August 15th, 2013
Breakfast was grab and go. I didn’t even get my coffee in bed.
We got to Northern Waters around 10 am as planned. The interrogation I have endured from our group about this kayak trip has been relentless. It’s like they don’t trust me or something. Over and over:
“Are you sure they will wait for us?”
“It’s a PRIVATE tour? Just our families?”
“Can we have our own kayaks?” **
Yes. Yes. YESSSS! For CRYING OUT LOUD!
Anyway. We got there and were immediately confronted with a very strange family of four, rifling through the packs, spray skirts, life jackets, etc. They must be with another tour?
I suppose I could have made a big fuss. To say that I was assured over and over and OVER that we would be a group of eight with a single guide is an understatement. I did not make a big fuss because I decided it would be embarrassing and petty. Honestly. What would be the big deal?
Ha! Famous last words. They were so very strange and not at all friendly or enjoyable. However, the flip side of that is that we had people to make fun of for the rest of the trip. Lose/Win.
Who says I’m not a glass half-full kind of person?
All in all, kayaking was a lot of fun. Our lead guide was the “human fun police,” but we still managed in spite of him. The first half of the day we kayaked like his little soldiers, following his constant stream of directives, on the way to our lunch spot at Mosquito Beach.
We were all figuring out how to steer, trying, in vain, to make friends with the weird family, and learning all that our fearless leader had to teach. Vast quantities of knowledge, had he.
Lunch was nice. We found a super cool rock shelf with a drop off. The water color was almost Caribbean blue. Gorgeous. Morgan, Charlie and Dave(!) all took the plunge.
After lunch we switched up partners and headed back. I was now steering Morgan. It was awesome. Total control. I relished this time, knowing I may never exert as much influence over her ever again. I steered her AWAY from our leader. We paddled to the cliffs! She was kicking up a great fuss, trying to paddle backwards. But I — I! — had the steering peddles (and a lot more resolve). Simply awesome.
We were able to do this because Dan — the other guide — was actually fun. Jen, Mo, Dave and Char (not to mention aforementioned weirdo dad from the other group, dubbed “photo John” because I am pretty sure he took over 1000 pictures. –We were CONSTANTLY waiting for him. I mean seriously, yelling at him and still waiting. Even Dan said ‘JOHN put the camera AWAY and PADDLE’). Anyway — and mostly because of Photo John’s constant dawdling — we separated from the main group and kayaked with Dan — Photo John, because he was busy capturing eternity with his lens. And Dave, Jen, Mo and Char because we just wanted to have some fun and get away from the constant orders to “Stay left! Stay left!” from the leader.
We went thru the “crack”, under cliffs and waterfalls, etc. It was great. I have no idea why our leader would not have insisted we ALL take part. Isn’t that what you are supposed to do? It was not overly wavy or tempestuous water.
But no, while we were enjoying kayaking for the sake of kayaking, our leader was reprimanding anyone who went “too fast” or “too slow” or “too far right” or “too far left” and blah blah blah blah. I had thought Dan’s detour was sanctioned, but as we neared the end of the day, Dan told us to tell the leader that one of us “didn’t feel well” and was “too fatigued” to keep up with the main group (Really? Why not just blame it on Photo John?). It is astonishing to me that our leader, who I think might have been the owner of this business, could not see we wanted to do more than paddle in a straight line. It’s not that we were being dangerous or unsafe. The water was not hypothermic. We had all passed the safety test. We had been told we would be able to paddle through the crack and go under the falls. But he simply didn’t take us there. Anyway. Whatever. Hopefully, Dan still has a job.
Sadly and inexplicably, Wes, Jan, Lydia and Grace stayed with the main group. Well, maybe not inexplicably– Wes had gotten sea sick and puked while the leader extolled his diatribe, “Look at the horizon Wes! Look at the horizon!” Wes was totally over it and just wanted to get the hell back to the car. Perhaps that explains the two different groups. I don’t know. Maybe I just like to create drama where there is none.
When we got back, we emptied the kayaks and hopped in the car. I’m not sure what made me ask, since Dave said he was sure we got everything, but whatever. I’m supermom. Explanations for greatness are not necessary. “Did you get my camera?”
“No. I thought you did.”
We turned around. Dave was all agitated with me because he was 100% sure he emptied all the cargo holds. It wasn’t in there. I was equally sure it was not left on the shore. It was in a blue dry bag that I watched Dave personally stow in a hatch as we left our lunch spot. Dave said he did NOT stow it after lunch.
Unfazed, because that is 100% normal for Dave, I said “It’s either in the hatch or Koos have it.” I didn’t want to take a chance and made him continue driving back.
When we got there, I jogged back down to the beach and Dan helped me look in the hatches. I knew it wasn’t in my hatch, because meanie leader-guy had made me swab it out with a sponge while Dan protested that I was a paying customer (I 100% agreed with Dan. there was a lot of tension between the guides by this point.). Next, I checked the front of Dave’s hatch. Empty. Meanwhile Dan popped the back hatch off, and there it was, just as I suggested in the car to Dave’s confident protestations.
Dan accompanied me to the car to deliver the blow to Dave in person, knowing he would not believe me. It was the true highlight of my day. It was also the perfect time to tip Dan without the other guide seeing. Win/WIN!
Koos made fish and shrimp tacos on the fire for dinner. Very tasty.
After dinner, Wes tested my resolve by asking me, “Where are those Marshmallow bars you have been hoarding all to yourself?”
Hoarding? …and here I thought I was appearing so generous the night before.
He was undaunted and unmoved. Was he kidding? I could not actually tell. Did this hurt my feelings? No. Not at all. Did I hope he would second guess my words and assume maybe I really did want to keep them for myself? Well…maybe. No. Nooo. Really Wes. NO! I continue to be conflicted about these bars. I think it goes back to my childhood. But that’s a whole ‘nuther set of psychology sessions.
At any rate, he strolled over to the “hiding spot” and strolled back with two rather large bars.
Ouch! I shall continue to pray about my attitude.
Morgan went to bed first and others quickly followed.
** I am certain that someone will notice we did not have our own kayaks. Just another misdirection from our fearless dictator, who felt we wouldn’t be “up to the challenge” of our own kayaks. It was “better to go double” in case “someone couldn’t handle it.” I think you all know how I feel about this so I shall say no more.