Lessons

“Good afternoon, everyone! Glad to see we have a full tour here today, and wonderful weather! My name is Bryn and I’ll be your kayak guide today. Now before I get-

What’s that?

No, no, not Bryan, it’s Bryn.

Yes, actually, it’s spelt with a ‘y’.

No, it’s not short for anything.

Yes, I am aware it’s commonly a girl’s name.

Thank you, I prefer not to think of it as ‘cute’, but that’s okay.

Anyways, as I was saying, before we get started I just wanted to make sure you are all comfortable getting wet in the clothes you will be wearing. Kayaking is a water sport, and- as my boss likes to say- there are two things we can guarantee on a kayak trip: wet feet and wet butts.

Yes, you do have to get wet.

Yes, I’m serious. It’s sea kayaking.

I’m sorry they didn’t tell you that at customer service, ma’am, if it makes you feel any better you weren’t in my job description either.

Hm *cough* I mean, I was just saying that I’ll have to have word with them about that, thank you for bringing it to my attention.

Everyone else good to go? Okay, great.

So, first things first, I’m going to hand you all one of these yellow pieces of clothing. It’s called a spray skirt, and I’ll show you how to put in on in just one moment.

No, it doesn’t go on like that, hang on a second, I’ll show you once everyon-

No, not like that either.

No, now it’s on backwards.

How’d you get the shoulder straps under your swimsuit?

If you just hold on one second, I’m going to show everyone how to put it on.

Great. Okay. Thank you. Now to avoid any unlucky occurrences, such as this gentleman in the pink trunks just had, watch me as I show you how to put this on:

First, hold it out with the tongue like section that has the logo in front. Then, make sure your shoulder straps are disconnected, and in back, and step into it like you would a pair of pants. Excellent. Now everyone pull it up so that it’s halfway between your belly button and chest.

No, sir, you need to pull it up further…above your knees.

Okay, everyone good? Great. So now you pull one shoulder strap over each shoulder, and we’re good to go. Next, is the life jacket. Just like any life preserver you’ve worn before, this one has two buckles in front, and we ask that they’re done up at all times.

What’s that ma’am?

Yes, you do have to wear this for the whole trip.

Yes, life jacket and spray skirt.

What now?

Yes, I can see that you wore your bikini. I am sorry that this will give you weird tan lines. But it’s for your safety.

Yes, I’m serious.

Now, before we get going today, we need to make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to paddling.

I’m sorry, what’s so funny?

No, young man, that was not a reference to corporal punishment. It’s a term used for kayaking here in New England. Please stop laughing.

Anyways, as I was saying, we’re going to have a quick paddling lesson before we…

I said stop laughing!

…before we hit the water today. First of all, you need to make sure you’re holding the paddle correctly. You want your hands to be about shoulder width apart. A good way to figure this out is by placing the paddle on the top of your head, and holding your arms so that they form about a ninety-degree angle at the elbow. Great.

Okay, next we need to make sure we can get in and out of the boats safely. These boats are very stable on the water, but when they’re halfway on water and on land, it’s easy to tip. So if you stand in the boats to climb in, you can easily trip and OH S&%#*”

(Kerplunk…splash…muttered profanity…recovery)

Hmm, yea

Just like that

I guess that’s a great example of do as I say not as I do, right?”

(Awkward silence)

Sooo, as I was saying and so wonderfully failed to portray, to get in and out of the boats safely, the first thing you’ll do is straddle the boat…

Yes, young man, I did just say straddle. And paddle earlier. Again, please stop laughing.

Next, you will sit on the back of the cockpit, and then swing your foot in one at a time, and slide yourself into the boat. Nice and easy. Everyone see that? Great, and that will help you avoid making a fool out of yourself. Like me!”

(More awkward silence)

“Okay, we’re almost ready to go, but before we finally hit the water, I just want to make sure you all know what to do if you capsize. so, in case you capsize-

Sorry, did you have a question?

No, capsize…as in you flip your kayak over.

Yea, I don’t think it’s an alcoholic beverage, and if it is-I’m not talking about that…though I could certainly go for one of those about now.

As I was saying, if you do capsize, first of all, do not panic. You should never panic, unless of course Justin Beiber decides he wants a clone. Then panicking is a good idea.”

(Even more awkward silence…really?)

“Right. So other than not panicking, if you capsize, you should reach down and grab this handle at the very front of your spray skirt. That’s called the grab loop. Take a hold of that, and pull it to your chest. This will pop off your spray skirt, allowing you to release from the boat and float to the surface. When there, I’ll be along shortly to help you. Sound good?

No, sir, capsizing is not a common occurrence, and even when it does happen I can usually get you out before the sharks arrive.”

(Terrified looks, certainly no laughs)

“I’m sorry, that was poor taste.

What I meant is, it doesn’t happen often, and safety is always my priority. And no, we don’t have sharks here.

Okay? Great.We’ll start getting in the boats hit the water.

Like I said, my name is Bryn, and if you all have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask. What’s that?

No, no, not Bryan.

Yes, I’m sure there’s no “a”.

No, it’s Bryn.

Not Brent, Bryn, B-r-y… you know what, Brent is fine. Just call me that. Okay?

Great, let’s get you in that kayak.”

I love my job.

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