After Seven Long Months, I’m Paddling Again!


Two months to get a diagnosis.  Another month and a half to figure out that the more conservative treatments weren’t working.  Back surgery, fusing my L4 and L5 vertebrae, followed by ten weeks of therapy.  It’s been a long haul, but my back feels better than it has in years, maybe decades!

Last week I was given the green light to bend and twist (including paddling), but not lift, at least not lift anything as heavy as my kayak.  So how did I manage to get paddling without lifting?  I have non-kayaking friends who volunteered to carry my boat to the water and come by later to reload it on my trailer.  But I would have been paddling alone.  I wasn’t so sure I wanted to paddle alone on a first outing.  And it felt like a real imposition on our friendships.

I could have joined an activity with my local Meet-Up Group.  I’m sure someone there would have loaded and unloaded my boat for me.  But the group is some distance away and they tend to do trips of many miles.  Again, not the best choice for a first outing.  So, I booked an outing at Round Island with my friends Rhonda and Steve at Adventure Kayak (  

I had paddled with them several times before in this location so I knew just how arduous the trip might be (not very).  I let Steve and Rhonda lift and carry the boat for me (a very nice 16.5 Prion sea kayak) so all I needed to do was get in and paddle.  I knew that if I got into trouble of any kind, Rhonda would hook on and tow me.  

The paddling went great.  It was wonderful to be back on the water and we couldn’t have asked for a prettier day.  During this trip and during my earlier PT it became obvious that I have lost a lot of muscle over my seven months of forced inactivity.  But it’s coming back.  Soon I hope to be carrying my boat with no problem and crawling into and out of my little tent on more camping trips.

Here is a quick video of that “first” paddle.

The most interesting thing seen on this trip was a large group of manatees mating in shallow water.  The video below shows some of what we saw.

 © Don Yackel 2020