Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Shell's Birthday Paddle and A Scuba Diver is Born

December 5th was Shell's Birthday and also the annual birthday paddle. Shell's choice was the Kalama River up in Washington, a beautiful drainage that runs off the flanks of Mt. St. Helens.

We awoke to cold temps and at the put-in the Subaru was registering 28 degrees and there was snow on the trees. We were joined by some great friends including my buddy Mike Glass and his wife Stephanie, along with our friends Tracy, Sue, and Jenna. On our way up, we stopped at the Columbia Inn in Kalama, Washington for one of their famous caramel rolls (seriously, it is the size of a dinner plate). We ordered a total of 5 in the group, so everyone was hopped up on sugar by the time we got on the water.

The paddle was a ton of fun and COLD! I opted to take out my playboat, after a long hiatus in the garage and found it a little tight with all the clothes I was wearing (or maybe it was the bacon cheeseburgers????) We got to do some fun surfing and soak up the beauty of this beautiful river with some great friends.

Yes, that is snow on the trees... BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

Mike and I were definitely in the minority on this paddle... we felt very left out, since the girls had their nails done the night before :-)

Stephanie Glass giving the camera her best "over the shoulder runway model smile"

Me and my lovely Birthday Girl!

We finished the paddle up with cupcakes and candles and dinner at the Rheinlander here in Portland, joined by our friends Mike and Stephanie. A great birthday paddle, for sure!

So, I recently decided to take up yet another sport: scuba diving. Last week I completed the pool and classroom portion of my Open Water Diver Certification and this upcoming weekend we have our open water certification dives at Mike's Beach Resort in Hoodsport, Washington. I'm doing my cert through TDI/SDI ( and Oregon Underwater ( Shell is a very accomplished scuba diver, having been a rescue diver for Polk County a few years back, so she is gaining a newbie to take diving and I'm gaining a seasoned veteran... pretty good trade, if I do say so myself!

Initial thoughts... diving is awesome! It is, indeed, a super surreal feeling to be able to exist under water without drowning and that's just the feeling you get in a pool. I'm super excited about this weekend (though the temps are supposed to be in the low 40's). Pictures and thoughts to come.

Until then... live, love, laugh and explore!