Outriggers and Strong Swimmers

Outriggers and Strong Swimmers

Our boat with outriggers

In the last two months, I have ridden on more boats than I have in my entire lifetime up to this point. Boats are common in Southeast Asia. We have ridden on many different types of boats, from big ferries to smaller private boats.

I admit I don’t know much about boats or what they call the left or right or front or back. I just like to know the boat is safe and will get me to my destination.

What I did learn quickly, though, while riding in the smaller boats across the sea, was the importance of outriggers.

I knew the outriggers were there to keep the boat from tipping over, but I didn’t realize how much stability they provided when crossing the sea at a high speed. I found out the day we went snorkeling on a boat without them. I am happy to be alive to tell you that I also learned the importance of having really strong swimmers riding in the boat with you.

The weather was beautiful when we set out, but the water was very choppy. We would stop to snorkel in four locations. Our captain was very experienced at navigating the waves, which were coming at us from all directions. But even with his expertise, I felt sea sickness begin to creep in.

At our first stop we plunged into the water, eager to see the fish. My seasickness subsided as I swam and I was hopeful it was over. It came back in a big way once we were back on the boat, heading for our second stop.

I wondered why I was feeling so sick on this ride when I hadn’t felt that way on others. John pointed out it was partly due to the boat not having outriggers. We were being tossed around more than on other rides. Suddenly I longed for the stability of boats with outriggers. Note to self: ride in boats with outriggers.

As soon as we stopped at the second location, I grabbed a life jacket, mask and fins and dove in the water without any instructions from the captain. I hoped swimming would relieve the awful, growing nausea.

I began snorkeling in what I thought was close proximity to the boat. A mere 30 seconds later, I lifted my head out of the water to find that I was at least 100 yards away from the boat, heading toward the huge rocks where the waves were crashing.

I was caught in an extremely strong current that was pulling me farther and farther away from the boat. About that same time, John, my strong swimmer, realized my predicament. Back home, he swims 4 – 6 miles a week in the local pool. As I was being pulled to the rocks, John dove in and within 30 seconds was at my side.

John had me grab ahold of him as he swam against the current, dragging me behind, back to the boat. It was a grueling swim and all I could do to hold on. John saved me that day. As my fear subsided, the nausea was back, stronger than ever.

Once I was back on dry land and recovered from my seasickness, here is what I concluded:

The outriggers on a boat are like the people in your life. They can help to stabilize and balance you when things get rough and make sure you get where you want to go. They can help to smooth out what would be a very bouncy ride if they weren’t there. These people may be coaches, business partners, spouses, family, friends, mentors, teachers, leaders or mastermind teams. They are people out for your good and success and people that can teach or guide you. Choose these people carefully and don’t be afraid to replace or add as you need it.

The strong swimmers are the people in your life who are willing to jump in after you when you need rescuing. They are willing to sacrifice for you and with you to help you reach your goals. They use their skill and strength to come to your aid. These people are usually those who know you well and who are attached to your success. They are more intimately involved in helping you reach your goals because they are willing to sacrifice for you and your cause. They could be family, business partners, spouses, colleagues, coaches or mentors. Again, choose them wisely.

As I rode our boat back to the mainland from Lembongan to Sanur on, a boat with outriggers, I saw all the people in my life who have been my stabilizers and have balanced me as I navigate through life. Sometimes I appreciated their input and help and sometimes I didn’t, but it did help in the long run. I can see that now. I needed their help and it is with their help that I am where I am today.

I also thought about those people in my life who have been willing to jump in to rescue me and pull me to safety when I was in over my head. They had the skill, talent and strength I was lacking and they were willing to use it for my benefit. Again, without them, I would be in a much different place in my life.

I am so grateful for all my outrigger riders and those strong swimmers riding along with me. It is my hope that I offer the same support and balance to others as they navigate their paths. And when the time comes that I am needed to be the strong swimmer, I jump in without question.

Think about your own outriggers and swimmers. Who is supporting you? If you can’t think of who might be sitting on your outriggers or who is the strong swimmer in your life, then maybe it is time to start creating “your team.” How do you do it? Get out of your comfortable circles, start talking about your dreams and goals to those around you, find some new people to add into your life, start being a support to others, and as you are busy doing that, you may find your “dream team” magically appearing.


  1. merril Boruchin spielman January 24, 2013 at 5:42 am - Reply

    this was just an awesome sharing.. i am off to Turkey (Riley I am going to winter camp with Russ) but other than that it is me and the 31 students anxiously awaiting there experiences with us!!! I took ideas from Jan Black to work on writing their books on paper sacks (one option) lots of fine stickers and fine drawing tools. Your sharing today helped me stay on track with my navigational choices and I sooo loved the out rigger lesson. THANK YOU!

    • Jody Temple White January 24, 2013 at 6:10 pm - Reply

      Have a safe trip Merril and enjoy your time with Russ and the kids. We look forward to seeing the pictures.

  2. Carol Mereszczak January 24, 2013 at 6:51 am - Reply

    What a crazy experience you had (one of so very many) and glad to see it had a happy ending. We just got back from a few days in Puerto Vallarta Mexico, which was a stretch for my comfort zone, and I thought of you and your family often. You are all so courageous and up for any challenge, and it is truly inspiring. May God keep your outriggers and strong swimmers close by throughout your adventure.

    • Jody Temple White January 24, 2013 at 6:23 pm - Reply

      Puerto Vallarta could put many people outside of their comfort zone, but I hope you were able to enjoy yourself despite that. We appreciate your thoughts and comments. Thanks so much for following us on this amazing adventure. Who knows maybe we will run into you sometime on the trip. 🙂

  3. Melanie January 24, 2013 at 9:53 am - Reply

    Thank you for sharing this! Exactly what I needed to hear at this moment in life. I’m so inspired by your courage and love hearing about your adventures!!!

    • Jody Temple White January 24, 2013 at 6:08 pm - Reply

      Wonderful. I am glad it was helpful. I have had a lot of ah-ha moments on this trip and the lessons keep coming. Thanks for following.

  4. jack shorr January 24, 2013 at 10:20 am - Reply

    Jody, I remember swimming alongside John at the Conestoga pool so I understand and appreciate his water skills. Your metaphor about swimmers and outriggers was spot-on; how John used his skills to help you. And of course you have your skill-set that complements him and the kids. Your insightful comments are a pleasure to read as the cold wet winter rolls forward!

    • Jody Temple White January 24, 2013 at 6:20 pm - Reply

      Thanks Jack. I am so grateful (beyond words) for Johns expert swimming skill and strength. Stay warm and dry.

  5. Wendy January 24, 2013 at 11:17 am - Reply

    UGH! I am an expert when it comes to seasickness. The wonder pill as I will call it is called, “TripTone”. If you can find it get it!! It doesn’t cause drowsiness or any side effects. It is safe to use while scuba diving and in fact that is where I’ve found it. Trust me on this one. I’ve tried the bands, homeopathic, etc and nothing worked. Have fun and all hail strong swimmers!!

    • Jody Temple White January 24, 2013 at 6:06 pm - Reply

      Thanks for the tip Wendy. We are using Dramamine which seems to help, but I will make sure to look for TripTone as a backup. We went scuba diving the other day and it was amazing. Saw some very colorful fish and even a baby shark.

  6. Dora January 24, 2013 at 11:33 pm - Reply

    Wave crasher and, smart too! What a way to get a tall glass of lemonade out of a scary experience!

  7. lena January 29, 2013 at 1:06 pm - Reply

    Wow…thankfully you are safe and sound and thanks be to God that John looked up at you at the right time to save your life. I’m so glad that you are both safe. Here’s a cyber hug…..
    Now stay out of the water. If you want to see any more fish view them from a market window front! Typed with love and humor 😉

    • Jody Temple White January 30, 2013 at 9:45 pm - Reply

      Yes. I am safe and very grateful. It isn’t keeping me out of the water though. I am just being a little more cautious before just jumping in.

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