If you’re anything like me, you’re plan for Spring Break is to bust out the bikini and lose that winter pale you’ve been sporting for way too long. But why limit yourself to beach tanning when there are plenty of other ways to find yourself outdoors while you’re on Spring Break?
1. Rent a KAYAK! Kayaks are fun, self-propelled boats that are easy to become the captain of. A double-sided paddle that requires a rotating motion pushes water back while sending you forward on the water. Exploring a local lake, river, stream, brook or riding the ocean waves can be relaxing, healthy and fun in that springtime sunshine.
2. Try wakeboarding! When I was in 9th grade, my best friend Bennett was really into wakeboarding. Wakeboarding is a more modern alternative that finds itself in the water skiing genre of activities. For the most part, a wakeboard is a snowboard for water. The catch is you need a motor boat to pull you UNLESS you find yourself in the Orlando area where you can rent a board and ride motorized cables that will pull you around at Orlando Watersports Complex (OWC).
3. Enjoy a beach cookout! More often than not, public beaches sport pavilions out front with a charcoal grill assigned to each one. Stake your claim at one of these pavilions with a bunch of friends, grab a bag of charcoal from your local Wal-mart along with some hotdogs and you’re good to go. Nothing beats a messy cookout with a public shower!
4. Visit the manatees. These fat and friendly Florida natives will welcome you with placid, whiskered faces anywhere they can find warm water. If you’re in my neck of the woods, say hello to the manatees of the Manatee Observation and Education Center in Ft. Pierce! You’ll even have an opportunity to check out the museum and donate a little monetary love to these beautiful and humorous endangered creatures.
5. Go for a beach side jog! There’s no need to lose that beach bod before break even ends so get your sneakers on and challenge yourself to run from one beach to another. You’ll be soaking up the sun and making room for an ice cream cone after!
As an adventurous, water-faring women and a retired competitive swimmer, I tend to be over-confident in my swimming skills. Nothing says competent like confidence to a woman; however, there are instances in which I admit I should take the cautious route and one of those situations is rip currents.
PHOTO CREDIT: Debbie Seagrave
A rip current, by definition, is a current of water that forms when waves moving from deep to shallow water break, or tumble over and turn into white foam, and cause a pull of water to go back out to sea. These currents can move at a rate of 8 feet per second, faster than an Olympic swimmer like Ryan Lochte.
For weak or beginning swimmers, these currents become one of the biggest risks of enjoying a day at the beach. For stronger swimmers like me and the majority of my readers, rip currents still poise a threat that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
According to the United States Lifeguarding Association webpage, over 100 people in the United States each year die from being caught and getting over-exhausted in a rip current. If those numbers alone aren’t enough to scare you, the 80% of ocean rescues being because of rip currents should make you stop in your swim lane.
Here are a few rip current safety tips according to weather.com:
Swim in a lifeguarded beach as often as possible.
Don’t swim by yourself!
Keep 100 feet between yourself and piers, jetties or other permanent structures.
Consider using polarized sunglasses (I prefer my RayBans but any polarized pair can be helpful to spot those rough patches telling of rip currents).
And the tips to survive if you find yourself in a rip current:
Stay calm. This conserves energy and helps you think more clearly.
DO NOT fight the current.
Start swimming parallel to the current until you’re out and then swim at an angle towards the shore.
If you’re unable to swim out of the current, float or tread water calmly and wait until you’re out of the current to swim to shore.
WHEN AT A LOSS, wave your arms, yell for help and draw attention to yourself and a lifeguard will assist you.
Even the most confident swimmers and the most knowledgeable ocean-goers get caught in rip currents. As women, we have the tendency to let our thoughts fill our head with noise but when stuck in a “current” situation we have to focus on the now: getting out.
One of the advantages of living in a state that sticks out from the main land mass that is the United States is the number of ships that run their courses into it. And I mean literally!
Because of the limestone under-layer that Florida sits upon, many ships have met an untimely end. This is most unfortunate for them but, years later, I find myself thinking how bored I would be as a water adventurer had they not met such misfortune.
Exploring shipwrecks is an activity that every sunshine-loving Florida girl should get to experience at one point for another. Continue reading →
Lately, while indulging in my roommate’s latest edition of Cosmo like any woman will do if left to her devices, I have been noticing a trend in leopard print, sparkly, diamond-studded Sperries. For those of you that don’t know, Sperry Topsider is the leading brand of a type of shoe known as the “boat shoe,” a leather and rubber-soled stink pit for your foot. Continue reading →