Members of our dance class plus some friends of our instructors went kayaking in Morro Bay (near Baywood Park) yesterday afternoon. It was a good way for me to learn about kayaking safely, without having to strike out on my own, make decisions I knew nothing about.
We got in the water a little after one. Because I had one of the "easy" kayaks, I was one of the first in. We herded around the shore until everyone was in, so Karsten (instructor cum pro photographer) could take a pic of the "armada". I look forward to seeing that. Such a team we were, I bumped into others several times before I found my own path.
After the pic, Karsten got into a hot new trial kayak and joined us, and we all headed, more or less, for the sand dunes that partially enclose the quiet bay waters. Some got up close and personal with seals and sea lions. I heard someone else say, later, that they often find dolphins in there, too. I heard the seals but didn't see them. It was foggy, very foggy.
My little kayak was smallish and easy to maneuver. Wide, as kayaks go. Because it was small, though, there was barely room for me and my legs. I think on my second try I'll go for something a bit longer.
It really was as easy as everyone told me. In comparison, canoeing is quite a skilled enterprise, although I think I could do it well enough, still (Girl Scout training).
I loved being able to propel myself easily. It takes upper body strength but it didn't really strain me. And when I wanted, I could just sit, rest, look around and enjoy the quiet. I can see going out there and just sitting for a while. Or going on some sort of kayak trip.
The group didn't really stay together. I was on my own the whole time, talked to one person I got close to for a few seconds, and otherwise just stayed clear. After a while I thought it might be wise to start getting closer to the shore again, so I started paddling back. I saw some people already landed on the beach, so thought it would be good to head in, that it was coming-in-time. After I landed and got out, with the help of one of the others (getting in, getting out, those are the challenges), I realized that most of the group was not ready to come in. They were venturing farther and farther out. I was sorry I had not stayed in, but I had worried that if I didn't start getting to shore I would lose my way. I was envisioning finding myself near the shore a couple of miles away, not sure where I was. So I took, for once, the conservative approach. When I saw that nobody else was coming in beyond the four or five of us who were already there, I took off on a walk. I found the Third Street public access to the beach, went in, hiked along the shore back to the kayak launch spot. By that time, the rest had come in and the kayak owners were gathering their boats.
After our time in the water, we went to Karsten and Yiena's home (a block from the shore), where we had some wine and chips and danced a little on their wood dance floor. It's a small floor, though, so when a few couples are whizzing around doing a Viennese waltz, there is no easy way for the less-skilled of us to get out of the way. Thus Paul and I didn't dance much, and just two of the better dancers stayed the course.
We sat in Karsten's home office and chatted for a while, invited the kayaking people in and chatted with them (the assistant is a trained chef, works at one of the better restaurants in Baywood Park). Then those of us who remained, seven, went out to eat. It was after seven when we got home again.
I thought it was a really good way to spend Labor Day. It was active but not killer-active, a nice casual way to get to know the other dance people. I hope we do more of this sort of thing. I do intend to get out kayaking again, that's certain.