Weighty Matters

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Kayaking Excursion

on January 20, 2013

Today the weather was gorgeous in the Florida Keys.  Warm but not super hot with a light breeze but no driving winds.  Ordinarily, I would have jumped out on my boat, but there’s an issue with one of the throttles and the guy can’t fix it until next weekend.

I told myself I’d just enjoy a day at home and take care of some chores that I’d promised myself I’d complete.  I’ve wanted to go through the pantry cabinet and throw out things that were past their expiration or “Best if Used By” dates.  That took me about half an hour, longer than it would have but I wanted to dismantle some packages so that I could recycle the outer boxes.  I’m very satisfied with how neat and organized the shelves look now.

I moved onto a project that I’d dreaded — cleaning out the disgusting mess that had become the cabinet beneath the kitchen sink.  Since I also keep the small kitchen trash can in that cabinet it was, indeed, disgusting and quite untidy.  I grabbed an empty cardboard box from that other chore-that-is-not-yet-done (The storage room/office.) and loaded it with the cleaning supplies.  Once the cabinet was completely empty, I ditched the old dirty shelf liner, grabbed a new sponge and started scrubbing.  It looks so much better now.  I’ll no longer be embarrassed if someone comes over and opens one of the doors to throw out something!

Tasks accomplished, I went out on the porch for awhile.  Again I was struck by the beauty of the warm sunshine and the calm water.  All of a sudden, I was inspired to do something special, which would also cross something off of my Promise List.  I went kayaking.

I haven’t kayaked in more than seven years.  The last time was when my older nephew was 17 and stayed a month with me.  We went on a kayak-snorkel-sail trip out of Key West.  He and I teamed up in a double kayak.  I wasn’t my heaviest ever weight, but I was probably 80 pounds heavier than I am now which means I was significantly heavier than my lean nephew.  Luckily, I didn’t sink the back end of the kayak.  We had a really good time that day, but I was very conscious that I wasn’t physically comfortable kayaking.  When you’re morbidly obese, sitting in that position constricts veins, muscles and nerves in the legs.  My body weight adversely affected my circulation.  In a fairly short amount of time, my legs tingled and then ached.  My lower back ached, too.  In order to ease the discomfort, I’d try to shift — without tipping us over.

So, even though the overall experience was a good time, the kayaking activity wasn’t something I cared to repeat.

Until a few months ago when it struck me that my weight loss would allow me to kayak without pain!  After I had that realization, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat on my porch, looked out at the harbor and thought, “On any given nice day, even if I don’t take out my boat, with a kayak I could still go out on the water.”

Once the idea took hold today, I launched into action.  I was so excited about taking this adventure, that I didn’t even think about calling up friends to see if they wanted to go with me.  I just wanted to head out as soon as possible!  I grabbed the waterproof pouch I use on the boat and put in my license, credit cards and some cash.  With a full water bottle and a towel, I was ready!  I drove up to a nearby state park where I knew I could rent a kayak for a couple of hours.

In no time at all, I was on the ocean, paddling around mangrove islands.  I spent the first twenty minutes staying fairly close to the park.  Not only did this help me refresh my memory on my technique, but it also gave me time to see if I’d get that leg pain again.  After enough time to reassure me that I was good to go, I struck out exploring.

Let me tell you, if you’ve never done it, kayaking gives you a good upper body workout and plenty of reps for the arms.   From Zumba and Tai Chi, I have strong biceps but my triceps need work.  They got it today.  I kayaked around for nearly two full hours!  The water was crystal clear.  I spotted iguanas and several species of birds in the mangroves.  It felt terrific to use my muscles to work the paddle and glide on the ocean.

When my time was up, I was in an almost Zen-like state with my body, mind, and spirit at peace and in harmony.   Tonight, my muscles know that they worked but I’m not in pain, more relaxed.   I’m also more determined than ever to get a kayak of my own.  When I get back from Hawaii, I’ll start looking.   This is something that I want to do a whole lot more than once every seven years.  Speaking of Hawaii, I bet I can find a kayaking exursion on one of the islands. 🙂

During the trip I was able to take a few photographs.  I didn’t want to risk losing my iPhone overboard, but these should give you a little idea of what it was like.  Enjoy!

Red mangroves sink their roots into the salt water.

Red mangroves sink their roots into the salt water.

My view from the kayak.

My view from the kayak.

I'm not sure of the species of this bird.  It isn't a cormorant.  A birding friend is researching for me.

I’m not sure of the species of this bird. It isn’t a cormorant. A birding friend is researching for me.

The water was beautiful.

The water was beautiful.

I explored a water trail through the mangroves.

I explored a water trail through the mangroves.


12 responses to “Kayaking Excursion

  1. Jon cutter says:

    Beautiful and attractive picture. I love it much.

  2. Jon cutter says:

    What a nice place I’ll be fan this place previous I went Florida that place was attractive.

  3. Hope says:

    Wow, that sounds awesome! Now I want to go out paddling. I think it’s a little too cold to do that around here. :p

  4. Pink Pelican says:

    We took a kayaking class last spring, discovered we LOVED it, and that we are only a couple of miles from a state park marina where we can put in for free & paddle to our hearts content. Craigs List provided kayaks & we spent a ton of time on the water over the summer. We are already planning our spring forays (turns out lots of our friends are getting into/have gotten into kayaking). Can’t wait till the water gets warm.

    Later this year, once our weight stabilizes & we save up enough, we are considering getting wet suits so that we can kayak year round.


  5. KarenB says:

    I adore kayaking. I went once by myself last summer and threw my back out getting the damn thing off the car and haven’t been able to go again. I’m hoping with diligent exercise I’ll be able to again this summer. There is something so calming and deeply satisfying about it – the silent gliding over the water, watching the wildlife, seeing the trees and plants, the fish and turtles. There’s also the workout bit too – I thought it gave a great ab workout!

    I got a really cool waterproof case for an i-phone which lets you use it for a camera even inside the case. It has a cord to go around your neck or a thingy for your wrist as well as a floater in case you drop it overboard. DH took it on a camping/canoe trip and was really glad to have it.

  6. christineabush says:

    Wow.. very cool… this is going on my list, for sure! Thanks for the entry.. from the cabinet cleaning to the kayaking… all inspiring! (and cute toes by the way!). hugs.

  7. Skye says:

    Beautiful pictures! What a lovely trip you took. And how lovely that you just took off on a whim. You are moving so free and easy in many ways.

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