I’m sat here, it’s 10.30pm on Thursday evening. Lovely Bloke is literally tearing off the z’s next to me, and the boys are in their beds, drifting off to sleep. I’m sat here wide awake, thinking about all the great things that we’ve done together on holiday – and by that, I don’t mean the activities. I can write about them all day long. Instead, I’m thinking about the adventures we’re having together.
The big adventure this week, for me, has been the four of us going on a snorkelling trip together. We met the In Depth team at their office, along with 20 other people – mostly families, with children of all ages. We’re handed our snorkel, goggles and flippers and walk
together, down to the beach. There’s a ‘pirate’ boat waiting for us - the Captain takes all of our belongings as we hand them up to him, to keep them dry and we wade out to waist height of water, to climb the 4 steps of the ladder onto the boat. We set off and Alex, who is going to Portsmouth to study Marine Biology in just 2 weeks time, takes us through where we will be stopping, what we will be doing, and what we can expect to see. The first stop is at Anthony Quinn head, and we will be there for 30 minutes. Alex tells us that there’s a brilliant cave, that’s a freshwater stream and we can all go through it and come
out the other side, and swim back to the boat. Elliott and William are very excited by the prospect of finding gold so Elliott and Lovely Bloke are in quickly. The water is 29 degrees – it’s so warm, it’s just lovely. I get in and am trying to coax William down the steps. But he gets scared and won’t come in. So Alex gets onto the steps and William wraps his arms around him. He climbs down the steps and somehow, gets him into the water. We’re all floating on woggles and snorkelling together!!! This is a huge thing as William is a great
swimmer but can be very contrary about getting in pools, let alone open sea!!!! It was a huge moment. I loved to see Elliott off with lovely bloke – shouting through his snorkel “Shoal” every time he saw the fish!! We could really feel how excited he was. It was infectious. I also loved to see William, breathing through the snorkel, bu refusing to put his face in the water – he couldn’t comprehend how he could breathe even though we had practised it in the pool several times beforehand.
For a couple of minutes, William was shouting to get back on the boat and then, miraculously, he remembered the pirate cove and we swam together, towards it. It was amazing to be in the sea with him, us both floating and bobbing along together. When we actually got to it, we found that the water got cold quickly – it was in the shadows and
also being fresher water, was much colder. So we turned around and went back to the boat. We got on it and William was rewarded with a huge packet of Haribo sweets, which he ate all but 4 of – because he needed to save some for his brother. The Captain sounded his horn and Elliott and Lovely Bloke came back to the boat – reluctantly, and made sure that they were as near to the last people to get back on as possible!
We then sailed again to another place, just ‘around the corner’ and there, Elliott was first in the water! He put his flippers on and was ready to go. It was brilliant. I got in with Elliott this time and had to restrain him from swimming away, so that William could get in with
Lovely Bloke. He refused again, and was helped in by Alex. He didn’t last very long, but was great at shouting to Lovely Bloke, Elliott and I as to where we needed to go to see the most fish! We had a brilliant time together. Elliott even dived under the water with Lovely Bloke, to get closer to everything. I don’t know who was most proud – him or us! The grand finale came when he jumped off the boat, just like Alex - who by this point is Elliott’s new hero, and leapt straight into the water, off a diving board! He did this over and over – Lovely Bloke and I hovered nearby but we weren’t needed. He was in his element.
Coming back, we all sat together at the back of the boat. Just hanging out. The Captain had brought fresh melon and we all had a slice. It was perfectly refreshing after the salty sea water. Elliott tried some and said it was “ok”. Lovely Bloke and I loved it. William kept a
tight hold of the Haribo.
Even writing this post, I feel like I’m not documenting it enough - that there’s something intangible. My photos don’t do the experience justice. It was amazing for the four of us to be doing something totally different together. To be out of our comfort zones, as individuals and as parents and our regular roles. I’m nervous of open water – that’s the polite phrase for it. I’m a strong swimmer – just nervous about open water. I have no real reason to be. But I’m working on it. And this was a bit part of why – so that we can all have adventures together. And it’s important that we all try new things together – even the things that we are a bit scared and nervous about doing. That’s part of being a team. And being away from home, is a great environment to do just that. I should write here about how safe everything is at Mark Warner. I’ve never seen so many staff, so many checks and protocols and so many explanations of what’s needed on our parts to do activities safely. Apparently, it’s something that they are known for. It never occurred to me to expect anything less, but talking to other people, Mark Warner sound to be ahead of the pack in this regard. I’ll write properly about that separately as it was a big part of my learning to sail course. Yes, I really did just write that. I’ve had a go at learning to sail. More on that tomorrow….