Princess of the Kayak
On an Un-Cruise voyage the main activities offered at any stop often include kayaking. Once the Wilderness Adventurer anchors up, crew members lower the kayak launcher down to water level and line kayaks up in the slots. Not just any kayaks, these are all top of the line Necky kayaks. Passengers can climb into the kayak on a totally dry platform and once inside the crew pushes the small craft out into the water. When finished passengers paddle back to the platform where the crew pulls their boat onto the kayak dock and they can get out with solid ground on either side. Very easy to get in and out and no possibility of capsizing the kayak while doing so. They also have stand-up paddle boards available for any guests who wish to use them.
Just 6 weeks before our cruise while running with my dog she noticed the neighbor dog outside of his fence and suddenly lunged in front of me, launching me into the air where I went flying over her back before landing on the paved road. The dog was not only uninjured by this event, but completely oblivious to the fact that while in the air I put out my hand to break the fall and ended up with my arm broken inside the elbow joint. A rare sort of break my orthopedist said he had seen only 3 of in a 30 year career – and he was a bone specialist. Because the break was in the joint rather than a solid unmoving part of the bone he never put a cast on it. In the beginning it had a tightly wrapped splint, which allowed no movement at all. About 4 weeks after the break I started physical therapy. The first session mainly consisted of the therapist showing me ways to cope without much use of that arm since at that time unwrapping the splint caused me major dizzyness on the verge of passing out and neither she nor the doctor had very high hopes for me. She wrapped it more loosely than the doctor though, and the slight bit of movement that allowed made it possible to remove the splint and still stay vertical the next week. Just before the cruise the splint came off for good, but both the doctor and therapist forbade any kayak paddling when I mentioned the upcoming trip.
Without the splint screaming out I’m injured to anyone who saw me, my arm looked perfectly normal to the unknowing onlooker. It doesn’t bend or straighten completely or have full range of motion, but other people can’t see any of that. While getting on and off skiffs I kept the arm tucked in front of me and didn’t allow the well-meaning crew to take hold of my left arm or hand to assist in transferring from one boat to another as it was still in a very fragile state at that time.
Because of my arm for the most part we opted for hikes in the places we visited, but we wanted to get out in a kayak at least once. We would have gone on a guided paddle tour, but were told we would never keep up with the group with just one person paddling and the other one dead weight in the boat. Just sitting there looking lazy is not my style, but I had no choice. A bag of rocks would have been as useful as me – maybe more so since it might make a good anchor. Paddling around on your own near the ship is an option for kayakers so we did that. Unknowing other passengers had a tendency to hang over the ship’s railing yelling “you forgot your paddle” as we went by, probably thinking they were being funny.
Maybe that is a small taste of what it feels like to be a princess. Just sit there and try to look regal (something I would fail miserably at I’m afraid) while someone else does all the work. Except people would be too busy trying to get a glimpse or a photo of a princess to say anything about her not paddling – and probably wouldn’t expect her to anyway. I guess I should have tried to perfect the parade wave so when anyone said something about my lack of a paddle I could just smile and wave with my good arm like I was passing by in a float rather than floating past. At least the one arm would have gotten some exercise that way.
We (or should I say he) paddled off to the shore of a nearby island. Often times when we’ve kayaked before I’d paddle while he took videos. I’ve rarely been the non-paddler before even for short periods and never for the whole ride so it felt a bit awkward just sitting there doing nothing other than taking a few pictures while he did all the work.
I rather liked the quiet near the island and would have liked to stay awhile, but he spied someone on a paddle board near the ship and off we went. When you haven’t got a paddle you have no say in where you go….wait a minute a real princess could tell her lackey to paddle her wherever she wanted. “No you can’t go on a paddle board, just paddle me around out here” might work for a princess, but for me it would not have gone over too well.
Later in the trip the ship spent a stormy night sheltering near a state park at Stuart Island. The morning brought sunshine and to take advantage of our unscheduled location the crew offered several water activities – kayaks, skiff tours or paddle boards. John took the opportunity to go out on a group paddle tour with a guide and other passengers from the ship while I stayed on the boat and had a wonderfully luxurious massage from the onboard masseuse and some hot tub time. Now that sounds like a princessy thing to do! Cheapskate that I am I’ve never spent money on a massage before, but now that I’ve tried it I highly recommend pampering yourself with a nice massage on your next cruise. It’s a real bargain on the Wilderness Adventurer compared to massage prices on the big ships. You get a whole hour with the massage tailored to your needs or desires.
I would have LOVED to been out there in the bay with you. Have fun.
Un-Cruise adventures runs that cruise in the spring and in the fall, round trip from Seattle.
I feel both your pain and irritation with the circumstances surrounding that dreadful arm injury you suffered giving the false impression that you’re a princess! Too bad you could not wear a sign reading, “Folks, there’s a reason why I’m stuck sitting here like lump.” How’s your arm doing now? Will you ever be able to paddle when you guys go kayaking again?
I ended up with better range of motion than anyone expected, but it will never be completely normal. There may be some minor nerve damage because there’s a couple fingers on that hand that tend to want to operate as one and they are connected to the nerve that runs through that joint. I’m not sure about the kayak paddling. The therapist said not to try it for at least a year. If the opportunity came up this summer I could try it and see whether or not I actually could. I can do some gardening, but things like raking the lawn are too hard on the elbow. For the most part I’ve adjusted. I don’t have to stop and think about things like the left sleeve always goes on first and off last any more, I just do it.
So you’ve adjusted. That’s good. Meanwhile, your dog continues to bask in blissful ignorance completely oblivious to the ordeal you endured.
She would have been full of sympathy if she had a clue.
Beautiful pictures. I wish I could have been there. I say AWESOME! to let John do all the work! (hee hee) However, not for injury reasons. I am glad your arm is better. The cruise and massage both sound real nice.
No pictures of the part of the kayak you used to make?
They were internal parts so you can’t actually see them on a finished kayak.