Friday, October 5, 2012


Kayaks.  They’re those little one-man boats made out of whale bones and seal skin by Eskimos.  They’re the kind that rolls over so easily the occupant has to either know how to right the boat quickly or drown. 

At least that’s what I learned about kayaks in grade school.  I knew advances had been made in their design.  I’d seen the nut-case kayakers who bounced around in the white water rapids of the Snake and Salmon River.  Those people wore helmets.  Most activities that require a helmet, I consider a spectator sport.

I’ll admit I was once talked into trying an open inflatable kayak.  It was in shallow, quiet water, but I still managed to tip myself out as soon as I reached the middle of the river.  I got all kinds of instructions shouted at me from the bank as I struggled to scramble back aboard.  The whole experience was probably more for the entertainment of my friends than anything.

So when DH and I were invited to try the sea kayaks during our trip on the David B; DH shook his head and I was uncertain.  Christine, the boat’s naturalist and chef, said she would love to go with me and show me how. 

FINE.  It was a beautiful morning.  The sky was blue and the water was glossy—a good day to die.  I emptied my pockets, exchanged my prescription glasses for cheap shades and prepared to get wet.

Me wearing my new skirt and psyching myself for possible dunking in sea water.
 After I tightened on a life jacket, Jeffery handed me a “skirt” 
which he told me to fasten around my waist. 

Christine was already waiting in the double kayak.  I scrambled in the front seat, 

Forced grin while Captain Jeffrey fixes my skirt. Christine waits patiently.
and then Captain Jeffrey, always the gentleman, lifted my skirt and hooked it around the rim of the opening.  I watched Christine stash her cell phone in the pocket of her life vest.  “Is that a waterproof pocket? “ I asked.   She smiled and told me, no.  She wasn’t planning to go overboard.  The craft did seem surprisingly stable and I began to feel a bit less anxious. 

Trying to remember my left from my right.
I was handed a paddle and Christine gave me a few instructions on its use.  I’m a klutz through and through so I really had to focus on not soaking her with paddle splash as we slid out into the quiet cove.

Being so close to the water, I was able to see the long eel grass growing just below the surface, a home for all kinds of sea creatures. 

Christine spotted a flock of cormorants sunning themselves on a cliff as we circled a small island.  She also pointed out ravens, turkey vultures and other birds.

I hummed a little tune under my breath, the same one I use to keep up a semi-coordinated rhythm when I cross-country ski.  We glided out into the smooth water of a small bay.  Christine seemed to be enjoying the trip despite my flailing paddle, so I relaxed a little.

I did it and I didn't die!


CarrieBoo said...

Holy whales! That's amazing. You did everything on this holiday. I've only tried the little one person kayak and didn't fall out, surprisingly, but can not coordinate the paddle to save my life and end up going in circles. :)

Leauxra said...

Wow! I kayaked for the first time a couple months ago, but I was in Hawaii. I figured I wouldn't freeze to death. That water looks cold!

Beautiful place, though! Looks like you had (scary) fun!

Buttons said...

Wow I got to try that since you did not die I really want to try it now. Oh the incredible sights you seen make me want to go out and find a kayak NOW.
Seriously thank you for showing me something that has always peaked my interest. You look great.You went and you conquered good on you:) I am enjoying this trip of yours. :) B

Joanne Noragon said...

Well, I held my breath for you. I've watched young fools brave the river rapids; so glad you are older and wiser.

Terry and Linda said...

You try so many things and don't seem have any trouble.

You are my hero!!!


Alica said...

Wow, that is a beautiful place to learn to kayak! Good for you!!

Val said...

You are way more adventurous than I am. No skirt for me. My legs would feel claustrophobic.

A bunch of fellow teachers took me on a Meramec River float trip in Cuba, Missouri. I was not allowed to paddle. And I learned that my new name was Sit Still.

CeeCee said...

Yea! You didn't take a dunking! That water is SO COLD! I would love to kayak one day, but I understand the worry about tipping for sure.