I'll probably always be shaped like a meatball with legs, but at least I'll be a fit meatball with legs. Go me!
And, hey, remember when I said this would be so totally me?
The thing I really, really love about kayaking? Getting up close and personal with wildlife. No, seriously. Waterfowl have, like no fear of kayaks.
During my first lesson, a mother Mallard duck with 8 baby ducklings who were so wee they were still bundles of grey fluff basically swam within petting distance of my kayak.
Keep in mind, I do not touch the wildlife because that's wrong. I'm just saying that I could've if I wanted to.
And last weekend when I went out on a row with kurukami, we saw a a great blue heron take off from the water. It's flight trajectory didn't take it too far in front of our kayaks. Two blackbirds kicking the shit out of a red-tailed hawk. Two adult swans with their four little grey cygnets. And one red-tailed hawk diving for dinner.
And did I mention the flock of ducks who were roosting in a tree? No? Funny as all hell. When I saw the ducks in a tree, I was all "Bwahunh? Am I seeing what I think I'm seeing?" And kurukami's all, "Yup. You sure are."
Let me state for the record right now: seeing a flock of mallard ducks roosting in a tree with their bright orange feet wrapped around tree branches is something that is just straight up weird to see. Wish I had a camera right at that moment.
In short, we got a free hour-and-a-half Animal Planet show to go with our hour-and-a-half kayak rentals. Awsomesauce!
Today in my second (and last) basic kayaking class, we saw the swans with cygnets again, only the cygnets were looking bigger and were leaning toward a whitish-grey, two blue herons hunting for frogs in the weeds (they eat frogs), and a couple of blackbirds who blithely zoomed past our heads like we weren't even there.
Anyway, I've already signed up for the intermediate class in July. Oh, and I also signed up for my first 3-hour moonlight row. And did I mention that I plan to take my next two weeks of "free kayak rentals anytime" and go for an hour after work for the next two weeks? Since the days are getting longer, I can definitely squeeze in after-work rowing before the final kayak rental goes out at 7:30.
Aaaaaand, I even dumped myself in the water today. Twice. Yikes! I wasn't the only one who managed to dump themselves into Charles River twice, by the way. Some of those advanced strokes have a lot going on and if you lose concentration...*wet plop*.
Good thing I bought a pair of Keen Newport H2 sport sandals. I at least didn't feel weighted down when I managed to dump myself in the drink. Twice. Not only that, they didn't feel at all uncomfortable during the operation of the kayak wet or dry. Plus, you can wear them in multiple uses.
By the by, as awesome as these sandals are, it's totally a case of Vimes's boots. They're hideously expensive, but you just know that:
- They're going to last you more than a year (the woman at Eastern Mountain Sports who had me try them on said she had her Keen sandals, which were a different make, for going on 5 years)
- You can use them for all watersports and light hiking (yes, they really are sturdy enough and they have toe protection)
- You can use them as regular sandals just to bop around in (which is how I broke those puppies in)
Okay, they're glow-in-the-dark green and not exactly pretty to look at, but the second I put these sandals on I didn't care because they feel that comfortable.
Anyway first time in the drink I panicked because I was taken by surprise, but I was able to haul myself into my kayak doing the standard T-rescue where you basically have haul yourself up out of the water (with help from your rescuer) and crawl into your boat.
The second time, I managed not to panic, but my floatation device (otherwise known as "a life jacket") managed to come undone, so I had no extra buoyancy and had to fight my way (with a lot of help from the instructor) to get back in the kayak. Double yikes!
Then when we got to the part of the class where the instructor demonstrated different kinds of wet rescues, he showed a scoop rescue where basically you don't have to use all your upper body strength to get into the boat. Instead, you turn the kayak on its side while the person with zero upper body strength basically slides in feet-first.
Of course, while I'm floating there going, "Now wait a second!" the instructor's all, "One, the way you were rescued is faster and more efficient for getting someone back in their boat without taking on massive amounts of water and, two, you could do it. Twice."
Okay, he had a point, but still...
He also showed a few other rescues, like the sling rescue (complicated and requires an extra strap) and a self-rescue (what to do if you're by yourself) that made me decide that open water kayaking is probably not for me. Better to do it in a river where I can swim for shore towing my upside-down kayak behind me.
Luckily, I didn't have to demonstrate a wet rescue (again!) because I'd already done it twice.
Anyway, next thing I knew, I was making more Nefarious Plans because, clearly, I'm addicted to the way of the kayak.
Like, oh, signing up for a kayaking pool-based safety course this winter so I could learn different wet rescues and self-rescues and Eskimo rolls in a controlled environment. And before you ask, no, learning these in the basically calm Charles River is so not a controlled environment.
And I'm planning to take swimming lessons at the Y in the fall and winter, because clearly I need to improve my swimming if I'm going to get serious about this. I can basically dog paddle, but that's not going to be helpful if I get into real trouble.
Know what that means? I'm going to have to buy a bathing suit. AAAARRRGGGGHHHHH!
Maybe I can get one that looks like shorts and a halter. Something for water sports. It might not be as traumatic as I think. I hope.
And, horror of horrors, I'm working out ways to improve my upper body strength beyond my yoga strength moves. Like actually going back to weight work. Free weights, not the machine weights. Because I clearly have to develop better upper body strength just in case.
Good grief. What have I gotten myself addicted to?
And it's expensive. And that's without buying a kayak and related equipment.