stern. I valiantly attempted to pull myself up by a rope, muscles quivering, and fell back into the water again and again. Nope. Not gonna happen.
Suddenly I saw a dingy barreling towards me at top speed. I waved to make sure that they saw me and would not run me over. The couple, from a neighboring sailboat, cried with concern:
"Are you alright? Can we help? Do you need rescuing?"
Ha! Well, I must have been quite an entertaining sight through their binoculars: my middle aged butt, arms and legs scrambling and jerking as I attempted over and over again to lug this middle aged body onto the boat via any means necessary.
Happy to provide entertainment for y'all. That's me...(LOL)...
I laughed, apologized profusely, thanked them for their chivalry, explained what I was up to, and that my husband was inside the boat ready to come pull me out if need be.
They didn't laugh, though. They looked kind of pissed. Chris came out and we thanked them again. We tried to introduce ourselves, but they promptly terminated the conversation, turned the boat in a bit of a huff and returned, full throttle, to their sailboat. They were a bit miffed, I think, that they came all the way over for nothing. Hmmmm. Sorry to disappoint you that I am JUST. FINE. :-/
I finally did figure out a way to climb into the dinghy using the bridle, at which point I could climb back into Espiritu. Safe and sound.
The moral of this story is this: if you have access to a swimming pool (or a lake or ocean during the warmer months) -- dive back in. Reacquaint yourself with one of the simple joys of childhood, which should really be something we experience until our dying day. And remember, if you haven't done it in awhile, swimming is like riding a bike. Once you dive in, your body remembers the motions.
You might need some help getting out of the water, though. :-)