Sunday, July 17, 2011

On Listening to Jon

Many years ago, on a small island called Manhattan, I met a really cool guy named Jon. He was smart, funny and intelligent.(Did I mention good-looking too?) Had great taste in music as well as sports and we had a great time when we hung out together.

I moved to North Carolina and somehow- we lost touch. Until February of this year when Jon found me on Facebook and we reconnected. We met up in Myrtle Beach during bike week and it was if time had not gone by. I played my first regulation 18 holes of golf with him there, then took his sage advice about visiting Miami.

Jon always would say ‘Listen to me’, and when I did, he never steered me wrong.

So now, when we play golf together I always try to take his instruction and when I do, I always hit the ball better, and my game improves just a tad bit.

BUT, he told me about something else the other day- He had taken a kayak trip on the Hudson. He said it was amazing! He said ‘Listen to me, you should try this’, and even sent me a link to a place on Shem Creek. He said’You will love it’, and ‘It builds up upper body strength’, which will translate to my golf game.

So off I went to check out what this kayak thing was all about. They offered 2 and 3 hour trips out of Shem Creek daily. I booked a time, bought some Tupperware after listening to Jon, and off I went.

Our group consisted of Bob the guide, a dad and his son in a tandem boat, Tom, Nicole and myself. After a brief lesson on how to paddle, how to work the rudder and how to pull said rudder out of the water, we were on hour way. We took off across the creek and sat near a big catamaran, the Palmetto Breeze. Imagine my surprise when Bob told me to paddle under the catamaran -

but I was able to do what he asked, and came out on the other side without hitting the boat. I must say at this point Red's was looking pretty good- I think a margarita would have helped.

We continued on and made our way to a smaller channel and followed Bob. He had us hang back as he appeared to be looking for something. Finally he called us up and we pulled the boats side by side. Bob had a crab pot set out and pulled it up for us to see- He had about 2 dozen blue crab in his pot.

He pulled one out and gave us a lesson on crab anatomy.

After the info session, we paddled back to the head of the channel and went down another-

Here we had shrimp jumping in our boats and saw fiddler crabs running along the muddy banks of the shore. Beautiful homes lined the right side of the bank, and after the dad, Bob and I talked golf- Bob told us he was taking us to see ‘turtle eggs, special turtle eggs’. Now, I always thought that turtle eggs were usually protected and not allowed to be disturbed, but he was the guide. Imagine my surprise when Bob maneuvered his boat next to mine and quietly handed me a ‘special turtle egg’. It was a Nike golf ball. We were on the back side of Patriots Point golf course and apparently a lot of duffers have overshot their mark- quickly the golf ball hunt was on! I came home with almost a dozen balls- I have designated these as my water hazard balls- no reason my nice Callaways should go in the drink!

We then returned out of the channel and and Bob took us out into the bay. What was leisurely paddling became more intense work as the wind had picked up, plus now we were somewhere with current and wake as well. We watched a bunch of kids in a big boat get stuck on a sand bar, we paddled thru the boating channel, saw the Carnival Fantasy dock at Charleston and slowly paddled along the bird sanctuary. We saw baby pelicans, egrets, terns and seagulls. The bird island is protected from Feb 15 to Oct 15, and you cannot set foot on the island.

After checking out the birds, we got back in to the main channel, and made our way back to Shem Creek, checking out the shrimp boats and the deep sea fishing vessels. Bob called us over to the side and we all pulled in- ‘Watch out there- what is that?’ He asked? And as we watched , this large odd looking creature surface and went back underwater, as did several more. They were manatee- right in the Shem Creek channel. We watched them play for a few minutes, then went in search of dolphin, who seemed to be hiding.

We then returned to where we had started, docked the boats and thanked Bob for a great afternoon. Jon again was right- I had a blast. My arms were a bit sore, but other than that, it was a great time - and I would love to do it again.

So, during the trip, I had taken pictures with my phone, and sent one to Jon- and of course he wanted to know if I was having fun. He knew he had me when he sent the following messages ‘Soooooooo’, and ‘Are you hooked yet‘ , ‘What kind of boat did you have?‘ and then ‘Call me!‘ .

We have been loosely been planning a visit for him to Charleston as soon as my work schedule evened out, originally to play golf since I live at Dunes West, and Rivertowne
is only a mile or so away, but now, it seems as if it will be a golf and kayak trip- now that I know where to find the ‘special turtle eggs’

So, again listening to Jon did not steer me wrong, only broadened my mind......I love listening to Jon!