Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Wet Lesson

I probably shouldn't tell you this. In fact, I held off all yesterday writing about it because some people were scared, and some were angered by this ordeal. For that reason I am leaving names out. But quite frankly, I think it's a great story, and I was happy it happened how it did. Everyone is fine, so it really couldn't be that bad, right?

Life shows us many common sense guidelines: Don't put your wet finger in a light socket. Look both ways before you cross the road. Wear your hat and coat on a cold day. Don't take a small boat onto a large body of water when the wind is gusting whitecaps.

I don't learn well from guidelines. I learn best from mistakes. I make many mistakes in order to keep learning. Yesterday's mistake taught me many things I believe I was meant to learn.

A friend and I were going to go kayaking Sunday, but remember how it rained? We didn't go. So our plan was for Monday. Monday the sun was shining, and the temp was in the 50's. It was a glorious day... just a little windy.

"Just a little windy," I told my friend. I really wanted to paddle out of the arms of the Harbor on to the big lake toward Devil's Washtub. "It will be hard paddling there, but the wind will push us back home." I'm such a genius.

On our paddle to the Gap, where, mind you, we have to shimmy and push off the rocks we skid across, we saw two fishermen. We told these fishermen what we were planning, and one said, "You're not going on the big lake." "Yes we are," I corrected. "I've been on bigger waves on Isle Royale." The fishermen rolled their eyes, and probably worried about us as we shimmied our way through the gap.

So there we were. In the hands of Lake Superior when the wind must have been at least 20 mph from the West. The strength and frequency of the waves surprised me. I started to power ahead toward our destination, realizing that puny strokes would be useless in these waves. When I saw my friend was just getting out of the gap, I decided to wait for a moment. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.

I was instantly pushed into the giant rocks we call the shoreline. My kayak was parallel to the shore. I knew the only way I could make it out of that position would be to re-angle my boat perpendicular to the shore. I was no match for her majesty. The waves were coming too quickly.

Next thing I knew, my boat was flipped like the Jack of Spades, and in the water went Amanda. Luckily, (I thought it was lucky) I was right on the shore, so I just stood up, grabbed my paddle and boat, and dragged it up the rock. Wet? Yes. Wounded emotionally or physically? No.

I honestly thought that was a great experience for me (nobody else I mentioned on the journey would agree, but they were not the one in the water, now were they?) I learned a lot about wave frequency and height. I've been in some five foot rollers before, but those are not as dangerous as the continuous, wind-enforced ones. The latter are not to be messed with. Lesson learned.


  1. Geez Sunshine, be careful out there! I've told you before that you need to respect Mother Superior! We need you here blogging, not out there bobbing.

  2. Glad that you made it out unscathed. Good lessons to learn while close to shore.