Postal Service employee Jeremy Averill approaches the cove near his work. ISLANDER PHOTO BY NINAH GILE

Postal Service employee paddles to work 

Jeremy Averill walks to work in his wetsuit after a long paddle.

BAR HARBOR — U.S. Postal Service employee Jeremy Averill lives with his wife and four children in Hadley Point, and he also paddles to work on his surfboard in the dead of winter. 

The quarantine has made conventional exercising even more difficult, so Averill started riding his bike throughout the summer and fall to stay in shape.  

Back in January, Averill began scrambling for a winter fitness routine and found a feasible solution based on his favorite pastime: surfing in La Jolla, CalifWhen he lived in the greater San Diego area, he worked at a research facility, much like The Jackson Laboratory, in a community called Torrey Pines. During his spare time, he would often visit Black’s Beach, an area with a lot of cliffs and waves, where he learned the basics of surfing.  

“Basically, I thoughtwhy not paddle my surfboard to work?” Averill said 

Averill leaves from his home’s private beach on the Hadley Point Road to get to work at the U.S. Post Office in Salsbury Cove.  

“I live just a few miles away [from the post office], so it’s really not that bad,” he said. 

With his chest slightly elevated above his board, he lies on his stomach and paddles alternately with both arms. Averill’s arms are bent at his elbow in a 90-degree angle, which allows him to pull a lot of deep water for building up muscle in his chest, arms and shoulders. 

It usually takes about 45 to 50 minutes for Averill to reach his destination. 

“It doesn’t seem far, but once you get out there, it’s quite a ride,” he said.  

Without a map, the many smaller coves and points confused Averill when he paddled the route for the first time.  

“When you’re out on the water, the geography and the terrain look a lot different so it’s sometimes easy to get a little disoriented.”  

The elements make paddling a challenge this time of year, so Averill wears a wetsuit.  

“It seems like I would be freezing out there [on the water], but this suit is about a half an inch thick, so it keeps me really warm,” he said.  

Keeping his uniform at work makes changing into his post office attire easier after walking from the shore in his wetsuit.  

About 10 minutes after he arrives to open the office, his wife Hannah usually stops by to drop off his cell phone.  

“The ladies here in Salisbury Cove love him,” she said.  

Since Averill landed the post office job in August, Salsbury Cove residents have become very interested in getting to know him and they bring cookies and fresh vegetables quite frequently.  

“Personally, I don’t think it’s all that impressive but the residents here in Salsbury Cove are really fascinated by it,” he said.  

Averill values the luxury of being so close to his work and said he appreciates the outdoors during his interesting commute.  

“In the morning when I wake up, I’ll look out the window and if it’s pouring or too windy, I just won’t go,” he said.  

Due to the inclement weather, Averill has only paddled a handful of times this winter. 

“When the weather’s bad, the waters get rough and at that point it’s too uncomfortable to enjoy,” said Averill.  

Though it’s his first winter doing this strenuous activity, Averill has plans to continue paddling to work when the weather allows until the beginning of summer.  

Ninah Rein

Ninah Rein

Writer at Mount Desert Islander
Ninah Rein, an MDI native, covers news and features in the Bar Harbor area. She is glad to be back in Maine after earning a bachelor's degree in San Diego from the University of California.
Ninah Rein

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