- Nice boat mate.
- Initially I had thought the tourist walking by had been commenting to me on a one of the many fishing vessels moored inside the harbour walls. His comment seemed a little random, but I dutifully stopped removing my kayak from the wagon roof & turned in that very direction.
- Ah, the prawner? No no, that's not mine, but yes I concur, it is rather nice as fishing vessels go...
- When I glanced back toward the random tourist & continued off-loading the kayak he had acquired the look of a person whos brain had just stalled.
- No mate, that thing there...
- I fixed him with my gaze, as I lowered the qajaq onto the slipway.
- Ah, this? This is a kayak, not a boat. It's a sea kayak to be exact, following on from a Greenlandic ancestry & tradition, yet cunningly, it has been fashioned from modern materials. This one includes much kevlar.
- I paused momentarily, like a boxer lowering his guard to taunt an opponent, allow him a free swing, yet, in the absence of a suitably swift & regaling response I added.
- Oh, & you sit in the middle bit, where the hole is...Of course, I don't expect you to know it's not called a hole either, but, & here's the upside, it's a word you will understand since you appear to now be standing in one. Would you like a tour of the skin-on-frame?
Look godamnit, it's a kayak, a qajaq, a qajariaq, a canoe with a full skin on & therefore not a boat. If people insist on calling kayaks boats, I will in turn, & at every opportunity point out that they are boaters & they are boating, & therefore not kayakers kayaking. If that appears pedantic, even ostentatious, then why was there a twinge of annoyance in the face of my Raasay pal when I mischievously asked if he was going boating as he unloaded his kayak into the straits one stormy day? The word boating for him, conjured pastoral wonders, straw hats, cucumber sandwiches, pompous Englishmen with insane overbites, riverbanks, punt poles, Ratty, Mole & Mr.Toad - all through the swirling waters of the Kyle, all through that black gale & swell, & all through that day like a bad song, a mouse on prozac scratching around in his brain, it followed him to his bed - that dirty boater got everything he deserved. Needless to say kayaking, as a generalization is accepted to conjour & precede far more adventure & demand on the participant than that fine & slightly limp-wristed pastime, we have come to know as boating.
If the term boating is unacceptable to a kayaker in it's implied reference & descriptive ability to encompass sea kayaking, it's wild & varying degrees of ferocity, calm & conditions, then the word boat to explain a sea kayak capable of taking on such terms & conditions of adventure should also be unacceptable. Indeed, if such a rant appears pedantic, even ostentatious, then how is it that I also know an old Inuit man from Nuuk who will throw anyone out of the Greenlandic rolling championships for using the word boat when they are referring to a kayak.
I am not alone in my quest, our numbers are swelling, we will see these boaters banished along with their long pointy boats to inland paddling pools & lochs where they will be pursued into submission by the relentless swarming antics of 10 year olds in pedaloes...sorry, by pedaloes I obviously meant wide kayaks...
I'm teetering like a madman on the edge, my laughter derisory, my fingernails screeching lines into a cartoon blackboard as I slide out of my balanced state into a maniacal pursuit of every post in the •≈ UKRGB kayak forum that starts with or incorporates the word boat in its subject matter, ie:
Which boat should I buy I'm 6ft 5 & 18 stone?
Any ya basta, most yachts & boats will carry several people of that stature in one go.
If the said tourist's passing comment had been: Nice ocean going vessel mate... I could have lived with that, yet equally, I have never had cause to say: Let us lift these ocean going vessels onto the upper surface of this land vehicle & perambulate forth until we find waters more fitting of our needs.
Kayak, Roof, Car, Walk, Sea: they are specifics in language & exist for a reason, & after some intense flash flood education, I realized I had in the fullness of description, caused the tourist to also perambulated forth.
- Main Entry:
- Etymology: Inuit qayaq or qajaq
- Date: 1757
2 : a portable canoe styled like an Eskimo kayak.
Etymology:French, from New Latin canoa, from Spanish, from Arawakan, of Cariban origin; akin to Carib kana:wa canoe
- 1: a light narrow vessel with both ends sharp that is usually propelled by paddling.
Etymology:Middle English boot, from Old English bāt; akin to Old Norse beit boat/ship from Old English scip; akin to Old High German skif ship.
Date: pre12th century
1 a: a small vessel for travel on water - ie: a ship
2: a boat-shaped container, utensil, or device
3: a large sea going vessel.
4: a sailing vessel having a bowsprit & usually 3 masts each composed of a lower mast, a topmast, & a topgallant mast.
5: boat; especially : one propelled by power or sail.
Below: Some kayaks ashore at a secret Hebridean venue