Kayaking in The Memphis Harbor

Mississippi River Bridge - a view from the bow

Mississippi River Bridge - a view from the bow

Harboring A Deep Secret – Kayaking in The Memphis Harbor!

In June, 2011 I did a Saturday morning kayak trip by myself in the Memphis harbor.  It was quite fun, because I was able to paddle out in the harbor among a few speedboats that were heading out into the Mississippi river.  I launched my little kayak from the Mud Island marina, after putting down $10 to satisfy the fee they charge for non-members. 

Here I am paddling out to meet the river

Here I am paddling out to meet the river

It turned out to be well worth the price, as I felt really alone but independent as I floated towards the mouth of the harbor.  There ahead of me laid the mighty Mississippi river, seething in all its majesty, just recently having flooded its banks thencovering the entire area just a month earlier. 
I paddled under bridges that I had crossed by car for almost 40 years, admiring their swarthy structures from underneath girders of decades old steel.  How perfect of a day was this to behold.
I had packed a lunch to eat onboard, so about noontime I stopped paddling and floated aimlessly in the ever-warming sunlight, enjoying a mostly vegetarian feast.  This was living!  Did it have to end?  
I saw the old steam-powered paddle boats docked at the foot of Front street that I had once ridden as a child on a field trip, more than 40 years earlier, and saw a younger, tinier version of me aboard the Memphis Queen, peering out at the small green kayak in the harbor.  Could this all be real?
I considered paddling into the river, and attempting a small excursion into the main waters, but
Paddling in the Memphis Harbor
Paddling in the Memphis Harbor

avoided that, knowing that it could mean instant death with no trace.  My older, wiser self said it was better to stay content and alive in the harbor than risk it all for a wild ride in the open river.  Thank goodness for common sense!

If you can find your own kayak, be it a real one or some other form of excursionary vehicle, I highly recommend it.  You’ll never regret it nor the journey of self-discovery that is possible in such a craft.
To put it into perspective, here’s a quote from that great musician and poet, James Taylor:
Being on a boat that’s moving through the water, it’s so clear. Everything falls into place in terms of what’s important and what’s not.
Happy boating!
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