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Yesterday new friend Q and I went to a boat rental place for some kayaking. I'd never done small boating before. Heck, the only time I can recall being in a small boat was last year's schooner cruiser, when Julie got me into a rowboat with her, but all I did there was be semi-terrified passenger-ballast while she got her rowing practice in. No wait, I helped navigate, since I was facing forward. Hmm, now I wonder if she had an ulterior motive.

The place has kayaks and canoes; I didn't know much about either. Q shot down our canoeing as being less table and taking more skill, which last evening's research seemed to support -- especially for two people, where you're each paddling on one side, and someone needs to know advanced strokes to keep the boat on course. OTOH I prevailed on our taking a two-person kayak, rather than separate kayaks; she'd worried about paddling interference, but I worried about boat interference, plus me being a terrified newbie. And it worked out really well. Out for 1.5 hours, though probably didn't go that far away in net distance. Up the river a bit, back, up again, back, down a bit, a bunch of interspered drifting, going back down a surprisingly pretty channel, realizing it was the wrong channel and figuring out how to back up or turn around, actually going back. It was fun, though also scary when the boat rocked. I was buzzed enough to do some research when I got home.

Local options include
Community Boating: mostly about small sailboat access and instruction, but they have some sit-on-top kayaks, which I'm dubious about. About $260/year
Community Rowing: lots more hardcore, with swim tests you have to pass, and really all about rowing, either as 8-person sweeps or solitary sculling. Having learned that rowing is basically facing backwards with locked oars, while paddling is forward facing with a paddle in your hands, I'm not feeling big on rowing. $125 for facility access but there's various complex levels to doing anything.
Paddle Boston: the rental company, which also has season passes. $275 for a normal everything pass, though $199 now that half the year's gone. $140 for just canoe access. Tempting now, though I had also been interested in trying to learn small sailing.

I realized the company at Kendall has a long lagoon, i.e. totally calm, and free of bigger boats, and not far from employees. So probably an ideal place to play with a canoe if they'd let me, i.e. *don't* take it out onto the river at first.

I also noticed that an actual kayak costs like $600, i.e. a few years of membership/pass, but then you need storage and transportation. But then I was reminded inflatable boats exist, including inflatable kayaks. some surprisingly cheap and light. And paddles disassemble. Hmmm...

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Damien Sullivan

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October 2018


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