On the last Monday in August, a father and daughter tried something they’d never done before: stand up paddle boarding in Brentwood Bay.
Some people, my husband, my mum, the boat captain for Butchart Gardens, said it would be cold, that our ankles would hurt, that we would come out of the lesson frozen and whiny.
Before you try to match the comment to the person, let the record show: paddle boarding was ah-mazing… once I got over my fear of falling into the dark greeny/blue, a killer whale might be lurking, abyss.
Don’t worry, my dad and I overcame that falling hurdle early and simultaneously – done in by the Brentwood Bay ferry as it made it’s last run to the dock. Even though both of us had our boards pointed with the wake, the space between the trough and crests, coupled with our wobbly sea legs, proved our undoing.
Surprisingly, the water was refreshing, not frigid. In Brentwood the water can be up to 15 degrees warmer than it’s counterpart over in Oak Bay. Sure, I’d read that somewhere, but didn’t believe it until I was completely submerged.
Buoyed by the lifejacket, I lay on my back in the water, looking up at the blue sky, head on my board, feet on my dad’s, waiting for him to swim over.
Our instructor held my board as I slid up it like an ungraceful sea lion. Once I’d regained my balance, I felt my whole body relax into the experience – as refreshing as the dunk was, I had to remind myself not to get too complacent.
It was peaceful out in the bay: the water flat, sun setting, and seals spying. The only disturbance was my dad stepping back on his board, causing the second, and last, splash of the evening.
As we paddled back to the dock in the twilight, the air was so still it felt like we were in another world.
It reminded me of another space and time, back when I was thirteen, when my dad and I made a midnight run in our sailboat from Sidney Spit to the town of Sidney to drop one of my friends off to her parents at the dock.
The moon was full that night, the water calm. My twin brothers slept below as I kept watch for my dad as he steered us back to where my mum, brother and his friend waited. “One day you’ll want to be out here on a night like this with someone other than your dear-ol’ dad,” he said as the moon’s reflection rippled in our wake.
I didn’t really understand what he meant at the time. But now that I finally have someone other than my dad to share moonlit cruises with, we don’t have a boat and, it turns out, the salt water doesn’t run deep in my husband’s desert lungs.
Needless to say my husband has been forewarned and the boat fund has been resurrected.
Though it will be at least another outing before I feel comfortable plunking Miss C on the front of my board and taking her for a spin, getting to paddle tonight when nature was in harmony with itself was pure magic. And, just as it was when I was thirteen, sharing the moment with my dear ol’ dad was all right too.