Kayaking. Something I have always wanted to try. Any time you see people
kayaking, they look like they are having a good time, it involves one to be in
and around water, and they look at peace with the universe. That’s the kind of
exercise for me! Kaitlin and I got up this morning, had a great breakfast, and
headed for California Water Sports in the Carlsbad Lagoon to rent us some kayaks. We were going to get our “paddling on”! 🙂
Kaitlin had gone here before. Through trial and error, she knew that we
shouldn’t wear tennis shoes so I was totally prepared. I didn’t take any
electronics with me. I had on shorts and a tank top and flip flops, so I was
good to go. The girl at the front counter has us fill out waivers, and says,
“Ok, take the yellow sheet to the guy on the beach and he will help you”. Can
you be any more vague? The beach is all the way around the Lagoon, and there
are lots of “guys” out there. Somehow, our intelligence led us to a guy sitting
on a chair under an umbrella near the rentals. He took our yellow sheets and
instructed some 9-year-old kid to get us single kayaks. This poor little guy
drags them over to the edge of the water, and asks us if we have ever
kayaked before. Since my answer was negatory, he proceeded to give me
instructions at lightning speed and hands me my paddle. Wait, what? He pushes
me out. No “Ma’am, can you swim? Do you need a life jacket?” Are you heavily
insured?”. He just pushes me out into the water!
I felt tense, and incredibly awkward. I figured out on my own not to go near
the buoys. The other side belonged to the wave runners and ski boats….so
basically, if I wanted to die, I should go over there. Yeah, not
today……..just trying to figure out my paddle, logically, was enough to keep
me tense and focused on staying where I was, but moving forward. I hadn’t gone
20 feet and I had already gone in a complete circle. Piece of cake. Keep
the side of the paddle that has writing on it towards you was about the extent
of what I absorbed during my “instructions”…..and I didn’t know how to
“brake”. Oh, this should be good. 🙂
Kaitlin was out in front. Obviously, since she had done this before, she
was a bit more relaxed and not fighting her paddle. To our right, the jet
skiers were totally not caring about the ‘no wake’ zone and were getting as
close to the buoys as possible. The ripples in the water were frightening. I
thought for sure I was going to dump over every time it happened, but I relaxed
and just tried to float with each one rather than freak out. That worked like a
charm…..and I mastered the waves like a pro.
As we rounded the Lagoon and headed off to the left, I finally eased up on my
paddles’ white-knuckled grip and began to enjoy this experience. The sun was
shining an artistic cascade of color across the Lagoon. The occasional large,
silvery fish would jump out of the water in front of us, as if he were excited
to see us coming. The homes that lined the Lagoon were impressive, and I
focused on the lap, lap, lapping sound of the water hitting the side of my
kayak. I breathed in deeply, and the wind blew my hair. THIS was
The kayaks we rented were ocean kayaks. Not exactly built for comfort but they very functional for what they were designed for. Now that I was not as tense, I realized how uncomfortable I was and needed to adjust my seat just a tad. That is when IT HAPPENED.
My roll over was immensely slow. I had plenty of time to know what was going down as the kayak pivoted to the left. I made no attempt to stop it either. I hit the water and sunk. I lost my flip flops the minute I hit but I had enough presence of mind to grab my sunglasses. I pushed my way back to the surface, and grabbed onto the side of my kayak with my right hand and grabbed my paddle with my left. Note to self…next time wear a bathing suit…bra and underwear is no bueno.
Kaitlin turned her head and saw me going in. She paddled around and headed towards me. People paddled by me on paddle boards and kayaks. “Hey lady, are you ok?” “Oh yeah, I’m good, thanks.”
I had to laugh. I started swimming towards the shore as best I could with a floating kayak fighting me and my sunglasses and long ass paddle in the other. Thank heavens I am a good swimmer, not that the rental people cared. 😉 This nice guy rammed my kayak with his, which helped push me in a bit. I probably could have stood up much sooner than I did too, but there is just something about when slimy seaweed touches ones toes that made me not want to step down. When I finally did, the water was only up to my knees at that point. What a dork. 🙂
I pulled my kayak up on shore and this intense pain washed over me. My ankle, OMG! A pissed off crab had attached itself to my ankle and was pinching the hell out of me, making me bleed……the jerk. I grabbed him and chucked him into oblivion. I didn’t need that!
Kaitlin retrieved my shoes for me. She paddled closer…..”Mom, do you want me to hop out and help you get back out?” she asked, laughing hysterically at me. “Yeah that’d be great”, I say. She scoots forward in her seat, and I hear “Oh no!” “What?” I ask. “She says, “I just peed a little!” I tell her to get out of the boat! She jumps out, not on the nice OTHER side of her kayak but on the side I’m on, and squats. She looks about 5 years old right now. “Thanks honey, now your urine is floating and hitting my kayak and probably got on my foot. That helps.” She smiled.
She pushes me off from the shoreline, and away we go. The odd thing is now, for some reason, I feel very relaxed and ok with this kayaking business. I survived a roll over! Yeah, that’s right. I hold my paddle like a pro. I glance at the other kayakers passing me and I think, “Pffft, beginners”. I look pretty sexy too….my hair is drenched and matted to my head. Lord knows whats in it. My shorts are sagging and coming off from being super wet. Oh yeah, I’m hot. 😉
Kaitlin looks over at me. “Mom, I am cracking up. I swear all I heard was a little “bloop” and in you went. I always thought I would hear a big splash if you capsized”. Nice. I have mad skills, what can I say. I wasn’t even upset that it happened. It didn’t ruin our time, and if anything, it stopped me from overthinking the experience.
We paddle back to the shore to return the kayaks. Our time is up. Kaitlin stands up and on the back of her leg is a huge 6 inch gash that is bleeding pretty nicely. She cut it on the seat of her kayak when she sat down, but never realized how badly. We sit on towels to drive home, me to keep from getting my seat soaked, and her to keep from bleeding all over the car seat. We head home to shower and clean up her leg, and we laugh all the way. Sometimes…..life forces us into the water, whether we want to go or not. This is the good stuff.