Monday, September 20, 2010

kayak trip

I have been distracted lately as we have had an influx of visitors recently. It is amazing to be able to see so many old friends now that we are all on the same continent again. Amelie is loving school and her 2 teachers (a job-sharing thing) are absolutely lovely so of course that gives Chad and I much peace of mind. I have also enrolled her in gymnastics and Mandarin lessons. And before you say " what a wanker", I will tell you that she was learning Mandarin at Elsternwick Primary and was really taking to it so I thought maybe it would be nice if she could continue it over here. so there.

I have volunteered to come into AMelie's school classroom every week to help with reading. I also, much to Chad's amusement, volunteered to help out with their computer lab once a month. Not sure how helpful I'll be, but I figure how technical can 6 year olds get on the computer? Surely I'll be able to teach to clear your "deleted items" folder or something else that's very useful to know.

This past weekend we went on a one day kayak trip in the San Juan Islands. The goal was to be able to see some orcas, since this is where they come to hang out and feed for the summer and into early autumn. Well, I am up at 5:30am praying to the orca gods and then we drive 1 1/2 hrs northwest to Anacortes where we board the ferry and an hour-long ride to Friday Harbour where we will meet the kayak crew. It is a very foggy and rainy morning as we roll up our pants and slide our kayaks into the water. The San Juan Islands are one of the most popular weekend trips for Seattlites. They are rugged and mostly wild, forest-covered islands located just southeast of Vancouver Island. As we paddle we are greeted repeatedly by harbour seal pups which keep popping their heads out of the water every 200 feet or so. They are sooo cute! They like to check us out before bobbing back under the surface. We also see lots of porpoises, but NO ORCAS! Grrrrrrr..... I temper my disappointment with an overly enthusiastic paddling stroke which, in order to follow proper paddling instruction and much to his irritation, Chad must mimic at the rear of the boat.

Meanwhile Amelie is sitting in the middle of the kayak doing nothing. Which means being bored. Which means whining. Which is annoying and which is cutting into any possibility of having a Zen experience out here on the water. So I try to create my own inner Zen quietly up the front, which involves ignoring whining child, while I paddle through the fog. Amelie's whining becomes background noise. And after a half hour or so of practising this, I notice that she has actually stopped and is being extremely quiet. So I turn around and all I can see is a blob of a figure sitting in the middle of the kayak wearing a bright blue kayak skirt over a red lifejacket with the polkadotted arms of her parka and a patch of brown hair poking out. And I realise she has fallen sound asleep. And she (seriously) looks like the guy in the wheelchair from "A Weekend At Bernie's"- I am not kidding. I am howling with laughter over this thought. It almost makes up for not seeing any orcas.

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