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Water sports II

Being the only person in the family with a summer birthday, I tend to get an all-day celebration of sorts. It's not so much that people want to spend the full day with me, but that the weather is usually nice and everyone appreciates an excuse to be outside and play by the lake.

The lake settled down to calm water and that made perfect conditions for wakeboarding. Steve downloaded a guide with various accomplishments for us and point scores. For example, simply riding the board for 5 seconds earns 20 points for a beginner. One-handed riding is another 20 points. Crossing the wake is 80 points, etc. Three of us tried it and eventually racked up between 775 and 1025 points each. We've managed to complete all of the Beginner tasks except for catching air off the wake, the "Bunny Hop", and the "Surface 360". I almost got the Surface 360 but need to work on my arm position a bit more.

We also went power snorkeling. This is something most people have never heard of, but it's a blast. We use a device called a dive plane towed behind the boat. The snorkeler holds onto the dive plane after fifty feet behind the boat, and the boat trolls at about 2.8 MPH.

With this rig, a snorkeler can easily cover vast areas with little effort. There's no need for fins or kicking. A twist of the dive plane will send you flying down to the bottom for a closer look anytime you want, and since you aren't really working much, you can hold your breath for long times while exploring the bottom. A twist of the board upward, and you'll pop right back up to the surface. It's like flying underwater -- the closest thing to being a penguin.

Snorkelers who attempt this need to be able to equalize their ears while holding their breath, know how to clear their snorkel without touching it, know how to clear their mask without surfacing, and should know how to swim. I wear a shorty wetsuit for comfort since you can easily get cold because you aren't kicking.

Lake Champlain snorkeling S&E short.jpg

Emma's too inexperienced for power snorkeling, but Steve took her out for a little paddling around. She's getting better all the time. We're still working on her tendency to pop to the surface every 30 seconds to exclaim something, but that's just part of being an excited kid. Every fish is cause for celebration.

Lake Champlain snorkel S&E long.jpg

Eleanor had started work on the special birthday cake on Saturday, loosely based on my suggestions. On Sunday she was still unable to do much outdoor stuff due to her broken toe, but she had plenty to do in the kitchen. The cake was made up of three layers of chocolate ganache and chocolate-hazelnut cake, with hazelnut buttercream frosting and coated on the sides with toasted crushed hazelnuts. Dinner was Shrimp and Grits, a Charleston specialty we picked up last year during our visit. It was well received by all, and made a wonderful final touch on a great birthday at the lake.

Charlotte Eleanor birthday cake.jpg

We're doing so much on the water that it may seem monotonous, but to us it is simply a reflection of our travel philosophy to do what is available. Every region, every state, every little town has its own flavor and activity, and it makes sense to us to embrace those things as they are presented. Here, in summer, the best things to do are outdoors, so we've been hiking and enjoying the water, but we've also been visiting the small-town events that make Vermont special.

As a travel philosophy, you can view this two ways. You can go where your interests take you, or you can go everywhere and see what interests you locally. I think either approach is valid, and we try to do a little of both. It makes for a very fulfilling trip, because you can seek out new interests while simultaneously expanding your knowledge of your own interests.


Happy Birthday!!!! Shrimp and grits sounds great, sounds like more room in the freezer :-)

You're making me salivate...shrimp and grits...and ANYTHING with ganache! How about a couple recipes posted to that link titled Eleanor's Posts?

I am feeling bad for Eleanor and the broken toe. When I broke my little toe, I discovered how truly bad that feels every time you have to move. I was still teaching and on my feet all day. The dr. prescribed a pair of stiff soled workboots so that my foot did not do as much flexing. So after a cast, on went the workboots!!! And they really did the trick! I am sorry that Eleanor is missing all the sand and swimming!
And Happy Birthday, Rich!!

Happy Birthday! When y'all come back this way can we take a break from the dark chocolate and red wine to eat that cake? (drool)

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