Kayaking? What’s that like?

I went kayaking on Friday. This is the first time I’ve been since 29 June, when I injured my elbow during or after a paddle. The new anti-inflammatory drug I’ve been taking, and neoprene elbow sleeve seem to have helped bring the pain level to manageable levels as long as I don’t twist and pronate my hand.

The creek is down lower than I’ve ever seen it. There are mud flats all over the place, both on the creek and in the bay where the creek lets out. There was very little wild life, except for one scary loud sound of something large crashing through the weeds as I passed by one part of the creek both on the way up and the way down. So much of the route was a quiet tunnel of dead reeds. Out beyond the reeds, however, the forested banks of the creek are in full colour change.

I can’t believe how badly my skills and fitness have degraded in that time. First of all, I had to let out the straps on my PFD to accommodate my weight gain. I then couldn’t get the spray skirt on properly, at least partly because I didn’t feel stable enough to work on it much. Then I discovered I just couldn’t sustain paddling for very long. So I ended up paddling and resting and paddling and resting. I only made it as far as the weir.

The low water level has created a big mud flat just in front of the weir. The weir normally is a bit of a challenge, often running quite fast. But the mud flat has created another narrow channel that was running even faster than the weir normally does, and then there was a very small pool before the weir with very little room to get lined up for that fast stream. I decided not to try it. I’d been planning to turn around at the weir anyway, and I still wasn’t confident enough in the boat to feel confident I could keep it upright.

On the way back, I finally started getting some confidence back. I still was still having to paddle for a minute and rest for a minute, but I was actually stable enough to get the spray skirt put on right.

It’s two days later, and my “good” elbow hurts more than the “bad” elbow. That’s a bit weird.