A Kayak Love Story

Love has its ways, and it found my way through a kayak ride.

There was an october were every saturday in the morning my friend Erick and I took my newly bought Ocean Kayak Malibu Two to “El Lago de la Puerta Cuatro” to hone our paddling skills before hitting the sometimes-feared Caribbean Sea.

The National Park Mirador del Norte, where the lake is located, has 6 gates each of them having its unique and distinctive attraction. In that gate you will find the 1.2 kms kayakable Yaguasa lake which owes its name for the indigenous water bird by the same name. This lake is also home to a big band of ducks and a not so big band of geese, as well as tortoise and herons. For a whole month that lake served as our kayaking learning center.

Prior to every paddling session we religiously did a stretching routine which consisted of some jogging and walking in a small back road that connects gates 1 to 4 of the national park.

We were jogging close to the middle of the road between gate 3 and 2 when walking down a slope came a couple our way. Since that was a fairly isolated place, we thought at first glance that those were two lovers seeking for some privacy amid the woods.

Two Wanderers Amid the Woods

As we jogged closer, I saw a little mannerism in the guy and soon realized they were only two friends taking a stroll through the forest. It so happened that they were a bit lost were trying to reach the lake walking through the same path we came jogging.

We advised them otherwise, because the road wasn’t completely asphalted and had plenty of mud in a good stretch of it.

Trying to seize the opportunity to get to know her better I extended them the invitation to kayak with us if by the time we came back from our jogging they were still hanging around the lake, so we exchanged numbers and resumed our jogging.

Since I was interested in getting to know her, I told my friend that this time we would speed up the jogging as to increase the probabilities to cross paths again with them.

The curbs of that forestry road seamed endless, plus the added effort was taking away my breath and the lactic acid was pumping up.

It sure was a battle between wanting to jog as long and steady as I could and my cardiovascular condition. One of life’s truths was proven that day, when there’s a will there’s a way or at least a good reason to withstand the strains of that jog turned to run. Ohhh, what a nice smile can make you do.

It’s hard to believe that in an island like the Dominican Republic, kayaking is not a popular sport and even harder to believe is that people are not more prone to try it when opportunity comes. By that day we had previously kayaked twice and out of all the people that go to that park not one had expressed a real interest in trying it and kept their desires to themselves. That was until we found those two.

As soon as we came back from running, we found the two wandering friends walking towards us half way through the bridge that connected a tiny island in the lake.

They barely waited for us to catch our breath before they started cashing in our invitation to paddle.

Without hesitation I seized the opportunity to go first with her. From my previous paddling sessions, I knew that a coast-hugging paddle of the lake would take us approximately 45 minutes, enough time to her a general sense of her and vice versa with the added advantage of a beautiful scenery courtesy of nature.

Kayaking the Yaguasa Lake

After we put our PFD’s on and started paddling, I could notice a slight expression of awe in her. There is something magical and liberating at the same time to be able to view nature in the middle of the water in a kayak.

The first display nature gifted us in that paddle where a bunch of tortoises that started to emerge by our side which quickly submerged frightened with our paddle strokes. A band of ducks couldn’t have been more gracious that day. Just after our first few paddle strokes the whole band of around twenty or so descended right in front of course.

Not noticing quite well our presence we could really get close to a meter of distance to the pack. We paddled a bit harder trying to get even closer to them and when the nose of the kayak was almost on top of one, they all delighted us with a spectacular take off passing right underneath the bridge of the lake. There can hardly be a better chain of events for someone’s first kayak trip.

Paddling the calm waters of the Yaguasa Lake watching the swans, ducks and yaguasas swimming in it became the perfect scenario for the long chat we had. Nature became the main topic that gave way from time to time to more personal topics.

There is something really special about a kayaking girl, taking into consideration that nowadays people date online or through phone apps. A girl who kayaks is more prone to adventure and more likely to enjoy nature and camping.

Paddling from the back seat of the Malibu Two allowed me to have a nice contrast of the delicate hues of greens of the water and the trees with her beautiful silhouette.

For many, being in that situation could represent a double edge sword if one is not very talkative of have a narrow scope of topics to chat about. Luckily for me I had an arsenal of info about the park that almost resembled that of a tour guide which let her inquisitive nature satisfied and kept the conversation flowing way past the kayak ride. Although we were having a great time, we knew we had to return so our friends could have their ride as well.

We took our gears off and helped them paddle away. It is very pleasing watching someone kayak for the first time, battling a bit with their balance, trying to put into actions all the advices you previously gave them and getting a hold of the kayak.

Seeing them realize that for the first time they are completely surrounded by water and in direct contact with another aspect of nature, is really a satisfying moment for the spectator as well. As soon as we set them away, we took ourselves with a couple of bottled water to the little island in the middle of the lake where we watched them paddle almost the same route that we kayaked.

The Kayaking Girl

Time does flies by when you are having a good time. The park was about to close so we started to put away the Malibu Two and the rest of the gears and the time came to say goodbye.

Time proved to me that that Kayak Trip gave way to a beautiful love story with my now wife Pamela. It reminds me of a t-shirt logo that says… “I am a Kayak Girl… just like a normal girl except Much Cooler”. I guess it’s true.

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