Capsized in Lake Malawi!


I spent the month of July traveling in Africa, a mind-expanding adventure in so many ways. My husband James and I had a first hand experience of the kindness of the people and the harsh reality of their lives. We witnessed the efficiency of Mother Nature as she rules the wild kingdom and had an eye-opening jolt of how sacred the environment is to her realm.

But what I want to share with you is a personal experience of overcoming unexpected physical challenges. Lake Malawi, Africa's third largest lake, is considered an inland sea, in other words the waters can get as rough as the ocean. We were staying on a remote island camp and one afternoon we decided to take a kayak around the small island.

On the leeward side, we could see brilliant fish just below the surface of the clear waters. We were enjoying the scenery of the giant boulders all along the shore line and the fish eagles soaring overhead. As we paddled around to the windward side, however, the wind picked up and the water became very choppy. Shortly thereafter, we couldn't steady the kayak in the rough waters and capsized.

It took us a few minutes treading water to recover from the shock and gather our thoughts. After several attempts, we were finally able to get on top of a submerged boulder and right the kayak. Then we angled it into a crevice in the rocks and climbed back in. The ride back was challenging as the wind and waves got worse, but we finally paddled safely back to camp.

If I had not been in good shape, I might have failed this unexpected test of strength and stamina. I'm often reminded of the definition of physical fitness, which is: "The ability to carry out daily tasks with vigor and alertness, without undue fatigue, and with ample energy to enjoy leisure-time pursuits and to meet unforeseen emergencies."