Sunday, July 10, 2011

Don't Sit on the Screwdriver!

(or Part Two of The Kayak Report)

On the morning's first crossing to the island, my wool underwear soaked up enough sweat to make me think I would disappear into my own puddle of electrolytes - which sounds kind of sparkly and flamboyant, but really would have just smelled bad.

Long sleeve wool underwear, under a long sleeve wetsuit, under a life vest, with a plastic hat tucked into my collar, rubbing against my skin in the 60F sunshine... well, the predicted rain then would have been welcome. 

When one is that warm, one would think that tipping into the water wouldn't be difficult. Physically, of course, tipping a kayak is not a problem. A sneeze can do it. A good giggle.
Mentally, however, it is actually pretty difficult to convince yourself to willfully go from a warm, comfortable sitting position in the sun to a dark 55F wet place inhabited by stinging orange globs of pulsating jelly.

We moved a bit further from the shore where I had to dip a paddle into the water to prove to myself the water really wasn't black.

That didn't make things easier.

Counting down out loud does. A little. Weird how that works. Next time I can't get my butt up off the couch to do housework I am going to count down out loud.

I can now assist in recovery should my kayak buddy tip over. I can now survive cold, black water (kind of fearlessly, actually) and climb back into my own kayak with buddy-help. I can now beat myself black & blue and spin a kayak countless times around its central axis while trying to get back into my own kayak unassisted.

The rain they predicted did show up. Right after we had cooled down on shore, eaten our lunch (causing our blood to rush from our extremities into our stomachs) and changed into dry shirts.

It amounted to 5 minutes of fat drops. Our sunscreen effectively off, the sun reappeared.

More tipping and rescuing.

This time we had to try it with the screwdriver on.

At least that's what I heard the instructor say. And when you get back into the kayak, be careful not to sit on the screwdriver.

I guess, even after 20 years, I hear things incorrectly:

Spruttrekk versus skrutrekk(er).

This is one:

This is the other:
One keeps the water out of your kayak so you don't sink.  (It can also keep you prisoner in an over-turned kayak, if you aren't careful.)

The other doesn't help much when you're out in a kayak, and you might as well sit on it.

I am no cameraman. I thought I took a dozen pictures yesterday, but once home I found four photos and an 18-minute film I didn't know I took. So here are few minutes of my huffing and puffing, from the perspective of a camera hanging around my neck.

(And if you look closely at the blue and black "spruttrekk" towards the end of the film clip at 2:07 or so, you will see that they actually make very cute mini-hoop skirts!)

By the end of the day several people had commented on how "sporty" I was.

The thing is, in Norwegian, "sporty" doesn't mean anything like athletic. In fact, quite the opposite. It means you throw yourself - with gusto - into physical things you know you aren't going to do well. 

I take my compliments where I can get them.

And my strengths as well.

Okay. Time to get to work:




Still here.


  1. The epic continues. I would take "sporty" too. Sounds kinda cool!

  2. Thanks for coming back, Jill!

  3. It's because the sound of the language that I had these associations with a Bergman-scene (where do I get my associations???)Fanny and Alexander, A family in 1900 returns from a summer outing with children and servants, everybody is happy and gay. Love it. So it was nice to feel this atmosphere here too. Your camera work sucks compared with Bergman. However, thanks for sharing Ren.

  4. Ha! No one was setting their flatulence on fire, Menno.