Of all the skills I am trying to develop, kayaks are the one where I have the least experience. I have more time in canoes than kayaks, and I wouldn’t call my canoeing experience extensive either. I have probably been in a kayak 2 or 3 times in my entire life, and I wouldn’t say that I had competent instruction or any clue what I was doing any of those times.
Before I go any further, I suppose it may be good to cover why I want and need kayaking in my skill set. There are a lot of areas that I want to explore that I will not be able to take a larger boat into. It’s too shallow, there are too many conflicting currents and rocks in the way, there are low overhead obstructions, or a combination of those issues. Some of those areas I could take a traditional dinghy into, but not everything. Most dinghies don’t play too well in waves, and they are also noisy and polluting. If I want to get into tight areas with surf or be able to observe nature without scaring it all away, a kayak is a much better option. That and they just look like a hell of a lot of fun! An added bonus is that boat camping is available all along the western shore of Tomales Bay, and that just sounds like a great way to spend a few days, and the easiest way to do that by kayak.
I started digging around for kayak lessons and rentals in a reasonable travel distance, and happily there are a ton of options. I ended up going with Blue Waters Kayaking who are based out of Point Reyes Station. I liked the selection of classes they offer and the fact that they are in Tomales Bay, rather than San Francisco Bay or the Petaluma River. It just sounded like a much more beautiful place to learn and is also the waters that I am most excited to explore by kayak until I get good enough to deal with breaking waves. Since both Treja and I tend to work weekends, we also needed a place that was open on the days we have available, which are generally Monday and Tuesday. The best way we could make that happen was by setting up a private class, which turned out to be pretty reasonable for just the two of us, and more than reasonable once we added some friends that could also make that work on a weekday. Even better, it allowed us to condense the first two classes into one private class. We may come up a bit short on time available to get it all done, but it’s worth a shot, and worst-case scenario, we just set up another private class. With our group, even if we do have to end up doing two private classes, it doesn’t cost much more than paying for the normal classes, and if we can manage to do it in one day, it saves us a bit of money as compared to the normal class price. It pays to have friends who can sneak off for a day on a Tuesday.
Here is their class list. https://www.bluewaterskayaking.com/classes/
The plan, as it stands right now, is to do the first two classes in one day. After that, once class in a day, starting with the roll clinic, then go onto Skills 3 and Skills 4. After that, we’ll go for more private instruction, focusing on any weak points in our skills, or pushing skills further so we’re more comfortable getting into surf and rocky areas.
I’ll be posting about the classes as they happen, and my thoughts in between, so stay tuned!