Summer Morning

The kayak is heavy. Sorry. I have to start with that – it’s good, or rather typical for me to start with a moan. I’m trying to improve my physical strength. Turned out I really peaked in my 30s and left a lot of muscle-turned-to-cellulite as a going-away gift. Still, no more running. I’m not angry enough anymore to run. Ha! That’s true – anger and fitness went together for me. Now I’m happier… and lazier… and fatter.

For several, sunny days the wind has been on morning hiatus. By the afternoon, the sea breeze has kicked in and then kayaking is more of a fight to get in or out. So this morning, even though I didn’t want to, I put my wetsuit on before 8am, my wetsuit boots, found bottled water and camera, left Jack with the girls to sort out breakfast and dishwasher and put the kayak over my shoulder like an enormous handbag. Jack fashioned me a strap so I can haul it down the driveway across the road and onto the beach. Bless my husband. I like it how he waves when I go.

I’m not keen on the surf either. Another bit of moaning I know. I’m not good enough not to be scared of it. Luckily proper surf in Borth is pretty rare in the summer. If there’s swell, the rule is you point your kayak into it and paddle. And, unless the wave is huge, you usually only get a soaking. I got one the other day and it was quite the adrenaline fix. It didn’t help that Vronnie, her parents and her friend, Christine were watching from their balcony. It’s strangely cheering watching someone being battered by a wave. I’m kind of glad I made everyone happy that day.

The last few days have been so calm, the sea is green glass. I can push the kayak through the water and leave an actual wake behind me. This is a good feeling. I kayak to the yellow, eight-knot speed limit buoys –  there’s a string of them far enough off the beach to make you wonder who the heck swims that far out, but for kayaking they are perfect. As I’ve got better, I use them as markers. At first I could paddle to just one buoy, before turning back to shore. This morning I kayaked past four of them.

I was gone for an hour. Creatures spotted included – at this point I wish I could say dolphins or even a hint of something that could be toothy. That’d give my mother the heebies. No, instead in large abundance separating sky from sea were jellyfish. Tons and tons of jellyfish. A whole army. They come inshore this time of year – it’s always disconcerting to see so many.  It makes me wish I had a time machine to see if it was the same scene 50, even 100 years ago. Who knows, maybe there were more of them then? Or has large-scale industrial fishing taken all the fish and left just the jellies? As with climate change and environmental degradation, that question will be answered by time – by future generations who can refer to baseline data without it being anecdotal and possibly biased. I’m not saying it is. It’s just because humans are behind scientific data, sometimes there are other things at play then just numbers and evidence.

Sorry, went on another tangent when I was supposed to be kayaking. Going out and surrounding yourself with a paddle, camera and water bottle for company is largely a think-free zone for me. A bit like the running. I try to turn my brain off while pumping cellulite out. And when the black and white guillemots sweep past from behind – I swear those things do it on purpose to give me a jump, I don’t really see the need for thinking. Look to the jellies for inspiration.

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