The Maiden Voyage of The SS Seabed: The 'Where There's A Will There's A Way' Tour
After talking about it for two years, I finally purchased a wee kayak earlier this summer. I looked on line for a way to load it onto the top of my car to carry it. I found a good solution which involved pool noodles and ratchet straps so I went out and purchased everything I would need, then waited for a good day to go out. When I was available, it rained....or was windy. When I was at work, it was gorgeous...all....summer....long. Finally I decided this weekend was the weekend. The weather was supposed to be good and I had a couple of friends lined up to go with me.
I went out Friday night to load the kayak. I put the noodles on the car. I lifted the kayak up...and...the pool noodles fell off. I tried it again, same thing. I finally masking taped the ^&* noodles to the car and got the 30# kayak up over my head for the third time and got it settled on the foam. Now for the ratchet straps. I'd never used them before but they were pretty straight forward and I got them over the kayak and through the front and back doors and started cinching them. Before they got anywhere near tight enough, they stopped. The ones I purchased were too big for my car and wouldn't cinch further. I got the straps off, the kayak down, and the noodles off ,whilst practicing words I don't use often, but if there was ever an occasion to use them, this seemed to be it.
I had gotten the thing home from where I bought it in the trunk with the back seats folded down. It was a dicey trip with no bungees or ropes and the trunk flopping up and down. I drove 30 mph and tried to hold on to the leash that was attached to the front of the boat by torquing my arm back through the bucket seats to grab it.
Determined to make the half hour trip to the lake a little safer than that, I devised a mousetrap like system of bungees, bailing twine, duct tape and chewing gum. When the going gets tough, the little Yankee girl from the north woods of Maine puts on her thinking cap!
Because of the slant of the trunk and backseat, it will only go in this far but it wedges pretty tight. All I really had to do was make sure it didn't come out and tie the trunk lid down.
It may have looked like I was headed to the Redneck Regatta but it was actually pretty low tech and much easier than loading to over my head onto the roof. The SS Seabed was ready to roll!
Sunday morning dawned -cloudy and threatening rain. I was determined to go anyway. My friends? Not so much. So I struck off on my own. in a new, untested kayak, to try it out. There was really no danger though. I went to Lake Belleville which means that if I fell out of the boat, I MIGHT get my knees wet. It's a man made lake that they syphoned off the Sugar River. I picked the park because it's almost always deserted so if I was to dump it over, I wouldn't be providing the day's entertainment for hundreds of people. So, of course when I got there, they were setting up for a town festival on the peninsula that juts out into the lake. Sigh. Well, at least if I needed help, the ENTIRE town would be there for me!
I didn't need help, I got the kayak unloaded, out in the lake, in it, and off I went. It's pretty short, only 8 feet so it's tippy. The lake was calm and full of turtles, snakes, fish and water birds. The water quality was abysmal, I was concerned that I would die of sepsis before I ever drowned should I tum her over. At one point, I tried to make myself think of it as the Everglades because alligators seemed less lethal than the murky water. Then a little later, I tried NOT to think of alligators as things bumped and skittered against the bottom of my boat.
But once I got hang of it, got balanced and got going, it was awesome. I paddled away from the park and the people and up the mouth of the Sugar River. The quiet, the animals, the woods and the last of the summer flowers made for an absolutely perfect morning. I was amazed at how close I could get to herons and cormorants if I paddled very slowly and quietly. Just beautiful,
I only took a couple of pictures because my iPhone was in a plastic bag and stowed and it was harshing my mellow to have to get it out, but trust me when I said it was absolutely gorgeous. And despite the sky, it didn't rain. Hear that wussy friends who bailed on me? :-)
I dried off the boat and reloaded it without a problem. I am so totally stoked that I can do this all on my own. Paddling in the quiet is quite a stress reliever and even more so now that I KNOW I can do it, where before I only THOUGH I could,
Tomorrow my blisters will be broken and sore and I won't be able to move my arms, but I can't wait to go back again!!!