Friday, June 27, 2014


Below the ancient sandstone cliffs of the village of Auchmithie.
It's been 4 months, almost to the day, that we left our two kayaks with a special friend back in Canada. Living here, just 30 minutes from the North Sea and only a three and a half hours from Scotland's west coast has been a tease. We've lingered in paddling shops, just to be near kayaks. We've tried renting. We participated in "demo days" - just to get some time in the cockpit. A kind friend here, who writes an excellent blog that covers explorations on both "mountain and sea", generously offered us boats and equipment. We needed, however, to be independent. Available time and good paddling weather are not always predictable.

Preparing to launch within the ruins of the Auchmithie harbour.
For four months, the dry suits, the PFDs, the paddling gloves...the only equipment we could fit into our three suitcases, plus the paddle leashes that a friend had brought with her...have looked longingly out from a closet in the manse - and we have looked longingly back.

The time had definitely come, a decision had to be made. Just as back home on Vancouver Island, Scotland offers world class sea kayaking possibilities. Here, there's lots and lots of ocean, offshore islands, sea lochs, lochs amidst mountains. There could be no more waiting.

I often reflect on the words of Annie Dillard, always posted at the top of the sidebar of this blog: "We are here on the planet only once, and might as well get a feel for the place." For those inclined to take to the sea in a narrow boat, there's hardly a better way to do it. We are here on this delicate sphere, racing through space, for just a short time. I have always loved theologian John Wesley's words:

“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. 
In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. 
At all the times you can. To all the people you can. 
As long as ever you can.”

To those words, I would add, "...and continue to explore and discover, with child-like curiosity...and celebrate the gift of life in every way that you can". Getting back on the water will be a means to that end.

Taking some time for reflection and gratitude -
for each day, and every new experience on this extraordinary planet.
There is always so much to learn. The characteristics of the new boats are slightly different from the familiar personalities of the kayaks back home. They will test us. 

The sea boils around the once-impenetrable harbour wall.
Lifelong learning, however, is good...and it is important at every age.

Savouring this first launch in a long time, into a long-deserted fishing harbour, is marvellous.


  1. HAPPY! HAPPY! HAPPY! It's been long overdue. Now you both can get back to doing what you so dearly love. J.

  2. Hi J, Yes I must say, a certain Pharrell Williams' song was going through my mind as we got ready to launch! :) It was, indeed, nice - more pics in next post. Nice to hear from you. Warm wishes to you and P. Duncan.

  3. Awesome! So glad you will now be able to explore the sea as well as the land. Make sure to explore all those deep mysterious coastlines we wondered about from above. I'll be waiting to see pictures of all that they hold. Learn your kayak well, stay dry n stay safe.
    Hugs L

  4. Thanks for that, L. No problems at all, some good time in the boats today - we're all going to get along very well! :) Hey, we miss you! D & J

  5. Great news indeed D & J,

    We are of course biased, but in our opinion Scotland offers just about everything to the sea kayaker - inspiration, exhilaration, spiritual uplift, amazement, wildlife, history and (occasionally) fear; sometimes all in the space of a day!

    Now you can "carpe diem" even more often :-)

    Warm wishes, I & L

  6. Well put, Ian! It's amazing how Scotland and Canada share so much in common, and how each country offers such rich opportunities to all who are passionate about spending time outdoors. That being said, the coast to coast to coast drive, here in Scotland, does take significantly less time! :) Warm wishes to you both. D & J.