Thursday, September 4, 2008

I Lost the Kayak!

Some days in rainy season bring out bad judgement. Being wet and bored can make one yearn for a little adrenaline. It´s been raining steady now for about a week and a half, but what started last night and continued all morning was heavy. Young volunteers interested in saving the turtle population make a simple camp on the beach with no electricity and water that must be switched on manually every day from a remote location. Normally they cross the estuary from the beach side and walk through the castle for their daily chore. Sometimes when the estuary is too high we use the sit on top kayaks to run a taxi shuttle. That brings me to this morning. Two volunteers asked for a ride and I didn´t open my eyes or my brain wide enough to appreciate the conditions. It was between low and high tide, but the volume of water from rain was creating a very strong current running out to sea. I ferried the kayak across and reached the other side, but at that point I should have appreciated the strong current and said nope it´s not going to work, but what the hell. There were two guys, but only one needed to go for the water. The current was very strong and just getting in the kayak proved difficult. We finally got a good launch and we´re headed across toward the beach parking lot when a set of waves comes in and collides with the water going out - if you push two ends of a piece of paper together you´ll see the bubble the kayak was in. Kayak flips - we get it back over and get back in, but now we´re caught in the outward surge. A wave comes in and I see a chance to ride it back in the estuary - it´s good at first, but more waves hit from the side and the kayak is over again - this time we´re further out and it´s time to swim and get to safety - I tell my turtle guy to forget about the kayak and swim across the current until we´re clear and then back to the beach. I don´t know his name, but I give him loads of credit for getting through his panic attack and swimming back safely. He told me later that he developed a recent phobia of deep water being exposed to glacial lakes. This explained why he was screaming "I can´t breath, I´m freaking out, I´m not going to make it, I´m done!" - but as I said he calmed himself down and everything ended safely. Oh did I forget the title of this post?? No, but first I had to get myself back to the castle side of the estuary where this all began. That was quite a swim and reminded me that I´m no longer a raft guide! Back on the other side is when I realize there´s no kayak. These kayaks are very difficult to sink and yet I don´t see it anywhere. Under normal conditions the kayaks always return to the bay or the rocks of the reef. Since the tide was low I climbed around the reef still not believing the kayak could be gone. And after turning on the turtle campers water ( yes I could have just turned their water on and all this would not have happened but hindsight blah blah..) I walked up to Alegria for the tall view - nothing. As I write this post I´m happy poor judgement didn´t cause injury or death, but I´m very much hoping to work on my next post - I found the kayak!

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