Today I woke up at an all-too-early hour to join a before-work outrigger practice on my one-person canoe (she was more than a little dusty when I pulled her out of her berth, having sat unused for the past few weeks). It was still dark when I was assembling the connecting pieces between the main part of the boat and the outrigger. I fumbled because I couldn’t see what I was doing, and some of the other paddlers gave me a hand. They commented a bit on my boat (she’s older, but a classic).
When I launched into the water of the Back Bay everything was glassy and quiet. The moon was full and high in the sky, and Orion was overhead. I paddled out about a mile to the PCH bridge before I joined the other early-morning stalwarts. I was the only female and the only morning-practice n00b–so I knew I’d be a lot slower than the others. We did 3 sets of pyramid sprints around Lido Island (my very favorite loop in the harbor), pointed straight at the moon as she was setting on the horizon. By the time we came around the far end of the island, the horizon was all aglow with the sun rising on the other side of the sky. The view of the palm trees and hills framed by waves of deepening color was breathtaking. I counted the white heron that flew directly in front of me as I passed Spider Island a good omen.
The guys gave me a bit of a lead on all the sprints and we finished nearly every piece together (I suspect that they were being easy on me, and I am grateful for that). As I washed my boat and headed back for a shower, I realized that my love for outrigger paddling just grew to whole new level.
I now have the best reason ever to get out of bed early every morning (and a paddling wake-up call is so much better than coffee).