Saturday, August 23, 2008

Kayak Adventure

The bottom picture is the Penamaquam River where Toni and I kayaked the other day (Wednesday?). We decided to try something besides the ocean and it was really beautiful. Yesterday we went to the ferry landing, launched ourselves and headed for downtown. After about twenty minutes we noticed that we were still seeing the deck behind the Chowder House (top picture) and the breakwater was still just a spot on the horizon. It dawned on us that we were more or less stationary, despite our vigorous paddling.
I had heard that the current was very strong and unpredictable there, but ignored that information. I knew that the famous whirlpool, "Old Sow" was in the neighborhood, too. Somehow, typically I'm afraid, I believed vaguely that neither the current or the whirlpool was relevant to me.

We decided to turn around and let the current float us back. Inexplicably, Toni decided to keep going past the ferry landing. I followed her, but was too far behind to ask what she thought she was doing. We moved along at an ever-increasing clip and finally turned to go back. I should say we tried to turn back. No matter how hard we worked, we couldn't make any progress. The water was rushing toward us, full of little eddys and odd swirls.

Luckily there were some people sitting on the deck of their house watching us. It was the only house on the water, and there was a little private beach. Seeing our problem, they waved at us and motioned us to come to shore there. Toni, eager to end the ordeal, headed directly to the beach and their hospitality. I, on the other hand, refused to give up. I saw them all disappear up the path as I struggled to get around the cliff that seperated me from the cove where the ferry landing is. Again and again I charged against the current, sometimes making it exasperatingly close to the cliff. I planned to use my paddle to push myself along the rocks, but I could get only so far before the water took me back where I started.

Toni et al reappeared eventually. Feeling foolish, I pretended that I had been paddling around to kill time until they returned. Toni offered to wade out to pull me in, but of course I insisted I could make it by myself. And I did.

The people who owned the house recognized me from seeing me at the gallery. The man, who turned out to be named Tom, loaded our kayaks in the back of his truck and drove us back to the ferry landing.

While I remained cheerful, light-hearted, and unconcerned, the others seemed to have been frightened by the whole thing. Stories of past coast guard rescues flew through the air around me, but I remained aloof. It never occurred to me that we were in any kind of danger.
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