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Day of the Sea Kayak

Finally got out and tried kayaking again by myself. Sea kayak, because I thought it'd be more stable as well as faster; the sign in guy even said so. And saying in the company's channel at first, to practice in a safe space.

It was horrible. Lots of work to move the thing, making me wonder if I'd let Q do more than a fair share of the work last time. Somewhat tippy. And worst of all, hard to control -- at times it would seem okay, but other times I couldn't turn it despite my best efforts, and it would line up perpendicular to the channel and head into a wall, slowed only by my braking. This happened over and over. I did go into the river a bit, came back. I figured it was really good we hadn't been in separate kayaks before.

I drifted up to the dock and asked if there were currents in the channel. "No, but it is a wind tunnel due to all the buildings, you'd be better on the river. Also, what? No, that's our tippiest kayak."

Apparently sea kayaks have a skeg, something like a keel, that you can put up or down. I'm not sure what he was suggesting: down would seem more stable, but harder to control. THen he said he thought it had been down. Later he was unsure it even had a skeg, despite the cord.

Anyway I decided to take up his other offer, and switch to one of the standard recreational singles, a Pongo 140? "Longest. Also heaviest."

And it was great! Not tippy at all, until much later when the river waves got really big, and very responsive. Crossed the river, went up river through two bridges and past the Citgo sign, until the water got shoppy. I thought it might be pouring in from somewhere else but I don't know. Ended up in the center of the river and started heading back, and I could see big swells that made me nervous about just heading to the side, I wanted to stay cutting the waves.

I was going to time how long it took to get back vs. going up, but then the risk aversion of the boat allowed me to take more risks on the river, like going down some entrance figuring I knew I could back up now. Turned out to be some lagoon. Very flat water, no rocking motion, also no outside motion, Aristotle's laws of motion totally applied. Lots of either seaweed or fallen conifer gunk along the sides I nearly got entangled in my own Sargasso Banks. Water lillies. Ducks. Geese. Gondolas. We have gondolas? Apparently so, as a sideline of BOstonPedalBoats.com, just upriver from Community Boating, and happily exits so I didn't have to go all the way back up the rather long lagoon.

This time my arms really do feel it, after 2-2.5 hours, and I fear I'll have blisters on the side of my thumbs. Still, decided to splurge for a pass.

The Western Avenue bridge looked weird: packed line of cars going *into* Boston at 4:20pm, fairly zippy outbound. Saw a cloud of white smoke at one point, but it didn't persist. I couldn't tell if there were weird traffic problems or if there's some entrance to underground freeways and it's always like that as Cambridge workers from the outer suburbs try to escape via non-Euclidean geometries.

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Damien Sullivan

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December 2018


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