Monday, September 8, 2014

Kayaking for the First Time

We went back out to the Skokie Lagoons this weekend.

Like last weekend, we started off on our bicycles and Kai again had fun. What was especially nice was that we didn’t even have to persuade Kai to go riding. In the past, even if he enjoyed something one week, by the following week he would be anxious about it. None of that this time, just more enjoyment on the bikes.

This time, we followed up our bike ride by renting kayaks for the first time.

Again, Kai’s typical anxiety was missing. Whereas in the past he was reluctant to try new things, he welcomed it this time.

“We should do the kayak because we never did it before. It’s good to try new things, right Dad? Like eating new foods and going to new places….”

He was mimicking what I usually tell him.

It was nice that he was so eager to try this.

Whereas all three of us can ride together on one canoe, we had to separate into two kayaks. Kai and I took the tandem while my wife went out on the single.

Kayaks are a little easier to capsize than canoes, but the calm waters of the lagoon made it the perfect place to try. We also had the wider recreational models which were more stable than those built for more speed. Though I had to caution Kai not to lean too much to one side.

But I thought the kayaks, with their double-sided paddles, were easier to paddle and control than canoes once you got used to it.

Kai got into it. The canoes we rent have only two benches, which means that Kai sits on the floor of the canoe in the center. It makes it hard for him to paddle. But on the kayak he could easily get his paddle in the water. He really enjoyed it.

We saw many birds – ducks, geese, cormorants, and this herron.

There’s one stretch of the lagoon that is shallow and overgrown with seaweed. I figured out that the trick there is to skim the surface of the water with your paddle so as not to grab too much seaweed. But Kai kept putting his paddle in deep, and thus scooped out a big load of weed every time. As he switched his paddle from one side to the other, the seaweed came off his paddle right on top of him and into the kayak.

When we got back to shore, we found a huge pile of seaweed in the front of our kayak. And Kai was almost completely soaked.

I think he actually enjoyed soaking himself.

When we asked out he liked kayaking, he said it was “awesome.”

Looks like we’ll be doing it again sometime.


  1. I see Kai had a great time. I don't like the position that the Kayak forces the person into. I like the more upright seating in a canoe.

    I like the action shot (second picture). It shows Kai in motion.

    Good for Kai. So long as he had enjoyed himself...mission accomplished dad :)

    1. The canoes at this lagoon don't have a bench in the center so for Kai, the kayak allows him to actually paddle instead of just sitting. I'm not sure which I would prefer on a river, but on this calm lagoon I like either one.


  2. Oh that all sounds brilliant! Our eldest has just discovered a love of kayaking too funnily enough. Great that Kai's losing some anxiety about new things too... or at least for this occasion! Happy to see that big smile :)

    1. Ha, great coincidence that Tamsin has just discovered a love of kayaking as well. Did she go with you and her dad?

      Yes, it is very nice that Kai is losing some of his anxiety... gotta love his big smile!


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