I went kayaking tonight. I’m sure I could figure it out from this blog, but it feels like I’ve only been two or three times so far this year, and it’s all because of this move – I’ve spent my daily allotment of elbow pain on shifting boxes or packing or any number of other things. I hadn’t planned to kayak today, but I went to the old house and realized I’d left the keys for the old house back and the new house. So I went to the new house to look after the birds. And I suddenly realized here it was, a not too humid day, still a long time before it gets dark, and I didn’t have any pressing need to do anything to do with the move, plus I’d had a big lunch so I was in no hurry for dinner.
So I quickly threw the kayak on the rack (first test of the new pulley system in the garage) and headed out to Bay Creek Kayaking Center. Good thing they know me there, because I realized just as I was pulling onto I-590 that I’d forgotten my paddle. But they let me borrow one of theirs, so no problem.
It was a great paddle. I got up past the reeds and into the closed over woods in Ellison Park, and there was a lot of wildlife. The usual swans and Canada geese and swallows, but also muskrats and kingfishers and bitterns. In one place I came around a corner and there were approximately a dozen Canada Geese together feeding, many of them obviously this year’s young, but nearly in full adult colouration. Another place, two muskrats froliced on the shore. The river was kind of low and choked with weeds in places. Below the wier it felt like it wasn’t moving at all, but in the narrow and shallow spaces up further you could feel it on the way up.
As usual when I haven’t paddled in a while, I over did it. I went all the way up to the Browncroft Bridge, because I’d heard that there was a put-in there and if there was, it would be very handy to the new house. My right elbow started hurting on the way back downstream, and I’ve taken my usual two Alieve but it’s not helping. But it was worth it – it felt really good. Paddling hard and fast through the straight bits, finessing through the twisty bits where you had to be on the outside of the corner because it’s not deep enough on the inside.
I discovered some fun little things about boat handling. I found that when I got into the shallow water on the inside of a corner, and I could see my wake breaking just behind my boat, it seemed that the wake was sucking the back end of the boat towards the shallow water. Maybe a coincidence, but it sure felt like that. Another discovery was that with the skeg down lower than I usually have it, I could turn the boat just by leaning it. It started when I leaned out to sweep and discovered that I didn’t even have to put the paddle in the water. A bit of experimentation, and I could turn just by pushing up with the inside thigh.
I discovered this nifty little Google Maps application, and if you click here, you can see my route up to the bridge (I took the same route back, of course).