Sunday, April 09, 2006

If Wishes Were Kayaks

Paddling; canoe, kayak, inflatable raft – I love ‘em all. I grew up around water and being in any one of these self-propelled vessels really reconnects me with the timelessness of the element and clears my mind. There is so much beauty right off the beaten path, river, back bay or creek for that matter. It boggles the mind. Some have the eyes to see it and appreciate it; some don’t – for those who do the world can be a sight to behold; even the world of one’s own back yard.

My back yard is the Jersey Shore. I dream of opportunities to use a sea kayak to traverse my back yard; paddling around the barrier islands, camping, pods of dolphins off the Cape, seeing each of the lighthouses from the deck of a 17 footer – nice. If I extend the area that I’d like to explore from the deck of my sea kayak I’d have to include Assateague Island of Virginia, the Outer Banks of North Carolina, the Florida Keys, the Dry Tortugas, New Brunswick Canada, Nova Scotia Canada, Bar Harbor Maine, British Columbia and Alaska. For some reason, I’ve always had this crazy dream of kayaking with whales.

Yeah, it’s crazy but it’s my dream – cut me some slack. It will remain a dream for the time being since I don’t have a sea kayak. It’s on my list of purchases for when the non-existent rich uncle dies, I hit the lottery; sell a novel that becomes a best seller or maybe a screenplay.

Ah yes… if wishes were kayaks then all men would paddle.

Still and all there are other options that would include the family. Ocean Kayak has several nicely designed “Sit On Top” kayak designs. The nice thing with a Sit On Top is that you don’t have to worry too much about swamping. If you tip and wind up in the drink just climb back on board and paddle away. There are some nice options for the kids as well. I’ve got three daughters, two of which are old enough to fall head over heals for the sport. I figure that we could get them started on a couple of Yak Boards, while their old man (yours truly) would paddle along with them in a Scrambler XT. Sit On Tops also have the extra option of being fun to play with in beach surf. Yeah buddy – much fun.

Did I mention that non-existent rich uncle?

Ok, what if I built some boats? Yes; I could do that. My dad and I built a 16’ 4” strip cedar canoe about twenty years ago. It was a beautiful boat – twenty years ago. The girls and I need to refurbish her and bring her back to the glorious boat that she is; it’s on the list. The problem with the canoe is that she’s heavy, big and cumbersome to paddle solo and, no matter how you look at her – even in her beauty; she’s not a kayak.

What’s that? You ask about possibly building a kayak kit or plans? My, you are astute! Yes, I’ve delved into this option and the simple fact is that after one pays for shipping, supplies, fiberglass, wood and the tools that would be needed it’s just plain cheaper to spring for a polyformed boat; lighter too. That’s always something I keep my eye on since I’m the guy that would be car topping these boats. The other thing I keep an eye on is how much weight capacity a potential kayak has. I’m no lightweight and my camping equipment is heavy too. There are plans and boats out there that would fit the bill; I can name several off of the top of my head. Still and all, pre-built and preformed appears to be the way to go.

Ah dreams…

Well, I’ve gotta go buy some lottery tickets.

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