Recently I was given the opportunity to explore our Mangrove Swashland up close and personal with a Kayak Nature Tour, courtesy of Lucayan Nature Tours.
I arrived at the headquarters and was introduced to my tour guide – “Uncle Sam.” Not too long after, the rest of our guests arrived and the group was on the way to Lucayan National Park.
Once there, the instructors went through a set of safety rules and soon after the group began the kayaking adventure to Gold Rock Beach. The water was beautiful and crystal clear.
The journey began slowly, with me struggling a little to get a handle of the kayak and the paddles; however, with one stroke after the other, I was well on my way down the mangrove stream.
As the group continued paddling down the stream, I suddenly found myself about to crash into one of the trees in the mangrove. In an effort to avoid a collision, I back paddled but in a moment of rush and fear, I leaned a bit too much to the right and … SPLASH – into the water I went.
I quickly reached up and grabbed a hold of one of the mangrove root’s branches to keep myself float.
‘Uncle Sam’ turned around and gave a very valiant, heroic effort to empty my boat of water and assist me in getting back in it. After a while, ‘Uncle Sam’s’ efforts paid off; however, the kayak still had a bit too much water in it and I found myself sinking yet again.
I swam over to another mangrove root’s branch which kept me afloat and Uncle Sam again worked to assist in the rescue – this time also being aided by one of the persons on the tour.
Finally, after about an hour and a half of an unsuspected swimming adventure, and a two and a half mile long journey, we reached the end. While things didn’t go as planned, they certainly ended on an amazing note and from this little journey, a lesson of life unveiled itself to me.
“Sometimes in life things start calm and in the blink of an eye – one’s boat can turn over. However, the true test of strength and character is not the boat turning over, but how you react.
Amazing people exist in our society and around the world that are willing to lend a helping hand and from there, the joy of life is in finding the inner courage to climb back into your boat and continue to paddle on until you succeed in your mission.
That is what I did and I am most grateful for this beautiful experience what ended on an incredible beach with a golden sunset. I learned that day why they call it “Gold Rock” beach and was privileged to be a part of an experience and a day that will always remain close to my heart – long live Grand Bahama.