On the water

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When I was little I used to be quite the fish, wanting to go swimming every chance I got and not wanting to get out until my fingers were pruney and my purple lips covered chattering teeth. But as I’ve gotten older I don’t enjoy swimming as much as I used to. I now prefer to be on top of the water and watch from above. One can watch from the Bow of a fishing boat but I found that you’re too high up to see anything, even if it was a junker of a Alumacraft Lunker. A canoe is a bit better- you could sneak up on the fish. The only problem I found with this approach is that I always felt like I was going to tip over. Not to mention I was normally the dead weight in the middle while my dad and brother paddled- Boring and Uncomfortable.

Alright Missy you’ve dissed motor boats and canoes what would you have us boat in? My answer good reader is Kayaks.

“But Kayaks are so tipsy.”

“And you sit so low to the water.”

“I’m claustrophobic,  and there isn’t much room in a Kayak.”

“And you have to exercise to make it move. I hate Exercise.”

My response to all of that is… You are missing out and you need to try it before you knock it. I’ve heard all of the above from family members in the past and once they got in the boat and paddled around a bit they loved it.

I’ve been kayaking since I was 11 or 12 years old when my day first brought home two 10 foot Old town Otters. They were a tie die combination of yellow, blue, and green. One had straps on the top and foot pegs inside, the other didn’t, but both handled smoothly. The cockpit was roomy with a large opening (Rebuke Claustrophobic person). To the tipsy worry wart, my brother tried to rock these boats and had to really work at it. We had to have one in the cockpit rocking from the inside and the other pushing and pulling one the outside before we could even get water to come over the edge. They are steadier than you think. The reason they are so steady is because you are closer to the water. In a canoe you are sitting higher in the water, which raises your center of balance. With you practically sitting in the water with a kayak it takes much more to tip (Rebuke Low in water).

After dad got the first two it was a domino effect. He bought another kayak. This time it was a 12 foot red, white, and blue Old Town Patriot. On that boats maiden voyage with our family, dad took my brother and I on a trip we won’t ever forget… or at least I won’t let him for get. At this time we lived in Clear Lake, MN and there was a chain of three lakes not far from our house. Dad was in the Patriot taking the lead, my brother in the Otter without foot pegs in the middle and me bring up the end. A little train of boats. We put in at Rush Lake and made it almost to the end of Brigs and into Julia before we kids started petering out. Now i’m probably 12 years old, so that puts my brother at 8 or 9. Instead of turning around and going back to the car, dad pulls a rope out of his deck hatch and tows my brother into Julia. My brother is lounging in his boat and I’m eating their bubbles. Cutting this story short, both I and my brother slept very well that night.

Dad was addicted, he bought a 13.5 foot yellow and white two seater Pelican for him and my special needs sister. Mom got the Patriot. Now the whole family could go out together. My sister sits in the front of the cockpit with dad paddling in the back. My brother tried to keep up with them, but mom and I learned to go at our own pace, dip our toes in the water and enjoy the sun knowing we’d catch up eventually.

For awhile dad seemed content having the junker of a Lunker from grandpa, the Old town canoe from our uncle and the 4 kayaks. Until we moved to Brainerd, Lake heaven. There he met a group of kayaking enthusiasts called the Paddle Pushers. They hit a different lake every week in the summer and teach newbies in the High school pool. each year they have an equipment swap day where they sell and buy kayaks and accessories. Dad was gone with six boats already but came home that day with two 15.5 foot Necky Sea Kayaks. Unlike the Otters and the Patriot which are dang near impossible to tip, these two were tip city. So yes, tip-worry-wart, some kayaks are as tipsy as all get out. Sea kayaks  are longer and skinnier to help the paddler manage waves. The longer the boat is the less back and forth you get at the bow when you paddle. The skinnier the kayak the easier it is to tip and roll if a wave catches you broad side.  Sea kayaks also have a keel to help stabilize it on the waves.

The boys have now claimed the Neckys as theirs and that’s fine with me. Last summer (2013) dad sold the little otters to our neighbors and bought me a 12 foot green and white tie die Patriot so that I would still have a boat. I plan to take it out a lot this up coming summer.

So I’ve covered just about every reason not to try kayaking, except one: exercise. Yes, kayaks are paddle boats that need a human to make them move. A kayaker can expect to get a good arm and core workout after an afternoon on the water. That’s not really a rebuke, but what person wouldn’t want to get a small work out with high chance of a tan without the cost of a gym?

Pictures, with special thanks, Provided by:

Parts of a Kayak:                                                                              http://www.smart-start-kayaking.com/PARTS-OF-A-KAYAK.html

Pelican two seater:  www.pelicansport.com/en/products/kayaks/tandem-kayaks/unison-136t

Necky Sea Kayak:  http://www.neckykayaks.com/kayaks/day_touring/looksha_14/

Patriot: http://www.dickssportinggoods.com/product/index.

Otter: http://www.skifflife.com/563691/otter-kayak-275/

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