Having seen my two dozen or so rather spectacular and unspectacular immersions on our last kayak adventure (and perhaps because he learned my real age), Luis still called me last night and invited me to another kayaking adventure early this morning.
You see, he had a new strategy. The more sedate and more stable orange kayak was a two-seater, and he thought that might be a better way to approach my entry into the sport.
We loaded up the kayak and headed out just after 6:00 a.m. It was overcast. The “May Gray” of San Diego has established itself with a vengeance: cool overcast from the marine layer until mid-morning, perfect weather for about four to six hours, and the marine layer rolling back in the late afternoon into Southwest corner perfect weather. But if you have lived here long enough, this is fine. In fact, we enjoy the seaport weather.
It also provides a blanket to retain the heat during the night, and the temperature was over 60 degrees when we parked on the beach, and loaded up. i sat in the front seat with Luis joining me in the after position. His strategy worked. Although i was a bit apprehensive after my last splash fest, after a few strokes, i was comfortable. We rowed for probably slightly less than an hour. It was…well, refreshing. Luis and i talked, comparing my life growing up in Tennessee and his in Mexico. At times, i felt i had gotten a bit awkward and knew i was working some muscles that had not been addressed in quite a while, nothing unpleasant.
Afterwards as we had done on the first, jewell-water-logged outing, we sat at the nearby picnic table, Luis hauled out a small cooler and his bunsen burner contraption. He proceeded to make excellent breakfast sandwiches of a wonderful bun, ham, Mexican cheese (i must get the name from him later), avocado, and chipotle sauce. Our bottles of water were supplemented when one of Luis’ frequent kayak partners from Vera Cruz (i must get his name from Luis because i am old and forgotten already) brought him two bottles of mezcal. We did some taste testing of one as Luis explained the differences between mezcal and tequila: vivé la difference (Maureen is asleep and unavailable to check my French).
It was an entirely pleasurable experience, and on the way home, i vowed to work on balance so on future outings, if Luis invites me again, i might advance to the Starfighter stage.
Other than enjoying Luis’ company and our exchanges of who we were and where we came from, the experience in itself was satisfactory. Otay Lake reminded me of Old Hickory, Center Hill, and Watts Bar Lakes back home where i fished with my father and many others, and waterskied with Henry and Jim (Beatle) Harding’s family and my own family. The quietness as we glided around the lake reminded me of solo fishing moments on Spring Creek when i would put our fishing boat in at the Sportsman’s Club ramp off of Denny Road in the early, early morning, and plug the banks, mostly unsuccessfully, for a couple of hours. Bliss it was then, and pretty damn close on Otay Lake. This lake is formed by a dam of the Otay River, which eventually ends up feeding into San Diego Bay. The vista at the boat dock area reminds me of the old Sligo dock on Center Hill where we would often put in to night fish for striped bass. The high desert rolling hills, well on their way to turning summer brown, remind me i’m not back home.
Then, there is this aberration we came upon while kayaking. Anchored in the middle of the lake is a small barge with rectangular building protruding from the deck. i wondered what it was until we rowed close enough for me to see the “men” and “women” signs. It was a public restroom in the middle of the lake. i’ve been the environmental regulation guy at Pacific Tugboat and aware of the many pluses and equal number of absurdities with our environmental programs. But a toilet in the middle of the lake was dumbfounding to me. i mean, there are fish, turtles, birds, snakes, and lord knows what else crapping and peeing in that lake, many after gorging on trash can trash immediately before their lake dump (so to speak). Yet humans must stop and use a port-a-potty in the middle of the lake. Sometimes i think we think too much. i know i do.
But i’m still looking forward to our next kayak outing. At least, i’ll know when i take my headers into the lake waters, it will be void of human waste…at least, if people actually use that weird thing.