First Timer’s experience Sea Kayaking in the Bay of Fundy
Being Nova Scotian,
there are a lot of things people think I should like, do or know. Such as eating lobster and seafood in general, enjoying maple syrup and having a lot of experience in the water. I don’t like any seafood, I think maple syrup is good in itty bitty doses (as in one drop of it on my pancake) and despite being a Sea Cadet and having a father in the Navy, I have done little to no sailing or boating of any kind. It would appear I’m not a very good Nova Scotian but I’m willing to change that and currently in the process of trying!
When the trip to Grand Manan was being planned, kayaking at Adventure High was the first thing on the list of activities. I put on a brave face and said hell ya, lets do it! Behind that brave face was a “Dear god, what did I just sign up for?” I’m not the most active person, some might even call me a little lazy. I’ve seen the videos of kayakers and they’re extreme! I was assured that we would have a guide and I’d be a-okay, it’d just take a little getting used to.
This did not calm my nerves
The night before we’re supposed to go, I practically prayed for rain. It’s not that I didn’t want to do it, I did. My main fear was “Am I going to look really silly and fail in front of people.” A little self absorbed maybe, but none the less I went to sleep that night with my fingers crossed for massive thundershowers. To my surprise, we wake up and yes! It was misting and muggy. Trying to hide my excitement I cover up with an “Oh, I hope we can still go! I’m really looking forward to this.” We were expecting a call at 8am to see if kayaking is a hit or miss. Awaiting in anticipation the phone rings and kayaking is unfortunately on the go…
And so it begins
We head out after a brief breakfast, and arrive 10 minutes early. That’s fine, just more time for me to bite my nails and pace around nervously. A white mini van pulled out of the morning fog towing a kayak behind and out came our Guide, Elliot. He was sporting large white rain boots and a safari hat. We went inside the office and I signed my life away on a waiver and got fitted for a life jacket, one that I would cling to dearly. After sorting out which kayaks we were using, we drove down to the bay and jumped right into it. Elliot is exactly the type of person you want for a guide if this is your first time. He took time to explain the form and how to paddle. He was patient and didn’t make me feel silly for asking what were probably silly questions. It was time to get goin’. We brought our kayaks to the shore, sat down and made sure our rudders were working properly. Apparently, people kayak without rudders? I guess I’ve been spoiled for my first time. Obviously we didn’t take our iPhones with us for fear of water damage, but Corbin had a waterproof camera that did the job. Before starting, we grabbed some last minute pictures of us preparing. If not for the sunglasses, you could most likely see the fear in my eyes.
Ready, set, go!
He pushed me off and I started floating to the left away from the others. At this point, I’ve already made up my mind that kayaking is not for me. Where is the control!? Oh right, I have this big paddle in my hand, that might be helpful. It takes me awhile to get used to the paddle manoeuvres. I lack upper body strength so that makes it challenging. We paddled together in a line around Swallowtail and around the weirs, all around the Bay of Fundy. It was so calm and beautiful. Elliot was giving us great information about the island life and history, unfortunately I was way too wrapped up with trying not to tip or get left behind to remember most of it…The ferry came by and knocked some wicked waves our way. This looked a lot cooler than it actually was. Paddling through the waves and the breeze was exhausting, but the good thing about Kayaking is that you push yourself for a few minutes, and then you relax and coast along for a few.
I’ve got the scars to prove it
We kayaked approximately 4 miles, about 2 hours. By the end of it, my thumbs were blistered and bloody, but I look at them more like battle scars. When we returned to shore and got out of our kayaks I was out of breath, shakey and very stiff. It took me a few minutes to collect myself and realize what I just completed. I look back on the pictures and kinda drop my jaw and laugh stupidly to myself. I know Kayaking may seem like a minor achievement to some people but for me to overcome the initial fear, and then to actually push through when it got rough, that makes me feel pretty darn good. When all is said and done, I did have an awesome time! I definitely felt and continue to feel the burn and I cannot wait to get some more experience under my belt.
Adventure High Kayaking gets a high five from moi!