It was a workout just not in the Box
June 22, 2015
Dear friend who is fighting cancer asked if we wanted to join them kayaking Elkhorn Slough (near Monterey, CA). Of course we said yes.
Got there at 11am. Fogged in and cold as always. I had my oldest (10yo) with me, and I rented a closed deck tandem kayak. Other friends were also in a closed double. Another couple was gracious enough to split up for the day. He went in a single kayak, and she took an open deck double paring up with my youngest daughter (9yo). Open decks are more stable and self-bailing, but they are slower, don’t have rudders and are higher and more susceptible to wind.
Speaking of wind, it was blowing steadily – due East. The Slough is pretty much East-West, so you either have the wind at your back or in your face. Tide was also coming in. We paddled going in, but we also rafted up a couple of times, and let the wind and current push us in.
We went in about 4 miles or so. Then we explored some channels. On the way back the wind had really picked up. I’ve paddled the Slough and easy 75 times. We used to race it and then go run for a couple of hours almost every weekend. Usually we were in low, fast, fiberglass, single boats. Being in a plastic tandem that rides higher makes things tougher. Being in a tandem with a 10 year old who doesn’t paddle much…. well that’s called being a father.
My friend and my 9yo were really struggling, so I did the usual – tied them to the back of my boat and towed them in.
Towing another boat into the wind for 4 miles kinda sucks. It’s also a really good ab workout. Paddling is done from your core not your shoulders. Trust me, I took a class on it.
I took very few breaks because the wind would start blowing us backwards whenever I stopped paddling, and everybody hates losing ground. It took a couple of hours, but we made it back. My wife asked me later, “how is you do that? How can you pull another boat when it’s tough to make progress with your own and you don’t stop?”
I just know that it needs to be done, so I keep paddling. It hurts, but that’s what it takes.