Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A day in the water

The Memorial Day weekend began in the traditional fashion, splitting a winters worth of wood at CampO. The WoodFondlingBarrister was in his glory with a pile of hard maple and assorted lesser species the size of a small garage, two splitters, and a crew of around fifteen. The weather was warm with a nice lake breeze keeping the flying vermin at bay and the sun was beating down from a cloudless sky. The pile had disappeared by around 11am and a few of us headed down the hill for the inviting waters of Lake O'Brien and a cooling swim. My problem was that I kind of forgot to get out of the water. For about six hours.

When I was a kid we had the classic cabin up north. No insulation, a kerosene burning stove, hand pump with a sand point, and the inevitable outhouse. This was back when a blue collar worker like my old man, a union worker at the Uniroyal tire plant, could afford a lake place. We would spend the entire day in the water, swimming, snorkeling, screwing around on air mattresses, running off the dock, and diving to the lake bottom just for the hell of it. We were always called up for lunch, my sisters and I, and not allowed to go back in the water for 45 minutes after eating. It was widely known that swimming too soon after eating would cause stomach cramps and result in almost immediate drowning for the hapless victim. Once at the town beach I pointed out to my mother that several kids had been seen eating hot dogs and then running straight into the water. "They must have very poor mothers" was the response. Yeah, but how come the water isn't full of kids drowned from the sudden onset of hot dog induced stomach cramps mom?? "Maybe I should get your father and you can ask him these rude questions?". Nah that's OK, I just want to get back in the water.

Air temp, water temp, wind, and sun were all perfect. I had no where to go and all day to get there. I swam out to the diving raft, where a trio of soon to be sophomores in high school were jumping off into the water. I had to jump off a few times as well, although I didn't look nearly as good doing it. I hopped in the kayak and rolled a few times with the Greenland stick and then went back and grabbed the Euro blade and tried a few roll with that. By then the IrishPirate and GurneyGranny had gone for a swim as well and found the giant blow up floating water chair. I climbed back in the water and swam a bit more and then went for a paddle with the IP. We did some strokes and a few rescues and she indicated that she was interested in a bit of rolling practice so I stood in the water and tipped her over a few times. She hit her angel rolls and is a short paddle dive away from a sweep roll. She has the static brace down, as you can see from the image. We jumped in the hot sauna and to warm up and then I headed, once again, back into the water. I was watching the beer drinking up on the hill with thoughts of leaving the water but RawhidePhil took pity and brought some beer down to the lake which got rid of that temptation. I was finally summoned to cook ribs and that got me out of the water, into my clothes, and up the hill to the camp.I've had great days on the water but this was the rare great day in the water. Adults just don't get to spend a day playing in the water and that's really too bad. Kayaking is a water sport and I think that if people spent more time in the water that they would be better paddlers for it. Its kind of like trying to improve your skiing; if you don't push it and fall once in awhile you just don't get any better. A perfect day like Saturday could not be wasted and we certainly did not waste it. Everyone had fun in the water and I can't wait until the next opportunity to spend another day in the water behaving like a 14 year old.

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