An Osprey Sea Kayak Adventure

By: Angela Boffi

Summer takes its sweet time arriving then flies by like an outbound commuter rail train. Though I had been anxiously anticipating its arrival, when it finally showed up, I was not ready. Consequently, I spent the first two weeks of the season fussing over the lawn, the garden, and my wardrobe. When I looked up from my chore list, it was already July 4th. Fearing summer’s magic might pass me by, I reserved a tandem kayak from Osprey Sea Kayak Adventures in Westport.

Osprey is located at the head of the Westport River. It has an almost Oz-like quality with its lawn landscaped in multicolor kayaks tucked amidst homes dressed in the soft grey of weathered cedar.

For $45, my wife and I were given temporary custody of a tandem kayak in royal blue, two paddles, life jackets, basic instruction, and as a bonus, some sage reminders that I would apply the rest of the summer. “Relax. It’s not a race,” co-owner Sam Ladd told us, and we happily followed our trainer down to the river.

My wife has never kayaked. The first and last time I launched a kayak resulted in a long swim with my sister as we dragged our vessel back to shore. We spared our instructor the details and simply explained that we were novices. She gave our nautical naiveté a positive spin concluding that we were, in fact, “both equally experienced”. We were taught to hold the oars long side up and to paddle on the right in order to turn left. Then she added the most important part. If we paddled with our arm muscles rather than our core strength, we would get tired very quickly.

We were given a push off the shore and immediately began to swerve erratically. We eventually got the hang of it, sort of. We glided along the silky water and felt like we were on the adventure Osprey promised. Swaying reeds flanked the river, barn swallows flew overhead, and pairs of effervescent blue dragon flies danced over the bow. Navigating the course was satisfying, but the true reward came when we stopped moving. It was only when we were at rest could we truly appreciate the stillness of the river, the gentleness of the warm breeze, and the silence in the air.

Our reverie was broken when a fleet of kayaks resembling the Spanish Armada appeared suddenly from around the bend. We tried to act cool, but our clanking paddles going in opposite directions, disagreement as to exactly how to turn away from the oncoming traffic, and the river weeds scooped from the water and flung over head with each stroke may have given us away. Having had our fill of adventure, we headed back to shore.

As we arrived back at our starting point, we were met by and entourage of Osprey staff. One young man dragged our kayak in, another took our paddles, and our instructor retrieved our life jackets, inquiring whether we had a good trip. It was very good, it was an adventure, and it catapulted us into summer.

As we were reminded on the river, summer is best when we remember to relax, put a positive spin on things, move forward from our core, and take time to be still. If you visit Osprey Sea Kayak Adventures, I also recommend that you lather on the suntan lotion, bring a giant water bottle, and consider a towel for your car seat to protect it from your sopping shorts on the way home.

Osprey Sea Kayak Adventures offers multi-level group and private instruction, sunset, moonlight, and dinner tours, kayak and stand up paddle board (SUP) rentals as well as equipment for purchase. Visit them at ospreyseakayak.com.

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