I have a confession to make. Until last week I had never been in a kayak in my life. That seems really strange to me because I watch them almost every day from my tower on the drawbridge. I’ve always thought it looked like fun. I just never quite got around to it.
That probably has a lot to do with the fact that every time I’ve been in a canoe it has been a disaster. Once it required minor surgery and pain meds that caused freaky hallucinations. Another time it involved being covered in dozens of large hairy spiders. I try not to think about canoeing very much.
But my nephew was coming to visit, and I’ve always tried to be the cool aunt. I’ve even ridden roller coasters for him. Me. That about says it all.
What made me most open to the experience was the fact that I was taking a week’s vacation and not leaving town. Sacrilege. I’m all about travel. New horizons. A change of venue. So I figured that if I was going to confine myself to the well-known, the least I could do was look at it from a brand new angle. So a-kayaking we went.
Here in Seattle, you can rent kayaks from the Aqua Verde Restaurant for 18 dollars an hour (as of this writing), and cruise the ship canal from the locks all the way to Lake Washington if you are so inclined. We stuck to Portage Bay and Lake Union, which suited me just fine.
We opted for two single kayaks, so that if one of us fell in, the other wouldn’t have to suffer as well. This turned out to be an excellent idea, because I nearly went into the drink just trying to get in the kayak. It turns out that kayaks are quite tippy. My heart went into my throat on more than one occasion. And I had no clue how I’d have gotten back in if I had slipped out. Fortunately I never had to find out.
And after gazing at what I thought was very calm water for two years, I learned that Lake Union is actually pretty darned choppy. It was my nephew’s first kayak experience as well, but he took to it, naturally, like a duck to water, despite the waves. I was tempted to make him go for a swim just on general principle.
But I have to say that once I kind of got the hang of it, I really enjoyed myself. There is something to be said for changing your point of view. It’s really amazing to be in a huge natural setting right in the middle of a big city.
I got to float under my bridge, and fell in love with it even more by doing so. Its art deco embellishments just seem to speak to me. I also got a look at the Fremont Bridge from a distance. And Seattle’s skyline is even more spectacular from water level.
Even though I hadn’t left the city, I did feel like I was seeing things for the first time. That always renews my spirit and refreshes my soul. The first time you see something (or someone) forces you to really, really see it. (Or him. Or her.) You take in every ounce of beauty. That’s kind of like getting away with eating the frosting before devouring the cupcake. What a gift.
Here are some of my pictures from the adventure.