Kayaking with Caelli (1998) and Kayaking with Dad (1998)

Kayaking with Caelli (1998)
by Rick Wright

"Two-hundred forty five degrees" my eight year old daughter yelled from the center cockpit of the large double as it crested the seven foot wave.

"Compliance" I replied, imitating the metallic voice of the UFO from the Navigator, a video we'd watched several days before.

"What island is that to our north?"

"That's Bear Island, right Daddy?" Came her response after consulting the map draped over her sprayskirt.

"Way to go Navigator!" I called back as I thought back on the years of preparation that had gone into thissingle trip.

One of the keys to kayaking with children is adequate preparation. Aside from the obvious attention paid to safety equipment, practicing rescue techniques, and careful trip planning, the time spent building a child's interest can be a key factor in determining a trip's success.

From the time she was three I have taken Caelli kayaking. Sitting in the bow or stern hatches of my boat she marveled at the ducks, geese, turtles and the occasional muskrat along the shores of city lakes. While her friends' parents brought T-shirts or stuffed animals as souvenirs from their travels, I brought Caelli rocks, feathers, antlers, and even a bear skull from mine. Asked if she'd rather I bring her "normal" souvenirs, she responded with an emphatic "no!"

To prepare her for this September's trip to the Apostles we rummaged through her rock collection to find examples of sandstone. We read The Light at Tern Rock together to build excitement about lighthouses we'd see. On trips back from a doctor's appointment or the mall, I taught her to use the G.P.S. and allowed her to navigate home. By watching me pour over topo and hydrographic charts in preparation for camping trips, she learned the basics of map-reading.

Whoops of delight punctuated the constant din of wind and waves as the double charged into a trough throwing up sheets of spray. Tears of intense pride welled in the corners of my eyes as I was yanked back into the present by my little girl's excitement.

"This is cool Dad."

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Kayaking with Dad (1998)
by Caelli Wright

Hi my name is Caelli. I'm eight years old. This year I got my first kayak, but I've actually been kayaking since I was three. My dad used to put me in the front or back hatches of his kayak and take me paddling. Kayaking is fun. You get to see pretty places and cool animals like turtles, rabbits, herons, and fish. It is fun to paddle the big waves on Lake Superior. One of the best things about paddling with Mom and Dad is getting to be the navigator. I check the G.P.S. and my map and tell them where to go. I look forward to the day I'm old enough old enough to paddle on my own.

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© 1998 TCSKA