Let me preface this by saying that my first experience with Kayaking was during a team building activity in West Virginia 10 years ago. That particular experience was somewhat traumatic. While on my kayaking trip I  was bitten by, god knows what, and ended up in the emergency room due to “swelling”! #Traumatic.

A couple of weeks ago I went to Florida to visit some close friends. One of them has recently discovered a love of the ocean, so when they proposed we go snorkeling,  I was all for it. I mean who does not want to find Nemo!

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That morning I packed my sunscreen, towels, Yanvalou Design pareo, and my Ayiti Natives Coconut Tanning Oil in my Ralph Lauren canvas bag. Of course, I wore my MSGM flip flops and my Yurman shades.  They did ask me if I was sure I wanted to wear “that”?! I looked at them with disdain, I mean just because they had immersed themselves in the ocean life didn’t mean I had to also! additionally, what else was I supposed to wear to go snorkeling? They also offered to put my stuff in their waterproof bag, but of course, I declined! I had to use my Ralph Lauren canvas which had yet to be put to good use.

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On to the Wet Stuff!!!

When we pulled into a marina, I thought we were going to take one of these snorkeling tours or take a ride on a sail boat that looks like the Balancé in Haiti.

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Photo: Balancé Haiti Official Instagram

Imagine my surprise when I hear them ordering two Kayaks….COMME CI…QUELLE IDEE FOLLE??! I guess because they know the potential level of drama that I would unleash upon them, wisely they kept the details to themselves until we arrived at the water’s edge. One friend goes in a one-person kayak, and the other gets in the two-person kayak with me. As I was less experienced, I sat up front.

At this point I am thinking we are going to kayak around a little area near shore, of course not! We paddled away from the marina to the snorkeling destination which was Peanut Island! If you are familiar with West Palm Beach, you will know EXACTLY what I am referring to…KÈM TE SOU BISKÈT MWEN!


PhotoCredit:City of West Palm Beach Website

So we are in the kayak, and we are on our way. In case you did not know, I have no coordination (NONE), after hitting my friends paddle a couple of times, as we could not coordinate our stroke, she yells at me to stop and just rest the paddle on my lap as I sat in front position of the kayak not contributing at all (awkwardddd) .

I would be remiss if I did not mention the fact that in order for us to reach Peanut Island we had to cross, not one but two busy boating channels and a crowded sailboat anchorage. Let me just say that I was not kayaking on the quiet  waters of Northern Haiti as pictured below.

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Finally, we arrived at Peanut Island; I got to go snorkeling and say hi to all the fishies…I was excited to have found Nemo, but my friends were quick to point out that Nemo would not reside in the man made reef, especially since it lacked the necessary anemones that they live with symbiotically. My answer? He was lost and I found him…TCHUIPPPP….We hung out, tanned, and had a blast!

Snorkeling Check, Suntanning Check, Kayaking Back…ummmm…

When it came time to kayak back I was ready, I felt at one with the ocean. We packed the kayak, and I started paddling, I was doing a great job and felt empowered, then out of nowhere…The Kayak flipped over , LI VIRE TÈT AN BA. My hubris quickly gave way to shame.

My Ralph Lauren canvas and EVERYTHING I had in it was in the water. I was still cool; I  laughed at the incident until my friends pointed to my flip flops drifting away with the outgoing tide. I frantically turned around and swam to rescue my beloved flip flops. I was Michael Phelps for half a second, but my efforts were in vain, and my overpriced flip flops were drifting ever rapidly with the tide. Needless to say, I lost paddling privileges during the trip back also, and there I was, once again, holding the paddle on my knees not contributing again. When we finally arrived back to shore, I mourned my flip flops and moved on with my life.

So I decided to share my experience with you and made a list  My DO’s and DON’ts of Kayaking.

1) DO NOT bring anything of value to you on a kayak.  Leave Cartier, Chopard, Yurman, and Apple secured on shore.

2)    DO Wear board shorts, think about it…yes… you need as much coverage down there as possible. The last thing you need is something biting you down below, and you end up with swollen “unmentionables” in the emergency room.

3)    DO have a rash guard handy because if you don’t, the sun will burn you and your hopes of being a Golden Goddess.

4) Do Wear tons of sunscreen. Look like a ghost; it’s okayyyy because when you rinse it off, you, WILL, be THE Golden Goddess.

5)   DO Bring a Hat, not an expensive one, even if it looks cute, ask yourself one question….Will I cry if I have to watch it float away.!

6)    DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT! Get your hair and makeup done before you go Kayaking.  My undergrad suitemates did that and until this day…I never understood the futility of that.

7)   DO bring a waterproof bag.

9)   DO NOT wear flip flops….Seriously! Get those water shoes, they are not cute, but you won’t lose them.

10) DO Have an open mind, and enjoy the ride. You will not regret it!

 Next adventure…PADDLE BOARDING, hopefully in Haiti #SUMMER 17??!!!


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Photo Courtesy of Hunter Kittrell Photography

Thank you to Hunter Kittrell, and to my beautiful friends for this gorgeous experience.