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Close Encounters of the 8-Legged Kind

Although I am new to paddling, I love to get people to come along with me on my little adventures, as I seek out rivers less paddled in my home state of New Jersey. After sweetly asking (alright, so it's nagging) my boyfriend to come try kayaking with me he finally bent and went with me to a kayak rental place in Green Bank, NJ. The whole place is really nice: they get you a kayak, load it on to a trailer and drive you over to a nice little grove to put in your yak or canoe. We grabbed our kayak, put on our PFD's and then took off!

I had begged to be in the back, but my boyfriend's sitting weight distribution said I should be in the front, being the lighter of the two of us. The entire trip was about 6 miles. Six miles of getting whacked by his paddle, splashed because he wouldn't listen to me about how to actually paddle, and being jostled as he repeatedly steered us into the river banks time and time again.

This entire trip, I was picking leaves and small branches out from around my legs and thighs, from the repeated smacking into the very leafy shore-line. After awhile he began to get the hang of it, and dare I say, was enjoying himself. The quiet Mullica River turned out to be a good idea on my part, and it was beginning to seem like it was a great bonding experience.

We were getting close to a small beach where we were to pull the kayak up and wait for the little bus to come and pick us up and bring us back to the rental place. I felt a slight tickle on my leg and remarked to my boyfriend, "You knocked so many leaves on me, I've been picking them off of me all day." That's when I looked down... and saw a spider about the size of my palm (legs and all, I'm not kidding this sucker was HUGE) on my leg.

Did I mention I have a fear and extreme distaste for spiders? So we can all imagine I didn't take this to well. I freaked out, flailing my arms and throwing my paddle in the water, which my boyfriend quickly went after. I nearly tipped us out of the yak, trying to get the spider off and squish it at the same time, screaming bloody murder the entire time.

When the gigantic forest spider scampered into the tip of the kayak, I grabbed my paddle which was now in my boyfriends hands, and paddled as fast as I physically could, when I saw the water wasn't to deep, I jumped out, in about almost 6 feet of water, pulled the boat onto shore, and proceeded to freak out even further.

I gained my composure only when I saw a group of people also in their kayaks laughing at me, and my boyfriend joining them as they laughed at my expense. One of the others went and retrieved the stupid spider and put it back in the woods...

I still get teased by my boyfriend, and those he told the story too.... I'm really running out of people to kayak with...

Submitted by Margot Neumeier

For more great stories: See the Archive!

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