Chad Robertson: Boat Owner. I’ve officially arrived.
Let’s be clear. The boat is a kayak. A plastic kayak. And bought… it was a craigslist purchase. Not that any of that diminishes my standing as a boat owner. But you guys know who you’re dealing with here.
The purchase was a bit of an impulse buy. The plantar fasciitis continues to keep me from running. I had been swimming, but never found a good pool/gym in Seattle. In it’s place, I had been swimming nightly in Lake Washington. A few chilly, choppy evenings quickly dulled my enthusiasm for open water swimming. I needed a new pursuit.
A stand across the street from our office rents kayaks. The answer! Kayaking!
Lake Washington. My new playground.
I looked in to renting one. $25/hour. Wait… what?! If I did this every evening, I’d be spending $125 per week. $500 per month!!! Ridiculous, I thought. I could buy one at that price. Ding ding ding! The bells went off in my head. I ran upstairs and found a kayak on craigslist. $250. Done.
The seller lived in a house boat in Ballard. The guy didn’t seem to have many more worries than where he would be finding his next beer. He showed me the kayak. Purple. No holes. It floated. That pretty much summed up my knowledge of kayaks. Sold!
— So you took the bus here, he asked. You’re going to try to get the kayak home on the bus?
— Nah, I’m just going to kayak from here if that’s cool. Gonna take it over to Kirkland.
— Whoa… you’re gonna kayak from here? To Kirkland? You’re a madman brah.
The guy who lives on a boat was calling me a madman.
He gave me a few bottles of water and helped me in to my boat.
— Are there any rules I need to follow?
— No wake and don’t go over seven knots.
With that, I was off. Nine miles to Kirkland, where I could store the kayak in the company parking garage. The office is right across the street from Lake Washington.
The long haul. Talk about sunburns…
Through the ship canal. It quickly became obvious that I didn’t really know what I was doing. The kayak drifted to the left, then to the right. Every direction but straight. I blamed the boat. Certainly my pedestrian kayaking motions wouldn’t play a role in something as simple as direction.
Across Lake Union. Through the cut. It was a sunny day. Boats were out. The water was getting choppy. I finally entered Lake Washington. This trip was longer than anticipated. Half-way across the lake. There was a 40% chance I wasn’t going to make it. The sun kept beating down. I picked out markers in the distance. A buoy. A tree. Just keep going.
After about four hours, the kayak trip from hell was complete. I crawled up to the shore and collapsed in the grass. I was a boat owner. This is gonna be fun.