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{28/04/2012}   Sea kayaking part one – predictions

Later this morning I am going sea kayaking for the first time. It is raining and windy and, I strongly suspect, quite cold. I have a list of clothing to wear in lieu of a wetsuit. I realise I don’t really know what to expect so thought I would write today about what it might be like and tomorrow about what it was like.

For my bottom half, I have very thin silk long johns, nylony tracksuit bottoms (I am not expecting or even hoping to look good!) and waterproof trousers with a pair of sort of trainers without laces. On top I have a thermal top, maybe a t-shirt over it, a hoodie and a waterproof jacket. There is a slim chance I could actually look better in a wetsuit and that really is saying something!

Progressing from fashions, I am prepared for incidents getting into the kayak. I feel that clawing back dignity after everyone has seen my outfit will be well and truly scuppered during this process. I have some uncomfortable flashbacks to a teenage day or two canoeing where similar problems surfaced!

I think we will be on or by the water for two hours. If the sea is choppy, which I think is likely, we will be on the Royal Military Canal (onto which more members of public can view our escapades!). This may be a good thing for a complete novice. We are told to bring a change of clothes as we might get wet. I am actually envisaging full immersion and being cold and wet, albeit in an adventurous, heroic kind of way! I also assume we will have to be able to exit the kayak in the event of overturning. Believe me, I will take every measure to not get wet/overturn. Again, there was an eskimo roll series of incidents in my canoeing experience. Writing this is making me wonder if kayaking really is for me!

When I lived next to someone with a selection of sea kayaks in Seasalter, I decided then that I liked the idea, just never did anything about it. In October, swimming in the sea at Folkestone, hot though that weekend was, the water was still icy cold and I looked on in envy (the kind which makes you contemplate how you can have what they have in a theft kind of way!) as a few people got into their kayaks and floated on the beautiful calm sea. They didn’t get wet and, to my mind, had a better deal than me as I never warmed up while swimming in the sea (but I did enjoy it in the sense that it woke me up and there is always something exciting about being in/on the sea). But it’s thanks to a friend who did all the research and organising that I am going, so I might not be the only one to disgrace myself in some novice way!

I figure if I enjoy it today, in the rain on a canal with possibly inappropriate clothing (might be too hot, too cold, too wet, too restricted), this could be a great new activity for me. Physically, I am expecting a lot of sitting in a kayak for this first lesson and I predict the most cardiovascular exercise I will get will be from getting in and out of the kayak. If I do get to paddle any great distance, I suspect it will shock me how difficult it will be to paddle smoothly without dousing myself and anyone near me in water. All this said, I am very much looking forward to it!

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