musings of a budding social entrepeneur

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Karzy Kayak Adventure Part2

The next morning at around 6 am i woke up with my head feeling like a cement truck had driven over it and then backed up and finished the job. Mr Daniels was not too kind to this cowboy last night. i painfully rolled over onto my side and into a huge puddle of rainwater that had collected beside me. My tent rain cover had been yanked off over night since it was tied onto the tarp and the overnight downpour had leaked into my tent... geez, what a great start to my mother's day.

I chugged a half liter from my waterbottle, hit my mental snooze bar, scooted away from the puddle and passed out for another 2 hours. i woke to the sound of rain and wished it the hell away. it turned a deaf ear to my request and kept on coming down. got into some drier clothes and stepped out into the rain. scanned the horizon hoping for a glimpse of a blue break in the clouds. no such luck. howie and amit were up. somehow amit dodged the cement truck that howie and i hadn't. bastard.

i had a bad feeling about this day. we had about 4 hours to get back starting right then. we decided the best course of action was to get the fort back up. we had to reinforce it against the wind and make some adjustments to the profile to get it to stay up. looking around the camp it looked like the 3 of us had passed out leaving everything out. the cooler was open and exposed to the rain, cigarettes were soaked. plates and bags lay about in the sand. we found the stove and pan, gave it a quick rinse in the bay to get the steak crud off, then heated some water for the first course of breakfast. oatmeal. 2nd course was a hodge-podge of what was left in the cooler... cajun salami, cheese and a few sausages. after having our fill, we sat around in peace, trying to shake our hangovers while at the same time mentally preparing ourselves for the pack job.

feelin a little antsy to get on with things, i hurried to pack my shit together. managed to get my shit all squared and into the canoe by 9:45. then sat down and told the guys we had to get a move on. i had a feeling that the way back would be a lot longer than the way here. howie and amit packed up pretty quick and we were back in the water by 10:15.

by 10:45 we were halfway across the bay. the first half hour wasn't too bad, a little wavy and wet, but we were in good spirits. we would probably make it back by noon if we kept it going at that rate. the wind kicked it up a notch or two as we continued east trying to make it across the bay to shallower and calmer water. the current beneath us took hold of our rudder as we slowly zigzag-turned our way further north. slowly and surely, with every passing minute we began to lose focus. we took breaks every so often as the wind pushed us back. the wind kicked up some more and soon enough we were facing strong winds going straight against us, sending wave after wave our way. the cold ocean water, the wind, the rain, and the exhaustion began to take over us as we finally made it to the other side. we were forced to shore up for a break and to empty our kayaks of water weight. We had gotten all the way across the bay and it was about 11:15. There was little chance that we would get back to the rental place by noon. It had taken us an hour to get to where we were and we were only 1/3 of the way.

Howie had it the worst I think. He was in his kayak on his own. at least when amit or i took a break, the other could keep going to keep us from losing too much ground. if howie took a break, from paddling he had no backup to stay put. i remember watching him from a few hundred feet back and seeing his arms flail around with the paddle... looked like his arms were turning into jello.

I had it pretty bad too though. halfway across the bay, i started getting sea sick from the kayak rocking up and down. i had to fight the urge to hurl every time i stopped rowning and took a break. I don't know how bad amit was, I didn't hear him whine or moan or cuss nearly as much as i did.

after our break, we got back in and did our best to keep going. we looked ahead at a white house about a mile away on the shore and set that as our next goal. we thought the kayak place must be right around on the other side of that house. the wind kicked up ANOTHER couple notches to add to the challenge. after another 45 minutes or pure hussle later we were almost there. the last mile against the storm had taken a lot out of me though. i was soaked to the bone, and the wind was hitting me like needles. my body was shivering, my guts were twisted up in knots, and my head was spinning. we positioned ourselved past the house and noticed that the kayak place wasn't just around the corner, it was yet another 1/2 mile to go. the wind howled around us as the rain kept coming down, now heavier than ever.

That was my breaking point. It was 12:30. We were already past the deadline. There was no point in trying to rush back to get the kayaks back. Now was about survival. We needed to get out of these kayaks, get back onto land, and get some help. I was through and I think the guys agreed. We paddled over to shore and pulled the kayaks up. Getting out of the kayak, i realized I was completely drenched head to toe. All 3 of use were, and we were shivering. there was nowhere nearby to get shelter. All we saw around us was the large white house a few hundred feet away, some signs saying no trespassing, and a short field of icicle plants, leading up to some private property dwellings. we grabbed the tarp off a kayak and wrapped it around the three of us like 3 oysters in a single shell. we stayed huddled there until the shivering stopped. we discussed our options for what to do next.

1) we stop being pussies, get back into the canoes and power through to the end
2) we pitch a tent and get in it and wait the storm out
3) one of us hikes up to find the road then hikes over to the kayak place and gets someone to come pick up the canoes
4) we go to the private properties and find someone to give us a phone to call the kayak place with.

as much as i'd like to saw we chose number 1, we didn't. and in the end i'm glad we didn't. who knows what would have happened had we tried that. i'm pretty sure it would not have ended well though.

We went with 4 and hiked over the icicle plants and a few hundred yards further we found ourselves knocking on the front door of someone's porch. The door opened and we were greeted by an older man wearing purple pants and an orange "the doors" shirt. I started with,

"H-h-h--i. Sorry to bb-b-other you. We-W-ww--we were out kayaking, trying t-t-o make it back to the rental p-p-place. but we didn't make it. Do you mm-m-ind if we borrow your phone to c-c-c-all them?"

Howie called and explained our situation to the kayak guys. They explained that they had been looking for us for a while. Of the handful of overnighters, only one kayak of 10 had actually made it back.. The rest were picked up by boat through the morning. We were the last ones still not accounted for. That's cuz we were hardcore and gave up last :)

The purple pants guy's name was John. He was really nice. He gave us the phone with a phone number to use, some coffee to warm us up, and helped us give directions to the kayak guys on where to come pick us up. He would have invited us in, but we were all drenched and a mess, and he had guests over for mother's day. He said we could wait for the kayak guys at the bird library (the white building we had used as a landmark earlier). The private property we had landed on was some kind of bird sanctuary. John had lived there for the past 18 years doing some kind of research. What a job, he gets paid by the gov't to live in tomales bay and study birds. We headed back to the kayaks and pulled them further up shore, then headed to the library. we couldn't find an entrance, so we climbed in through an open window, making a bit of a mess inside. It felt good to be indoors. Just as we were settling in, the kayak guys arrived. We emptied the kayaks of our gear and got into some dry clothes. Amit drove back with one of the kayak guys and picked up his car. We were all dried up and back at the kayak place by 1:45. We thanked the guys for helping us out and the three of us headed down the road over to the Marshall store for some bbq oysters, clam chowder, and beer. That was probably one of the best meals i've ever had.

The end.


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