Sea Kayaking - a sport for everyone

Take a sea kayaking course if you haven't already. It just might save you from zombies.
Chris Williams Chris Williams
March 10, 2015

Water has always been a big part of my life. I got certified as a SCUBA diver in the 9th grade, was a swimmer through high school, have whitewater rafted on three continents, and got an advanced diving certification during my honeymoon.

But it wasn’t until joining The Mountaineers and taking the sea kayaking course that I truly gained a respect for the water. Before that, I engaged in sea kayaking like I did most outdoor sports — irresponsibly and without a care in the world. My adventures had involved a tremendous amount of blind, dumb, luck. On one “boys trip” up to Orcas Island, a friend began having intense sea sickness, complicated by some symptoms related to diabetes. I did what any bad friend in that situation does: I muscled our huge double back to the launching point while making fun of my vomiting friend (you know, to keep the mood light). What became a funny story could have been just a few unlucky mishaps away from being our last. 

Since then, I’ve learned how to safely manage myself and my kayak on the open waters. And in doing so, I’ve found a way to experience Washington from a perspective like no other. My wife has also fallen in love with the sport and it’s become one of our most rewarding common activities to share with each other. We’ve seen beaches and horizons that landlubbers just can’t get to; birds stabbing fish (yes, stab, not “grab” or “bite”), and seals approaching us to investigate the intrusion into their world. When I enrolled in the Basic Sea Kayaking course last year I didn’t expect natural wonders to become normal expectations for the many trips I would go on in the following months. 

Learning how to sea kayak is something I truly recommend for everyone — even those of you who strictly define yourselves as “climbers,” (and as soon as there’s room in your courses I’ll be joining your ranks). But if you’re not convinced by my reflections above, consider the following: 

  • I’ve never heard of anyone having to spend $50,000 to $100,000 to kayak the most beautiful destinations in the kayaking world. 
  • Ever had a whale look you in the eye on a mountain?  
  • Sometimes your feet just hurt too damn much to trek for miles. Kayaking lets you experience intense beauty while you restore that part of your body and exercise the rest. 
  • With global warming on the way, travel by boat will become more and more of a necessity. Didn’t you see Waterworld!!???! Yeah, me neither, but I heard it was about our planet being covered completely by water and had that ‘Dances with Wolves’ guy in it. 
  • Water is always your best friend in a zombie apocalypse. They can’t swim and you can still fish. (I’ve never seen zombie fish in the genre. If you think that’s possible, you’re just being difficult. Stop arguing.) Now I admit, climbers can go up a wall to escape walkers, but they’re eventually going to run out of food and get cold. I’ll be relaxing on a zombie-free island hosting a fish fry. I win.  

Still proclaiming your undying love for some other activity? Well why not enjoy both? Life isn’t so short that you can’t enjoy more than one type of beauty. Get out there and see what I’m talking about. It’s an investment of time you won’t regret. 

The Mountaineers Basic Sea Kayaking Course is offered in Seattle, Tacoma, Everett, Olympia, and Kitsap. Sign-up is open now and classes start in March and April. 

This article originally appeared in our March/April 2015 issue of Mountaineer magazine. To view the article in magazine form and read more stories from our bi-monthly publication, click here.
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Martin Mayock
Martin Mayock says:
Thu, Mar 12, 2015 7:14 PM

I have not seen any zombies offshore in this area. I think Chris in right.