Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Paddling and Swatting, Wet Entries, Impossible Boatdocks

As I wrote last time, for kayaking, a paddle and a fly swatter are necessary in Canada this time of year. The campground we booked in Algonquin sent us a coupon for “OFF”, our suspicions have been confirmed. My student's comment “think this is a hint of things to come mom?” My reply “we’ll be too in to paddling it to notice.”

One thing I have noticed is how interesting people are when they are so into what they do. I know my Guinea Pig is a fascinating creature, she’s very into her plate of lettuce right now. But seriously, yesterday as we got to know our new kayaks on a local lake I noticed how into watersports everyone around me seemed to be. They were interesting to me. There were sailors very intent on catching wind, anglers, well intent on whatever they get intent on, boaters very into speed and dragging people behind their craft, jet skiers, yes I had forgotten about jet skiers, the snowmobilers of the water sports. Even jet skiers are into what they do. My student was so worried that we’d look dumb trying the techniques we were taught in our classes and clinics. I pointed out to him how intent everyone else was around on their floating craft of choice. No one would notice our antics. I suppose it was that thing we all go through as teenagers, not wanting to look dumb in front of anyone. I imagine we were amusing for those into their sunbathing on the beach as we intentionally tossed ourselves from our boats in a variety of amusing ways.

Of all the techniques we have been exposed to, climbing into a kayak from the water (wet entries) and getting out of a kayak at a dock are the two I would consider the “test” for graduation for any new paddler. These are impossible tasks requiring the “doer of the deed” to bend in ways they didn’t even remember that their bodies could. Unless of course one weighs under 100 pounds and don’t care about grace, composure, scrapes and bruises. I am sure the whitewater kayakers have a few moves they’d consider graduation maneuvers, but right now we’re into the touring aspect of this sport, so we’ll save the Snake River for another outing and look forward to our “graduation day”.