Thursday, March 27, 2008

Kayaking on Pearl Harbor

Since the boys are on spring break and things seemed relatively calm and under control at work (knock on wood), I decided to take some leave to spend time with the boys while they're out of school. Unfortunately, poor LW has been sick with a fever and spent most of the day yesterday in bed or in her recliner.

One of my guys is doing his reenlistment underwater next week, so I wanted to make sure my scuba gear was still functional. I took the boys with me over to the Hickam AFB dive shop yesterday and checked out a scuba tank. The plan was for us to go to the base pool to test my gear and just to swim and have some fun. We got to the pool and it was PACKED. In fact, they were at capacity and not allowing anybody else come in. There was a line of people waiting outside for a one-for-one exchange (one person comes out, another person gets to go in). So we bailed out and headed back to the car.

On our way home from Hickam, we stopped at Go Bananas. I've been wanting to take the boys kayaking for a long time. They rent kayaks at both Outdoor Rec on base and at Go Bananas on Kam Highway, both on the order of $30 for a full day rental. I was a little hesitant about it for several reasons.

1. It's been several years since I've been kayaking, so I wasn't confident in my skills at handling the boat.

2. Neither of my boys have ever been kayaking, although they swim pretty well and would do fine with life preservers on.

3. In order to mitigate the risks associated with factors 1 and 2, I wanted to go someplace calm and not too strenuous. I asked the people at Outdoor Rec, and they recommended a couple of places on Kaneohe Bay. The problem with that is the weather can be totally different on the windward side of the island, and I can't find any webcams or other real-time means to check the conditions over there before I spend $30 on a kayak rental and then drive all the way over to that side of the island.

The people at Outdoor Rec didn't seem very comfortable with the fact that I wanted to take kids with me kayaking and were not very helpful with information or recommendations how or where to do it safely. That sort of fed my hesitation to give it a try.

I'm really glad I stopped at Go Bananas yesterday. Steve and Kevin at Go Bananas were both really enthusiastic and encouraged me to take the boys out. They talked to me about different models of kayaks that would support taking kids along and what their advantages and disadvantages were. They also recommended a couple of places to go on Kaneohe Bay, so I still had not overcome the obstacle of knowing the conditions on the water before paying for the kayak rental.

Then Steve said, "Wait, you're military..." Yeah? He said, "Why don't you just go kayaking on Pearl Harbor? You couldn't ask for a calmer spot to try it out with your kids." I didn't know I COULD go kayaking on Pearl Harbor. He was absolutely right though, not only is it likely to be calm here on Pearl Harbor on the leeward side of the island, but it's also right next to our housing area and a lot easier to check the weather conditions before we head out.

Steve told me that they rent kayaks at the Rainbow Marina - the Navy marina next to the ARIZONA Memorial parking. Thanks, Steve! (Why didn't the Outdoor Rec people tell me that?!?!) So we went over there to check it out.

Sure enough, the Rainbow Marina has kayaks for rent - $5 per hour single or $7 per hour double.

This morning, ES and I headed over to the Rainbow Marina right after they opened at 0930 and checked out a double. ES impressed me with how well he paddled on his first time out.

ES paddling with McGrew Point in the distance.

Ford Island Bridge, ARIZONA Memorial,
and Mighty Mo in the distance.

The guy at the marina who outfitted us and got us in the water was also really nice, enthusiastic about taking ES out for his first time, and gave us helpful advice. We followed his advice and stayed upwind of the marina (so the wind would blow us back toward the marina). We did two laps north from the marina, past the Admiral's boat house, along the shore of McGrew Point and back to the marina again.

We were only out there for an hour, so it was a good introduction for ES and a heckuva lot cheaper and less time consuming than a full-blown expedition across the island to K-Bay.

Now that I've been able to get out there once with just ES for a practice run, I would feel a little more comfortable about renting a kayak for longer drive up to the windward side of the island. (Especially since there's a geocache to get on one of the streams over there). Given the prices are about the same, the staff is more helpful, and the shop is a lot closer, we'll probably go to Go Bananas to rent if we do embark on an expedition to the windward side.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Why do I do that? Why do I jinx myself? When I started writing this blog post yesterday, everything was calm on the boat. Of course, I had to write that into my blog, so today I got the phone call about one of my guys getting arrested. Note to self: Typing "knock on wood" apparently doesn't have the same effect as actually knocking on real wood.
I know, I know, it's just superstition, right? But aren't all sailors superstitious?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Two Thumbs Up for Bose Customer Service!

LW bought me a really nice set of Bose ear-bud headphones for my MP3 player back before I left on deployment in 2006. I lost the silicone ear pieces that slide on top of the headphones though. I checked the Bose website to see if I could just order more, but didn't see them. So I called Bose. I got a real, live human being on the phone, and he was very friendly and helpful. I explained what I was looking for, and he said no problem, they'd send them right out. I asked him if he needed my credit card info and he said, nope, no charge.

Low and behold, the new ear pieces arrived today via 2nd Day Air. That's awesome!

No comments: