There’s a sigh. Ease into your seat, and tuck the dry sack between your knees, just within reach. Water, insect repellent, everything secure. Pull your hat down tight, grab the paddle and shove away from the shore. The water is black silk. Cool. A kingfisher, startled by your approach, lunges from his perch. He darts down, dips to the water, flies away. Blue wings vanish into a ray of sunlight upstream. An errant twig plops. Concentric ripples fan out. Be still, the water follows your lead and lays perfectly flat. You are unstuck. Time, space, direction all go away. What is real? What is reflection? You are floating. Air inflates your lungs. Then pushes out, slowly, evenly. Welcome to the black water.
“So, what kind of kayak should I get?” When my eyes landed on the famously furrowed brow of Doug Eng I knew he was serious.
“Well, Doug, it depends.” Advice on a kayak purchase is something I seldom give.
“What do you want to do?”
“I just want to get out, explore. Maybe shoot some images.”
I showed him my kayak, what I liked about it and why it works for me. “It took me a couple of years to decide on this one. ”
“What about a sit-on-top?”
“Hell no, it won’t work.” Too many reasons to explain. “Trust me.” I knew he’d probably
try to juggle a camera, change lenses, and eat lunch. “Mainly, your butt is wet all the time. You’ll want a cockpit.” I figured he’d already decided on a sit-on-top.
We talked now and again about his boat choice. For the most part I forgot about the conversation.
By Jim Draper