Hekab Be Swim Program

by Lydia Linton Pontius (Jan. 2015)

One of my favorite times at Akumal! That is saying a lot considering the amount of time I have spent there. Let me start by saying that I teach swim lessons, am a Master Trainer for WaterART Fitness, and love being in the water and seeing the joy on people's faces. That said, in all my years I don't think I have ever come close to experiencing quite what I did with Hekab Be's kids. Anne Gayley Gabbert, who was the Director at the time, was gracious enough to allow me to join them for their Saturday swim lessons. 

I met at the library beforehand while Anne made a second trip to the pueblo to pick up kids; I sat and got to know the ones who were there.  My Spanish is poor Spanglish at best, but that doesn't stop children. We laughed and had fun practicing our Spanish and English. During this time, the cutest little 5-year-boy snuggled up close to me and just talked and talked, not caring a bit whether I understood him or not!  We became fast friends.

Once the rest of the children arrived, we all gathered our stuff and headed to the beach in front of Lol-Ha Restaurant. Anne explained that Guillermo Camarena brought his EZ Snorkel one day and allowed the children to try it out, so they could get a chance to see what lived in the bay. The kids were so intrigued and motivated that it was decided they needed to offer swim lessons. A friend of Anne's, Kat Fabjancic, agreed to offer swim lessons to the children. 

We arrived at the beach and immediately the children gathered in a circle as Kat had them go through the moves they were working on in the water. From there we all got wet. The smiles were from ear to ear as the kids tried so hard to improve their swimming skills, and they seemed delighted to be sharing their progress with a new admirer/instructor.


The lesson was followed up by some free swim time and the kids got to wear masks, do more exploring and have fun. My little 5 year old invited me back and I intend to take him up on it. Thank you, Hekab Be Library, for all you do. Anne, you will be missed! And if any of you have thought about adding some volunteer hours into your vacation—please consider the library. There are a number of great ways you can help!


Hekab Be swimmers
Akumal Villas

Cabanas Tulum