Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Virgin Islands: "Free Monday" Kayaking

And now we come to the St. Thomas post that I probably should've posted first. But it's not really the event that was my proudest moment of the week. You see, this was the point at which I nearly let my poor mother drown while I snapped photos. (Oh, the sacrifices I make for you, gentle Patio Boat reader. Yes, lives were nearly lost, but this sort of high-quality vacation photoblogging doesn't come without its costs.)

The trouble started when they let people have free kayak rentals on Mondays at Bluebeard's Beach Club. It seemed a good idea to send my Mom out for a spin in the cove with veteran lake kayaker Monique.

Alas, there were a few problems with that plan:

1. Monique had never before kayaked in the surf.
2. Monique hadn't done a dual kayak before, so wasn't really sure how to get both of them onboard.
3. Small craft warnings that churned up a chop and surf even in our protected cove.
4. Given half a chance my Mom could tip an aircraft carrier on its side.

It all began peaceably enough:

But then disaster struck:

Here -- about where my Mom disappeared entirely beneath the surface of the sea -- this is about the point at which a better son would've set down the camera and gone to rescue his mother, who had been knocked down by the surf.

Oh, wait. There she is. And she still has her life jacket on. Okay then, I reckon I'll keep taking pictures of the event. (I suppose the upside is that if I ever some day try to get a photojournalism job and some editor asks, "What are you willing to do to photograph the story?" I can say, "I'll let my mother drown," then show this set of photos as proof.)

Fortunately, there was lots of nearby help. Half the beach ran to the rescue:

With Mom now safely rescued, Monique righted the kayak.

... and a small platoon of beachgoers helped get my Mom back on board. Full credit for bravery goes to Mom, who could've just packed it in after getting nearly drowned in the first attempt.

They're off!

And out into the deep blue sea ... well, the shallow turquoise cove, anyway. Much paddling about ensued:

Ahoy, the cruise ship! Prepare to be boarded!

Facing the looming threat of Caribbean kayak pirates the cruise ship fled for port:

... leaving our kayakers free to search for other seagoing traffic.

Other than the initial launch, a fine afternoon of kayaking.


  1. Oh, goodness...

    These pictures make it ever so clear that Sheila was in the kayak comfortably before I tried getting on and tipped the whole darn thing. Sorry, again, Sheila! You were a trooper for climbing back on in the surf.

    Kayaking on a choppy sea is not the same as on a quiet inland lake, that's for sure. But, it was still very nice.

  2. Sometimes even one silly little ounce of carelessness can tip the balance...but all's well that ends so visibly enjoyable.