May
25

Kayak Lovin

By

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I just got the sweetest deal of a lifetime on Craigslist! At one point in CA I had Craigslist to thank for my roomates, friends, job, furniture, and where I was living. I paid $350 for a sea kayak that runs somewhere between $1600-$2300 new! If it would have been made of plastic I still would have hit the jackpot, as the plastic ones were $800 new but this one’s a  fiberglass beauty and it fits me perfectly. I picked it up in Milwaukee on Thursday night and since I worked at a kayak shop for two years I have demo’d lots of boats, but none of them fit me as perfectly as this one.  It’s a Wilderness Systems Piccolo made for a smaller adult or a child and it’s just under 14 feet long.

I took her out for the first time yesterday morning and to my surprise that river is packed with much more adventure then I expected.  Since the river is over run by Asian Carp, every time I put my paddle in the water they would jump or I would feel a thud as they swam right into the bottom of the boat.  I would actually be a little frightened to jet ski or water ski around here now since they jump the way they do.   I have heard of at least a couple times people have died by hitting one of those things in mid air at high speeds.

The most interesting wildlife was the abundance of turtles and snakes.  I turned the boat around for a closer look when I saw a weird splash on the shore out of the corner of my eye and it was a snake that just caught a catfish!  First of all, I have never seen a snake swallow a fish whole and what’s even better is that I caught it on video with my phone. When I played it back for Kurt yesterday he was like “You know what kind of snake that is right?”  When he told me it was a Cottonmouth/Water Moccasin I realized it would be a great idea next time to keep a bit more of a distance  than the close proximity I shot this video from.

All in all it was an incredible day and what a great workout kayaking is for the arms and the stomach.  I would be out right now for another one if it wasn’t raining.  Kurt showed me a great launch spot for the Vermillion River in Streator so that’s my next destination as soon as the sun comes back. I feel like a kid again and my playground is any lake, creek, or river in driving distance.  If anyone around here reading this has a kayak, please join me!

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Raymond Charles Barker