Chunky Dunking

 Posted by at 4:37 am  Nick's Blog
Sep 052009

When you are my size, which is called Dwarf Portly by the fashion industry, you don’t go skinny dipping. But yesterday I did go chunky dunking!

My buddy Ron Speidel declared that it was a good day for kayaking, so we headed for Bristol, a small community a few miles from Elkhart Campground, and launched our boats in the St. Joseph River from the Public Access Site at Hermance Park.

I quickly discovered that the Wilderness Tarpon kayak I had just acquired did not fit me nearly as well as the same model boat I paddled last winter in Texas. They changed the seat in the newer models, and the new seat was miserable for me. The seat would not stay upright, and I found myself paddling from a reclining position that was impossible to deal with. When we finally managed to get the seat adjusted and fixed into position, the frame was digging into my spine.

I paddled over to the bank and got out of the boat to try and adjust the seat again, and when I climbed out, I did not notice several submerged logs which were covered in moss and very slippery. As soon as my foot landed on one of the logs, I found myself on my butt in about two feet of river water, with the kayak turned over next to me!

Everybody got a laugh out of that, and while Miss Terry and Brenda wisely stayed out in the middle of the river away from the danger zone, I pulled the boat back over onto its bottom. Ron paddled over to hold my boat stable while I worked on the seat and then tried to climb on board.

Can you believe that I slipped a second time, and capsized the boat again? Miss Terry grabbed her camera to record the incident for posterity (or to have something to show my life insurance company), but by then I was back on my feet, nothing injured except for my dignity.

Ron, to his credit, never gave me any grief. He just sat there with that same look on his face my dad used to get when my weird cousin came to visit.

I finally got back into the boat and we resumed our paddle. Ron and Terry quickly pulled ahead of Brenda and I, and Terry stopped to take a quick photo of us as we brought up the rear.

She also spotted these big turtles sunning on a log in the river and took their picture before they slipped into the water. Do you think maybe they wanted to get out of the way before I fell out again, and landed on one of them?

Paddling upriver against the current was hard work, but floating back down to the park with the current carrying us along was very nice. I told Brenda it was like having cruise control.

Now, after reading this, you may think that kayaks are unstable. They are not. I am unstable! Anyone who knows me will tell you that. Once when I was overseas I was walking point on a patrol on a steep mountain trail, and my captain, knowing how clumsy I am, said “I sure hope he doesn’t stumble on a trip wire (to a mine).” One of my buddies replied “Hell, sir, let’s just be happy if he doesn’t fall off the damn mountain!”

With our paddling done for the day, we returned to Fluid Fun, where I explained my problems with the new boat. They were very accommodating and let me return it for a Native Watercraft Manta Ray, the same model kayak Miss Terry has, except in the Angler edition. I have paddled Terry’s boat a couple of times, and found it comfortable. She has loved it since she got it, and hopefully I’ll stay inside this one!

Thought For The Day – Forget the health food. I need all the preservatives I can get

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Nick Russell

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  5 Responses to “Chunky Dunking”

  1. HaHa,,,That’s funny!! Sorry, but I laughed!!! Glad you have a sense of humor!!! Guess you just wanted to do a little snorkeling, right?

  2. You go guy!!! I so admire you and Terry for your adventurous spirits. I considered kayaking, but know it would never be something I could accomplish – or maybe I should say WANT to accomplish. I need a little more boat than a kayak to feel comfortable:-)

    I’m doing well to handle my bike these days:-)

  3. Great entry in the blog today. Started my day off with a good chuckle. You write so well and it’s wonderful you can laugh with and at yourself. Love you and Terry. Connie B.

  4. We only wish we had been there to see that exhibit! Can’t imagine how Terry, Ron and Brenda managed to stay upright while watching you thrash about.

    Thanks for the morning belly laugh — our bellies, not yours!

  5. Oh, Nick, I laughed too. Thanks, I thought I was the worst one on a kayak until this.
    I was very embarrassed to have to ask for a tow back to the base on my first trip out against the current. You have given me the courage to try again.

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