Barbados Sea Swim: No Adult Supervision!

Barbados Sea Swim: No Adult Supervision!

I grew up in land-locked Colorado and more recently hail from San Francisco, where beach-walking in lieu of -swimming is the norm.

I moved to Barbados – St Lawrence Gap, on the beach — in January ’08 and was fascinated by the Caribbean Sea right outside. I was also fearful of it.

Each morning I began my day by checking the sea outside, then, as though it were a sleeping newborn, I’d check in on it throughout the day. I still begin my day by throwing open the windows to the magical sea and imagine I always will; as Greg says, God does nice work.

Swimming in the Caribbean Sea in Barbados

Happily swimming, in the Caribbean Sea in Barbados

I’d look — but I wouldn’t go in. I’d watch Greg go in, but I stayed in the pool. I was scared.

My feelings about the Caribbean Sea roused conflicting feelings:

First, fascination: Its color is mind-blowing blue — or what I call Barbados Blue; Crayola should have such a color, at least in the 32-pack. It’s a blue that sparkles and shimmers in the light. On a sunny day it’s as clear as a glass of water.  When a storm threatens; it turns grumpy and dark.  Very cool … when I’m inside looking out.

Second, fear: Animals live in the sea. The sea moves around. And, it’s huge … there’s so much water.

I wanted to go in; I envied Greg going in …. I was like a child who wanted to play with the new family pet but fearfully backed off whenever I felt too close.

When I finally did venture in, I dressed for the occasion: I wore high-collar, long-sleeved zip-up jacket and long pants and water shoes. This was so that the animals couldn’t touch my skin. As I ventured in very slowly, Greg, whose hand I gripped, commented, “You’re a bit of an eccentric, aren’t you?” (No argument there.)

Gradually, I went into the sea more often. My progress was slow – I always I gripped Greg’s hand getting in and getting out, but at least I was giving it a go.

Then I started going into the sea wearing a swimsuit with just the long pants over it – no long-sleeved jacket zipped to the neck.

I graduated to wearing my swimsuit and shorts. Not sure what I was thinking – that the sea animals could nibble at my shins but my sacred thighs were safe? Truth is, I’ve never had a fish or any animal in the sea come anywhere near me.

About two weeks ago — two years and six months after moving to Barbados — I called Greg at work, asked if he’d come home early. I told him I was ready. And when he got home, I got on my swimsuit and only my swimsuit and went into the sea.  I loved it! Since then, I’ve been in, with Greg, every day.

This morning, I called Greg at work and told him I was Going in Alone. He said, “Great! Call me when you get out.” (Ha … so, if he doesn’t hear from me, he can come fish me out me later on…?)

I went in without fear. I breathed in a deep breath of the sea air, marveled at the warmth of the sea, and took the plunge.  I couldn’t believe how much fun I had, paddling around in the Caribbean Sea outside our home, all by myself! I felt free and happy and as proud as a school kid with a great report card. Who can finally play with the family pet.

9 Responses to “Barbados Sea Swim: No Adult Supervision!”

  1. RumShopRyan says:

    I’m from Kansas and now live in southwest Florida. The ocean can be a scary place at first, but it can be your best friend as well.

    Good post,

  2. Canadian Sue says:

    Well done Jane! Enjoy your accomplishment and when you feel like you need a new challenge, try floating in the sea under a full moon. Magical…especially in Barbados.

  3. Linda says:

    The Gap is my favorite hangout on the island – love Dover & Sandy Beach – but to be honest I love just about any beach in the Caribbean.

    Now that you’ve taken the plunge, it will be hard to stay out of the water 🙂

    Love your blog!

  4. Oh, Sue, now you’ve done it … you’ve gone and planted an even greater challenge in my mind! I read and re-read your note and couldn’t believe you suggested swimming in the sea at night — in the dark — where you can’t see to the nice, white, reassuring white sandy bottom!

    It might take another two years of little-by-little, but I’m gonna do it! Sounds sooo dreamy to float in the sea with the moon reflecting on the surface of the glorious warm Caribbean … ahhh!


  5. Now that I’m used to it, Ryan, I go in without a thought … I feel quite empowered, actually, to be able to just run into the sea without a care!

    Thanks for writing. I bet you’re happy to be out of land-locked Kansas!!


  6. Jonathan Brooks says:

    Hi Jane,

    Just returned from Barbados and my friend was a bit scared of the sea but in the end she loved it too.

  7. Hi, Jonathan. Did you ever go into the sea for a night swim? My new challenge is to go into the sea for a swim when it’s dark … scares me to pieces, even though there’s really nothing to be frightened of. Uhh … right?

  8. patrick says:

    i understand that swimming at night is even more exciting en déshabillé…

  9. I am working my way up to swimming at night in the sea; I can comfortably go in at dusk but not the darkest of night … not yet. Some day, though. You’re right that it’s quite the experience, or so I’ve heard. You’ll have to try it yourself and let me know, Patrick! xx Jane

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