Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Toddler Kayaking - Take One

Yaks in the Rain
As everybody on the east coast knows, it's been raining almost every weekend for the last month.  While this is a wonderful alternative to being stuck in a drought (as we were in June and July), it's not helpful when trying to coordinate outdoor activities for a not-even-three-year-old.    One particular morning we were blessed with a "merely 30%" chance of rain, and so we decided to load up the boats and run down to the lake at the end of our road.

Hank hasn't been in a kayak yet, and we'd been itching to get him out.  So off we went.

I found out a couple of things really quickly.  First, as in most outdoor activities, you need more adults than you have small kids.  In the case of kayaking, my wife was there to keep Hank under control in the truck while I carried the boats from the parking lot to the "ramp."   It was just a few minutes, but you can't leave a child in a vehicle like that, and you certainly can't have them running around a parking lot, either.

Once the boats were in the water, the Kracken Hank was released from his car seat.  My wife helped control his insane full speed descent to the waterline (and the boats), and I was barely in my boat before Hank (wearing PFD) climbed on in as well.  We had bought a kids' seat from Austin Kayaks and found out that it easily slid out from under my rear end with a 40-pound kid attached to it.   Slowly figured that out and pushed off from land (also hard with a 40 pound weight toward the bow).

Funny thing also - even in a stable kayak, every time your passenger leans the upper half of their body over the water, the boat tips a little bit.  Hank's head was on a swivel (looking for mermaids and sharks and dolphins), which made the boat super tippy.  He was loving it!  Unfortunately, the sky darkened, and at the opposite end of the lake, we suddenly saw the wall of rain approaching.  You know, one of these walls of rain:

I pointed to the rain and Hank saw it coming, telling me, "it's not raining yet."  Followed by, "Daddy, I'm wet."  We huddled under a few lakeside trees, and when it was clear the storm wouldn't let up, paddled back to the put-in spot and loaded back up.

Some neat lessons - we'll see if we can get Take Two underway before the water gets cold!


BrookfieldAngler said...

The Kraken! HA!!!!

Great post, Kirk!

Scott Alderfer said...

You're a lucky man. I wish my wife was half the trooper yours is when it comes to taking the kid on outdoor adventures. Keep up the good work.

Kirk Mantay said...

It comes and goes,but she is tolerant for sure!

Unknown said...

Great stuff. Are those wilderness systems kayaks you have there? This is a great way to get a child involved in nature. Kayaking gives the chance to get up close and personal to some of the best experiences ever. Have fun on your future adventures.
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Kirk Mantay said...

Actually, the small yellow boat is a Wilderness System 9.5' Pungo or Rampage or something, can't remember. Old boat (2002 or so). The brown sit on top is a 12.5' Emotion Mojo, which is VERY similar to, but not quite as nice ($800 vs $1100), the Wilderness Systems Tarpon 12.

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