We hesitated. We waited. We considered. Then, we reconsidered.
Once all the stars were perfectly aligned, fresh out of excuses, and an overwhelming concern that we might be kayaking at Dow’s Lake when the temperature dipped to 12 degrees Celsius in a few weeks, we drove to Dow’s Lake today and rented some kayaks.
Some may say this isn’t much of a boundary. That I picked a safe and controlled environment. We had perfect whether conditions, and there was no threat of us going through the Ottawa rapids where I at least, would be guaranteed to go swimming.
Except, keep in mind that hubby nor I, ever kayaked a day in our lives.
Once we paid our deposit and received our life jackets, I watched as my husband effortlessly glided into his kayak. I wondered if he had lied to me all these years. Didn’t he say they were tipsy? That they were wobbly beneath our feet? Although, I know he had never been on a kayak before I had assumed that he spoke with someone who knew.
An attendant motioned to me that my kayak was ready. I strolled over and then stepped into the kayak convinced hubby was wrong and it wasn’t so bad. It wobbled. I braced myself, in particular my knees, and flopped my butt into the seat with a thud. My hands clutched my phone and I nearly lost my paddle with the effort. With one hand still holding the phone, I looked around and wondered where I should put it? With no options either in front of me, or behind me for that matter, I stuck it under my thigh in the hope it wouldn’t get wet and I didn’t kill another phone.
(Tangent Story: A few years ago I went swimming with LBM. Cole’s notes version goes something like this: we were walking on a trail, Hershey got hot, and began stretching out in puddles in order to cool off. It’s one of his favorite things to do. The dirtier the puddle, the happier he is.
He did this several times until at one point both of us thought he was in yet another puddle, but it turned out to be a swamp. Needless to say, he disappeared a second after stepping into it and was under water for a few seconds. Panic-stricken, I shouted his name. Feeling like it was an eternity and that my puppy was drowning, I did what every parent would do. I jumped into the same “puddle” after him!
I proceeded to push aside murky water while shouting, HERSHEY!!! Not even a second later, I saw his little brown bum walking up the embankment calmly. Relieved, I watched him slid backwards a couple of times, until I gave him a final push to help him up. I waded up the same embankment. Safe on the trail again, he proceeded to have “demon puppy” as I like to call it. Yeah. Good times. )
(No really, it was. I laughed, and laughed. And then we drove home in my husband’s car soaked and stinking like swamp water. I had to clean it out later. That was less fun. )
Ok…that wasn’t much of a Cole’s notes version. Oh well. Back to kayaking.
Once in the kayak I began paddling. Except, I had no idea how to steer. I gently plopped by paddle into the water and splashed some water aside while hubby paddled his way in my direction. Unable to steer, I nearly crashed into him. A collision was only averted because I stuck my paddle out against his kayak pushing him away.
Yeah, that’s my definition of steering. The concrete wall that makes up the Rideau Canal was less lucky though when a few short minutes later, I drove my kayak directly into it. Not with a lot of speed because at that point I had no idea how to go fast. But with a gentle, thump.
That was embarrassing.
Hubby all the while is trying to explain to me how to steer. “If you leave your paddle in the water the drag will slow you down a bit…If you push to the right or left, you can turn.”
Here are photos of hubby. He is the expert.
But I’m not listening. I’m too busy arguing with my kayak.
My feet got wet. My jeans were wet up to the knees. Apparently, there is drip from your paddle. I now understood why the attendant said, “I’ll see if we have a dry one,” when he went looking for kayaks.
We were going to wear sport clothes before we left but I had declared, “We make such a big deal about things. It shouldn’t be that complicated.” The way I saw it, we were sitting in a kayak on the water. We weren’t in the water.
Oops. That’s what happens when you make assumptions about stuff you know nothing about.
Eventually though, I found a rhythm. I pushed my paddle deeper into the water and I picked up speed. I could paddle multiple times on one side in order to turn my kayak right or left. My husband did it easily and with little concentration. For myself, it required me to consciously think about what I was doing, and what direction I meant to go in. I had to plan. For me, it was like skating where I lack the ability to turn and stop. But this time, I was in a kayak.
Oh yeah, and because once I realized I had to dig deep into the water in order to gain speed, I did this with enormous effort. At one point, I nearly tipped myself out of the kayak. I would have gone swimming and kayaking all in one day.
Right to the very end the steering was a challenge. Hubby glided his kayak along the side of the dock and got out. Me, still bumbling about on the other side, I pushed water here and there, and even with hubby’s guidance I still failed. Instead, the front of my kayak hit the dock and I bounced backwards. Then, I paddled backwards. Finally, hubby and the attendant could pull me in. With much wobbling on my part, and both the attendant and my husband helping me, I barely made it out.
Would I do it again? I don’t know.
What do you think?