We started kayaking because I wanted a car….

Huh??? What…I don’t understand!!!

After I finished uni I was totally fed up with being dependent on public transport. It took hours to go somewhere, the busses never connected with the trains, trains were always delayed….nightmare!!! I wanted the freedom of travelling by car. Luckily Alexander agreed and he bought me a green Suzuki Alto for my birthday. We lovingly called this lovely small car ‘Aphid’. 

But there was one condition….he was going to kayak in the same town as he worked. OK, no problem, easy decision so I agreed. And next Wednesday evening he went to a kayak club and came home with enthusiastic stories about the experience.

Well, that made me a bit curious. I wanted a piece of that action too! 

The first time I went kayaking I fell out of the boat three times. Skilled club members helped me in the boat again and gave me a bit of chocolate to nibble on. Next week I was back for more. Not for more chocolate but for more kayaking!!

We started kayaking in September and in March the following year, we bought our first 2 kayaks on a secondhand market. And totally by chance, the same brand and size but different colours. We furnished our Suzuki with a roof rack to strap on the kayaks. It looked a bit odd on the motorway, that small, not very powerful nor impressive car with 2 sea kayaks on the roof. Actually, not cool at all. We were the laughing stock of the motorway!!! 

Although driving on the Haringvliet bridge at wind force 7 was a scary experience. 

Before we ever thought about going kayaking during our summer holiday, We cycled a lot in England and also cycled to Santiago de Compostela. We were used to travelling light and putting up the tent wherever we went, with the exception of campings. We reckoned that all our cycling gear would fit in a kayak as well. And it did! 

So, going on a summer holiday with the kayaks was an easy decision. Scotland was the best option. Challenging water and beautiful nature relatively close by. Well, one night on a ferry and one-day driving…

Alexander studied all the maps and pilots of the Scottish waters, I decided on food, clothes, etc.

But our lovely little Aphid might not be powerful enough to climb the Scottish hills. So, with pain in our hearts, ‘Aphid’ had to go and we bought a small dark blue van. All camping and kayak stuff went in and the kayaks strapped on the roof and off we went. To Scotland, ready for an adventure. 

It is 21 years ago now. And we changed our car 2 times and we got a bigger set of kayaks. But we still have our first two kayaks and we paddle them still every week. I don’t think we will ever sell them, too many memories.

Charlotte Gannet

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