As you will gather from all this, that Gabs is firstly a fish and then a person. If it floats she likes it, and if it sinks she wants to know about it. She has swam competitively at school and also a county level, blasting some records for the IMs... She has a swimming costume in the glove box of her car. Gabby is taking part in a few BLDSA events this year and just hopes not not get her teeth kicked out as this will be her first time swimming competatively in a pack. With Gabby’s qualifications (she's a Level 2 ASA swimming teacher), experience, exuberance and attention to detail you can be sure all of your needs will be catered for, she will make sure you have an adventure to remember.
During her late teens, post A-Levels and rather directionless; her parents decided that she was in the way far too much and should go away and do something useful. So she went up to a course at Edinburgh School of Food and Wine. Her brother was at Uni there so she was able to sleep in his airing cupboard for most of the time, and thus reduce costs. Gabs’s passion for food really took off there as she was able to learn skills under the guidance of some pretty groovy chefs. This diploma was hard and fast, like some kind of crazy cooking boot camp. Many of the folk on it were looking to start their own business outside catering or were going to work for a ski season, feeding hungry skiers.
After that she went to Australia to teach kids how to swim. In 2002, Gabs took herself of the Caribbean with the grand idea of seeking her fortune. She ended up cooking on charter yachts in the Caribbean. There she dived at every chance she got and gained her PADI Rescue Diver Certification, and is still working towards her DiveMaster. Not to be considered tank dependent, she had a dabble in freediving too. This was mainly for functional reasons so when her guests dropped sunglasses and other things over board she could fetch them without having to drag out tonnes of dive gear.
After all her great experience underwater she was always happy to take guests on snorkel tours; and has a lot of experience with developing water confidence in nervous swimmers, snorkelers, and divers. She has taken nervous swimmers on snorkel tours early in the week only to find herself creating an impromptu swimming clinc - as she gets them confident to snorkel using a buddy system and figure out by themselves which way to go, and more importantly which way to get back.
The trips on board the yachts gave Gabs a great opportunity to learn flexibility and diversity as a chef in the galley. Guests may neglect to mention that they were a diabetic vegan celiac until they were 2 hours off shore... nice.
When she was not cooking on charter Yachts for the holiday guests, she was a member of a top notch racing team. With Olympic sailing blood in the family she was not to be seen standing about! Gabs was the manager of the J-27 Magnificent 7 as well as performing for deck duties during the races. This mainly meant she made sure that people, boats and paperwork were all where they should be before a race. During a race she made sure the pointy end of the boat did what it was meant to; and post race the sunburnt hungry crew (all male except for Gabs) were fed, watered and happy.
She’s pretty handy in a power boat too, as she has ICC power and well as the RYA Day Skipper for both power and sail. Gabs also had an STCW95 which is a certificate that needs to be held by any one working in international waters. This qualification deals with giving people the knowledge to cope with any situation that may crop up on the sea in a emergency situation. So deploying life rafts, dealing with Man Over Board as well as Sea Survival situations and tackling fires. Half of the week long course was first aid. First aid is what they call it, but when you are hundreds of miles from any blue lights first aid is more about learning how to deal with and manage very ill people for up to days at a time. But also about how to put on a Barbie plaster and administer lolipops...
Now she has recently returned home to the UK, and caught the bug for Adventure Racing where she spends hours dashing around the country side for long periods of time trying to find checkpoints. It’s like a treasure hunt for grown ups. Gabs’s main goal here is to one day do a race and earn more points than Dan, currently she just hopes to not get clinically hypothermic, massively lost or break her lovely mountain bike.
Gabby is proud of her Welsh roots, and it was in the Irish Sea where she first leant to swim on the beaches on Rhosneighr, in Anglesey. Gabs’s family are from the island originally and she is very proud of her roots there. The whopping great gouges out of the hill side copper mines are the only lasting reminder of her family's mark! Although her Mum and Dad did go to Bull Bay on Honey Moon. Gulp!
She is also a faster swimmer than Dan.