That’s never a good question: Where’s your glasses? Actually it’s never good when it starts with “Uh Oh”. And it’s worse when your kayaking instructor says that to you after you have purposely capsized and done a wet exit from your kayak. It was my second kayaking class with Deep Cove Canoe and Kayak (DCCK) yesterday. The instructor, Mike, had just finished going through the the wet exit technique with all the others in the class and then it was my turn. I did all the steps: Deep breath; Capsize; Hand on the coaming to get to the tab of your spray skirt; Yank the tab; Knees together; and Push out! Done, done and done! And then he said it: Uh Oh! Where’s your glasses? and your hat? Say what?? as my hand goes up to my face. My glasses are on my face, I’m thinking, except they weren’t.
This lesson was called Capsize Recovery. I knew it involved getting into the water. I had prepared for it well in advance, sort of. I had to dig out a swimsuit – an ordeal in itself, but even worse since I’ve lost all this weight and have realized too late that all my swimsuits are too big for me and that I might have to resort to borrowing a suit from my mom until I make time to shop for another swimsuit – ARGHHH! It was easier to pull out my insulating, non-cotton, long sleeved top – Icebreaker, I love you! And the towel and change of clothes was a no-brainer. I wore my sporty sandals, same as last class so that my shoes would not sink to the bottom – strange that the straps leave black marks on my skin after getting wet. I’ve never had that happen before, but then I don’t usually get my shoes wet on purpose either. I even had sunscreen on, which is always a good thing, however it rained pretty much throughout the class. At least there wasn’t any Crash, Booms or Bangs! (see previous post). Thank goodness DCCK provided wetsuits! We spent a good portion of the three hours recovering from capsizes, which meant a good portion of the time was spent in the water. It was actually quite fun. And since we were already wet from capsizing, the rain actually wasn’t that much of a bother at all.
We were “guaranteed” to capsize three times this class. The first time was when Mike was taking each of us individually to go through the wet exit technique. Then the next two times was to capsize and do the recovery methods that he taught us. The first was the T & X recovery, then the next one was the PPP, Parallel Park and Pump recovery. I ended up capsizing an extra time, because I volunteered to be in the demo for the PPP. Of course after losing my glasses the first time around, I had to pass off my glasses to others in the class but other than that first blip, all other capsizes and recoveries went off without a hitch. It was a pretty exhausting class. Thank goodness I’m in better shape than I was three months ago, because there is a lot of arm and shoulder strength involved when you are trying to pull yourself up and out of the water. Granted, Mike said to kick hard as you pull up, it’s still hard on your arms. And then there’s the bracing of the kayak as your “victim” is trying to pull themselves out of the water, or bracing as your “victim” is pumping the water out of their kayak.
Still it was a good class and I can’t wait for next week’s class. That thought though was not in my head after my first class. Not that I wasn’t looking forward to the next class and not that I didn’t think the first class was good. The thoughts rolling around in my head after the first class was why I was feeling seasick on land! I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned it before, but I get seasick on the ferry. That’s right! The ferry trip from Vancouver to Vancouver Island gives me a really bad headache and slight nausea. I’ve never had to throw up, but that’s usually because I don’t eat anything before the ferry ride. I’ve also learned never to look out the windows on the ferry. I’ve just learned to lean back in the chairs and stare at the ceiling for the majority of the trip. So it was with great trepidation when I signed up for these kayaking classes. And I was pleasantly surprised when I got into the kayak the first time and only felt slightly out of sync and then that feeling went away for the rest of the first class. Until I got on land and started to drive back home. Headache and nausea! Seriously! Who gets seasick on land? So needless to say, after the first class, my thoughts about the upcoming second class were not about capsizing. Of course when it came time to actually capsize, I still had to psych myself into dunking myself into the water. But I can happily report that after the second class, there was just the tiniest bit of a headache but no nausea. Yay! I have sea legs and land legs!
So anyways, after my hands confirmed that I did not have glasses on my face, I was told to stay right there while the rest of the class, who were already back in their kayaks looked around for my glasses. Luckily for me, our first capsize was in shallow water – chest high water for Mike. Luckily for me, Roy, another participant in the class had good eyesight and spotted my glasses at the bottom with the rocks. And the funny thing was, I think Mike was more concerned about my glasses than I was. Of course I could have been in shock from the recent dunking into the cold water. But I was more “Oh, look at that, I’ve lost my glasses. Well I’m sure they’ll turn up. And good thing I brought a spare pair with me. Shame it’s back at the rental shop with my change of clothes.” So next up on my list of things to do before my next class – Get eyeglass straps! Preferably ones that float.
I know that it’s only been two classes and I know that I get seasick, but I really love kayaking. I love that I am so close to the water and to nature. During our first class, we saw some seals in the water and fish jumping in the water. It was amazing to be able to see it at that level as compared to seeing it from the deck of a boat. Listening to the water as it moves around you, as it laps at the shore is very soothing. I’m not sure how to describe it. I can almost hear it now. Oh, hold on, I still have water in my ears.