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And who managed to dump themself out of their kayak in the first thirty seconds? That’s right. Me.

August 21, 2013, 1:46 PM

On Sunday, August 18, Melissa, Doreen, and I went down to the Key Bridge Boathouse (historically Jack’s Boathouse) right under the Key Bridge in Georgetown for a kayaking adventure.  This was a long time in coming.  We bought a Groupon voucher for this back in May, with the intention of going on May 19.  However, come May 19, the weather did not cooperate with those plans, giving us a cold and rainy day.  We ended up rescheduling, and this was the day we eventually settled on to reschedule.  It still ended up being a rainy day, but at least it wasn’t cold.

Doreen came along for our outing as well, and her participation ended up being something of a surprise.  Originally, Doreen didn’t want to go out on the water with us, and was going to be our designated photographer, using my real camera from the dock to photograph us.  Once we got to the dock, she decided that she wanted to go in the water, and so all three of us ended up going kayaking, and we just photographed using Duckie, which was securely clipped to my life jacket.

After signing all of our waivers and putting on life jackets, we got going.  First, Doreen got into her kayak:

Doreen gets into her kayak

Then Melissa:

Melissa in her kayak

Then me:

I'm sitting in kayak #1

I ended up getting into three different kayaks before I finally got into one that worked well for me.  The first one, pictured here, was a bit wobbly when I was in it.  Before I ever left the dock, both the woman getting me settled and I decided that this probably wasn’t a good kayak for me.  So I got out of this one, and they got a different kayak.  That one seemed pretty stable, and so I pushed off and got going.  Not even thirty seconds later, as I was trying to turn the kayak to head into the river, I flipped it:

The second kayak, after I capsized it.

Splash.  And I’ll be honest with you: it was my own stupid fault that I overturned it, without question.  I pushed too hard with the paddle, and instead of moving the kayak across the water, I capsized it.  Oops.  I chalk it up to rookie error.  Once I got out of the water, they switched me to a third kayak, and that one worked very well for me.

First, we paddled around near the Key Bridge as we got comfortable with this whole kayaking business:

Doreen paddles her kayak

Melissa paddles her kayak

After we got the hang of things, Melissa and I headed upriver towards the Three Sisters.  Doreen decided to stay near the dock.

On the way to the Three Sisters, Melissa spotted a deer, and went over to check it out:

Melissa and the deer

And then we reached the Three Sisters:

And meanwhile, as I was navigating around the Three Sisters, I got myself hung up on a submerged rock.  It figures.  I ended up shifting my weight around a little bit and paddling a little bit to turn the kayak, and got free.

From there, Melissa and I headed toward another landmark on the Virginia side of the river: a small tunnel with a bridge next to it.  We had no intention of going into the tunnel, but it was neat looking.  I got there first, and got photos:

From what I can tell, this bridge is part of the Potomac Heritage Trail, which runs near the George Washington Memorial Parkway (GW Parkway), though I could be wrong.  Seems like something worth exploring.

In any case, though, the water was very shallow in this area, and didn’t smell very nice.  I warned Melissa off from coming too close, because I had again become hung up on rocks.  This one was a bit more difficult to extricate myself from than the Three Sisters, but I managed.  From there, I made a beeline back to the dock, where Melissa already was headed, to meet back up with Doreen.

Doreen, meanwhile, had become quite comfortable with the kayak, and struck a victory pose:

Doreen's victory pose

Melissa went to get her phone and get rid of her jacket, and coming back, got some photos of her own, including a selfie:

Melissa takes a selfie.

From there, Melissa and Doreen headed back to the Three Sisters, while I checked out the Key Bridge:

Remains of a pier for the Aqueduct Bridge, which was demolished in 1933.
Remains of a pier for the Aqueduct Bridge, which was demolished in 1933.

Downstream from the bridge, facing DC.
Downstream from the bridge, facing DC.

Downstream from the bridge, facing Virginia.
Downstream from the bridge, facing Virginia.

Graffiti on on the of the bridge piers.  I thought the star was kind of funny, which I interpreted as "Vess: Some restrictions apply."
Graffiti on on the of the bridge piers.  I thought the star was kind of funny, which I interpreted as “Vess: Some restrictions apply.”

Once I finished navigating around the Key Bridge, I called it a day.  When Doreen and Melissa came back from the Three Sisters a few minutes later, they did, too.

Doreen poses with her paddle after getting out of her kayak.
Doreen poses with her paddle after getting out of her kayak.

Doreen and Melissa pose for a photo after we put our life jackets back.
Doreen and Melissa pose for a photo after we put our life jackets back.

And that was that!  I believe a fun time was had by all, and we definitely need to do this again some time, especially now that I know what I’m doing – and therefore can put a bigger focus on exploration rather than the kayaking itself.

Postscript: We had an amusing moment while discussing how kayaking works. After asking about the rules of the road on the river, and learning how a person to port (left) has the right of way, I made a comment, in jest: "So if I have the right of way and some boat comes by, I can ram them and feel no remorse?" The expression on the woman's face was priceless. It was that nervous look where she didn't quite know what to say for that, and didn't want to say the wrong thing, because it was clear that she didn't realize that I was kidding. Once I let her know I was joking, then she laughed, because let's admit: I would lose in that kind of collision, even if I had the right of way.