Extra BaggageToday was the day. Finally my new kayak and I were ready for a real adventure. I was tired of being sensible. I had taken the classes, did maiden voyages on quiet rivers, paddled along the shoreline...but today was to be different.
Today I would travel away from shore, cross the harbor and paddle out to the lighthouse. I checked my equipment, put the boat onto the kayak cart and walked, kayak in tow, from a friend's apartment down to the harbor. A cheerful store clerk leaned out of her window and asked, "Is this the new version of the little red wagon?" I laughed, waved and continued my journey to the water. The wind and water were quiet, perfect for my voyage from the East to the West End of Provincetown Harbor, and then out to the very tip of Cape Cod.
I was excited, a little nervous, and wished that so many people weren't hanging about on the deck outside of a restaurant just a few feet away from where I would put in. I was self-conscious about my style, or lack thereof, of getting into the boat. But I was soon occupied with getting my PFD on, securing the pump, paddle float, and paddle leash. My whistle was attached to my PFD. My sunglasses were on. The cell phone was secure in it's waterproof pouch. I had fresh water. I had lunch. It was time! Now all I had to do was get in and paddle.
Once in my kayak, I relaxed and took in the scene around me. It was utterly compelling. The memory of my first lesson returned, and I recalled my amazement and joy when a school of harbor porpoises swam by me, surrounding me, as they pursued a school of fish. I wondered what adventured lay ahead, and returned my focus to the present day.
As I pushed off the boat felt stuck, and I thought I had, once again, gotten in too close to the shoreline and was "stuck." By Paddling and pushing very hard, I eventually moved out into deeper water, maneuvering around dories, gliding over their anchored lines. As I moved past the last dory, the kayak stopped abruptly. Attempts to paddle met with resistance. I looked to the back of the boat and, to my horror, realized I had never taken the paddle cart off the kayak! The line from the dory ws hopelesslly stuck under one of the wheels. I glanced at the restaurant deck, filled with customers for cocktail hour. Although some people were watching, no one was laughing, out loud anyway, at my predicament. I prayed they knew nothing about kayaking and thought that this was a clever new technological advance in kayaking. I tried without success to use my paddle to get the line out from underneath the cart wheels. There was nothing to do but laugh.
Fortunatley I was comfortable doing a wet wxit and, deciding there was no other way to right the situation, overturned the kayak. As I came up, I moved to the back of the boat only to find that the kayak was now dislodged from the cart and the boat line. I dove down, came up with the cart and walked back to shore, boat in tow. I chose not to look toward the restaurant deck, leaned the cart against a fence, pumped out the boat and, easily I might add, paddled away from shore.
The rest of the day was glorious. I did paddle out to the tip of the Cape, had lunch, walked the beaches, talked with fellow kayakers, and then slowly paddled back to the East End. Once back on shore a smiling young man approached me and asked about the function of the cart. I explained. He smiled. I wondered if he had been on the deck during my hapless start. As I arrived back at the apartment my partner came out and said, "You look happy, tell me about your day." And there it began The first telling of my first adventure out to the tip of Cape Cod.
Submitted by Shirley Sicurello
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