Visions of a Saltwater Life
Updated: Mar 1, 2021
You could say I'd be remiss to not start this off with the actual moment of inception. The proverbial impregnation of my mind with the possibility of making a living sharing the sea with others. You see, Reth and I were on holiday on the island of Kaua'i back in 2007, celebrating one of our many adventurous wedding anniversaries. Among the several "touristy" things we did that trip was a guided kayak & hike tour, with a company by the name of Kayak Kaua'i. Our guides were Patrick and Ziggy. Ziggy, being Patrick's faithful pup, seemed to know the way as well as his loyal master himself. As the day went along, I found myself more and more intrigued by Patrick, and the lifestyle that he had chosen for himself. Patrick was, and may very well still be, a tour guide by day, and a musician by night (or whenever lol). I'd long for nothing more from "making a living". Incorporating local history into the areas you share is vital. Every place has a history, and to be able to knowledgeably pass along that history to the unknowing is of utmost importance. Patrick did that well. It was an inspiring day, that has led us to today.
The Kayak Life
After the experience we had on Kaua'i, my main mission once we touched down back in Seattle was to find a way to get myself, and our family, on the water. The simplest way seemed to be with kayaks. So, almost immediately, I found what I thought was a deal at a local sporting goods store, and that was that. It turned out to be one of the best deals of my life. We lived in DuPont at the time, and there was a saltwater boat launch nearby at Solo Pt. That would become one of our favorite spots for the next couple of years.
Devonah and Dylan each earned certificates for the first time they successfully circumnavigated Ketron Island in their own kayak. It gave me great joy to share this amazingly intoxicating environment with my own children, in such an up close and personal way. Having seals pop up just 2 or 3 feet away from you and your young child is really a life changing experience. Especially when the young seal is as interested in you as you are in it. In so many ways, every single time it happens, the intense feeling of being connected to something so pure and so vital is reaffirmed. It's those definitive moments, where time almost stands still, and you enter their world, because they now possibly know you exist; time itself ceases to exist, and that freedom is profound to our inner being, and equally to our outward projections. In short, it made me want to be closer to that world as often as possible.
Turns out, kids get bigger and kayaks don't grow. Not to mention, Puget Sound, let alone the entirety of the Salish Sea, is an extremely large body of water. To really go anywhere, and comfortably, I'll need provisions. Only so much can go onto one kayak, as my adventures on that Old Town repeatedly proved. Zana was my paddle partner all the way up until it became unsafe for her to ride with me. I started contemplating tandem kayaks.
Looking back, I'm rather impressed... that I survived. Keep in mind, the above image is from early in my nautical days. I'm fairly certain that I had my 12 quart dutch oven packed somewhere in there... we'll say for ballast. I paddled this kayak, packed as such, to Hope Island from Boston Harbor Marina and from Manchester to Blake Island. The Blake Island trip was during Seafair, when the wakes of the many large vessels had me submarining every other wave. A properly fit and functioning spray skirt was paramount. What a great memory that was! A memory I'm blessed to be here to tell, and one that only fueled the fire burning inside.
Sailboats, Sailboats, I'm Sold!
The trip to Blake Island, as a whole, is where the next phase of the dream really began to emerge. Here are a few images from that trip, that will more than likely show you what I mean by that. This was July 31st & August 1st of 2009.
Although I did not know it at the time, the memories of the Blake Island trip would forever help to mold what the next few years would begin to unfold. I was, needless to say, intrigued by all of these sailboats I was seeing. This was my first true experience with this type of vessel. There are several mooring buoys around Blake Island, and they were all occupied, mostly by sailboats. There were several other sailboats anchored nearby as well. As it was though, we would spend a couple of more years paddling our trusty kayaks around Puget Sound.