Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Kayaking in Clear Lake...FINALLY

Since 2011 was a crazy year of trying new things, of course, I wanted to try kayaking. Then, I saw the deal with Groupon. It was a 3 hour guided tour with All Points Sail Sailing School of Lakeside for only $30 some time in August. I immediately told Haley and with a twinkle in our eyes, we bought the deal. I was hoping to use it that very weekend, but they were booked up and then I had my first kayaking trip in Florida with Ashley. Months and months went by and we still hadn't used the deal. It was rescheduled so many times due to injuries, work, weather, and a misunderstanding. Then, I got a reminder via email saying that I needed to use my Groupon deal, because it expires in February. Well, I was having my ankle surgery at the end of January. So, weird and cold weather be damned, Haley and I were going. We got a good weekend in mind and called them to schedule our appointments.

So, on January 21, 2012, Haley and I turned our twinkle of visionary kayaking to the real thing. We tried to get there early, but it just didn't happen. The weather was nasty and drizzling and I wasn't even sure the day would actually happen. But as soon as we got there and filled out the required waivers, the rain stopped. There was a lot of confusion on what kayak to pick. Since Haley and I were one of the last sets of people to get there (total of 9 in the class), we got stuck with the tandem kayak. I have only been in a single kayak, but I was willing to try anything to get us in the water. I personally think that the young couple should have taken the tandem kayak like the other older couple, but I digress since it turned out to be better for Haley and I.

This is your before shot, Haley? For shame.

This is how you do it. I think I had a little captain in me.
We got in to the water roughly after 10 a.m. (apt time was 9:30 a.m.) and then it was a waiting game. Haley and I chose to use our time to learn how to tandem kayak. It's not as easy as it looks. I learned that I have a strong right. When I put my left oar in, we turned to the right pretty heavily. But once you get it, it's so much fun. And the best part, you get to have an actual conversation with your buddy, while paddling instead of ramming the kayak in to your friend when you just want to tell them about a turtle you saw. Sorry Ashley.

The perfect couple, because I make us look good. 

Haley practicing.

I let her paddle, while I sit back and enjoy the ride...or is it float?
Finally, we were able to get going with a few instructions from our two leaders (Katherine I believe was her name and Steve) on how to paddle. And then, the lady who didn't even know how to swim fell in the water. She stayed calm, but didn't continue with the group.

We got to the edge of the bay and Steve told us to go across it; we were ahead of everyone else, because we were THAT awesome. He told us to stay to the left and go to the flags. So, we started paddling across the huge bay and it was ... WOW...SO LARGE! We just paddled and paddled until we got to the other side. One of the other girls named Julia caught up to us and we got to know her pretty well. She was really nice.

Haley, Julia, and I waited for the rest of the group and when they finally made it to the other side, Steve talked to us about how to paddle. We needed to pick a point on the horizon like a flag and then use that as your line. It's very similar to tracking in skydiving, so, I got it. However, it wasn't easy to stay on target when you have a head in front of you.

We paddled along by the houses and fisherman. Steve talked about how the blue house was rumored to be Beyonce's house and the high rise condo has a lean to it, because someone built it like that to discourage future high rise condos. There was a really cool large bird that we were trying to very quiet. However, we never saw the bird. We did see this owl like bird, but Haley may have scared it away when she was shushing the younger couple tp be quiet (the girl wouldn't stop talking about Facebook). There were also oysters on the docks.

Haley in action.

This house was so cool, because of the lighthouse.

I didn't know oysters hung out like barnacles.
Finally, we got to the narrow passageways by the really nice houses. Katherine said it reminded her of Florida and I couldn't agree more. The only difference was no manatees and turtles. The houses were beautiful and we saw this interesting tree made of wine bottles. I wished I got a picture of it.

Down by the really nice houses, in.the canals. 
It's so pretty and serene.
The group in our wake.
We got out to Kemah where there were boats and "in to the current" paddling galore. It was crazy and hard and Haley and I had to work to stay to the left. They told us to paddle in to the wave, because you could easily tip over if you go in sideways. We finally made it back to the bay and boy howdy was that hard. There were so many boats, way more than last time. I guess since the sun came out, the boats came out, too.

I took a break to photograph this pelican just chillin'. 
Katherine said to Haley and I that if we wanted to go out some more with her, she would take a separate group down another canal. The rest of the group would go in with Steve. Of course, it was Julia, Haley, and I to keep on going like the strong women that we are. Katherine commented on how she thought Haley and I had done this before since we worked really well together. I responded with, "I'm not going to lie. We are pretty awesome." Well, we are! Actually, I was happy with our performance since that was only the second time that I had been in a kayak and Haley's first time.

When it was the turnaround point, I was happy. My arms and back were tired. I was ready to be done. We got back to the dock and easily got out of the kayaks. We had so much fun and I (believe Haley, too) can't wait to do that again. I'm completely hooked now. Afterwards, Haley and I had our celebratory beer at Boondocks.

Check out my shirt...that's right, I'm ready for the zombieapoclypse!
That was such a great experience to share with Haley. Katherine was awesome and so sweet (Gosh, I hope that was her name...don't judge me, it's been awhile and I had surgery). Yes, they could have been better with the beginning organization and having a big selection of kayaks to choose from (specifically, more single kayaks). But they were really great and I highly recommend them.

Was this experience better than Florida? No, but that's not fair. I mean, I saw manatees and turtles a plenty. However, it was so beautiful and serene to see the bay from a different view. Oh and after we were done, Haley and I's twinkle turned to learning how to sail. Will we ever stop? Nah. Why would we want to stop?

On a side note, I survived my surgery. I'm not in a boot after 10 days and can finally walk on it somewhat. It's been hard, but my parents and friends have really helped me out. Thank you mom and Jim, Jules, Haley, Susan, and Dan specifically.


  1. I believe the thing you are calling a "row" is really an "oar", but I could be mistaken because kayaking may have its own terminology. Anyway, next time take a fishing pole and you may come back with supper.

  2. Well, now that looks like fun. I think Jim and I will try it. I will bring my camera for some awesome pics. I really like the lighthouse photo.

    Now, if can only find a dog walker, life would be good again! LOL!


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