Saturday, July 17, 2010

Kayaking with My Boy

One of the highlights of our vacation, for me, was going kayaking in Bodega Harbor with my oldest son. After breakfast we prepared the kayaks and walked over the mound to the small boat launch perched on the southern side of the harbor waters. To the left of us was the harbor mouth, which opened into the shallow bay and the huge Pacific Ocean.

We hopped off the boat pier, climbed over the slimy rocks, and across the small sandy beach. With one more look out at the blue-filled morning, we pushed off and headed up into the harbor. Following the shallow shoreline we found ourselves gliding over a deep kelp forest. Looking into its depths, I was humbled...and a little frightened. Just a few feet below, the clear cold water went dark, hiding the rest of the depths.

We moved from the shoreline out a little closer to the boat markers and found ourselves above the open grey-green waters. To our left, in the center of the channel, a family of seals popped above water and paced with us. A few looked over, to see what we were about before all of them dipped under. A few markers ahead they popped back up in our path. They kept about the same distance either to our left or in front, though once or twice a dark shadow glided below our kayaks, making us wonder where they were hanging when below surface.

Parkour Boy was having a blast and being fit, I found myself - a pretty good kayaker - working to keep pace with him.

About thirty minutes in we paused to take a sip and decide which way we wanted to go from there, when I looked down and weaving through the kelp was a small bat ray. It continued underneath me and then wound back around, underneath Parkour before going back into the depths of the kelp forest. My only regret was not getting the camera out in time to take a photo of it. (I included a stock image for those of you who've never seen a bat ray before.)

On our way back, we got quite a workout as the tide was still coming in. At a couple points we were paddling and not going anywhere. It was fun, going nowhere, and laughing with my son though. He's so strong and resilient with such an adventurous spirit.

I was pooped by the time we made it back to the bay side of the beaches, where the rest of the family was waiting and hanging out. I fell onto the beach blanket with my jelly arms and legs while my son went off with his sister to check out a rumored coastal cave up around the bend.

What a moment I hope Parkour Boy will cherish into adulthood. I know I will.

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