Determined to get as many kayaking days in before fall arrives, my girlfriend and I wanted to head out to the beach tonight after work. We have had to cancel a few times these past two weeks and we prayed the weather would hold up for us tonight. Last night, our area experienced one of the worst storms this season and we weren’t sure what was in store for us tonight. I emailed Kathy early in the day and told her that the weather report said winds were going to pick up tonight, we may not be able to go out on the lake. We would play it by ear.
Now, our usual practice is this: Kathy lives in the opposite direction as me and gets home from work before I do, so on kayaking nights I drive home by the lake and pull over to check out how calm the lake is and after texting Kathy to let her know, I head back out on the road to get home. I’m 15 minutes from home at this point and Kathy is 20 minutes from my place. Once she gets the OK, she starts heading to my place with the kayaks and she arrives just in time for me to be changed and standing on the porch waiting for her. This practice is an important time saver for us, particularly at this time of the year as we are limited for our daylight and every moment counts.
I was happy to see that the sun shone all afternoon and the skies were clear and I was hopeful our day would end on a relaxing, happy note out on the lake. That is, up until 10 minutes before I left work. I noticed that the sky was getting very gray and dismal to the south-west. I left work and headed north towards the lake and within 3 minutes it started to rain. I didn’t lose hope because ahead of me the sky was clear, but it was still raining behind me. I got to the lake it was still raining lightly but the wind picked up. And yet the sky over the lake was clear. There were white caps on the lake near the shoreline, but the water was only mildly choppy the rest of the way out. My text messages would not go through to Kathy, so I just got back on the road to get home so I could get Kathy called. This was going to set us back another 20 minutes.
I arrived home to find that Kathy had been trying to reach me because she had not heard back from me in half an hour and started to worry. I called her back and here’s how the conversation went...
B: I just got home! Sorry, the cell phone wouldn’t work my messages wouldn’t go through.
K: I was getting worried ! So what’s the water like? Are we going?
B: It’s whitecap wavy along the shoreline, but it’s a bit choppy past that.
K: How choppy is choppy?
B: Cripes, I don’t know. It’s choppy. Not tip you over choppy, but choppy. I’d say mildly choppy.
K: So what do you wanna do?
B: Well I don’t know, what do you want to do? It’s your call. Are you going to be upset if you drive all the way out there and we find out we can’t go out?
K: No. I just want to get out and relax. I’ve had a rough week.
B: Ok, but I don’t think we’ll be relaxing. It’s windy and it’s going to be a work out. There won’t be much relaxing and yaking ‘cause we won’t be able to hear each other talking.
K: Good point.
B: The only thing I’m worried about is the shoreline. At the Cove the water is deeper and where we go it’s shallow so are the whitecaps going to be better or worse. Your call.
K: I’m exhausted.
B: Well then that settles it. If you are THAT tired, then you aren’t going to have the strength you need on the water anyway and you’ll be whipped when you get home.
K: Or… the exercise will do me good.
This bantering went on for awhile …
B: Ok, we are wasting time and losing daylight. What do you want to do; it’s YOUR call.
K: Wellllll… It might be rough.
K: BUT, it might be FUN too!! Let’s go!
We arrive at the lake and the wind starts to pick up and the sand was blowing over the ridge before we could see the water. We started to laugh and I said, this doesn’t look good. Kathy quickly turned into the parking area and said, it’s going to be cold – I’m going pee before we get out there. I on the other hand was smart enough to go before I left home because I hate using the outhouses. I didn’t have to pee. Or so I thought.
Heading back to the lake we get over the ridge, take one look at the water and start laughing again. “Oh shoot, I don’t think we are going in that.” So to confirm: the whitecaps were much bigger and stronger in the shallower part of the lake. We hesitated. Should we go or should we stay now ????
We got out, put our feet in the water and it was like bath water. Tempting. Very tempting. We hesitate some more and finally decide – we’re here, let’s try. We both brought windbreakers as we weren't sure what we were in for. Our plan: just stay near the shoreline and just bounce on the waves. No way we were going out any distance in that!
We dragged the kayaks into the water and quickly got in and within 10 seconds our jackets were completely soaked. Kathy was a little bit ahead of me so I was watching her fight to get past the waves and I couldn’t even get past the shoreline yet. I’m watching her swing her paddle like crazy and getting absolutely NO WHERE; and I’m still trying to get past the waves and I get pushed back up onto the sand and then I was stuck. So I started to giggle and I started bucking back and forth thinking that it was actually going to make a difference. I’m bucking and Kathy is swinging and for every swing she took, she still went nowhere and for every buck I made, I just dug myself deeper in the sand. And all I could think of was how much she looked like a bird frantically flapping its wings when flying against the wind and going absolutely no where. (remember when I said I didn’t have to pee… ya well… I laughed so hard I peed my
It was so ridiculously funny that even though I was grateful that there wasn’t a sole on the beach to witness this, I still wished it had all been captured on camera. I could not compose myself at all. She stopped paddling to look back at me totally losing it, and a wave caught her and pushed her right back all the way to the shoreline to get stuck in the sand right beside me. Hysterically she cried out, “Great! Now we look like beached whales!”
We made a few more attempts and I said, “I’m getting the camera and I’m going to video you paddling like a bird going nowhere.” (Unfortunately, I cannot upload the video they are too big for the blog)
Kathy said, “Ok, your turn. Let me get some shots of you”. As Kathy was filming me, my kayak turned and I was suddenly parallel with the waves and you know what that means. Yep. Ass over billy goat I went. Thank god I was only in half an inch of water. I was laughing, but Kathy was worried I was hurt, but she didn’t rush to me right away because she didn’t want to get my camera wet. That's what friends are for. But the waves kept knocking the kayak into me and she had to finally come and rescue me in the half inch of water and save me from the beating. Thank god no one saw that. OH wait! Shoot. Where did those four cars come from on the beach and why are all those people laughing? Crap!
After about half an hour of fighting waves and peeing myself we finally decided to pack up the kayaks. But we simply couldn’t leave before we ventured out into the waves. The water was so warm we couldn’t resist. We are so fortunate to have such a nice sandy beach and in this particular spot it is shallow enough that you can play in the waves without worry of it dropping off deep. We were only knee deep, but you could feel the undertow. So we decided it was time to call it a night.
As we were leaving we noticed several people kite sailing. One person ended up about 15 feet in the air. They certainly looked like they were having a blast.
The sky was such a beautiful colour peeking through the clouds tonight. What a great way to end the day and a great way to end the season.
Hopefully, we'll get some more Kay-yak-yak-yaking in before the end of September. Stay tuned for the adventures of feeding the seagulls from the kayaks.