December 14, 2020

Oru Bay ST and uncertain pilot.
Oru Bay ST and uncertain pilot.

As I grow old, I seem to have less interest in words than images. Words can easily mislead even the writer. Photographs seem more candid.

But not just any photograph. I’m drawn to landscapes and seascapes, compelled by water and sky and what occupies the thin line between them. And especially coastal wetlands and drowned forests and blackwater streams slackly wandering toward the sea.

I’ve spent a lot of time taking pictures of Sidney Creek. It’s only ¾ mile from the shore behind my house, a maze of sawgrass islands and riparian forests, a perimeter less than 3 miles encompassing only 3/10 of a square mile of surface area but it feels almost infinite. Those few dozen acres still belong to bald eagles and osprey, blue heron and box turtles, river otters and white-tailed deer.

The only way to explore Sidney Creek is by water. I have a wonderfully stable hybrid kayak, a 12-foot NuCanoe Frontier, but it weighs 76 pounds and takes a village to move. It’s impossible to lift alone and exhausting to cart even when fitted with stern wheels. So I purchased an origami kayak.

Origami is the Japanese art of folding paper into decorative shapes and figures. Oru’s application of the concept to a kayak was brilliant. Like an armadillo retreating into it’s shell, it collapses from 12-foot to the shape of a suitcase. And it weighs only 28 pounds. That’s slightly more than the average two-year-old toddler. Even I can carry a two-year-old under my arm without straining a bicep.

It is rather disconcerting paddling deep water in a cockle shell made of translucent polypropylene but the aerodynamics that keeps a commercial jetliner aloft are equally impenetrable.

And an unexpected benefit—at night, with a flashlight inside the hull, it glows like a Japanese lantern.

Oru Bay ST folding kayak.
Oru Bay ST folding kayak.

2 Responses

  1. That’s a beautiful craft! I should see about getting one – Cayuga Lake is just down the hill from me.

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