Kayaker navigating waves at shoreline

Paddling the world one stroke at a time


Kayaking with My Dog at Newport Back Bay, California

Now that the dog’s needs are handled, what do I need? It is the middle of December and it has been cold lately. Well, cold for Southern California anyway. Let’s check weather.com… Yes, clear skies and 70+ degrees. Ahh, the paradise of California I know and love! Shorts are good and a t-shirt and sweatshirt will do. Get out the water sandals (don’t own a pair of kayaking water shoes yet), a hat, sunscreen, money for the rental, and a peanut butter sandwich. Ready to go…

The other dogs where small, 5 to 15 pounds, with plenty of room on the kayaks for them. My dog is 40+ pounds making it a tight fit for us in a single (rented) kayak, but the treats worked as an incentive to get her in the boat, so off we went. The water was calm, the sun was shinning, and the bay was quiet, buffered by the surrounding hills. We kept up with the group for a while as I paddled as best as I knew how. I have yet to take paddling lessons and the kayak was turning more than it was going straight. We passed too close to a patch of reeds floating in the water, and she considered stepping out, thinking it was land. I grabbed the handle on the lifejacket, told her “No, not land, stay [in the boat]!” then paddled backwards away from the reeds.

The kayak did not afford her a level place to sit. Her front paws were too low making it uncomfortable and she decided to turn around. “Oh, no, here we go?” I am thinking, but with help from another kayaker, she managed to turn around without dropping us in the cold water. I gave her another treat as a reward and resumed paddling. Hmm, not so fast! Now she was facing me and knew I had her favorite treats. Lecture starts… “rah, rah, rah” [can I have another?] She is sitting too close (hopeful for another treat) and I don’t have room to paddle. I ask her to lie down but it is uncomfortable and she is up again. I try paddling over her neck. It works for a bit and she does not seem to mind.

Eventually the group turned around and we did the same. We meandered back to shore alternating between paddling and floating, all the while enjoying the Southern California sunshine.

Post Date: 1/12/2010, Article by: Mary Vassilakis, website...

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