First Paddle

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

After puttering about the waterfront yesterday, I was all jazzed up to get out to enjoy a real paddle in my new 'yak.

Yes, I took the camera. I even stowed it in the handy-dandy day hatch - that little round hole in the deck that I can reach if I bend around backward in the seat. As it turns out, there wasn't really a great time to pull it out.

Home of the new kayak. Decorating rights and floor space not included.

My sister and I headed down to the river after dinner, about 6:30ish. Sister had been down to check out the water earlier in the day and she assured me it was 'calm'. I should have guessed otherwise when I saw the giant trio of kites in the distance as we drove. The clincher was all the sailboats out practicing their manoeuvers.

We put in anyway and fought the wind and waves upriver for a good half hour. I am happy to report that the few adjustments I had made to the seat and foot pedals made all the difference in the world. I was able to focus on getting a good paddle stroke - very important in making progress against the chop and wind.

Soon enough the wind died down. The sailboats went in to their docks and we had an easier time of making our way upriver. I figure we went about 3.5km before turning around. The paddle back was interesting. With the river that much calmer, Sister is able to go that much faster in her boat. So although there was less wind and wave resistance, I was forced to paddle at a very steady pace to keep up.

I decided to put the rudder down to see how it worked. Ok, really, I needed a bit of a break and was being lazy. But I was tired and I'm out of shape. I thought it would be tougher to keep a good position in the boat what with my feet using my foot pedals to steer. Not so. These designers really know what they're doing. So if you think it's weird that the pedals you use to keep yourself propped up in the seat are the very same ones that are used to direct your course, don't knock it until you try it. I played with the rudder all the way back to our starting point.

Checking the fit. There's a weather-safe hatch for little things and a cup holder in the seat. Sweet.

All in all, a good paddle. I was very happy. Happy about the boat; happy about being comfortable; happy to be on the river; happy that we braved the weather; happy that I could keep up with my sister (she gets to paddle with two long oars); happy that the kayak didn't fly off the car into traffic the first time I loaded it without Mr. B to help.

We loaded both boats back onto our respective vehicles without incident. We were fairly impressed that from dock to departure it only took us 10 minutes. Impressive for a pair of rookies without our men-folk to help.

I probably won't get out in the kayak again until the weekend. I will scope out a new spot - a giant pond - for my next outing. Instead of an invigorating paddle, it will be more along the lines of a 'nature hike' with plenty of opportunity for pictures.

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