I went out canoeing this morning for the first time time in too long. There was a thick marine fog layer all around Newport so paddling out of the harbor was a bit surreal and even somewhat scary. I went out on a 2-man canoe with a teammate and we were joined along the way with team members in one-man outrigger canoes.
The two of us had never been out on the open ocean in such a small boat before. Especially given the somewhat choppy water and the lack of visibility (we were guessing that it ranged from 20-40 yards depending on how the mist was shifting around), we were wary of heading out past the harbor. Our concerns ranged from whether large boats could see us, to whether we could find our way back to the harbor once we were out on the ocean. But the foghorn on the end of the jetty was blaring loudly and the OC Sheriffs’ boat was nearby looking out for those who might need aid. So we went for it.
We aimed for the bell buoy that sits about 1/4 mi out from the jetty (following its clanging sound and the bellowing of the sea lions that recline around its base) and kept paddling until we could see it emerging from the mist. Then after turning around and realizing that the shore was gone, we paddled back by watching where larger boats were emerging through the fog. When we were about halfway there we sighted the arc of a full rainbow off to our left hand side, noting that the end of the rainbow was sitting right in the harbor mouth. We followed it in and made it back safely. I don’t think I’ve ever had more fun chasing a rainbow!
All in all, we paddled about 8-9 miles. It was such a great feeling to pull in to shore having worked so hard out there! What made it even a bit better was getting an award (a gorgeous handcrafted ceramic tile) for being an “inspirational” novice paddler this past season. Sometimes the thrill of finding a sport that I love so much still seems too much to be true. And every time I get out on the water I realize how fortunate I am to be a part of this sport & the IMUA family. Everyone has been incredibly patient with me as I’ve been learning and growing stronger this past year! It’s a bit like following that rainbow back into the harbor–I just know there’s more magic that lies ahead if I just stay on course and keep paddling. :)