Kayaking with the dolphins. Doesn't that sound divine? The thought of slowly paddling through blue waters with dolphins and manatees swimming alongside the boat was so amazingly appealing, and he talked about it so enthusiastically for months before our vacation, that I didn't know how to break the news to him that I just. didn't. want. to. do. it.
Avid kayakers at home, the initial thought of kayaking with dolphins playing nearby gave me a kick, too. As the time drew near, I realized that a whole season of being sedentary, mixed with the opportunity to do nothing on our last day of vacation but sit on a beach and drink beer made the thought of physical exercise somewhat repugnant. He talked me into getting a two-man kayak so he would have to do all of the paddling and I could concentrate on taking pictures. For some reason, I still didn't want to go, but I caved and we were off to rent a kayak at the state park.
$57 later, we were walking to the launch area.
I really didn't feel good about this sign.
When we arrived at the designated site, I was a little disturbed about the kayak we were supposed to be taking out. I'm used to a cockpit style kayak, where our behinds are actually below the level of the water and they're almost impossible to tip over. The ones they rented out were of the sit-upon style, where you're above the water level on a molded, fiberglass body.
This is what an excited and happy man looks like. How could I turn him down?
I realized I could be in big trouble, and immediately began to practice blowing the emergency whistle that came with our rented life jackets.
I sat down and Kevin began to launch us. The first thing I noticed that was amiss was the fact that water came in through two, intentional holes by my butt and immediately soaked my bottom. Our kayaks at home stay dry.
The next problem I encountered was when Kevin pushed us off of the shore and joined me, the kayak felt like it could tip over at any given moment. To be sure that I didn't contribute to this certainty, I deigned to hold very, very still in the front end. The next problem I noticed was that there was absolutely nothing to hold on to except the molded, fiberglass sides of the boat that were really too wide for my hands to encompass comfortably. Nevertheless, I wanted him to achieve his dream of kayaking with the dolphins, so off we went.
There was a very small island in front of us, just as we launched. Kevin began paddling us around the right side of it, while I held my breath and refused to move. I was being a Good Wife, and willfully sacrificing myself to the alligator that I was sure wanted to eat me. I was nearly gouged by an overhanging tree or two, but my husband managed to push us away from these dangers, just in the nick of time. This was when he asked me where the camera was, and I informed him that it was in my pocket. I knew I was going to have to move to get it out. I held my breath and reached my left hand, ever so slightly, toward my pocket. That's when it happened, right in front of our boat.
A fish jumped.
I let loose with a blood-curdling scream, then quickly shut my big mouth so as not to draw attention to us, as I knew Kevin still needed to realize his dream of kayaking with the dolphins.
We rounded the little island and I saw the area from which we launched. I couldn't believe when he started paddling toward it. Now, the guilt set in. I apologized profusely for my idiotic behavior and promised to be in better control so he could continue the journey to kayak with the dolphins.
"Are you kidding me?" he asked with astonishment. "My back is in spasms! I'm terrified this thing is going to tip over! I'm so nervous that I'm afraid I'm going to have a heart attack! I want this to end!"
I was never so relieved about anything in my life. It was a ten minute ride and a $57 lesson, but we're both aware that kayaking in Lake Erie is more of our speed.