Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Divorce Boats

That's what some people call tandem kayaks: divorce boats. I've not seen all that many of them on the water, and those that I have seen were generally on rivers. I think whether or not these boats lead to divorce depends on the people and, more importantly, on how they come to own one of those beasts.

I've seen folks who take a 4-hour intro to recreational kayak and immediately fall in love with the concept of being on the water...together. What could be more blissful than two partners happily gliding across mirror-still waters while herons wade nearby and bald eagles circle over head? There is only one boat to own, only one requiring storage (if you happen to own an airplane hanger), and it is "ours". Almost sounds like a romance novel with a happy ending, doesn't it?

Then one of them decides it is time to venture into more challenging waters. Perhaps one of them sees a QAJAQ article and decides that rolling is the thing to do next. But, in the other direction, one of them may decide that going for a paddle 4 days a week (at 5 am) has begun to wear thin. They haven't seen one damn animal, not even a frog and, besides, my shoulders are always sore.And, by the way, who gets to leave their car out of the garage all winter?

What has often happened in these cases is that two well intentioned people have taken a brief experience and translated it (prematurely) into rich expectations. The intro lessons are so new and so unique that the feel-good hormones take over their thinking and, before they know it, they have invested emotions and dollars into a sport about which they know very little. They had been normal people, and now they own a small version of the Titanic.

I generally suggest that couples rent for a while and that they rent both solo and tandem crafts until they get past that initial surge of enthusiasm. Then, with what they will have learned, they can make a sensible decision.

By the way, the couple in the picture goes out on Lake Michigan in less than ideal conditions. They have had lessons, they do things by the book, they succeed...and they are not married to one another.

Paddle safe...



canoelover said...

If God intended people to paddle tandem, we would have beds that are 3 feet wide and 15 feet long. Side-by-side in a couple of solos is far more intimate. IMHO.

Silbs said...

What a great observation! Actually, Linda has me sleeping on a Harkens hoist in the garage :)

steve said...

We spent a week in the Greek island of Milos with a group of 14 and one double kayak, all the rest in singles. Whoever was in the double just loved it . No married couples though. It allows a person to get great photos or videos without having to worry about boat control etc among other things.God works in mysterious ways.

DaveO said...

The main trade off is that you need to decide whether you want to be in control snd staring at the back of someone's head or powerless to control your direction with an unimpeded view. Paddled em', hate em'.

Silbs said...

Never considered the idea of being driven around while I took picutres...good point Steve. DaveO, I've never been in one, and you may be right.