Sunday, July 25, 2010

First Time Kayaking

Dan Bellinger, Beth Miller and I met today at 41° North Coastal Kayak Adventures in Lakewood to go kayaking. I've been wanting to try it all summer long. This morning it rained a bit, but stopped by the time we got going.

We started from the 41 North Yak Shack and headed up the Cuyahoga River to Lake Erie. I did well on the calm river, but I could tell it wouldn't take much to flip one of these with the little experience I had.

When we got to the mouth of the river, I knew we would be in for quite an adventure. The waves from the lake were a little intimidating at first. We paddled around and out a bit further into the lake. The waves were 1-2 feet, but quickly grew to 3 feet. The big waves really rocked the kayak and were a little much for a beginner.

In the distance, I saw Beth in the water. Earlier she had said she might go swimming, but I knew something was wrong when she was holding her paddle in the air and her kayak was flipped. She got hit by a big wave on the side and turned over. Dan and I paddled over there and tried to help her get back in to no avail. The best thing she could do now was swim back to shore. I took her paddle and Dan tried to drag her kayak, but this is a pretty tough task.

Dan paddled back to the Yak Shack for help and I paddled around to see Beth made it to shore. My boat was getting more and more unstable as more water got in from the increasing size of the waves. Just then, a wave hit the front of my boat and turned me over.

By now, a family who lived on the lake was helping us get ashore. I dragged my kayak to the dock and doggy paddled back. The one lady called 911 and a coast guard had arrived to make sure everything was alright. An officer also came in a car and ended up giving us a ride back to the Yak Shack.

Beth and I were a little shaken up, but mostly just tired! It's amazing how tiring it is swimming in a rough lake. The workers from 41 North went out to get our kayaks. One was on the dock and the other, along with a paddle, was still in the lake getting washed ashore. We found out later that luckily no damage was done.

I learned a few lessons about the danger of kayaking, especially on Lake Erie where conditions can change quickly. Despite the mishap, I had a great time today and plan to go again in the future.

Check out photos from today here.

No comments: