Up & Down with the Waves

I’d like to say that the sea is my therapy. It allows me to be happy and at ease, especially as I look at the calming movements of the waves. I also sense an adventure–an opportunity to travel across another world and experience excitement and fear. These were the emotions I felt when I sought out for a kayak adventure at the Berkeley Marina.

On March 26, 2016, the last Saturday of Spring break, my friend and I decided to register for a Cal Adventures class called the “Sunset Paddle”, where we get to kayak through the San Francisco Bay and watch the sunset. I was very excited because it was my first time to visit the Berkeley Marina, to learn how to sail in a kayak, and also to wear new swim gear other than my bathing suit.

Excited to start our kayak adventure!

After wearing our swim gear and life vests and taking a quick lesson on the structure of the paddle, on how to stir through the waters, and how to get in and out of the kayak, we were off into the sea. I had fun paddling like a pro, racing with my friend to be the lead in the group, and enjoying the view of the sun, the bay, and the Bay and Golden Gate Bridges.

Rani on Kayak boat
Happily paddling across the San Francisco Bay

Unfortunately, as we sailed through the bumpy waters, I started feeling nauseous and I couldn’t breathe. When we reached the opposite end of our route, I desperately needed to go back. So, I agreed to the suggestion of our guides to go back to the docks.

In the middle of our return , as I lean over my boat to empty my stomach, I fell into the sea. What’s worse, I didn’t know how to swim. I kept kicking my legs until I could reach the edge of my kayak and hold onto it for dear life. After a long struggle, I got onto my boat, the guides attached a rope to it, and they towed me back to land.

As I lay down on my boat, I was able to catch a glimpse of the beautiful sunset. But suddenly, the boat tipped over and I fell once more into the sea and right underneath the boat. I panicked to get to the surface, but I survived. Once we got to the docks, I was crying out of shock, but I was also smiling–happy that I made it alive. I shouted out the one thing that summed up this eventful experience: “What an adventure!”

My dear readers, don’t let this experience hinder you from going into the sea, because believe it or not, I’m still going to get back out there! I’m blessed to encounter this, no matter how scary it was to fall into the sea twice, and even lose my eyeglasses and hat in the process, because what’s a learning experience without the ups and downs? I lived to tell this tale because first, I want to share with you that indeed there are great adventures here at Cal waiting for you to experience, and second, I want to tell you guys that don’t let your fears prevent you from exploring. I was scared for my life and of the sea, but this kayak adventure made me want to go on more water adventures. I know what to expect and how to better prepare myself for them.

I’ll be out there in the sea soon, and I hope that you will join me in these water adventures!

Author: Rani Chan

Hi there! My name is Rani Chan. I’m a sophomore double majoring in Media Studies and Political Economy, and I’m also an international student from the Philippines. I really love food! I love to eat, cook, and go on food trips. Also, I love traveling, watching films and musicals, acting, dancing, singing (in the shower), and learning new languages. In addition to being a Campus Ambassador, I am a Planetarium Presenter at the Lawrence Hall of Science, where I get to share my love for Astronomy. I’m also part of the Cal Archery Club, hoping to become the next girl Robin Hood. I’m truly blessed to be a Golden Bear, and to be in an environment where I always feel welcomed and where I’m constantly learning, discovering, and being a better me. There’s no place I’d rather be than here at Berkeley. I’m very excited to share my Cal stories with you! Go Bears!