Friday, October 22, 2004

Trip Journal -- Day Seven

15 Oct. 2004

Ack!  There's a man outside my window!

OK, here's the thing.  My cabin window faces, y'know, outdoors.  Generally, river.  (This was the view this morning.)

And, conversely, if you happen to be outside, you have to be pretty much up against the window to see anything inside.  And seeing as there's no, y'know, walkway outside my window (unless we're docked or something), I've taken to changing with the window open.  I mean, who am I going to flash?  Some salmon?

So, after our 2-hour kayak (which was great -- more on that below), I come back to my cabin to change.

I'm tucking my shirt into my jeans, preparing to zip up, when Pete, the bosun, pops his head in and says "Hi!" through my open window.  He's walking on this little rail (here, let my get a photo)

That thin grey thing along the side of the ship.  He's walking on that.

So, Pete's walking on this rail alongside the boat, bringing some kayaks over to the starboard side, and he just pops in and says hi.  Scared the scat out of me (as we've taken to saying).

So.  Kayaking.  Last day.  Puget Island.  Two hours.  My partner is Kelly, one of the "adult daughter" passengers.  She's really fun -- she likes getting ahead of the other kayaks; she grew up around a lake so knows a bit about paddling (and birds, which we're seeing a lot of) AND she brought along a bag of peanut M&M's for a sugar rush/protein break right when we needed it.

We saw a couple of great blue herons, a speck-in-a-tree which I'm told was a bald eagle, and various other birds.

The kayaking was through a shallow waterway through some untamed greenery (our guide, Chris, said other passengers told him it reminded them of the Everglades).  We ended up going through single file, and Kelly and I took a position right behind Chris.  At one point, a tree fallen in the water blocked Chris's boat. He pushed a branch out of the way and went through.  We followed with a little difficulty -- not as smoothly as Chris, but we made it through.

Chris had to go back, though, to help some of the other boats, and he told us to just go on ahead.  (Best.  Guide.  Ever.)  So here's me & Kelly, scouting out our own path.  So cool, being in front -- like you're the only boat out there in this serene natural environment.

We'd paddle some, then just coast -- to listen for birds, sneak up on one for a photo op, or just make sure the other paddlers didn't get too far behind.

Chris had been my guide the other day -- when I was with Jack.  I mentioned he told us some stuff about running in shallow water and how to turn really quick with the paddles (and not the rudder).  Like I said, I'm a quick study.  Today, we reached a patch of really shallow water.  Chris just goes, "It's really shallow here," and right away, Kelly and I are all up with the rudder and steering with the paddles.  So we're through with no problem -- and one other boat gets out easy with us.  So here's us, back out in good water, hanging out, snapping pics with the other boat, and I look back and see Chris at the shallow part helping each of the other boats get through.  Oh yeah.  Kelly and I rock.

The duration was good, too.  Actually, I'm no more wiped from the 2-hour paddle with Kelly than I was from the one-hour "showtune cruise" the other day.  I'm more recovered from the hike, had a better stroke (several, actually) and a good strong partner.  The last 15 minutes or so back to the boat were tiring, but if we'd come in after only an hour, I would have been extremely disappointed.

That it, I think -- the last "adventure" of the adventure cruise.  The rest is just lots of cruising -- to the mouth of the Coumbia and then back to Portland, the Captain's dinner (I'm planning to wear a casual cotton dress and hiking boots) and whatever Scrabble games Gerde can talk people into. 

It's been a blast.

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