Thursday, October 1, 2020

The Roller Coaster Ride of 2020

    Red sky at night - sailor’s delight,

Red sky in the morning - sailor’s take warning,

Red sky in the day - we need to put differences aside and work together to solve some big problems

The Roller Coaster Ride of 2020

We were riding high going into 2020.  Jeff taught at Paddle Golden Gate and several sea kayak incident management classes in the Bay Area.  Cate was teaching surf and whitewater lessons at home.  We were super excited about our upcoming spring whitewater classes and LFK's Mendocino Sea Kayak Club.   Then the Covid-19 Pandemic derailed our high flying year (as it did everyone else).

We spent the spring months sheltering at home and feeling very thankful that we were safe and well.   We had just remodeled our home office and expanded our vegetable garden so home was (is) a happy place for us.  A challenge was that we were extremely limited on where we could go to exercise and recreate since all of our local beaches and trails were closed.  We channeled our stir crazy energy into running, strength and flexibility training, breath training, making firewood, fishing, foraging, and a few creative shelter in place excursions (within 5 miles of home) - Shelter in Place Triathlon.

During the lockdown, we connected with other instructors and outdoor  professionals and redesigned our summer programs to minimize the risk of spreading Covid-19.  We developed a stringent cleaning process for our equipment and streamlined our tours and operation to allow for social distancing and contactless transactions.  We switched our group classes to private lessons for individuals or people living in the same household.  We decreased the risk level of our beginner tours and offered them as private tours and very small group tours.  We developed a rental program which involved purchasing new kayaks. life jackets, and paddles.

Memorial Day Weekend, we were allowed to open to local customers. It was our slowest Memorial Day Weekend ever.  Fortunately business picked up in Mid-June when California allowed travel to resume.  Since then, we have been quite busy.

The biggest joy of the summer was the smiling faces that we saw on the water. (We wear and require that our customers wear masks when interacting with us on land and on the launch ramp but not on the water).  Seeing the stress melt away and the healing power of water, nature, and fresh air rejuvenate our customers was a great feeling.  We had many first time kayakers and families and individuals who enjoyed the experience so much that they declared "kayaking is going to be our new activity."   In such stressful times, it felt really good to be infecting people with joy. 

The summer was very busy.  We worked longer and harder hours than we have ever worked before.  Schlepping kayaks, orienting paddlers, guiding tours, teaching private lessons, maintaining equipment, managing reservations, and scrubbing and washing and scrubbing and washing kayaks and scrubbing and washing kayaks, life jackets, and paddles.  Our hearts filled with the joy of sharing kayaking and nature with others but also were breaking as the unrest and travesties of our world were manifesting in extreme civil discord and environmental devastation.

We are closing for the month of October to recharge our batteries.  

We have learned a lot from this year.  One lesson is the importance of being flexible and being able to adapt.  Another is that life is uncertain.  We are seizing the day (the month) and taking some time to ourselves.  We are dreaming of sleeping under the stars by the sea, surfing and rock gardening, immersing in nature, and disconnecting for a bit from the craziness of the world.

Expect us to be a bit out of touch in October.  We will be back the first week of November ready to deal with what ever 2020 throws at us and starting to plan for 2021 and beyond.

Be Well Our Friends.  Stay Safe and Be Kind,
Cate and Jeff