Photo taken by Lilly Santos and edited by yours truly
It is winter here, but that means very little when it is 75˚ outside. My strawberry blonde hair is lightened by the sun only as much as my trucker cap allows. My fair skin is covered head to toe. On an island in the sun, I am an unconventional waterwoman.
Then again, what is conventional?
I have lived in a small coastal town with its moody ocean silhouetted against a backdrop of rocky cliffs and cattle fields. The coast seems to stretch on forever, and solitude is abundant. Those who are dedicated venture into the cold water to surf the wild waves or swim through kelp forests or count penguins on a tiny island. Those who do not have no idea what they are missing.
I have lived on a tropical island with clear water and coral reefs. Anywhere you go, you can see volcanic mountains rising out of the ocean, and there is no lack of things to do in the great outdoors. Humpback whales, dolphins, and sea turtles draw people from all over the world. Some would call it paradise.
In all of it, I have met waterwoman from all walks of life and all shapes and sizes. After all, if the ocean itself is diverse, the people who enjoy it and care for it must also be.
I am okay with being a little unconventional.
Maddie Buresh is a writer and photographer with an unquenchable desire to explore the great outdoors, from the ocean to the mountains. She finds joy in trying new things, living in community, and crafting stories that encourage people to go outside, have adventures, and enjoy this big, beautiful world.