I often fantasize about buying a kayak, or a canoe. I dream of taking it out on a river, lake, or ocean to exercise, and have a good time doing it. I picture myself instinctively running the rapids, and having the stamina to make it out to see a pod of whales. All in all, it is a very good dream for me.
Then reality sinks its teeth into me. It grabs ahold, and reminds me of why I will never do this. The answer is simple: I would buy a kayak, use it once, and decide I was done with it for a couple (or more) years.
Today I went kayaking down a relatively calm jungle river. It was very fun. However, along with the fun, I can very easily map the progression of the 1½ hour adventure.
We got into the water, and we were off down the river. It was 2ish kilometres back to camp. I sat back in the kayak, got comfortable, and we were off to the races.
We started down the river, and it felt good. I was confident in my ability to take this hot pink kayak 100 kilometres without breaking a sweat. While my fantasies always involved an instinct to control the kayak, reality was far less accommodating. Instead I found the kayak was a little more free spirited than the ones in my dreams. Not a problem though. I was having a great time using my energy to straighten it out, again, and again, and againⁿ. We hit our first little patch of “rough(ish)” water, and my boat turned over with me… Then again at the second one. None of this slowed me down. I paddled down the river with new daydreams of owning a kayak!
After the first 45 minutes I started to question my dreams. My arms were now fighting with my brain, saying, “Are you stupid? If you buy one of these cursed things, then we will always feel like this! You buy a kayak, we’re leaving!” I was beginning to think my arms were right.
I originally settled into the seat of the kayak (instead of the middle where the weight was better balanced) because it was comfy to have a backrest. Now, I was in the seat because the backrest gave more power each time I paddled. However, there was so much water in my hot pink kayak, I was lifting the nose way out of the water instead of just a little bit. I was now employing the paddle, paddle, stop to coast method of kayaking. I was praying for a 5 minute break, but it never came. Dear Lord, take me home.
I finally gave up the ghost, a solid 1 hour, and 20 minutes into our river cruise. I was trying to get my 5 minute break, but the guide’s English was about the same as my Thai. Instead of giving a break he tied my kayak to his. After we were tied together, he wanted me to paddle in sync with him. Seriously? In sync with you? Have you been watching this train wreck of a trip I have taken down the river? I have gone from hitting rock by accident, to landing on top of them because I have grown to lazy to steer away fast enough. To shorten a long winded tale, Xiu Xiu took my paddle. She had yet to paddle on this trip, so the last 8 minutes of the trip, I was a freeloader. I am very ok with my status as a freeloader.
I no longer want to own a kayak. I am content with my two year breaks between going out in them. Did I have fun? Most definitely! Was I tired at the end? You could bet your grandma’s wig I was. I will happily do kayaking/canoeing again when the spirit moves. However, ownership is no longer in the cards. I am sure if you talk to me in 6 months, I’ll have forgotten the pain, and once again be dreaming of owning my own kayak/canoe. We people are funny that way.