A 4 AM Excursion

At the end of September, seven other students and I embarked on a five day sea kayaking trip in the ocean encompassing the coast of Maine. Going into it, I was definitely not ready for what I had signed up for. It was full of surprises including the story I am about to tell you! It was our last night and we were sitting on a few rocks near the water eating dinner. Unfortunately, the island we were staying on was raised high above the water so at low tide the water was way below the island. There was around an eight foot drop down to the ocean from the island. It was pretty much a mini cliff. This was obviously not going to work because we couldn’t get down to the water unless we jumped. So, our leaders of the day for tomorrow discussed a plan with the trip leaders. Being a leader of the day meant that you had to plan the entire next day and direct the rest of the members to the island we were paddling to. At the end of our meal the leaders discussed the solution to the low tide. They told us that we were going to have to wake up at four in the morning. Needless to say, we were shocked and a lot of people laughed thinking they were joking. It turned out that low tide was around six in the morning so we had to leave as soon as we could or else we would get stuck. My jaw was on the floor but still, I was ready to do it. When we all grasped the idea I had never seen us clean up dinner so fast. We rapidly changed, while wincing at the cold and brushed our teeth. We went to sleep around ten just to wake up six hours later.

I woke up to laughs and the leaders of the day rustling the tent. When I first woke up I was confused about what was happening but then I remembered which followed me and my tent partner dying of laughter. “How is this real?” We kept repeating as we were packing up our stuff. It was pitch black outside in the middle of a forest in the middle of an island so pretty much it was really really dark. It was thirty degrees outside while we all shoveled grits into our mouths trying to hurry. Then my friends and I started carrying kayaks which are shockingly heavy. At this point the sun is slowly rising and the tide is slowly retreating. My friend and I are in a two person kayak so we are the first ones to go in. The cold wet mud makes me slip but still I scurry into the kayak. As soon as we are in the water the tide is pulling us backwards at a rapid pace. We run straight into a rock so I use that as an opportunity to grip onto the seaweed to not float away. My hands had never been in this much pain from the cold but I was laughing waiting for everyone else to get in the water. 

Soon we were off and it was the best paddle of the whole trip. The sunrise was a shocking pink and purple lighting up the sky. There was a dense fog and I had never seen the water so still. We sang our hearts out to make the time pass and shockingly it was six in the morning. It was a highlight of the whole semester and possibly my whole life. My community and environment made something that seemed so daunting into something so beautiful. 


Joyabella Fehily, Vistamar High School, Los Angeles, California

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