Category Archives: Water Sports

My Cajun Roots run Deep

My Cajun background

I travel quite a bit and it’s inevitable that someone will ask me where I am from. When I say “Louisiana”, it never fails, people always say “but you don’t have an accent”. While it is true that certain areas of Louisiana come with a heavy Cajun accent, the last 2 generations of my immediate family have lived in the Metro New Orleans area, which softened the accent.

However, our family Cajun Roots run deep. My great grandparents (and yes, I do remember them) did not speak English. My Grandparents learned English, but continued speaking the Cajun language with their parents and their children (my generation’s parents). My dad spoke both Cajun and English, but the buck stopped there. After my Grandparents passed on, the language died off in our family. We do have family that still live in the Bayou areas. Cajun is still their primary language but, we, the city family rarely see them. Over the years the language died off and the accent softened up a lot.

Growing up Cajun

I like to think I had the best of both worlds; country girl and city girl. My grandparents had a farm when I was a child, which resulted in spending many weekends and summers on the farm. My father loved the water and always owned a boat. We spent a great deal of time in the water as well:

  • trawling for shrimp
  • fishing for salt water fish (our favorites were Red fish and Trout)

Trawling Trips

Trawling was hard work but I enjoyed everything about it. The first drag was the boring part. Trawling in a small vessel goes at a slow pace and not much to do but anticipate what we were going to yield from the 1st drag; it always set the pace for the rest of the day. If our 1st drag came up with a full net, the excitement would build as we jumped into action. After we pulled the net up we emptied it into the pick box, prepped the net and drag boards and dropped it back into the water. After the 1st catch came in, it created timely work picking the shrimp out, tossing them into the ice chests. Sometimes we would get lucky and catch some soft shelled crabs in the net, which always contributed to the celebration. That meant we would have fried, soft shelled crabs as a result.

When we pulled the boat out of the water, we were calling home from a payphone at the dock, so my mom would know what to expect. If we were coming home with ice chests full of shrimp, she would make some phone calls to everyone on standby to come help us pop heads and package the shrimp for the freezer. It became a big party. There would be music playing, and an outdoor burner and pot to boil some of the catch from the day. We would sit there for hours popping heads, eating and talking about our tales from our day on the water. Time well spent as a family.

Fishing Trips

My favorite activity on the water was the fishing trips. There is something so exciting about seeing that cork go under the water line, pulling that pole up and setting the hook. When you set that hook on a good catch you can feel it. The Adrenalin starts pumping and the fight to real it in ensues. I can recall the excitement and the team work that would happen. My dad was a great coach.

Get the net! Oh, it’s a big one! Coming along the side to keep from losing him. He is running!

Me

Let some drag out so he doesn’t pop the line. Don’t let him get around the back of the boat and wrap the line around the motor. You will lose him. Keep the line tight. Get him closer so I can get the net under him.

My Dad

Growing up Cajun was fun, energetic and a great deal of hard work. Not to mention the sunburns we would suffer with after being on a boat all day. Back in those days you needed a prescription to purchase sunscreen. Things have changed a great deal since I was a child. Some for the good.

There are many charter boat fishing captains in our area if you ever want to experience the excitement of catching a big Red fish or Trout. I have included a personal friend’s link, Fry’n Pan Fishing, for your convenience but you can also search google in the specific areas you want to try.

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Stepping out of my Comfort Zone

New adventures

Trying new adventures is exciting for me.  I look forward to stepping out of my comfort zone and experiencing new adventures, new food, and meeting new people. My experience was amazing and I hope you enjoy reading about my stay at Travaasa Spa and Resort, Austin, TX (now Miraval, Austin).

Stand-up paddle boarding

I remember relaxing at the edge of the infinity pool, looking out over Lake Travis. The water was beautiful and inviting sitting at the bottom of the valley the pool overlooked. After closing my eyes I visualized a memory that I had while relaxing (click to read that story). Upon opening my eyes, I decided to figure out what the rest of my day was going to include.

Stand up Paddle Boarding was my choice for the day.  The water in Lake Travis was beautiful.  The view from the top of the hill at the resort’s infinity pool enticed and called me to participate in the excursion that I noticed on the event board for the day. It would be an adventure that I could write about.

Launch time

We launched our boards and I started in a kneeling position to paddle into a nearby cove.  I followed my coach’s instructions on proper feet and body placement on the board, to make the transition from kneeling to standing.  What happened next was a huge surprise to me.

Fear stepping out of my comfort zone

“Fear” set in; I stepped out of my comfort zone.  Balance in my PiYo class is completely different than balancing on a board in the water.  I was always comfortable on the water boating, skiing, fishing, trawling, and swimming. The fear surprised me.

Running all of my Coach’s instructions through my thoughts, I worked towards connecting on a physical and cognitive level. Going back to my boating days, I kept Imitating the body shifts that I would make to keep my balance. I struggled with the technique as my Coach kept walking me through it and encouraging me.  He inspired me to let go of the fear and relax through the motions.  Enjoy the scenery” he said, and “if you feel like you are going to fall, just fall into the water, don’t try to catch yourself.” -I am happy to report that I did not fall.

Soaking in the scenery-creating new memories

Upon exiting the cove and heading to our destination spot, I was able to work through the challenges and really connect my body to the movements of bending my knees, leaning forward and pulling the paddle board across the water. I found the most challenging part was the steering. As my balance improved, the steering kicked in.

Along the way, I soaked in the scenery.  The aquamarine colored water was clear as day. In amazement, I watched Garfish swim up to the surface only to dart back down after seeing me.   I watched water plants as my board glided over them.  The hillside that we were heading towards grew larger with each stroke moving me towards it.  Curious bystanders were everywhere.  I paddled my way past some anchored boats. Their passengers were enjoying the cool water with their friends and family, on big floating islands.  I saw Jet skis zipping around the middle of the lake, causing wakes that we had to maneuver our boards across. Pulling out of the marina, there were tour boats filled with adventurers wanting to share and enjoy the environment. I could hear screams from a nearby Zipline excursion that were exploding, and echoing off the hills which traveled across the water.

Precious resource returned to its glory

It occurred to me that on my first trip to Travaasa, this very lake that we were all enjoying, was completely dried up due to a 5-year drought.  The thought of this beautiful, precious resource completely dried up and gone saddened me.  It reminded me, once again, how delicate life and nature truly are.  So, that day, I lived in the moment, appreciated the experience, felt empowered by my success, enjoyed the company of my fellow adventurers and thanked God for every moment and for restoring this precious resource. 

Catherine Bares

Add another to my Been There Done That List!

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