I got to experience the Hudson River through the means of a kayak, thanks to an event the RA in our dorm planned, and an organization dedicated to providing access to public waters known as Downtown Boathouse. So, on a windy Sunday afternoon, a small group of NYIT students, including myself, ventured out to Pier 26, for a day of kayaking in public waters.
Upon arrival to the pier, the Downtown Boathouse organizers greeted us. They had us sign a waiver, and advised us that this was a dangerous and risky activity. Knowing how to swim was crucial, despite wearing life vests while in the water.
Until that point, my only feelings towards kayaking were that of curiosity and excitement, but those were quickly replaced by nervousness. This was the Hudson River, we were talking about, it stretches for 315 miles, with the waters crashing in waves, and I would be trying to stay a float on a kayak.
The best bet, it seemed, was to team up. My friend and I decided at that moment that we were going to take this on together. We were going to share a kayak and help each other through this. This way if one of us went into the water, we had the other to help us from looking less foolish. Also, we’d be able to help each other get back on the kayak. Knowing I would take the waters with my friend, made me feel at ease.
However, the winds suddenly picked up as we made the lines to get into our kayaks, prompting the organizers to only allow single only rides. It would only be me on the kayak. I was terrified. I was sure I would turn and run back and wait for the rest of my friends at the pier. But just as I was getting my legs to move away, I was called forward to board.
Before I knew it, I was in my kayak, trying to keep from capsizing, using my paddle to steer me away from crashing into others. I stared back at Pier 26 from my view at the Hudson and was amazed to see how far I had strayed away from where I had started. I could see my friends all keeping themselves a float around me, and I was no longer nervous or afraid or even scared about possibly falling in. I wanted to explore and venture out to see what else I could do with my new found courage. So, with the taste of salt water on my lips I paddled further.