Yaks and Origami

For most of the month of November we’ve been volunteering at a faith-based camp on the Texas gulf. Palacios by the Sea is a lovely little spot in the universe. So low-key and friendly. About 4600 folks call Palacios home. It’s bordered by a lovely bay that connects to the Gulf of Mexico. By the way, for those of you word nerds who need to know how Palacios is pronounced: Puh-lash-us

There is a walking sidewalk that runs a couple miles along the bay. Any given moment you will see locals fishing on the piers or on this path. Or…standing in the water!! Every morning you will see locals walking or jogging along this path as the sun welcomes them to a new day. Every evening, same thing. Always a stunning ”good night” from the creator of sunsets.

We were serving with another couple, friends of ours from years gone by. We built a carport. We served three meals/day the first week for a convention of private school children and their sponsors from Houston, Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, etc. (really fun, friendly group). We painted, we repaired ceilings and walls. We varnished starting blocks for swimming competitions. We did what we were asked to do, and it’s such a blessing to serve in such simple behind-the-scenes ways. Serving Jesus by helping others.

And, we had time off. The four of us volunteers visited Port Aransas and surrounding area. And we spent a lovely Sunday afternoon on the beach at Matagorda. By the way, if you’re looking for a quiet absolutely GORGEOUS beach area, Matagorda Beach provides just that. It’s part of the Lower Colorado River Authority. Which as it turns out is just a river in Texas, the Lower Colorado. No connection to THE Colorado River. Anyway, it’s a gorgeous area where the Lower Colorado spills into the Gulf of Mexico.

One of us, unidentifiable due to the wonderful warm bright orb in the sky. Walkable, very long, clean beach. You can drive your vehicle right onto it. But ya need 4 wheel drive to get through the sand dunes. Yes you do.

And, after our work day us two gals, Karen and I, had leisurely time available to do whatever we wanted without the presence of the pesky (but wonderful) men in our lives. We didn’t venture too far from Palacios, and most of the time we just enjoyed the bay that surrounded the camp where we were serving. Very relaxing and the walks burned calories. Between work and walks this old chick burned more calories than I had in quite some time.

Speaking of burning calories, nothing compared to the afternoon we decided to kayak in the bay. Karen has two unique kayaks that she carries with her in their motorhome. They are ”fold up“ Kayaks. Ever heard of such? Well it consists of a flat piece of firm plastic with firm plastic rudders and all the necessary attachments to make it usable. How does that all work? Well I dubbed it as being an Origami kayak. You fold it up here and there and then pull metal hooks onto the appropriate metal things, objects, dealios, I don’t know the exact terminology. But then there are cotter pins or other bungie type cords that hook on to the metal hookages to keep them secure. Do you have ANY idea what I’m talking about? Well, neither do I.

But first we had to get the kayaks in their carrying bags to the beach area. Happily there was a golf cart available and off we went. Parking as close as we could to the beach still required a substantial effort to transport the heavy bags. Karen is younger than me, fitter than me, taller than me, way way way stronger than me. She carried hers. I kind of half carried the bag to the sandy beach area then drug it along to the water’s edge. We assembled them at that point. Karen inspected my work and of course you know already that she had to help me with most of the Origami folding and hooking and on and on. But once they were together I sat myself right down without getting wet and made my way out into the bay just like I knew what I was doing.

What a perfect day to maneuver through the water along the piers and under the piers. The men of our dreams showed up and took pictures from the shoreline. Pretty sure my husband insisted that they check up on …. me. But there I was, kayaking like a big girl. They watched for a bit then went back to work.

Right after they drove off we headed back out toward the open bay. At this point I felt a cool wet sensation under my seat. No worries, we had paddled through some smallish waves. Splash was bound to occur. I paddled on and noticed that soon, very soon, my legs were covered and the seating area had water up to the very edge of the kayak. I’m no rocket scientist but it didn’t take me too long to figure out that my boat was sinking. Karen was ahead of me with her back to me. I kind of voiced a bit of concern that there was a leak. Then I proceeded to leave the kayak. The bay water was only thigh deep on me, so standing up was easier than anticipated. Happily. My swimming skills include one thing: drowning avoidance by way of floating on my back. And yes, I was wearing a life jacket. As it happened all I had to do was just stand up and drag the kayak that was full of water and quite heavy back to the shore. Karen paddled back to shore and we emptied the kayak. In the process we saw that one of the hooks had mysteriously come undone. We put it all back together and she asked me if I wanted to get back in. That would be a fairly firm “no” from me. While I walked to the place where we launched the boat she decided to tow the kayak back to see if it would stay dry after reassembly. And it did.

She asked the “wanna try again” question and this time I thought, well why not? She towed it and it was dry on the inside for that entire distance. So I hopped right on back in and we headed out to sea again, this time along a breakwater rock area. But wouldn’t you know just a short distance away from the breakwater, BAM, I was sinking again. Same mysterious hook issue, same fill-up with water. And, happily, same depth of water to walk through. Once again, I dragged that origami kayak back to shore and proclaimed my kayaking moments were over for the day. So we then proceeded to disassemble the origami kayaks and put them back into the bags. My bag had filled with water and sand. There was sand everywhere, and I do mean EVERYWHERE. The kayaks were covered with sand. Let’s just be honest here, when I say the word ”everywhere” in regard to sand you need to know that even my teeth were covered with sand. It was a massive struggle but we managed to get those kayaks back in the bags. I said ”I’ll drive the golf cart right over to the beach steps and it’ll be easier to load”. But before I could even reach the golf cart Karen had already carried the bagged kayaks off the beach, up the steps and into the parking lot. I’m telling you, that woman is amazing!!!!

If muscle soreness and fatigue are accurate indication, I probably burned more calories in that two hour time than in the previous month.

I’m just going to insert this link to a post I wrote a year and a half ago. https://simplyb.blog/2020/06/29/rising-numbers-rrrrrrip/

If you’ve read this post, you’ll understand the comment my youngest daughter made to me when I was telling her about the Origami Kayaking Experience. ”Mom, do you think perhaps you aren’t designed to kayak?”. Hmmmmph. I will kayak again. I will.

The ”before” picture. There is no ”after” picture. 😂 🤪

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