I Seen It But I Don’t Believe It [32]

By Wayne Langmaid

What I have here is a most embarrassing moment that I would like to share with you, mostly ’cause it just doesn’t hurt to laugh at yourself once in awhile.

I work full time as a tour guide, have paddled for a long time (over twenty five years) and thought I was beyond making really foolish mistakes (which goes to show I was due for a good dose of humble pie – in fact the whole pie).

I took a group out for an absolutely fantastic moonlight paddle two nights ago; dead calm, total silence, sparkling magic in the water from the bioluminesence and the moon making diamond dancing patterns on the top of it all. The clients, and myself for that matter, were just breathless from it all. Wild.

We decided to stop at a wharf to have a nice cup of hot coffee and fresh muffins while enjoying each others company and the stars in the sky. I didn’t have quite enough painter on my boat to tie the last double kayak up properly, so I absent mindedly pushed it under the wharf leaving it there to rest while I pulled the stern up onto the landing to make sure it didn’t float off.

We sat chattering away and goggling at the stars, for about a half an hour or so. All the time I kept an watchfull eye on the tandem under the wharf, making sure the rising tide didn’t float it up too close to the bottom side. All appeared cool, lots of room from what I could see at the stern where it went down under the wharf.

Well guess what … time to leave and I went to pull the kayak out. Be damned, I couldn’t get the boat out!

What I didn’t see in the dark was that a piece of 4X4 was protruding down from the underside of the wharf, and was now pushing on the bottom of the kayak, inside of the forward cockpit. The boat was literally staked to the water!

I could have died from embarrassment. Thank goodness the light on the end of the wharf was poor and hid my tomato coloured complexion. I couldn’t believe I’d done that! Worse yet – the tide had about a foot higher to go yet.

I had visions of this ‘stake’ punching right through the bottom of the boat and besides, I didn’t think my clients would be keen on waiting until the tide dropped to continue their tour. More than a few moments later and a whole lot of quick reverse bailing of the boat (now that is a switch, trying to get water into the kayak and why does it take so long to fill when you WANT it to go in?) I was able to float the kayak, semi-submerged out from under the wharf to the cheeky applause of my clients. Aw shucks, this is always how we do it – a little half time kayak trip entertainment!

Anyhow, I’m curious if any other guides (or paddlers) have a similar humorous, humbling experiences (or other moments) they would like to share.

Moral of the Story:

  1. Just when you least expect it, expect it.
  2. Try some other half-time entertainment; it’s easier on the ego.


Petition the local councils to put in higher wharves to avoid me embarrassing myself.