Sylvester gets a poke from behind.

When Sylvester suggested I paint breasts on the back of my life jacket, thereby giving him something interesting to look at as he paddled, I refrained from the desire to beat him in the head with the paddle in my hands.  We’ve taken to getting out and about in the nearby locality, as the lockdown here in Vancouver eases.

Being locked down I think I’ve done every gardening job on my to do list, with Ali, and Sylvester has been helping with a few odd jobs about the house. Just yesterday afternoon we were cleaning up an old chest of draws that had been neglected. Some candles had burned down and damaged the surface. We’re taking the finish back to the wood. I’ve been stripping while Sylvester scrapes the varnish and wax off.

As we get a little more freedom I’ve started looking for interesting things to do outdoors as we continue a slightly eased lockdown. Getting out to kayak, or to sail (as long as we maintain distance) is ok. One activity we’ve found that works very well is sea kayaking. There are a couple of things worthy of pointing out about this activity. First of all, you can crossdress, wear a wig and anything else you want, once you’re out on the water no one is going to be able to either do or say anything about it. Another great advantage to be gained from this activity is the wonderful work out it gives you.

After Sylvester’s rather coarse comment about painting boobs on the back of my life jacket I resolved not to let him sit in the stern seat anymore. Since that incident I’ve been making sure I take the back seat and he’s not poking fun at me from behind. I think you get the idea.

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As we paddled the double kayak off the sandy beach we cut across the glassy surface of the English Bay, the sun trying to fight it’s way through the morning mist. It’s surprising how very stable a sea kayak feels as we glide out into the surreal slow moving seascape. All the weight being low down, the likelihood of capsize is remote unless you’re doing something silly, like poking Sylvester with a paddle.

Sitting quietly in the stern I said to Sylvester, “It doesn’t feel like you’re paddling very hard, Sylvester. Are you perhaps feeling a little weak?”

“No,” replied Sylvester, “I’m just warming up.”

I feigned paddling and let Sylvester do the work, a satisfying grunt and gurgling following each stroke from his primate like form. I remember this putting me in mind that I should do a little more research into the idea that Neanderthal and Homo Sapiens co-existed for several thousand years. It’s even thought that they mated, mixing genetic code and that there’s a lasting impact on the human genome. This does explain Sylvester rather well. I made a mental note to look into the matter more deeply at some point.

“You know, they do say that if you have the right paddling technique you hardly feel tired at all,” I said helpfully.

Nursing his ego, Sylvester pulled more forcefully, unaware that I was just sitting there, coasting along while he did the work. In the distance a sea otter was swimming along the shoreline. We’ve seen so much more wildlife since people started slowing things down due to Covid-19. This shoreline is surprisingly home to not only sea otter and seals, but also heron, eagle and beaver.  I was surprised to see beaver in salt water, but as Sylvester pointed out, it’s surprising where you find beaver these days.

In the distance freighters from Asia and the US sat at anchor silently waiting to load in the Vancouver port. Some have been there for while, their crews unable to come ashore. A light mist drifted in on the morning tide, half obscuring the ships and lending a ghostly air to the scene. In the distance the North Shore mountains towered over the scene.

I poured a little whiskey into the coffee I sipped from a thermos flask as Sylvester pulled firmly and we slipped quietly through the morning air. It was delightfully relaxing. I really must suggest Sylvester do more to keep in shape.  He seems quite winded at times, though not so much that he doesn’t respond to a good prod from behind.

The British Columbia coastline is a wonderful place to get out on the water. If you’re looking for a way to stay socially distanced, but also get a work out, think about jumping in a kayak.



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