We’ve had a long stretch of 90 degree weather here in the upper mid-west of the United States. In fact, the national weather service recorded a temperature of 99 degrees this past Sunday, June 6th. All this heat has me thinking of the different bodies of water into which I’ve dipped my toes.
Sunday, we sat in the Black River, which flows into the Mississippi River near our town. Many people in our region enjoy the rivers on regular basis, owning boats, jet skis, canoes, kayaks, and just about anything you can imagine that will help to get them into the water. Just having our toes (and some bottoms) in the water helped to cool our bodies.
We spend lots of time at our cabin which sits on 200 feet of shoreline in the Northwoods of Wisconsin on a small freshwater lake. This year we got a new dock which will be installed tomorrow, helping us to use the water more efficiently. This small, clean lake has been a source of many fond memories during hot summer days for family and friends.
Not being a strong swimmer, I possess a healthy respect for water. I grew up with an in-ground pool but spent more time floating around and “getting tan” more than swimming. Now, I guard my skin carefully when on any body of water with lots of sunscreen. I wore SPF 70 on Sunday and coated up well before our river voyage. I was glad to find I did not burn despite being in the sun for several hours.
I’ve long been familiar with the Atlantic Ocean, vacationing in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina as a school-aged child during Easter break. The water was still cold in March and April, whenever Easter fell, but we still went body-surfing and enjoyed the water. As I became an adult and was able to venture further afield, the ocean and gulf waters off of Florida were ventured into for shell seeking and cooling off. Below is a photo from the a county beach in the Florida Keys.
Bermuda, the place of our honeymoon, held some ocean challenges for me. We went snorkeling. this meant I was in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean floating around and learning how to “breathe” with a poor fitting snorkel mask on my face. It was scary and not all that enjoyable. I think my new husband thought he was going to “loose me” at one point. We also went helmet diving in Bermuda, which is exactly what the words indicate – you go to the bottom of the ocean floor with a cement helmet on one’s head. This was also an experience, more for my husband than for me, and I think I’ll save that for another post. Let’s just say we loved the azure waters off the coast of this gracious island that we’ve returned to three times in 34 years. And, we plan to go again.
Moving to the Pacific Ocean took some time for our family. Finally, in December of 2009 we took the plunge and went to the Hawaiian Island of Maui for the first time. On New Years’ Day, we went on a Pacific Whale Foundation snorkeling tour that took us out to the crater of Molokini to snorkel. There was a heavy chop that day (at least a foot). I was very apprehensive but went in with my sons. I was wearing all the extra floatation devices I could manage. My oldest son, then a freshman in high school, and I got out to the crater but getting back was difficult. He was worried about me, for I was breathing hard, swimming against the waves.
I managed to sputter some good Dory advice, “Just keep swimming!” And, we did make it back.
We’ve returned to Maui once and Kauai another time, respecting signs and the power of the ocean – both seen and unseen – on each occasion. Below is a beach on Kauai where there is a sign that states no swimming is allowed. The locals call it “where the water is confused.” This means there are dangerous riptides. We did not swim.
Other years have taken us to back to the shores of the Gulf of Mexico when in Playa del Carmen (1990), the shores of La Jolla, and Coronado (2012) Beach, California near San Diego.
I’ve waded into or swam in three Great Lakes, as well as the Chesapeake Bay, outside of Baltimore. In 2019, we experienced the glacier fed lakes in the Canadian Rockies. Canoeing on Lake Louise with my entire family was an experience I will fondly remember for the rest of my life. And, watching my husband and boys swim (very briefly) in 39 degree glacier fed water at Boom Lake in Alberta the same August was breath-catching for all.
The North Sea off the coast of South Holland currently holds my personal record for the place furthest away from home where my toes have dipped into a large body of water. It seemed surreal to be there in 2016.
I’ve retained my respect (and, a little fear of water) but I’ve also learned to enjoy it. On a hot day, such as this, memories of these great bodies of water help keep me cool!
All photographs on this post are copyrighted by Carol Labuzzetta.
There is no permission to duplicate in any form. Thank you!