Well I went to my first lesson with an instructor this morning. When I left the lesson cost a good bit over 400.
Well not really shocked. The dealer was giving me a set up to use but I decided to buy a wet suit, shirt, neoprene balaclava, and socks. I also got a Solquist jacket with a hood. It was actually less than I thought. I was trying on suits and I put one on with no nylon shirt and I could almost not get it off my shoulder. 30 more seconds and I was going to search for help. Others were easy when I had the shirt on.
Geared up they set me up in the Solstice HV I was renting previously so I felt comfortable in. There were two of us in the class so it was good. Instructor was a woman and seemed to really know her stuff. She was my age near 60 or over a tad. We were talking and when little late 50's early 60's she lived around the block from me. It really is a small world.
She ask what did we want today out of today. My request was I just want to be able to get back in my boat or at least a good shot at it. Forgot what the other guy said. He did say he gets short of breath at times. We leave the beach and start to paddle around to a different area.
I was hoping to be the first to dump over but I was not. The other student went over first but not by choice. It was windy but not much chance for the water to fetch any waves more than 6" or even less. The body of water is very small and sheltered.
The other student really could not paddle or even float in the boat with any comfort. He would start to wobble and just go over like he was dancing on top of a grease egg. He really could not even paddle the boat he was so nervous. He would literally take 12" strokes or even less. The wind had it's way with him very easily. He is in recovery mode first as I watched. He hung on the nose of the instructors boat while she collected his boat and emptied it. He did hold on to his paddle. The instructor had him between the boats and told him to pretend they were parallel bars like in gym class. He struggled and was probably out of breath. He climbed the back deck of his boat and got his leg in the boat. Then he got the other in the boat and rolled over and was finally in the boat.
She took us to the dock and told us more things while the other student was one arm on floater to stabilize himself. The it was my turn so I went out a bit and rolled over after a deep breath. I did as instructed leaned forward and banged the boat sides three times. I did forget to sweep my hands on the side of the boat as instructed. I hung on to the paddled and surfaced with some water in my nose. I blew some air out to get the water out. I had enough in my nose to know it was salt water. It was no big deal with it but not like watching TV on the couch but it really didn't bother me.
I grabbed the boat right away as I was told not to lose the boat you may never catch it. Paddle will not take off like a boat because it is in the water and not affect by wind as much. The boat has flotation the paddle has none. The boat is also easier to spot you with. Then I had to roll my boat right side up and empty it. I tried to empty it but as I lifted it I went down under and was testing my nose exhaust skills again. She then told me to just roll it over and that went easy. It had some water but not bad. The I was between the two boats and she showed my how she would grasp my boat to hold it to mine.
I crawled up my back deck and got one leg in then the other and turned in the cockpit. Pumped out the boat and replaced the skirt. She told me if rough get the skirt on then open a hole in the side near the front and insert the pump in there to get out water.
Then we went to the paddle float recovery and that was not bad. This time I was on my own as she watched. I had to hook one leg in the boat to keep it with me. I hit the seat the first time and realized I needed to turn to get my leg to the bow to get it deeper. I got the paddle bag and put it on the paddle. I gave it a few puffs first for some shape then buckled it up. I inflated the paddle bag fully as I lay on my back. I did get to lift the bow out of the water this time to get all the water out and roll it. She told me to sit on the paddle & float for more buoyancy. That was a big help. Got the paddle all the way though the deck lines and then kicked my feet out to raise my body. Got paddle through the lines on both sides. I had to roll the boat a tad to get the other side locked on the paddle. I had one hand on the cockpit and one on the paddle and kept it perpendicular to the boat for more support it did start to swing to the boat. I hooked my foot on the paddle and pulled up on the stern of the boat while keeping low. Legs went in the boat easy and I rolled over and got the skirt on and then pumped.
The other student went over again which was not planned so I got his boat rolled it then pulled it on my deck and rolled and emptied it then got it back to him. Positioned my boat near his so he could use both boats to get out. It was not working well so the instructor came over on the side of his boat to help pull him up on his boat. She had him then hold my boat nose to nose and I paddled over his bow back towards shore. The wind was taking me a bit so it was hard to turn both boats. She did a contact tow by clipping on his kayak. She made it look easy and spun the two boats in the wind.
I forgot where but she did show me how to get under the nose of her boat and hook my legs up and grab the nose or even the lifting handle if need be.
She told us about assessing a situation if in a group and basically the one in the water in low person on the totem pole.
Hope it made some sense I may be out of sequence on something but it was a good day the water was 65* and it felt good. Funny thing is I really never felt wet except one moment. I felt water run on my side once and it reminded me I was in the water. I got what I needed and now feel a lot better about getting in the boat. I do realize the water was calm and I need many more shots and want to try it in some 2-3 foot waves at minimum. All the clothes I bought worked well and I was warm and happy like a couch potato.
With all the problems the other student had he was braver than me. When we were out there he said he had a leaky valve. I was thinking valve on his boat but there are not many or any on a Kayak. He was talking about is heart. I was shocked he was even out there. Hats off to him and his bravery I would not be out there period. Being out of breath cannot be a good feeling. He never panicked but didn't have a ton of brute strength to muscle in the boats. I doubt he'll be here reading and thought hard about even posting the story. He had everything to be proud of and nothing to regret as I watched close up. Three cheers for my partner in learning today if you do read this.
Great day but I know I just scratched the surface of learning and safety. I did read it all in the sea kayaking book I read but there is nothing like hands on work. I am w work in progress at the earliest stages.
This must have been a boring read especially they way I typed it but most of it was a exercise for me to review the day in my own mind. She also said it is NOT a rescue class but a recovery class. Rescue is by regular boat or chopper. I thought that was good. Her last name was O'Conner and she did a great job! Thanks Kathy! I should really proof read it but I am out of time I apologize!
also put in some flotation bags in the bow and stern. Some of the hatch straps came of during the day as I thought they may.