Twas the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a turtle swimming from a reef wreath. Perhaps it was scared by the storm’s worrisome wind, scattering lawn chairs and spinning our chimney cap ’til we thought it might take flight.
We find turtles without trying. Last summer we found them while paddling up the Lagunitas Creek, out of Point Reyes Station. After our paddle we stopped by Spirit Matters and found a lovely Kwan Yin seated on a turtle. This past September, on our trip to Kauai, we found turtles while exploring the reefs at Tunnels on the north shore. Turtles are magic in that when we find them, we are always in an environment that makes us smile.
Twas the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, a kiss on the cheek, south wind and an inch of rain.
The sea horse is out of focus. I’m on my fifth try and focus has evaded on each. So I’ll focus instead on the nature of this tiny creature. While traveling with my lovely in Kauai this past September, she kept gathering objects for Molly. It did not strike my noggin that these items were for a wreath. I do not know why. Maybe 85 degree weather and blue sky seemed out of place with Christmas planning. I’m not sure if the horse is from Kauai, but I did see a photo of two riders on sea horses of sorts, riding in 3 feet of water toward the Hanalei pier.
My wife and I spent Thanksgiving weekend in Camarillo, CA. We had wonderful weather and time to catch up with my brother, my dad, my nephew, and more.
My brother and his wife raise Guide Dogs and have a new puppy in training, Bud. Bud and his big brother Newman, are black labs with the cutest eyes.
We shared several meals with my dad who turned 96 in October. He lives at Alma Via, an assisted living residence. He has his share of health issues, but hey, he’s 96. He’s earned them.
On Friday my son’s family met us for a gathering of generations. We had my dad (the great grandfather), me (the grandfather), my son Matthew (the father), and his daughter Violet Mae. Four generations in one photo.
My son has a dog named Zeus. He’s my part-time pet, like when our grand daughter was born two weeks ago. Zeus stayed with us.
On our very first SUP outing, noted in my very first post, I stayed on the beach with camera in hand and Zeus went out with Matthew. It didn’t start out this serene. They were both in the water at the start, but cruised in with style. This is the Princeton Harbor, next to Mavericks where tomorrow’s big wave surf contest will be held.
Today I called my son’s girlfriend, Tori, to see if she wanted to hit the surf. She did and we did and it was small but glassy and I got more waves in this session than in any other since starting paddleboarding all of three months ago.
AND I took my first steps toward the nose. I couldn’t stop smiling.
Tori said I was shreadding, but you know, she may have exaggerated a tad.
From a relationship point of view, paddling promotes connection. We strap the boards on the roof and hit the road. We plan a day around getting in the water, exploring new locations, getting great gobs of time out in nature, and after exercising all those muscles we get a nice meal out. It’s been pretty romantic at times.
Plus there’s such a huge variety of topics to discuss like board selection, sites to SUP, fitness, diet, technique and SUP shops. I did a whole post on SOPOSUP, a cool little shop in Portland, Maine. We never got in the water, but being with the owner, reviewing his blog, and checking out the local surf, which was flat, was just fabulous.
I remember the first blog post like it was yesterday. It was from this past mother’s day when I sat on the sidelines with a bit of a cold. It was Donna who wanted to paddleboard. It was Donna to get in the water first. It was Donna who inspired me to give it a try.
Blogging 101 taught me that the name of the site and the site’s URL don’t have to match. That was great news. “WHAT SUP?” was my first choice for a URL when I started shopping for a name, but it was taken in all its forms. So I stuck with SUP Days, The Stand Up Paddleboarding Life, which really didn’t communicate my intent. So what is my intent?
Stand Up Paddleboard Surfing for Life is more like it. Not just for the rest of my life, but for life now, today, in this moment. I see the world differently when there’s surfing in my life. The pure joy of standing on moving water; the sound of a wave breaking around me while balancing on a board, is transcendent.
Once again, I’m getting into shape, working on my balance, keeping an eye on the weather, the surf, and my time. This evening I took a walk to the beach and got a shot of some rocks and watched waves.
It was chilly and windy and not right for me. The sun set and left a trail of light on the incoming tide. There might even be good SUP Surfing conditions tomorrow, or the day after.
We’d heard about paddle boarding in waters where Manatees live and took a tour with Anik Clemens from Anik’s Perspectives. She’s lived in St. Petersburg, Florida the past 9 years and knows the SUP shops and venues for paddling. She took us to the Weeki Wachee Springs State Parkwhere we put in for the 6 mile down-river paddle. She’d set us up with boards from the Kayak Shack that sat right on the water at end of the trip. We parked at the shack and got ferried, with our boards, to the put-in point at Weeki Wachee Springs.
The water was cool and clear. The surrounding jungle close. The river was teaming with small schools of Mullet and a smattering of Sheepshead thrown in for fun. Needlefish slipped in and out of sight while Anhinga and Kingfishers punctuated the trees.
We shared the river with a few tour boats, and some fun-loving folks who climbed a tree to a diving platform. As it turned out, Anik and our very own Donna were not afraid to take the plunge. Check out the video for a two minute look at our trip.
We’d found six Manatees by the end of the trip. The first one glided under my board like a ghost. Down river a pup scratched its back under a submerged log. My GoPro Hero 4 Silver captured most of the footage. Super Slow Mo thanks to iPhone 6S Plus.
The little one is Kyra, Anik’s lovely 4 year old daughter. Donna, Kyra, and Anik took a stab at singing Nimo’s song “Planting Seeds and Nothing More,” in front of one of the Weeki Wachee Springs mermaids.
The weather in St. Pete cooled for us which is a good thing given the 60 degree swing between the lows in Maine and the temperate Florida gulf coast. We’re here to visit our niece and her daughter. They’re cuter than cute and they love St. Pete.
South Lido beach is a serious wild life area full of White Ibis, Belted Kingfisher, Great Blue Heron, Common Egret, Horseshoe Crabs, Little Blue Heron, Mullet, and more. We had to lie low paddling through the close cover of matted mangroves that squeaked in the wind. The overhead sky leaked through to shallow clear water then came blasting out in full fall blue once we exited a grove tunnel.
If only there was more time we’d surely do it in the early morning light.