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    Kayaking on the Russian River

            Below is a slideshow that features some pictures I took while kayaking down the Russian River earlier this week.  Not captured in the pictures is the substantial amount of wind I was contending with while going up and down the river.  I started off in Duncan Mills, where I was somewhat protected from the wind, but shortly after pushing off from the sandbar I experienced what I already knew was going to be the case: kayaking head-on into the wind as I made my way down the river and toward the coast.  I didn’t think this would be a problem because I figured the wind would assist in my return trip by essentially blowing the inflatable kayak back up the river against the flowing water, which it did not, although it undoubtedly provided some help as I was battling my way back up river.  Also, I didn’t really care about the wind for I felt that I could use the exercise anyway and, as I kept telling myself aloud, I had nowhere to go and all day to get there.  The wind made for an unruly river.  When I stopped paddling and rested the oar across my legs the wind would turn the kayak around and around in the water as though it were spinning down a draining sink.  This made for very frustrating photography conditions since I would point my phone-camera in one direction but due to the constant movement of the kayak and my fear of the oar being blown away I unable to take a take a picture of what I was aiming at initially.  One picture in the slideshow shows the kayak on a beach.  Immediately after I took the picture the wind lifted kayak away and it went flying down the beach, tumbling across the sandbar and doing somersaults and flips, and I went hobbling after it (I’m still recovering from a broken tibia and fibula) waving my fists in the air like a maniac and cursing myself for wanting to get out of the kayak and take the stupid picture in the first place.   On the way back I intermittently encountered choppy currents that required that I paddle with all my might so as to not flow back down the river and lose the minimal distance that I had worked so hard to achieve.   Although I was paddling like a madman I was making progress at a snail’s pace.  The water was tumultuous enough that I would say to myself, “What are we whitewater rafting up some rapids or something?”  Or, “What is this, some gale force wind?”  Then there was the water that was blowing into the kayak and accumulating at my feet.  On top of this there were psychological factors discouraging me on the return trip, namely that it was less interesting because I had seen it all before so I was less inspired to kayak back.  This lack of inspiration led me to play a sort of mind game in which I was making bets with myself that I would reach a particular point in the river after so many paddles in effort to incentivize me to keep kayaking so as to determine the accuracy of my speculation.   The coolest thing I saw the whole trip was a sea otter that was swimming in the water near the bridge at Duncan’s Mills.   The little guy was there both on my way out and on my way back in.  After returning to the sandbar and finalizing the trip, I concluded that I will be doing most of my kayaking in the ocean now, for sea kayaking is much more interesting.  I would have gone sea kayaking to start off with had it not been so windy on the coast that day.  




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