The next morning, we head over to the little inlet where we’ll be learning some kayaking skills, and I quickly rack up my first major triumph of the day, which allowed me to call upon all my skills as a triathlete: I got my wetsuit on. Yep, pulled that sucker on like it was nothing, and raised my hands in victory. Rock$tar!
Of course, this was before I realized that that was the easy part, and that in kayaking the real pain in the ass is getting the little jacket thingie on. It’s sealed with, I don’t know, cement or something, so you’re basically vacuum sealed in there for the duration. And let’s not even talk about the spray skirt, shall we?
We then get in the water, and of course the first lesson involves being dumped over into the water so that we’re dangling upside down. This is just for a quick second, but then we dump ourselves for real so that we can practice doing a wet exit, or getting out of the kayak by releasing the spray skirt. In kayaking parlance, this is called “swimming,” and I will just say that it’s a good thing I mastered the wet exit with speed and aplomb (in writing circles this is called “foreshadowing”).
The next several hours are spent learning a bunch of other skills, from turning and paddling to practicing the t-rescue, which is what you do when your kayak goes over but you don’t swim. Basically, the t-rescue involves waiting upside down in the water once you tip, after you’ve thunked the sides of the kayak to draw attention to the fact that you’re burbling about underwater, and then using another kayak as leverage to right yourself.
It’s pretty damn cool, and of course I master it right away. Piece of cake! In fact, everything we do is a piece of cake. I actually say at one point to Wildflower, after he’s explained one maneuver or another: “Yeah, that’s pretty intuitive.”
Let’s just say that a lot of things that seem intuitive when you’re on a very calm inlet in relatively deep water can seem a bit……NOT so when you’re in a rapidly rushing river with rocks a’plenty. Just sayin’.
But for now, we leave off for the day and I feel like a total rockstar. I will master the kayak! Be one with the river! Paddle along like the river goddess that I am! Yep, some of us are just born to certain sports, clearly, and this one is mine.
What can I say, it’s a gift.