10 - 15

The Big Blue

Tonight's report is going to be sorta short, cause I'm pretty tired, and Reed wants to get a cocktail down at the Blue Agave and I feel I owe him.

Today we hit the big blue, although unlike Jacques and Enzo we had some boats, supped-up ocean kayaks, provided graciously by  Scott McGuire and Mark Olsen of Santa Barbara Paddle Sports. These babies were first-class and nothing like the plastic rigs that you can rent at any beach. 

Not that I would know anything about that. Today was my first time in any kayak of any kind. The last thing I paddled was a canoe back when I was in Indian Guides. I had to have Reed tell me how to use these new-fangled paddles, not to mention how to get in the boat and just about everything else. 

But we made it. Barely? Nahhh, not really. But it wasn't easy. Reed and I were talking about how we felt around 6 miles from the end and we both were ready to be done. We concurred that no 8-hour exercise can ever really be easy.Once we stated this things got a little ugly. The fog moved in and we couldn't see anything. It was pretty strange being out in the ocean and guessing at our direction. I never really felt that we were lost, however. Like Reed said, "If you err. Err to the left." Once we caught the coast we couldn't leave sight of the surf because we knew we were near the end and didn't want to miss anything. Then things started to get frustrating because we were getting tired and had no gauge as to our position. We could have been anywhere. At one point it was so bad that I was ready to go ashore anywhere and use up some mulligans. 

Then I got broad sided by a wave. I was looking into shore and we were beyond the surf so I didn't even consider the possibility. I started to rise, which was normal because we were in swells, turned around and saw a white cap breaking over my head. I was glad Reed had showed me how to exit the boat fast, although I would have figured it out, I'm sure. When I was underwater the first thing I thought of was that this could screw us up and I might not finish. However, Reed knew just what to do and I think the whole ordeal only set us back 15 or 20 minutes. Reed's comment was, "Well, you wanted more adventure."

All in all I thought that long-distance ocean kayaking is pretty boring. This is a sport to do in one or two hour bursts in my opinion. The highlight was definitely the dolphins ( and when I went in the drink). We saw many dolphins--as well as other creatures--and at one point were totally surrounded by them. Jacques Mayol says that dolphins showing up mean good luck. I think this is why I was never worried, even when capsizing. I should point out that 80% of the time we couldn't see anything because there was both fog and nothing else to see. Another highlight was the way the weather cleared for our exit. Not only was it beautiful, it was necessary because it wasn't obvious where to land and the surf was up.

The low point is my wrist, which hurts like crazy, even though I just finished icing it. I guess it's because you need to twist one wrist over and over. Oh well, guess I'll find out how serious it is tomorrow. 

The next four days shouldn't be too grueling, and that sounds great right now. Grueling doesn't mean they won't be hard though, but just how hard remains to be seen. 

Thanks for reading. I'm off to finish drinkin'.

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