Kayaking with Two Dogs

There’s a good reason why I’ve never seen anybody else kayaking with two dogs on board. It’s absolute madness.

Welcome to another sunny day in Sydney’s gorgeous Palm Beach. Just to fill you in a bit, it’s now autumn and the air is starting to chill. The ocean water temperature isn’t too bad and you can still wade through the water in comfort. That said, we’ve turned up the solar heating on the pool and are praying for summer’s artificial return.

After both kids had declined to join me, Geoff helped both of the dogs onboard and we were off: Lady in the front and heavy Bilbo in the middle facing me with his claws all but wedged into the kayak. If you haven’t followed Bilbo’s adventures before, let me just say that he’s NOT into adventure and his bucket list only includes walks on dry land where he doesn’t get his paws wet. Lady is considerably more adventurous and will swim and has also taken “liberties” as the hunt for local rabbits continues. In case you’re thinking rabbit hunting is a local “sport” Lady was originally from a farm and chanced across a dead rabbit while we were staying at Palm Beach, which is much better known for it’s fish and chips and fasionistas. She still hasn’t forgotten and her desperate quest for more rabbits continues.

Even if you haven’t been kayaking, I’m sure you’d still appreciate that staying afloat requires a healthy respect for the laws of physics. The most obvious being staying in your seat while you’re out in the water. Keeping the weight evenly balanced would also be a good idea and you certainly don’t need to be Einstein to work out that leaning to one side with your tail in the water, is an invitation to capsize.

Welcome to kayaking with two dogs. Being a Border Collie, Bilbo is supposedly representing the world’s smartest breed. Although 50% Border Collie and 50% Cavalier King Charles Spaniel which comes in at something like number 42 on the list, Lady does seem a little. Humph…Let’s just say that for what she might lack in the brains trust, she certainly makes up for in looks and I’ve never met a dog before who wags their tail with such incredible enthusiasm. She is one very, very happy dog…even though she hasn’t found a second rabbit.

Given this combination, I could at least hope for two dogs who might think before they do something stupid.However, as it turned out, we were challenged right from the start.

Freaking out due to the instability of the kayak and the prospect of heading out to “sea”, Bilbo all but sat on my lap down the back of the kayak while little Lady was down the front. I’m probably not even capable of adding up Bilbo’s and my combined weight and even if I could, I certainly wouldn’t be advertising it here. Let’s just suffice to say, that Bilbo must be close to twice Lady’s weight and to counterbalance my weight as “the human”, he should have been down the front. He wasn’t and if you’ve ever tried to shift a terrified dog whose absolutely petrified of getting his paws wet, you’ll know that he was going nowhere!!

Compounding trouble, Lady doesn’t like to sit at the best of times and being in the front seat beyond my grasp, she could pretty much do whatever she liked. This included standing instead of sitting and even when she was sitting, sitting right on the edge of the kayak with her tail dangling in the water. As you could imagine, this was just asking the kayak to capsize.

Consequently, with Lady hellbent on destabilizing the kayak and Bilbo being so anxious that any instability sent him all but jumping onto my lap, even I was feeling sea sick. With all this commotion, even I was staring longing at home base hoping Geoff wasn’t faraway. Obviously, I didn’t need a crystal ball to know capsizing was more than a just a possibility and I could well be in need of a net.

All those dramas aside, it was a real hoot kayaking with the dogs. There were waves and shouts of admiration from the neighbours and I was pretty chuffed. After all, how often do you see someone kayaking with a dog onboard, let alone two and I really love my dogs. No doubt, there were a few fans taking selfies with us as this incredible spectacle passed by.

That said, it was tricky just trying to move the paddle with Bilbo hovering right over the top of me. I was almost whacking him in the head. Almost whacking him in the head while Lady was either standing up, sitting on the edge and all but disco dancing in the kayak creating waves and definitely poking her pink little tongue out at physics.

Yes, it was definitely time to start meditating and being mindful…ha!

However, the dogs weren’t my only challenge. There was also the tide. We live in a tidal zone so while you can throw around phrases like: “the tide waits for no man”, we know exactly what that’s all about. You have to have enough water to get out and enough water to get back. Get the timing wrong and you’re beached…just like a whale.

Fortunately, we made it back with plenty of time to spare. However, the next day when I was only out with Lady (Bilbo rejected a repeat invitation), I pushed my luck a bit too far and we got beached about 100 metres away from home. After several failed attempts to budge us with the paddle, Lady was thrown overboard and Mister was recruited to save his Mum. Yes, it was time for him to implement all that Sea Scout training and earn his keep. Mister sat bow which pulled the stern up out of the sand and then I managed to paddle further out and with his help, make it back to the boat ramp. Phew!

Lady walking home.

Lady walking home.

It seems like the dogs aren’t the only the ones who need to take a few lessons in physics. It looks like I could well be the next in line.

By the way, you might enjoy another post about the dogs out on the kayaks: Mutiny on the Yellow Kayak https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2014/09/29/mutiny-on-the-kayak/

K is for kayaking on Day 11 of the Blogging from A-Z April Challenge. How are you going with the challenge? Found it much easier today without the research load. Thanks dogs!! It’s been fun revisiting our fantastic, inimitable adventure.

xx Rowena

25 thoughts on “Kayaking with Two Dogs

  1. Shirley Corder

    Absolutely love this post and the photo. Sounds like such fun – although it’s probably a case of “you had to not be there” to think that!

  2. maxwellthedog

    You are a brave soul, Roweee, for taking big dogs on a kayak. That you made it back to shore in the boat rather than along side it is testament to your balance. And then you had the pleasure of wet, sandy dog to deal with.

  3. roweeee Post author

    Thanks, Tom. It was my husband’s idea but of course, it wasn’t him on the kayak. I was surprised that we actually managed to get a decent paddle in despite the challenges.
    Don’t believe wet dog managed to schnitzel herself before we got her home. Being still water here, it’s not so sandy and probably better described as “mud” even though that undermines the postcard appeal.

  4. roweeee Post author

    I can appreciate a good story and the very best are created out of such moments and worse. I laughed when Bilbo capsized the kayak when he dived bombed our son while he was out there. He thought I was cruel and heartless and still can’t laugh about it. I keep telling him that it will make a great story down the track but he still doesn’t believe me.

  5. TanGental

    Rather you than me; I tried kayaking once, got buttock cramp, capsized, caught my foot on the way out, still clinging tenaciously to the paddle, clouted the guy trying to help me who was stunned and had to be helped ashore while I had to fetch both his and my kayak now bobbing downstream like two escaped if rather forlorn party balloons.

  6. roweeee Post author

    By the way, Geoff, you’ll laugh at our efforts to get the kids off to the Scout camp. They were going straight to camp from Palm Beach so they had to bring all their gear with them on the holiday. So we get to packing and Mister realises that he has only brought his good school shoes and has no other shoes with him. He also finds out that he has no scout shirt. geoff did a shop around yesterday for supplies and after departure this morning, I get a call: “Is there a day pack in the front room?” Oh yes, Miss had left her very full day pack behind. I don’t know what that has meant but I’m sure Geoff is spitting chips. It was about a 3 or four hour drive to get them there.

  7. TanGental

    Oh yes. Love it. Had I done that mum and dad would have said tough n
    But we who spoil our kids make the round trip. I’ve told mine that’s just credit in the bank for The Incontinence Years to which the eldest tells me the first wet patch on the sofa and I’m off to a home…

  8. roweeee Post author

    Mum did say tough and I have no idea why my husband is driving back up. I’ve obviously driven him crazy.
    Just as well you’re not a dog because too many puddles in the house and you don’t get sent to a home but to a more permanent heavenly home after experiencing the blue dream.

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  16. Terri Webster Schrandt

    I love this!! At least you can sit down and handle the instability! I have been known to SUP with both of my small dogs. But when one jumps in it’s a mad rush to catch up to him 🙂 This will be a great post for my Leisure Link link-up when I re-open it on October 1st. I will post about it!

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