Maldives Rowing Volunteer
Blogging I have discovered I suck at. Never seem to do it..... It’s going to have to be one of my New Year’s resolutions to improve!

Since the schools broke up I’ve been running beginners swimming lessons in Hithadhoo and Maradhoo. We’re using the swimming track in Hithadhoo and rather a nice spot by the bridge onto Maradhoo. We get lots of cars stopping to check out what on earth is going on as they clock loads of people thrashing about in the water shrieking with laughter, banter and directions to their fellow swimmers/thrashers. One American guy working on a climate project here asked me if it was a big party. He was genuinely surprised when I said ‘uh no swimming lessons!’.

Ages range from 3 to 12 for the younger 6 groups all of whom mastered the art of bribery much faster than the art of swimming. ‘Yes we will get in the water/kick our legs straight/jump off the swim track mummy if we can have biscuits/cake/lunch at a restaurant/a Barbie doll/toys’. One little girl, Imeely, is a master at it and has so far gone to a cafe for chocolate cake and got a new doll out of the three week course. I have a feeling all the mothers will be glad the lessons are coming to an end as for a free course they are proving quite expensive!!

Imeely is now swimming around festooned in arm bands, goggles and swim hat rather than lying rigid in her mother’s arms screaming. I would like to take credit for this but sadly cannot. Meezan, our beamer of the group, impressed her so much one day by just stepping off the swim track into the water (he did not expect the drop or the total submersion that followed – as proved by his eyes filling the entirety of his goggles when he surfaced)! However, he beamed and paddled off and Imeely immediately paddled off after him and now follows him everywhere!

The 3 adult groups range in age from 18 through to about 50 and are great fun. Only one or two were really scared of the water and the rest threw themselves into my requests with alacrity demanding to be taught to do forward somersaults and headstands. There was much shrieking and laughter when they were practising picking up objects from the bottom of the sea. Being salt water floating is really easy and sinking is not quite as easy as it is in a pool back home. Inevitably, there will be people wriggling about on the surface eyes glued to the plastic egg on the sea floor they are meant to be picking up until finally the need for air makes them lift their head to hoots of laughter from their friends.

It’s great to see the enthusiasm and determination to master the rudiments of freestyle, backstroke, breast stroke and doggy paddle that everyone shows. Deep water is still terrifying to some - huge eyes behind a kick board and legs working like crazy as they swim towards me before turning round and making a dash for the shallow water.

Most days it’s blue sky and baking standing in the sea but we have had our fair share of rain and I seem to have spent the last three weeks permanently damp. One of the best moments was standing up to my waist in the sea as the wind and waves whipped in, the rain poured down as it only does in the tropics, the sun set and we huddled in a water logged group eating barbequed fish and chunks of coconut that one of the ladies had bought along – don’t think she was expecting a deluge from above!

On a more pleasant evening we also had a rapid bbq after the swimming ended at 6. We moved on up the link road to a spot where they had the fish, baked potatoes and chicken grilling away in tinfoil over some hot coals. Everything lathered in a very tasty ‘Maldivian curry paste’ and washed down with raspberry/blueberry juice – the jury was out as to which it was! Azum and I then cycled our very slow and replete way back to Hithadhoo.....   

Azum, is a guy who is totally passionate about any form of swimming. He took his swim instructors certificate earlier this year – transpires lots of people did but hardly any have then gone on to use it. Anyway Azum was down at the track a couple of mornings when i first started and asked if i wanted some help so now the two of us bike up and down coaching swimming and putting plans together for next year. I think I need to be about 5 different people to satisfy all the requests to do things I’m getting.

Needless to say the rowing hasn’t stopped while all this has been going on – three afternoons a week we have rowing running on a ‘drop in as and when you can’ basis with council buses bringing the students up from the other islands. Armed with 4 doubles, Guin’s single, the coaching launch and a peddle boat we hit the sea either going out to the reef for a spot of snorkelling, over to the swim track for a spot of swimming and socialising with everyone out having a good time in the evenings or we see how far we can get down the coast towards Maradhoo. As it’s meant to be fun we don’t get very far before everyone mutinies and heads for the swim track! I have plans for gym fitness and long distances on the water come the New Year.

x Tash


12/28/2011 06:05


12/30/2011 20:26

THX for info

01/02/2012 01:24

i still dont knw when will rowing continue :)
i really need the information

01/25/2012 05:09

THX for info

01/28/2012 14:54

Nice post bro

03/24/2012 14:11

THX for info

03/31/2012 23:40

Good post bro


Swimming means being able to exercise free from the heaviness that seems to accompany age..

09/27/2012 02:48

Great article ...Thanks for your great information, the contents are quiet interesting. I will be waiting for your next post.

09/29/2012 17:28

is before long


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