We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I have kayaked in ponds, lakes, marshes, on the Hudson River (upstream is a bitch), in the Caribbean, and out in big salt water over the years. Except on quiet ponds, it's a good workout to go a few miles, especially in wavy gravy and wind. I have never done white water but yesterday we had to deal with lots of wake from cigarette boats, ferries, etc. Fun.
Kayaks have almost entirely replaced canoes for water recreation. Even Old Town Canoe makes kayaks. It's a good thing for older folks with bad knees or lower back issues because it's all upper body - torso, shoulders, arms.
I realized yesterday when Mrs. BD and I did a couple of miles in a good sea chop that I never even watched an instructional video. Thus, a kayak post. I realize that I have been trying to strong-arm the craft instead of using my entire body to move it. Also, I was not making "the box."
My Mom loved to kayak the upper Connecticut River, the Housatonic, and the Cape Cod lakes and marshes in her 80s. A pip, as I have said before. Like me, she did not know the word "relax." The old-time Yankees never sat down except for a cocktail, and the old gal weighed the same at 80 as at 25. Energetic and a small appetite, like her kids.
We used to camp out of sea-kayaks, the big kind made for lakes or bays, with plenty of storage hatches. They're made to be stable and easy to cover long, straight distances, not for maneuverability in a river. It's amazing how much gear you can pack into a couple of sea-kayaks: tents, dining flies, cooking gear, food and water for several days. They're just the thing for crossing over to a barrier island.
I never did learn to eskimo-roll them. It would take a good bit of strength and skill to eskimo-roll a big sea-kayak. I never thought it was important, because they're pretty hard to capsize, and anyway all our trips were on such warm water that it wasn't a high priority to get back in quickly. We almost never even used the spray-skirts.
You can really cover some distance in one of these kayaks without being particularly athletic. I highly recommend them for two- or three-day camping trips.
A few years ago my wife and I took our daughter to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. She had never kayaked before and wanted to try one. The first portage in from the Gunflint trail was a long one. Portaging a kayak is a two person job and even with carry handles they are really awkward. On rough, muddy, rocky trails they are awful. There is a reason it's called a canoe area.
BD, you inspired my visiting sister and I to visit the beautiful waters between Milton and Navarre, Fl. They're sit-upons that can also be used in the Gulf. Additionally, when in Boy Scouts in Las Vegas, NV we did a couple of 62 mile trips down the Colorado from south of Hoover Dam to Davis Dam in the early 70's. We built the kayaks in fiberglass forms, and I understand the troop was still using them decades later.
I love kayaking, especially the easier whitewaters (Class 1-3). Flat water paddling is also nice, very relaxing though you can certainly turn it into a darned good workout. I am on my 6thkayak: though it would be easy, just go buy a kayak and Bob's your uncle. Not so much, though my current kayak is a Wilderness Systems Tarpon Sit-on-Top, 12 feet and will probably be the last one I buy.