KAYAKING IN THREE EASY LESSONS
...Well, maybe a few more than three by Winnie Chrzanowski (Photos by Al Chrzanowski)
Saturday dawned sunny and gorgeous—a terrific day to head out for some kayaking lessons and the practical needed to put those lessons to good use. Saginaw Bay, a mere two and a half-hour drive for us, glistened in the sunlight as we pulled into the Great Lakes Shores Marina. Matt Dalton, our intrepid instructor, had picked a great weekend for this outing.
Once we set up camp and got our gear in order, we headed out for a nice leisurely paddle from our campsite to the Pine River. Since the duck hunters were out in the bay also, we had to be careful and dodge a few bullets every now and then. The river entrance is rather difficult to find, but we kept our eyes peeled and found it. Paddling it was fine, but finding the “rest stop” at the boat launch was even more welcome than finding the entrance. The paddle back wasn’t as leisurely as it was starting to get dark and the wind freshened a bit. After about a 7 mile round trip, we devoured the potluck dinner we put together. Sleep came easy.
Sunday woke up sunny but a bit on the windy side. It was windy last year so maybe that’s a standard state of affairs for this area. So, hoping the wind would subside, we headed off to Wheeler’s for a sumptuous breakfast. Norman’s called after that, so a bit of shopping in one of the least expensive gear stores I’ve seen seemed to be in order.
The low turnout for this two-day excursion gave the students who participated a lot more one-on-one with Matt. Although Chad Morris, Al & I are not total beginners, we figured refreshers and more instruction couldn’t hurt. Matt, therefore, refreshed our memories on the basic paddling strokes and safety precautions, hinted that we should learn more about edging into the wind (for another class) and stressed how important it is to know how to do rescues and wet exits. Chad demonstrated a wet exit and paddle float entry while Matt monitored the activity. Al & I watched and vowed we would try that next time Matt gives a class.