Okay I guess technically it wasn’t a floating banana because this time my kayak was blue (YAY!). But I did decide to forego a gym workout for some solid water time yesterday.
For those of you who have never been on a kayak let me say this:
You know how female swimmers have amazing bodies but big man shoulders? Therein lies the problem kayaking. It’s a 100% upper body workout. And it’s a KILLER WORKOUT.
My favorite part though is being “one with nature” in a totally public, rent-by-the-hour kind of way.
Here is the water view of a bridge I drive over every day.
It’s totally cool paddling under it and reading things like “Carrie Loves Mike” and “Long Beach Crew FOREVER” and “Nick has a tiny dick” (okay I made the last one up just to see if you’re paying attention).
Unless you’re under the bridges you’re in a channel with amazing houses on both sides, boats everywhere and people. Some are sailing, some are kayaking, some are sitting in their docked boats and doing nothing but growing their beer bellies. It’s like being on a ride at Disneyland. You get a snapshot of people’s lives and it’s fascinating.
Renting kayaks is surpringly easy. There is no “training” of any kind they just hand you a lifevest and a paddle and off you go. That might also be because every time I walk up to the check in desk (see hut with grass roof below) I always tell them I know what I’m doing.
Yesterday though, I ate a little humble pie floating banana-style.
Kayak guy with HOT HOT washboard abs wearing nothing but board shorts: Hey you’ve been here before right?
Me: *looking at abs* Yes, but not this year. I think I’m going to start slow.
(side note, extreme shoulder pain from overdoing kayaks is not to be believed)
Washboard Abs Guy: Oh okay, we have maps
Me: I don’t need one, I’m not going out very far, maybe an hour.
WAG: Cool. You pay when you get back, same as before. I just need your driver’s license in the meantime.
Me: *forks it over*
I didn’t take the map. I didn’t even glance at it. I’ve only been kayaking in Long Beach a handful of times with my sister and we always went straight up the first channel and then turned around and went back because my sister doesn’t share my ginormous man shoulders or my freakish peasant strength.
Flashforward 20 minutes and I have already reached the the turning point it usually takes me 30 minutes to get to with my sister. If I turn around now I’m only going to use 40 minutes of my one hour rental which I’m paying $8 for no matter what. (CK is cheap).
So I decide to keep going since I know I’m on some kind of water loop. I row past a lifeguard on the shore (he was wearing a shirt. jerk.) I shouted “Hey, how long do you think it takes to row around the island? Shirted-lifeguard shouts back “I dunno, an hour? Hour and a half maybe?”
I decide to go for it.
You’re wishing you had an image right? See pic below…
See the black square on the sand at the bottom? That’s where the kayak rental place is. The pathetic I-tried-to-make-an-x at the top is where I talked to Lifeguard guy.
Did you read all the text in the bubbles? I had no idea any of those things were a possibility because in the 3 years I’ve been going to this place I’ve never actually read a map.
See the black line that goes over the starbucks bubble and turns the corner. That’s right near the Long Beach Yacht Club. That was the point at which I realized I had noooo idea where I was. Since I like to rent nature by the hour and am 100% girl I did what any intelligent chick would do in those circumstances. I pulled my blackberry out of the ziplock bag I’d brought along to hold my keys, kleenex, and cash and called Kayaks on the Water.
Me: Hi, I just passed the Long Beach Yacht Club and I’m passing the Navy yacht club on my left, how far am I from you guys?
(side note: the sky was looking very dark and forbidding and I was wearing shorts and a tshirt.)
Phone guy: I have no idea.
Me: This is Kayaks on the water right?
Phone guy: yes
Me: Well, I’m sitting in one of your kayaks, floating on the water so I’m kind of hoping you know where I am.
Phone guy: We have maps.
Me: (getting slightly irritated) and clearly I didn’t look at the map because I’m an idiot. However, I am passing the Navy Yacht Club.
Phone guy: I don’t think there *is* a navy yacht club (now he’s using the uber-patient voice).
Me: *looks over at the sign that clearly says Navy Yacht Club and shakes her head wondering if this guy has ever been on a kayak* You know what? let me call you back.
Phone guy: well I might not be here
Me (internally) WHAAAAT?
Phone guy continues: Well, we’re not closed yet so good luck.
I hung up on him. It was very clear I wasn’t the only idiot in that phone call. I figured it was a really good time to point out that it was my own fault. *sigh*
I floated there for a second watching the water lap up against the sides of the kayak and tried to get my bearings. Was the ocean on my left? I was still in a channel so I had no idea. Regardless I decided to pick up the pace a bit having wasted almost 10 minutes trying to figure out where I was as the sky darkened further.
About 15 minutes of moderate rowing later I reached the beach where you rent the kayaks. I’m sorry to say I didn’t actually enjoy those last 15 minutes because I was too busy staring up at the sky and trying to figure out where I was using landmarks around me that I’d never seen before.
It’s probably as close to competing with Lewis and Clark as I’m ever likely to get since I’m not a fan of dysentary. (I still love that Oregon Trail game though it’s one of the fondest memories of my childhood. LOL.)
It wasn’t until I’d rowed up to the beach, had gotten out of my kayak, put away the paddle and lifejacket (which, incidentally I never wear anyway), that I discovered I’d only been out for 45 minutes. This meant, of course, that I still paid for 15 extra minutes I didn’t use. Rats!
The cool part was that the water route which was supposed to take between an hour and an ninety minutes took me 45 minutes flat. Including the ten minutes I tried to figure out where the hell I was and what I was doing. Apparently I’m all kinds of tough and didn’t know it. Awesome.
The reward? I impressed the hell out of Kayak guy with HOT HOT washboard abs wearing nothing but board shorts who apparently noticed that I left in one direction, returned from the other and had only been out for 45 minutes. Go me.
When I asked him who answered the phone it turned out the guy who owns the kayak rental place has it set up to call him on a cellphone elsewhere. For all I know he lives in Oregon, I didn’t ask.
But I impressed washboard abs guy. **WOOT**