BAR HARBOR — U.S. Postal Service employee Jeremy Averill lives with his wife and four children in Hadley Point.

He also paddles his surfboard to his job at Salsbury Cove, a few miles to the east, in the dead of winter.

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

In January, Averill began scrambling for a winter fitness routine and found a solution based on his favorite pastime: surfing. When he lived in the San Diego area, he worked at a research facility 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 how to surf.

Jeremy Averill, nearing the end of his commute, exits the water near the Salsbury Cove post office. Ninah Gile/Mount Desert Islander

“Basically, I thought, why 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, so it’s really not that bad,” he said.

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,” he said.

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

Jeremy Averill walks to the Salsbury Cove post office in his wetsuit after a long paddle. Ninah Gile/Mount Desert Islander

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

He keeps his uniform at work and changes into it 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 Salsbury Cove love him,” she said.

Since Averill landed the post office job in August, Salsbury Cove residents have been interested in getting to know him and they bring cookies and fresh vegetables 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 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,” he said.

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


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