eulogy for the kayak


After five years of adventures, my inflatable kayak will have to be retired.

Boyfriend was paddling her with another friend when he noticed that one of her side panels was getting a little soft. They pulled over to the side of the canal and attempted to re-inflate the tube, but to no avail; we knew the leak was a big one because the pressure dropped as soon as we stopped pumping.

When we got Sunny home it became clear that the seam along the top of the tube was splitting internally: the grey fabric layer on the inside of the boat had separated from the rubber layer lining the tube. The grey fabric was intact, but the air was whistling out between the weave. (much as in this video.) I attempted laproscopic surgery to place an internal patch via a nearby incision, but once I cut the boat open it became clear that the interior layer had split away from the fabricky layer over a much larger area:

As sorry as I am that Sunny has reached the end, I have to admit that my sadness is mitigated by the lovely people at Innova and Gumotex who informed me that Sunny was under warranty because of a fabric defect. As such, they are sending me a replacement boat!

But still, I will really miss Sunny. She could fill a lonely afternoon with adventures or make some room for a friend. She’s rescued soccer balls for small boys – and for frat boys. She’s transported crates of beer and she’s conveyed my guitar. She had just enough cargo space to accommodate both Boyfriend and our camping gear – and she still fit neatly onto the back of my bicycle!

kayak on a bicycle

Sunny has been all over the Netherlands, on lakes and rivers and still canals. She has made me adamant about the beauty of the natural places in Holland.

Paddling Sunny through the canals in town, I discovered a completely different city.


oude meelfabriek, leiden

Sunny has portaged through the shopping street in Katwijk and she’s been to the beach at Wassenaar. She’s squeezed under bridges and cleared 20 cm (I only got stuck once). She’s been through the oldest waaiersluis in Holland:


And she’s been past more windmills than you can shake a paddle at.

She’s been on the IJsselmeer and she’s been to the Keukenhof and she’s been to Kinderdijk.

In Belgium she even went over a few rapids without getting swamped! And she picked up this little barnacle near a campground in the Ardennen:

With an enthusiastic friend along, Sunny would develop a gurgling wave spreading in a V from her bow. But she was at her best at a gentler pace and I loved to listen to the dip and drip of the water from the paddle.

Sunny has been oogled by cows and goats and dogs and kittens…

… ignored by a robotic lawnmower…

… and chased several times by one particularly territorial swan. (I was too busy paddling to take a photo.) But mostly the Dutch wildlife abides the stranger with the funny boat.

Sunny was a fantastic boat and I will miss her.

Sunny’s inflatable seats will live on as comfy festival chairs. And perhaps I can reuse some of the straps and cushions… when the new boat arrives!


One Response to “eulogy for the kayak”

  1. What a lovely eulogy for a lovely kayak, saddens me I only boated with her once! The replacement looks lovely too though…

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