Success!! I got to paddle with the Keahou Canoe Club today!
This is of me in front of their boat house. I found out their location and paddle times when I went to the Polynesian Paddle Products (P3) paddle shop in Kona on Thursday. Their first workout is at 6:30am on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. They go out again at 8:00am and maybe a third time after that if they have any takers. 6:30am? They paddle in the dark???? Oh yeah, WE paddle in the dark! And cold! But, I'm on vacation so I plan on the 8am paddle. My dad, John and the kids all went with me to watch me go out.
I wasn't sure what to expect, if they would be welcoming or hard-core and apathetic to visitors. (With about 300 members, there was some of both, but mostly the former.) I was excited to go and a bit nervous too. Would I be able to keep up with their workout? Their water seems a bit choppier than ours! Do they huli a lot? Then, what song should come on the radio but, "Everybody go surf! Oooooo-waaah-oooo! Everybody go surf!" Very good ju-ju!
It made me remember that it's all fun, and made me wish something awful that I could be sharing this experience with the rest of you! Apparently they are used to having visitors all the time and I would say that about 2/3 of the 8am paddlers were guests. They take everyone of all abilities and fill up as many canoes as they can. They were filling a V-12 first and initially I was queued for that (which would have been 'OK'), but then a whole SLEW of OC-6's came in. Whew! (Above picture shows their water traffic!) We got our boat together and I took seat 4. We were a mixed bag of skill, half club and half visitors. It took a bit to get our timing (me below in the green tank, seat 4. I'm really TRYING to keep my timing!)
We went about a mile, straight out. The wind was a light breeze and we were in swells of about 4-5 feet. What fun! Then, for an added treat, about another mile off, at 1 o'clock, breaching humpbacks! Wow.
We watched for about 10 minutes, then did a few zig-zags. The steersman called "paddles up". Then he said, "Now's a good time if anyone wants to go swimming!" It never occurred to me to go in the water ON PURPOSE! I just HAD to go in! The water was so blue, and so warm! I've never swam in the ocean like that! We paddled back in, racing another 6 (OUR mixed boat would have done circles around the two!) I won't describe the 'singles scene' in too much detail, out of courtesy to Dan, but... the assault on Omaha Beach comes to mind. This last photo is just a part of their fleet. A rather large tree fell recently, destroying 4 of their boats.
Best. Vacation. Ever!