Paddling With Dolphins In Mexico
I come to my feet….gingerly, carefully, my toes digging into the pretend surfboard wobbling beneath me in deep water. I’m up. I take a big breath and resign myself to the fact that if the waves kick up I may end up much closer to the dolphins than I originally intended. I have just launched and paddled out on my haunches from a white sand beach in the Sea of Cortez, off Mexico’s mainland coast five hours south of Arizona. I’ve never been paddle boarding before, but did grow up in the midwest watching Gidget and Annette Funicello having a great time on surfboards. Do I get constructive credit for that? It sure looked easy when Gidget did it! I can’t honestly say that surfing or paddle boarding was ever high on my personal “list”, but as a middle aged woman, I’ve come to believe in seizing the opportunity for adventure whenever and wherever I can. Use it or lose it is my Mom’s mantra and she is almost always right!
Paddle boarding is a cool and obtainable sport. It allows mere mortals such as myself to experience pseudo-surfing. You get a nice long paddle for balance and the board itself is engineered to be a stable platform for you to stand up and paddle yourself out to sea with the real marine life. A kind of lone and meditative sport where you can sing your heart out while scanning the water for fish or like today, try to catch up with a school of feeding dolphins. But even if these slippery, smiling dolphins are too fast for me today I can try try try again. Because we are staying at Bahia Delphin (Dolphin Bay) and true to their habits they patrol the waters near shore every morning and evening waiting to scoop up the little sardinos as they spill out of the nearby estuary with the twice daily tides.
My husband Glen and I are four outdoor aficionados doing as much as we can to “use it” and not lose it. Is paddle boarding my new sport? Will I buy one and tote it to the lakes up at our cabin and buy Hang Ten shorts and generally become a really cool surfer person? I think not. But it does play to my strengths; yoga is handy for balance, hiking dandy for leg strength, and tennis…. Well, tennis helps feed the competitive rat that gnaws away my personal fears and allows me to go a bit outside my comfort zone from time to time. Like chasing dolphins on a paddleboard in the Sea of Cortez!!