on being a big lummox trapped in the confining quarters of a triple kayak

After toiling so hard yesterday on the new raised bed in the backyard, I was determined to do something recreational to take advantage of this week’s remaining window of sunny weather.  I knew grandma would try to shoo me out of the house and tell me to go for a hike, but my body was hurting. I decided it would be more therapeutic to paddle the equivalent of a jumbo jet up and down the Ship Canal, haha!

I’d taken my mom canoeing over to the Arboretum a long time ago. But this was her first kayaking experience. It was my first time in a triple kayak, which I didn’t even know existed until recently. In fact, this morning was the first time I’d actually seen one with my own eyes, let alone paddled in one. While a tandem is a legitimate craft, I don’t know about a triple kayak- it’s a bit of a novelty, it seems like. It’s sort of like a double-decker bus. Or a triple Big Mac. I took the rear, since that’s where the rudder controls were. Getting into the cockpit was a bit of a challenge: Number one, it was a lot tighter fit than I’m used to. And to make matters even worse, the inside edges of the coaming were hard plastic. So having to literally squeeze myself into the boat, my shins got scraped like a putty knife (imagine my flesh as the soft putty). Ironically enough, Adam got the roomiest cockpit, in the middle. My mom embarrassed me by ceremoniously announcing to the deckhand she wasn’t going to be able to fit: This while standing straight-up-and-down in the boat, hahaha! After convincing her that a low center of gravity was in her best interests, she managed to shoehorn herself into the seat with a combination of flailing and quiet grunting. And so we were off!

Unfortunately, I had circulation issues in my feet with this boat (i don’t usually have a problem in the tandems). So about every five minutes I had to pull one of my knees up and try not to tip us over. Did I mention that I actually LIKE kayaking? And yet, kayaking seems to want to get rid of me by making things as difficult as possible. Anyhooie: Pulling the knees up was a challenge in the tight space of my claustrophobia-inducing hole. As of tonight, I already have visible bruises on my shins.

I was determined as a bulldog to get us to the Arboretum, though. And by God, we made it there. It was a lot of fun in spite of having to break every fifteen minutes to massage my legs. Adam and my mom enjoyed themselves a lot. I did all the paddling to spare my mom’s arthritic shoulders: She brought a paddle along in case of an emergency, but we kept it lashed to the side of the boat the entire time. To be honest, paddling that big sucker wasn’t really very hard once we’d get a little momentum. I’ll admit, losing momentum could be demoralizing because getting going again was like trying to jump-start a Model T Ford pulling a haywagon. But I don’t kayak so I can be Zippy P. Perky, I stop and bob around a lot whether I’m with Adam or by myself.

I’ve wanted to get a picture of this little houseboat for awhile. It’s under the University Bridge.

En route to the Arboretum, we made our way along the houseboat neighborhood on Portage Bay. They’re probably my favorite houseboats in Seattle, there’s quite an eclectic combination of dwellings. I used to think Portage Bay was a bit boring to paddle, the University of Washington side tends to be rather bland. But on the other side of the Bay, you have a pretty long stretch of floating houses to travel along. Including some real shacks, like the place below that has been for sale a long time:

Technically-speaking, I’m not sure if this is an actual houseboat. I think it’s a shore bungalow (and let me tell you, that’s a rarity around Microsoft-Land). This place isn’t exactly vacant, the geese have moved in.

I actually like the looks of this bungalow. You wonder how it is doing structurally, being so close to the water and all. But does the sale price include the house and the moorage all the way out to the edge of the water? I’m almost certain it must not. Which means you could spend a million dollars to fix up the little waterfront house (or tear it down and start over) and then have your view blocked by another houseboat.

We paused on our way to the Arboretum to watch University Bridge open for a noticeably dinky sailboat (the bridge just opened for that thing?). I’m in favor of charging sailboats $20 per bridge opening. They can have a scannable pass card affixed to their mast. Or we can make it charming and have a little floating buoy that yachters stuff wads of bills into. Seriously, they can start making up for the pain-in-the-ass they cause for people above…..

We spent at least an hour on land in the Arboretum. Lots of chocolate. Here’s Adam showing Grandma how he can hang upside down from a tree:

Adam asked if he could ride on the bow for the way back to Lake Union:

We had a lot of fun and covered some good ground for a lame pack of wolves. Grandma and Adam picked lily pad flowers from the Arboretum to take home and we put them in a glass bowl, they’re so pretty and they smell really good.

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