Saturday, December 06, 2008

December evening paddle

There is absolutely no better way to reset the brain and relax than solo kayaking. I did the 7-mile trip to the gulf and back this afternoon and timed it just right. The sun was low in the sky when I started out, and as I got to the gulf at the mouth of the bayou, it was just going down. A guy had come out on the beach on a 4-wheeler and was fishing from the beach. “Is this a good time to fish?” “Sometimes. Just came to watch the sunset.”

The winter birds are out now like they were in my previous post that had so many pictures of them in one day. They have a sense of entitlement in the winter that they don’t have in the summer. They rule, in the winter.

Concentrating on the paddle stroke engages different muscles. It’s like walking. There’s lazy walking, and disciplined, top-form walking. They use different muscles. Paddling in top form uses a larger group of muscles than idle paddling.

Although I feel very secure in the boat, I thought through scenarios of “What if I flipped out of this thing in the middle of the bay?” I can get out of it with no problem, flip the boat back over, get back in it, get the water out, and paddle back. Temperatures in the 60s – uncomfortable, but not dangerous. But then I thought more specifically about getting back in the boat. First of all, I realized I’ve never done it with THIS boat, and the cockpit is definitely smaller than the Millennium. I need to practice with this one in friendly water. I’d really love to learn to roll one. Second, I didn’t take a paddle float and haven’t been carrying one at all lately. When solo and not near any land, I depend on this to get back on and into the boat. Today I brought the bilge pump with me, but not the paddle float. When you go so long not using something, it begins to slip your mind after a while. But I need it. I need to make a basic checklist for both kayak and bike.

I’ve got the Riot Regency seat adjusted much better now but still have not put the thigh braces exactly where I want them. I need to fine-tune the thing for the optimum fit.

Coming back, although I got back before 6pm, it was dark and actually quite a while after sunset. There was no boat traffic. But the sky stays lit up for a long time. When that light started to face, I saw the planet twins Venus and Jupiter, who have been playing together lately, and caught sight of a white light whizzing along beside me off my left paddle, which turned out to be the moon directly overhead. I love how when the light is dim your eyes are wide open. So much of the time we spend squinting, shielding our eyes from too much input. At night there is so much space and so much light, the water reflects the deepening red-blue hues of the sky, and the eyes welcome all of it.

So, I got in some exercise today… but my legs are still fresh and ready for tomorrow’s bike ride.

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