Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Year's resolutions for a kayaker

New Year’s resolutions have never been my thing. Oh, way back in ’08, there was something about “Try out a kayak this year. And don’t drown.” But for the most part, I saw New Year’s resolutions as the necessary first step toward disappointments that could hang around for the rest of the year.

My view has changed. Among other influences, it involves an old friend, Cap’n Dave Jensen, who was my editor in the newspaper biz several eons ago. (To this day, I have nightmares in which Dave barks at me, “Faster! Faster! Type faster!” Ah, good times.)

Some years back, Cap’n Dave and his spouse Sally quit their day jobs, sold their house and all their possessions, bought a sailboat, hit the left turn signal just outside the Golden Gate, and now live mostly off the coast of Mexico. They didn’t have outstanding criminal warrants or anything – they just did it.

From Mazatlan, a recent e-mail excerpt of Dave’s barnacle chronicles: “...We leave in a few days for an island about 350 nautical miles southwest of here. Isla Socorro is not exactly on a well-trod path. The latest charts date from 1874, sketches made by the crew aboard the USS Narragansett. The only souls living on the island are members of the Mexican Navy and their families, perhaps 250 persons. They patrol the nearby waters to keep out commercial and sport fishing.

“We and a few other gringo sailboats received special permission to visit the islands, which are protected ‘biospheres,’ whatever that is….snorkeling is excellent. So it will be Feliz Navidad onboard a tiny vessel anchored off a barren volcanic cone sprouting out of the Pacific.” (More on Dave here.)

What I’ve learned from Cap’n Dave – besides how to be maybe the fastest typist since Clark Kent – and from some other experiences is just this: You can drift and dread, or you can dream and dare. The dream might be a 39-foot ketch off Isla Socorro. Or it could be something different altogether. It just has to click for you.

Right now, my dream fits quite nicely in a 16-foot kayak, in the company of some like-minded folks. If that seems fairly simple, then so are my resolutions for 2010. I just want to appreciate life on the water, and listen more closely to the quiet currents that ripple through nature, across my bow, and within me.

Happy paddling in the New Year!

Sea kayaking in Monterey

© 2009 Glenn Brank