Saturday, October 11, 2008

Mother Nature always knows best

This island is our nemesis. We lay in bed early this morning saying this to each other. It must be. What is the explanation for why gale force winds of at least 30 knots came up late yesterday afternoon, and are fore casted to continue at least until tonite. We continued to prepare anyway, hoping it would die down. We had been planning this trip for over 2 months, maybe this is only a clearing wind...

But a phone call at 5 a.m. confirmed it. All trips have been cancelled. And so we got back into bed and lay there staring up at the ceiling and trying not to feel too frustrated or disappointed. We started remembering the other episodes we'd had with this particular island.

First there was the time my husband had an assignment to write a story about paddling around the island. I was invited to come along and i gladly accepted thinking to myself, this should be doable, no problem, the island is only a mile across, so the paddle around it should be simple. Instead it turned out to be in my top 3 worst ever experiences, EVER. It began with the boat ride. The ride over took over 3 hours of rough open sea. When we arrived I was feeling a little green and wobbly and couldn't wait to get on land. But that was for the other people, the people that came for the day, for the hiking. We were here to paddle. Oh yeah. My husband said we are getting straight into our kayaks from the boat. From one boat to another. I was to go first. I knew I was in trouble the moment I was pushed off from the Island Packers boat. The current was so strong I immediately got whisked (is that the right word?) a mile out to sea. Well, not really, but I was out there. Now I have a little experience, not a complete novice, I have done this before, but I knew right off, I was in over my head. I made it back to the boat and just in time because the others were in their boats and they said "Ready?! let's go!"

We were a group of 4. It was my husband, a guide who had paddled this island before, his friend and me. I need to describe the other's because it's part of the reason this day was so horrid. The experienced guide was a kind man of around 70 years old, he was amazingly strong and fit. He had a gentle voice and I liked him right away. His friend was a very cute girl about 30. She was also a very experienced paddler. But I sensed some animosity. She wouldn't talk to me or even acknowledge me. Instead sticking between the 2 men. They were paddling and talking and laughing, just like this, la la la, a walk in the park. But not me. It was hard. I was pushing just to keep up. This was different, open ocean, 60 miles from the mainland, currents, sharks, I admit it, I was sketched. Suddenly the girl makes a u-turn and paddles back to me. She says to me Are you sure you've done this before? I say Yes. I have. And then she gives me a lesson in paddling. I think, oh, ok, this is just being nice. She wants to help me. So I say thank you. And she says Keep up.And shoots me this look. And then she paddles away, skitter scatter skimming over the water like a little sea fairy.

Then my husband falls back. Hey honey! how are you doing? Ok? isn't this great?! I don't want to be the spoil sport so I say Oh Yes! Great! Then he says, Ok, good, because this could get a little difficult. We are apparently at the "Easy" part right now. He says see the point up ahead? well, when we round that we will be heading right into the wind and it is also the open side, like next stop is Japan. So I decide I'd better be a little more honest. I tell him I might be in a little over my head. This is kinda hard. And then I tell him about the girl. He just shrugs. He said Don't worry about her. He said he sensed a bit of an attitude. He told me I could do this and he would always be right here to help if I needed. So I said Of course! I Can do this!

And then we rounded the point. Oh my God. It was unbelievable. The water was changed, white caps and chop, huge unbreaking waves that form these deep troughs. The island was all sheer cliffs and rock outcroppings. We were commited now. I don't know if it was fear or adrenaline or upsetness that kept me going. It's hard to describe. No one else was having a problem. My husband was all over the place, he'd paddle close to the island to check out caves or get photos, the girl his constant companion. The guide stuck with me mostly offering over and over to tow me. I am so stubborn I wouldn't accept. I am going to do this if it kills me I thought. It's a bad trait I have. So stubborn.

Half the time I don't know if it was the wind and sea spray or tears on my face.

One time I saw my husband and the sea fairy locked in a kayak to kayak embrace the way zebras do when they are each facing the other way, being the eyes for each other. Only they were facing each other. She was asking my husband to help her with her removing her pullover. She was laughing. It was all so gay! I was thinking of other ways to use my paddle.

3 grueling hours later we made it back to where we started. I was shaking as I groped for the ladder dangling off the side of the dark cliff. I could barely pull myself up and my legs wouldn't work at all. My butt was asleep. But I was out of the boat and I honestly was never so happy to step on dry land in all my life. When I reached the top of the stairs and stood, dripping wet and shivering, a group of people said to me "were you one of the paddlers going around the island?" I said uh-huh. They said We Can't believe you did that! We watched you go all the way around. uh-huh. I couldn't believe it either.

That was one episode, the other is much shorter. One time husband went out to same island for photos. Planned for 3 days again. Only weather turned. 3 days turned into 10. He was all alone on the island. Just him and 2 others. 2 women rangers. Tucked into a teeny tiny ranger shack. For 10 days. Sounds like the making of a movie eh?

So...he "What would you like to do now?" me " I don't know, it's windy everywhere" We knew from watching the weather channel that there was a cold front coming from the north and cold wind was blowing through the mountains, deserts and of course the ocean. So as we lay there thinking of a plan A or B or even C, we knew the wind that was howling outside our house was going to be anywhere we would go...

and so we decided we would stay right here. in bed.

and so we are. a different adventure indeed.


  1. Hahahaha, Lori, I love it! You are such a wonderful entertainer! Can`t stop laughing! Easy for me, chuckle, not having been in such situations, but hilarious to watch you! Your vivid description made me sit right behind you, watching that sea fairy and grabbing for the paddle...Hahaha. A lovely story! And yes, good to have stayed in bed. We want to keep you, Lori!

  2. OMG what a story. That island is not your friend, but the weather is.

    I always say the weather explains everything. This time it's saying, kick back and enjoy some rest.

    So glad you're not out in the furious water!! Enjoy!

  3. yes angela, it is best to just laugh, i already cried on the paddle and that was no fun!!
    xx lori

    reya, yeah, i felt it, we were definitley being told not to go, the wind literally pushed us back in the house!
    xx lori

  4. Oh, dear Lori,you did not get me wrong, did you? I did nor laugh at your gruesome adventure which sounds like living hell, but at the way you TOLD it! I felt like sitting in a real scary movie where I feared with the heroine and hated the waves and the other stupid girl and was SOO relieved when she survived! You know, like taking a turn in a roller coaster (my worst was the one in Copenhagen`s Tivoli)and getting out with wobbly knees afterwards - and then laughing and pretending it had been fun.
    You get me right, don`t you? I ADMIRED your ability to draw us into your boat and yes, I think the best way to deal with fears and dangers is to laugh them down.
    Glad you stayed home this time, though!!

  5. dear angela, yes yes yes i got you right! i loved your comment and i'm so glad it made you laugh, and believe it or not i am grateful for the experiance.
    xxx lori

  6. How scary being in that water and well done for making it to the end, that was very brave. Staying in bed sounds lovely and cosy though!

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xoxo lori