Travel writer Paul Theroux once spent a year and a half in a collapsible kayak, paddling around 51 islands in the South Pacific, and facing all kinds of challenges on sea and land. The two hours I spent in a sturdy plastic kayak atop the waters of Bacuit Bay in the Philippines at the beginning of this month almost give adventure a bad name by comparison.
I guess that’s why Theroux wrote a 500-page book (The Happy Isles of Oceania) based on his experience whereas I’ll be settling for 200-word blog post.
I will say one thing, though. My respect for anyone who takes this kind of vessel into open water has risen enormously. During my two hours, I never drifted more than about 500 metres from the shore, but it was enough to have me completely freaked out by the thought of what might be swimming around in the inky blackness beneath the kayak. I kept having visions of this iconic photo. And when a green sea turtle interrupted the silent swish of paddle in water by popping up behind me and shorting like a whale, I almost passed out into a reverse Eskimo roll. (Inuit roll?) Continue reading