Monday, April 18, 2005

Old Dog, New Tricks

Today, i surfed. Technically, surfing would be a rather generous description of what i did, but it's shorter than "swimming in the ocean while tied at the ankle to a 9 ft. piece of fiberglass". My wife, having surfed before, has some small proficiency; and my children, being mentally and physically superior to most other children, took to it immediately. We went this morning to Carlsbad State Beach and got some instruction from the San Diego Surf Academy, basically two 40-something guys named Pat and Ray who seem to have done a lot of living (i mean that in a good way). The surf was, as Pat said, "gnarly". I don't quite understand the dynamics of it, but there were waves coming from two directions, one set roughly perpendicular to the beach, and another offset by about 20 degrees. The successive waves also came rapidly, so that it was hard to set up between waves. To top things off, there was a really interesting backwash, so that sometimes you'd be coming in on a wave and another wave would be coming back out toward you. Oddly enough, this was amazingly fun. I can't imagine how fun surfing must be if you can actually surf.

Yesterday, i kayaked. It was only on a lake, so it wasn't too different from canoeing, but still a learning experience. Fortunately, kayaking is not one of those impossibly hard things to get started at like, say, surfing. We managed the basics after 15-20 minutes of instruction, and then we paddled around the lake (Lake Wohlford) with a group of other kayakers. It was a uniquely San Diego day, the sort of day that other places don't get no matter how hard they try. Imagine the nicest day you've ever experienced wherever you live. This was better. Anyway, it was a lovely day and we saw a few birds, mostly the usual suspects: least terns, egrets (both snowy and great), grebes, cormorants, a night Heron, an osprey, some ducks. But there's also a remarkably large group of white pelicans hanging out at the lake, which is unusual for these parts.

This week is my kids' spring break, so we decided to turn it into spring break for the whole crew. My son Nathan turned 11 on Saturday, so we've also been on a sort of extended birthday celebration. Tomorrow, we rock climb. Fortunately, i've done that quite a few times now, so i don't have to make any new room in my brain.

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