How Deep the Water Is

There are some days where your canoe is capsized by a wave coming up from the wake of a giant powerboat, figuratively speaking. You’re dunked underwater and you manage to get the boat turned back over. You retrieve the paddles and what suddenly seems like an excessive amount of cargo for a brief spin in a rented boat. Metaphorically, some kind soul in a boat who’s crew has managed to remain above water will take the waterlogged valuables that you and your shipmate are holding over your head to shore for you while you try to tow the boat to shore. You’ll try to tug the boat toward shore, working your legs against the waves but not gaining any ground; and then your figurative shipmate will point out that the water is shallow enough for you to walk to shore.

There are other days where your rented canoe capsizes quite literally. I’ve calculated how long ago I earned the Canoeing Merit Badge from the Boy Scouts – I’ve had more birthdays since being awarded that badge than I had before I received it. I think my credentials have expired.

The University of Washington’s Waterfront Activities Center near Husky Stadium rents out canoes for $7.50 an hour. You can paddle out beneath little footbridges and freeway on-ramps. We saw sunbathing turtles, herons, and the usual ducks. Make sure you steer into the wakes of large boats so that they hit you at the bow and not the side.

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