Shark Bait!

Paddle boarding is one of the things I've wanted to try for a long time. I even put it on my list last year with the hope that I might try it before my next birthday. Well, how about for my birthday?! Yep, I got a little bit older wiser on Thursday! What a day! I found a surf school teaching stand up paddle boarding, made the appointment, and psyched myself up to learn something new. Not such a big deal for most people, but I have a little bit of a phobia when it comes to fish. What? Don't you?

I grew up playing in the waves in San Diego, never really giving much thought to what was in the water with me, but at some point that changed, and ever since coming to Maui for the first time a couple of years ago, I realized being in the water really freaks me out. I've tried not to make a big deal out of it because I don't want my kids to adopt the same fear, and I think I've actually made some real improvement in overcoming my scare-dee-cattedness during this trip. But it also points to why I was drawn to paddle boarding - you get to be on top of the water! Genius!

The lesson was a lot of fun, taught by a sun-baked guy named Armadillo. I had two other ladies in my group, and one 10-year old...so how hard could this be? Not that hard really! It reminds me of riding a horse, only steering is opposite, and it's more like you're standing on the horse trying to balance. I only fell in the drink once! Well, twice, but that second time was Armadillo's fault. We had absolutely beautiful conditions for first-timers - no wind, and no waves! Hooray! The bad news though was that the tide was very low, which gave us very little wiggle room over all the coral - and there is a ton out there! We were in this perfect little lagoon, and once we started to feel very solid on the boards we sat down to take a break. That was when Armadillo mentioned the sharks......and then we saw them! Crikey!!

At the edge of the reef, about 50 feet from where we were sitting, we could see fins pop out of the tiny waves every once in a while. While I sat there thinking "Worst Nightmare!", my teacher said, "Let's get closer!" Ha ha, right? He told us that they were white-tipped reef sharks, that they were usually in this area, and "pretty harmless". I'm proud to say that I didn't ask, "Where is the motor on this board because I'm outaaaaa heeeeerrreee!" We stayed a few more minutes, and it was pretty exciting to spot them come up into the waves like that! Then we left them in peace, but I will say that I kept looking back to see if there was anything following me. Shiver me timbers!

So, anyway, I did it! I loved it, and I'm going to do it again today! Hooray for trying new things, and for awesome birthdays!!

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