Wednesday, May 7, 2008

First Time Kayaker's Story

On April 25, 2008, I posted about a trip I took my friend Mark on. He wanted to contribute a blog post about the trip, and I'm glad to have it. Enjoy:

This BLOG entry relates my first time experiencing kayaking. My name is Mark and my good friend Shamus Thornton is an avid kayaker and he encouraged me to try the sport. Both Shamus and I live in the Bay Area city of Vallejo, which is situated on the north shore of San Pablo Bay (about 30 minutes outside of San Francisco). As I live near the water, taking up kayaking “seemed like a natural choice”.

Although I have had some background in “adventure travel” (great white shark cage diving, elephant safaris in Thailand, bush safari in the Masai Mara, etc), I must admit that I was a bit intimidated by the prospects of kayaking. Climbing into what appeared to be a small and unstable watercraft had given a little reason to pause. However, my friend Shamus is very knowledgeable and passionate in regards to the sport of kayaking. His emphasis was on safety and he was very thorough in preparation of our outing. With Shamus as a guide, my concerns subsided.

And the day that we chose for kayaking could not have been better. The wind was calm, the sun was bright, and the air was clear. We started a little after 10 AM (morning I was told is the ideal to kayak as the water and winds are generally calmer). We set out near downtown Vallejo across from the historic Navy base (first on the West Coast) of Mare Island. Though I had seen this stretch of water many times before (I can see it from the window of my house), it was an entirely new perspective from a kayak. While in a kayak, one feels very connected with both the water and the environment. And as a “human powered” craft, kayaks leave little (no) impact on the environment.

Kayaking can be a little rigorous at times (I learned a lot about “currents and tides” that day), but the experience is also serene and tranquil. Kayaking is a great way to enjoy nature, but without causing damage or impact. Needless to say, my first kayaking trip will not be my last!

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