My husband and Holly and I were most fortunate in that we were able to go away for some time in early January, just south of the Queensland border. It was a beautiful location, and we enjoyed several lovely beach days and then a couple more days where we occupied ourselves with board games and low-key exploration of the area. It’s hard to do anything particularly adventurous with a baby. However, we still enjoyed ourselves very much, and I think Holly was enchanted by the different sights as well. She certainly ate rather a lot of sand. She is growing very well and is now pulling herself up on furniture and standing up with support. At seven months, this is rather unexpected, but one cannot get in the way of progress I suppose! We had the joy of getting her baptised recently and having some friends around to celebrate with us. She is so used to the water she didn't even blink an eyelid during the ceremony.
During the holidays, I’ve also been kayaking several times. My husband and I kayaked on one of the lakes near our Airbnb in New South Wales. I’ve also been down to the Weir a couple of times too. After one of these trips, I decided that I might get a small hard-shelled kayak just for myself to use. Michael and I used to kayak a lot together in our inflatable double kayak. This has become harder with Holly, as she doesn’t always enjoy sitting still in the kayak for a long period of time. So one day, I took the inflatable out by myself. Unfortunately, I had never blown it up when the seals were completely off before. Normally I put Holly’s life jacket on while Michael did this part. This meant I failed to put the seals on correctly before blowing it up. Anyhow, I was enjoying my kayak but decided I should start heading back so that I was on time to feed Holly back at home. As I turned around, I started to notice the front of the kayak was rising into the air, ever so slightly. Probably just the difference in weight – one person in it instead of two people and a baby, I thought to myself. I continued, but after a couple of minutes noticed with concern that the sides were beginning to fold inwards.
I carried on a little further and then realised the back of the kayak was starting to rise too. If you’ve ever made a paper boat and accidentally squished it, you will have an accurate mental image for what the kayak was beginning to resemble. Obviously, it’s very difficult to paddle something that is slowly folding up. I did my best, now understanding properly that I was sinking. I didn’t have a life jacket on, but the water wasn’t rough, and I knew I could swim to shore. I was just worried about what might happen to my camera and car key. I decided that the best I could do would be to attain the nearest stretch of shoreline and then drag the kayak along as I walked back to the boat ramp. The trouble was, it didn’t look like I was going to reach the shoreline at all. I began to paddle more slowly, but still just as firm, so that the kayak didn’t go down too fast. I was – to my relief – able to make it to the ski run on the Weir, which was dry due to the lack of rain. Just as I got there, the kayak went completely under water. I climbed out into the mud and pulled it up.
Things were about to get more embarrassing. The good thing about the ski run was that it connected eventually to the boat ramp, so I could drive my car there and pick the kayak up. The bad thing was it meant walking back without a boat, which would look odd to anyone who had seen me depart. With any luck, no one would have seen me depart. I headed back with my paddle. When I got to my car, an entire family moved toward me.
“Where’s your boat?”
Great. “It sank.”
A general gasp of horror.
“It’s okay, I’m going to drive down and pick it up now.”
Of course, I checked it for leaks when I got home and was surprised I couldn’t find any. Surely it must have had a major hole to do that! It was Michael, of course, who discovered it was because I had put the seals on wrong. That was probably the most embarrassing moment of all. Total face palm.
Anyway, it gave me a Pirates of the Carribbean moment, coming into the shore gallantly while my boat sank underneath me. I have now purchased a small hard-shell kayak that’s easy to transport and less complicated to set up. Set up for my new kayak: carry down to water – drop in water – get in. On my last trip, I did not sink. A much better experience.
Anyhow, I shall have less time to go about sinking kayaks now that the term is about to begin. I shall leave you all with some photos to enjoy from the holidays, taken by yours truly.