My thoughts often turn to my late parents when I return to South East Asia, especially when I visit the sea. So here I am at Patong Beach in Phuket, having just arrived the previous night. An early morning venture out to the beach before the crowds arrive.
My father loved the sea and was interested in all manner of water sports in his younger days. He swam, snorkelled and dived in the sea. He also loved deep sea fishing, going out with friends in a boat for hours. There were many black & white photos of him proudly posing with an enormous sword fish or some other large fish at the pier. We lived for many years by the sea on the East coast of Malaysia. I was very young then and I can hardly recall my childhood in these exotic places.
And then when I was 6 years old, we moved inland to the capital city and all these fishing trips stopped.
It was only when my father had retired that he decided to take up water sports again. He bought a second hand windsurf board, loaded it onto the roof rack of our old banger of a Mini and went off to the nearest abandoned flooded tin mine to learn how to windsurf. I was 16 at that time and often accompanied him on these trips.
Tin mines are great for beginners – you do not have to contend with the surf or the strong waves at sea. And if you are not good at tacking back to where you started, you will eventually arrive at the shore on the other side. You then have a choice to either hope the wind has changed and you can windsurf back or you can paddle back on your board (which is not a good idea as it is awfully hard work).
I became a mediocre windsurfer. But my Dad progressed on to windsurfing in the sea with a bunch of young lads in their mid twenties almost every weekend. At that time, I did not think too much of it. However today, I am in awe of this man in his sixties who learnt a new and physically demanding sport with gusto and enthusiasm.
I jolly well hope I am capable of following in his footsteps when I get to that age (in the not too distant future 😊). But first let me work on losing some weight and lifting some weights at the gym come 2015…. 😝