From our resort, each morning we were greeted to the stunning view of white sand islands just off the coast. The large one on the right is called Manukan Island.
We couldn’t resist the opportunity to go and have a look for ourselves as we had been told the islands were a great place to snorkel.Only 15 minutes away via speedboat, off we went.
The kids were keen to explore, and the water was so clear we could see the locals swimming without even getting wet. Of course, we did explore the water as they had various snorkeling zones set up along the beaches. We had hired some snorkeling gear from the boat operators, but in hindsight I should have brought our own equipment as the snorkeling gear provided was prone to leakage. Regardless the view above and below the water was amazing. Bethany in particular loved swimming off the beach without having to think about surf rolling in. In the shallows there wasn’t an huge amount of aquatic wildlife, but the occasional fish or two still got the kids excited.
Then it was time to try something a little different. Bethany and I along with some of her friends and their mums decided to go paragliding. The boat had a landing platform which allowed us to do a dry take off and landing. I thought Bethany would be a bit freaked out by it …
Yep … that’s my little girl, just turned 7 and flying already! She was confident and brave and so excited to do this. As a mum, I am so proud she and her friends wanted to do this and that they gave it a go.
Now, before someone freaks out about me being an irresponsible mum I will qualify this with the fact that if I wasn’t happy with the setup, or if I hadn’t been confident of Bethany’s ability to swim I would not have allowed her to go paragliding. Despite the fact the kids didn’t have to touch the water (although they did of their own choice when asking to be dipped) if Bethany couldn’t swim, she would not have been out there. Bethany and her friends were all sensible, listened to instructions well and behaved responsibly. Given Bethany is at an age where she is discovering her own boundaries and abilities I feel I need to let her choose as many opportunities as possible when I can.
Bethany came away from this experience proud of herself and with a renewed confidence in her abilities. In fact, her teacher commented to me the other day that Bethany has opened up in class in a way none of her teachers have seen before and I would like to think that experiences like this have contributed in part to showing her she can do anything – even fly like Superman.
Each paragliding session was a good 15 to 20 minutes and I can think of little to compare with the serenity of flying through the air over water while surrounded by tropical islands. I couldn’t believe how silent it was in the sky. It certainly gave me time to reflect on how fortunate we are.
When we returned to the beach, after a bit of food, the kids took to playing in the sand. As the afternoon went on, we could see a storm rolling in. Despite not wanting the day to end, we decided it would be sensible to head back to the mainland rather than be caught out in the rain, thunder and lightning. There was so much more we could have done on the island AND several other islands in the area to explore. It was a nice taste of being stranded on a tropical island – resort style – that I hope one day we can repeat.