Thursday, October 6, 2011

Paddle to Yoga on both sides of the Ottawa River. Awesome!

Maelstrom Vital 166
As promised, fall in the National Capital Region of Canada and other nearby regions I've visited has been perfect for Paddle to Yoga in the outdoors.

I'm discovering new places for Paddle to Yoga, and rediscovering places I used to think were just slabs of concrete, hunks of granite rock, or mere picnic shelters.
Waterfront gazebo on the Ottawa River
Paddle to Yoga has reopened my eyes and given them a new lens. It beats just paddling around. It transforms some places that had become a redundant place to paddle, into a place with a renewed and useful purpose. 
I'm a fan of standing poses. They are challenging. If you can stand on one leg, just think of what you can do on two!
The Ontario side and the Quebec side of the Ottawa River have some nice spots for Paddle to Yoga. I'm on the lookout for good Paddle to Yoga spots everywhere I go.
But on the trip back yesterday, the big 20-25 km winds and following whitecapped waves sent my speedy Maelstrom Vital 166 sea kayak onto a big shallow patch of rocks sitting under just one inch of water. These rock patches are impossible to see in the middle of big water with lots of windy chop and whitecaps. Especially when you are moving at speed with the waves. But you feel it! I wanted to surf, not STOP!

The boat suddenly comes to a grinding halt. It's one of those "Oh CRAP!" kayaking moments. I used another four-letter-word but we'll go with "Oh CRAP!" here.

Me: "I'm stuck!"

No one can really come and help you either. You are surrounded by rocks. But they can sit in the deep water and monitor your situation and progress to get yourself out of it.

Paddle Buddy: "Are you free yet?"

Me: "NO!"

Paddle Buddy: "How about now?"

Me: "NOPE!"

Paddle Buddy: "Any better?"

Me: "NOT YET!"

It's time to pop the spray skirt, stick the right leg over the right side of the boat and feel for something solid to stand on, and ditto with the left. Stand up and get the weight out of the boat, lift the cockpit from the inside at the thigh braces, and waddle walk it over the rocks carefully to free water and hope it works.

Me: "I'm FREE!"

It's a good feeling. You never know how it's going to go when you're stuck on a rock or in a patch of rocks, especally out in the middle of a large stretch of lake in big wind and whitecapped waves.

This elated moment doesn't last long. Next up you wonder how much damage you've got under you, especially when you're paddling a fibreglass boat! 

It's a bit hard to wander back into the plain hallways and walls of the indoor yoga studios as the best of fall and Paddle to Yoga around here is almost over.

I've been enjoying doing yoga while looking at lake, river, and ocean, clear blue skies, or fast moving clouds. Even stars and all phases of the moon. And listening to the sounds of the outdoors: singing birds, trees waving in the wind, bickering baby chipmunks, and water lapping or pounding on shorelines. Sometimes the outdoors also includes the sound of motor boats and jet skis, a lawn mower or a chain saw! The sounds of human over-development are just about everywhere you go.

People at the yoga studios ask, "Where have you been all summer!? We haven't seen you."

Me: "I've been Paddling to Yoga and doing yoga in the outdoors. It's awesome! It's more powerful."
And I'll need a little extra yoga this week.

I just looked at the bottom of my boat.

The rocks removed a big chuck of gelcoat and some fibreglass around the skeg box . . . again! But no leaks.

The first time this happened to my Maelstrom Vital 166, it felt like the end of the world.

But now, I just shake my head and it's just another one of those "Oh CRAP!" kayaking moments. "I know how much this is gonna cost!"

I almost made it through an entire paddling season without wrecking my boat! Will I ever . . .?

Happy paddling to yoga wherever you find it.
Strike a pose.
When the snow flies, I'll be cross-country skiing to yoga. 
The BaffinPaddler
Paddle to Yoga in the 1000 Islands Gananoque

1 comment:

  1. Ouch! The incident with the rocks made me wince in sympathy. Maybe I'll just give up my dream of a fiberglass boat and stick with HDPE plastic. Nice pictures though :)

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