A few months ago Tsunami Ranger Michael Powers wrote an article in Sea Kayaker magazine about getting lost while paddling solo in big waves and fog. In the next issue, an irate reader railed at Michael for the very boo boos that he had already owned up to, and labeled him “arrogant and egotistical” for thinking he could go out in rough conditions without gadgets. The letter writer then denigrated the Tsunami Rangers. He indicated that our name expressed an attitude that nature “is a temperamental adversary that can be managed through boundless human determination and skill.”
Boundless determination coupled with skill is a good thing while in nature. I’m not sure that Tsunami Rangers symbolizes that, but I agree with the sentiment. I disagree with the temperamental adversary part. No how, no way do we view nature as a fickle opponent, an enemy to contend with and contest against.
In fact, we view nature reverently, love it, and desire to immerse ourselves in it. We do not keep the sea at arm’s length, but seek to become one with the sea, to play in the water as water beings, to experience the profound joy of being with the sea as it changes from day to day, moment to moment. That is, we like to have fun while sea kayaking. On that day in Michael’s story, he failed to align with the sea, and thus got lost in the fog. His fun quotient went down. End of story.
There is no need to be so serious about messing around in boats, to be rigid as to what is right and wrong, to be afraid of the elements and thus hold back and stay put in the straight and narrow, never taking chances. We say go for it and follow your heart’s desire when on the water. Don’t get mired in the doldrums, where it’s safe, and nothing ever happens…. And time passes you by.
We came up with the name Tsunami Rangers while musing. We remembered our childhood dreams of being pirates, sea gypsies who roam the wild waters. We put ourselves in the painting of the Great Wave off Kanagawa. The name Tsunami Rangers was meant to be fanciful and fun, not boring and correct. Just for fun we use secret code words and give ourselves naval ranks (if the military can do it, why not us?).
It’s true that any boater can have a miserable experience in the sea, as Michael did that day. Most kayakers can relate a time or two that was considerably less than enjoyable. It happens. So what? There is no need to be haunted by hardship and daunted by danger, or hate people who live on the edge—where transformation occurs. Instead, marvel at each vista, and seek new horizons. Revel in big seas, surf zones, storms, anywhere that the sea can be experienced to its fullest. Life is short, so live yours the way you have dreamed it. Why not put yourself in the painting! For me, sea kayaking, in all its forms, is fun. How is it for you?