SO Many Ways to LOVE the OCEAN: Crystal Thornburg-Homcy airdropped into the Swell life…
A few days later, my friend and fellow Patagonia Surf Ambassador stepped off the plane onto the airstrip just a half-mile south of where Swell was anchored inside the atoll. A year prior, Crystal showed me two weeks of unforgettable fun at her North Shore residence, so I was anxious to give her the best of life aboard Swell. After dissolving the disbelief that she’d truly arrived, we toted her bags (which included two new Fletcher Chouinard Designs sticks for me!) to where my dinghy was tied across the road in a flood of excited chatter and putt off toward the mothership.
It wasn’t everyday I had a friend around with whom to enjoy the Swell life! Loving the ocean in so many common ways, Crystal’s presence magnified the beauty around us. Her gentle, positive demeanor yet extreme water-woman experience was the perfect recipe for the maximum enjoyment of our location. Our first week together blurred by in a haze of oceanic fun. Employing our full spectrum of sea-faring utensils, we hauled a variety of boards to the spot to glide on, we bodysurfed with and without Blakeney’s marvelous hand planer, we laughed until we cried riding waves on her inflatable surf mats, we donned masks and fins to free dive both passes with the manta rays, eagle rays, tunas and barracudas, lots of sharks, and all our other fishy friends…We leapt off Swell after breakfast under raindrops or rainbows, just to feel the sea on our skin…
And after a day’s adventure, there was never a lack of enthusiasm in the galley. Crystal and her husband Dave had inspired and taught me loads about eating and living healthily. I’d adopted their philosophy of making whole food and natural products a priority. As a result, Swell was always stocked with any fresh fruit and veggies available, along with all the healthy tidbits I hauled back with me from trips to California: bulgar wheat (despite J.B.’s song), quinoa, gogi berries, maca powder (Thanks to Sol Raiz Organics!), raw nuts, mung beans and alfalfa seeds for sprouting, ground flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, cranberries, sunflower seeds, spirulina, etc. Crystal grows her own array of greens and veggies (check out her blog at www.cravegreens.blogspot.com) and focuses on clean, conscious living. It’s always comforting to be with someone who sees the world a lot like you, so we took advantage of rich conversations, mornings listening to Gil Fronsdal and Thich Nhat Hanh lectures, yoga sessions, and contemplative star parties…
For such an isolated destination, we met a variety of interesting characters, including a group of ten French runners who were attempting to run/swim/walk/crawl around the roughly 60-mile perimeter of the coral atoll over 6 days(!?). We hitched a ride on their chase boat one day to explore an area of the atoll too dangerous to attempt in Swell. While the runners continued on their impressive yet not so coral-friendly feat, Crystal and I lost ourselves on beaches one would imagine only to exist on postcards, and then found ourselves being circled by hordes of blacktip reef sharks while freediving in the tourist shark feeding area! We nearly drowned in fits of fear and laughter clinging to each other amidst the revolving pack…We spent the day drinking young coconuts, talking to birds, and watching the clouds drift across the wide South Pacific sky…We were so fortunate, so grateful, so happy, so free…and so in love with the pristine, natural world that surrounded us…
Thanks to Patagonia for supporting Crystal’s visit!!
SalAugust 3, 2011
Glad to see you’re apparently recovered.
Zachary ScheitelAugust 5, 2011
Good to see your back at and recover!
Also good to see a picture heavy post! It’s like a mini vacation!
Are we going to see any Liz original GoPro videos soon?
Zachary ScheitelAugust 5, 2011
What new FCD Sticks did you get? I got a new 6’0″ Octo from the shop when I was in Venture earlier this year and I love it!