Sunday, August 21, 2005

The Learning Experience

Well. We've been thinking about buying a boat of some description to put up on top of the motorhome. To help make the decision, we rented two kayaks this morning and paddled up the channel, around Newcastle Island and Jessie Island, and back to the rental shack - 3 hours of paddling.

I enjoyed the first part, sort of, but it was after our brief stop on Newcastle Island that I really thought we were on to something. When we first started, I felt I had to choose between paddling and steering. Doing both at the same time was beyond me. I must have made a comical picture, weaving and splashing my way up the channel. It's a wonder the harbour patrol didn't pull me over.

We beached the kayaks at Newcastle Island, where I tried to get out and ended up falling out into about six inches of warm water. I was still laughing when I stood up. I noticed a few minutes later that I had ripped a piece out of the front of my ankle (bottom of my shin?), but the cut wasn't serious. A few minutes later, we set out again, around to the outside of the island (the part that faces into the Georgia Strait), and I found that I was more comfortable than before. I had shortened the strap on my left rudder control a bit, which made steering much easier.

When we got out into the strait, we encountered some swell, but nothing too bad until we got close to the channel between Newcastle and Jessie Islands. There, the sea was very confused. There, as well, I discovered that it is quite possible to be seasick in a kayak.

We waited for the incoming ferry to go by, then struck out for Jessie Island. I was sick, exhausted, and frightened, in about equal measure. About then, I remember yelling to R., "I think that the sooner I'm out of this boat, the better." I paddled and rested, paddled and rested, then heard the outgoing ferry bellow. I paddled and gasped and paddled some more, and at that point, my symptoms rearranged themselves: frightened, exhausted, frightened, sick, frightened. My head was swimming (I was still in the boat, though), my legs were tingling, and I definitely wanted out of the damned boat. I would have been infinitely grateful to have the harbour patrol boat pull alongside. But no-o-o-o-o.

Eventually, we fetched up at the ramp, and a strong, cheerful young man helped us to come ashore. He assured me that my seasickness was only moderate - nothing like that of the man that projectile vomited throughout a 7 hour tour last week. How comforting. We finished our business with the kayak people, then automatically got back into the car in the positions we had arrived in - me behind the wheel, R in the passenger seat.

That lasted for about three blocks, until I made a right turn off the road filled with ferry traffic, then a very quick left into a diagonal parking space, and slammed on the brakes. I was out of the car in a flash and staggering up the grassy bank to a very solid rock, on which I sat with my head between my knees until the dizziness passed (sort of).

R drove us home, and I collapsed into a recliner, which unfortunately rocks when it isn't in the reclining position. I fixed that. About ten minutes later, I was able to get up and make myself a cup of green tea with peppermint, and half an hour after that, I made and ate a sandwich. Having had a brief nap, I still feel weak and puny, but I've stopped thinking I'm about to pass out.

R says his hips and shoulders are sore, but he really thinks a canoe with outrigger would be a better idea than the kayaks. They're too hard to get in and out of.

I think I'd rather ride my bicycle.


Javatraveler said...

I think this was so cool to do. I have always wanted to try kayaking. Sounds like you tackled a lot that day. Hope you got some rest.


Sandra said...

We took the day off yesterday - not from work, but from our cycling. Tonight, we went out for about 40 minutes. By the weekend - which we're going to spend on Denman Island - we should be back to normal and ready for some serious (for us) riding.