Monthly Archives: June 2011

White Rock Navy – da boats

Three of us are planning on the Tour du Teche. And now we’re all in boats!

Christian bought his on a budget. He looked and looked…. and looked. He researched everything. He even had me checking out boats here in SPort. He finally picked up a solo racing canoe. Folks, this isn’t anything like you remember paddling in the Ozarks with a cooler of beer when you were younger. Think long and black. I thought my kayak was long at 18′. This one-man boat he bought is 22 feet long and REALLY skinny. After his first couple of times out in it he told me he had not tipped over but, “you really have to pay attention all the time” to keep from flipping it. And, since it’s made of kevlar it’s black, bullet proof, and only weighs about 30 pounds (mine’s 45). This beast is 2 time veteran of the Texas Water Safari – billed as the toughest race on the planet – and it’s seen its share of stumps and rocks. They say Texans like their girls pretty and their boats ugly and this, I suppose, qualifies my son as a true Texas paddler.

Meanwhile, my friend Jim has also been looking long and hard for something. Now, if you know Jim you know he’s frugal. OK, let’s be honest, he’s cheap – really cheap. He called me a while ago and the conversation went something like this:

Jim: Ned, I found a kayak!
Me: Great! What kind is it?
Jim: It’s FREE!
Me: But, what kind is it? What brand? Is it long or short?
Jim: It’s FREE! I don’t know what kind it is. My brother’s had it in his garage and never uses it so he’s giving it to me.
Me (thinking): Ohhh boy. This isn’t good.
Jim: I’ll look at it and let you know the next time I’m over there.

So, a couple of weeks go by and Jim calls me.
Jim: Ned, I looked at that boat and it’s about six or eight feet long, and plastic.
Me: That sounds like a white water boat. Those are strong, and heavy, and they don’t go in a straight line very well at all.
Jim: So, you don’t think it will work?
Me: Well, you know the first day is 40 miles, and the second is 60. And I don’t think you’ll be able to keep that boat going in a straight line. You’ll be bouncing back and forth off the banks like a pinball.
Jim: But, it’s free! Did I mention that?
Me: Jim, you’re racing a tricycle in a bicycle marathon here. You gotta get something different. You’ll probably need to actually spend some money.

A couple of weeks pass and Jim calls me back again. he’s bought a sit-on-top kayak with a broken rudder. It’s a brand and model that’s actually fairly fast for a sit-on-top. And, with the rudder fixed it should work OK for him.

Fast forward to about now…..
Christian has been out fairly regularly in his boat and is getting to where he can knock off 15 or 20 miles at a time. Damned kid. I guess I’ll see him each day at the starting line and he’ll be waiting for Jim and me at the finish line.

Meanwhile, Jim tells me he believes I have a plan with his wife, Chris, to split his life insurance after I kill him in this race. He took it out the first time for about 3 miles and said his butt was sore. He’ll get there, though. Jim’s actually in better shape than I am, so with a few months of work-outs he’ll be ready to paddle the Teche. I just hope he doesn’t get an ulcer worrying about how much money he’ll be spending.

Jim, if you’re reading this – you still need to make reservations at one of those nice bed and breakfasts. They’re listed on the tab marked Teche for Tourists at the top of this blog. You need to do something nice for Chris. After all, you’ll be out in your boat having fun while she’s on dry land putting up with museums, good food, plantation tours….. Actually, forget I said that. Chris is your ground crew. It’s her job to make those reservations. Just don’t you worry about a thing and let her handle it all with those quaint bed and breakfasts.