Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Down the Lazy River

Last week I had the pleasure of accompanying Jerry on a business trip to Amelia Island, Florida.  The area is gorgeous and April was the perfect time of year to see it.  With the Atlantic Ocean right outside our window, the sunrises would be spectacular.

There was an opportunity to join a kayaking excursion one afternoon, but since we have our own kayaks it seemed silly to pay for the privilege. Jer hoisted ours atop the car and we drove south. The wind gusted into the kayaks and it sounded like we were riding inside the cab of a semi. Ambiance! Steering seemed difficult and we stopped often for readjustments but weathered the adventure without incident.

The day prior to our privately scheduled "fun on the water," I started to get antsy.  I remembered this is alligator country.  Visions of alligator death rolls filled the movie screen in my mind.

The spouses went on a cruise along the coast that morning and I learned all kinds of fun facts which upped the fear factor exponentially.  "There is a convergence of three rivers here," said the captain, "and one of those is the Okefenokee Swamp.  Every time there's a storm," he said, "snakes get washed in.  There are more rattlesnakes on Tiger Island than anywhere else in the U.S."  It doesn't even matter if he was telling the truth.  That there might be a possibility is enough for me.  Now, my mind movie features alligators AND snakes.  Nice. 

The final nail in the coffin was when I read a local newspaper headline entitled, "Counting Great White Sharks off the Coast of Amelia Island." Kayaking here is clearly a dumb idea. I'm amazed I consented to it! Although I'm questioning my intelligence, peer pressure being what it is, I'm keeping quiet about my misgivings. And, if you believe that, you don't know me. At all.  No, I'm telling everyone, even strangers we pass, what a dumb idea kayaking here is. Jer had to drag me kicking and screaming out to the parking lot.  I was not a happy camper and he knew it.

When we arrived at the boat ramp into the ocean, there were white caps on gigantic waves crashing onto the shore. No way am I entering the ocean - not here with the sharks lurking nearby - especially when I know the rattlesnake holiday destination is just a rock-skip away.

Jerry, undeterred by my protests, could also see that conditions were not right for ocean kayaking.  He was disappointed.  After all, he had struggled  with these kayaks many hours and, dang it, intended to use them.  We got back in the car.  I heaved a sigh of relief because I thought I was home free, but then we drove over what appeared to be a creek. He pulled into a bait shop parking lot.  "We'll put in here," he said.  

Honestly, there were little white caps on this river too and the current seemed fast, but my protests fell on deaf ears and in we went.  I requested -- no demanded -- that we paddle upstream because I wasn't sure I'd have the strength to fight the current on the way back.  Jerry agreed. 

My husband, who weighs more than I do, was sailing smoothly ahead while I was way behind, paddling like a maniac, getting nowhere.  As I inched forward, the wind turned me sideways.  Try as I might to avoid hitting the gigantic sailboats that were lining the waterway, my kayak was now perpendicular to the current. Never have I capsized while paddling in my own kayak and I was determined that today wasn't gonna be that day either.  

Occasionally, Jerry would yell, "We can turn back whenever you want to."  I wanted to turn back before I got in, but I kept struggling because that's what wives do.  Then he shouted back, "I just want to get to that opening ahead."  That was when I had the horrifying realization that the "opening ahead" was the ocean and directly in front of us was Tiger Island!  

The wind became my best friend about now because it began blowing with gusto and even Jerry started having problems paddling.  It was a losing battle; we turned back.  Jerry made up the distance between us in a heartbeat. "Don't paddle," he hollered.  "The current is so strong I'm afraid we'll miss the boat launch and I don't know how we'll get back if we do."  He has a knack for knowing exactly what words to say to reassure me.

We struggled into the boat launch but the tide had gone out.  I didn't even know that was possible in creeks, but obviously it is.  The water was at least a foot lower than when we got in. What that meant to me was I had to drag the kayak up a slick incline and I'd have to get out of the boat to do it.  When I did, I sank up to my knees in muck.  Smelly muck.  Think "sewage" smelly.  The kayaks were covered in muck too and when we hoisted them onto the car top, the stuff flew everywhere. It was even in our hair. How attractive.

A half hour later, just as we were turning into the hotel parking lot, my sweet husband announced, "The bus we need to catch for our supper destination is leaving in fifteen minutes.  I don't think there's time to shower."

That just goes to show you how wrong a man can be.  Given a choice between going to a fancy dinner smelling like sewage and taking a shower in under fifteen minutes, most women can probably rise to the occasion.  

I did.


1 comment:

R phone said...

You're a better woman than I, Gunga Din!