“K3, place to be!” was the slogan of our group’s three-day kayak trip. I could not have asked for a more comical group of students to kayak and camp with for 3 days. We were a strong team of passionate individuals who were not afraid of voicing opinions or leading the group. When we left on Day 1, K3 was off to a great start. We were ready to get on the water and live off the land for three days. We stopped and snorkeled for lunch and then leisurely kayaked to our campsite, Broad Creek. For dinner we ate pasta and sauce but the best part of the meal of the night was the brownies we had for dessert. We all sat in a circle eating brownies with our little bowls and spoons while admiring the stars. Life was good on K3 and we went to bed happy and full and ready for Day 2.
Day 2. Where to begin?! Tensions were high that morning as we figured out who was going to kayak in the double kayaks and who got to ride in the single kayaks. Voices were raised and everyone seemed. Our kayak trip to our lunch spot lacked the energy and excitement so evident on Day 1. We were tired and sore from sleeping on the ground, covered in bug bites from the no-see-ums, and grumpy about the kayak assignments. There was nothing to do but continue to paddle along and we stopped for lunch and snorkeled again.
After lunch, we had only just set back out on the water in our kayaks when it started to rain. We could see the dark mass of clouds rolling in from the horizon but we didn’t think it would hit us so soon. Then the thunder came, accompanied by lightning that lit up the sky. It was just our luck to be caught in the middle of a lightning storm during our paddle! We paddled to shore and huddled under a tree as a group. By now, it was raining buckets and I could barely see ten feet in front of me. The thunder and lightning grew louder and got closer and closer so we scrambled for our PFDs and assumed lightning position, squatting on the life jackets. We squatted in lightning position for over an hour.
To be very clear, that is a long time to hold a squat. Everyone was spread out along the shore, squatting on his or her life jacket and trying to ignore the thunder and lightning that was on top of us. I really thought we were going to get struck by lightning. There was one clap of thunder that was so powerful and loud that I toppled off my life jacket and fell on my face into the sand. I have never been so scared during a storm in my life because we were truly in the middle of it. There was nothing we could do but squat and wait it out. Occasionally, we would talk to each other or try to make a joke, but we basically sat in silence for over an hour. It was the first time I got cold since I arrived at The Island School. We were all shaking from the rain and dying to run into the warm ocean.
When we thought the storm had passed, Leigh and Ashley gave us the thumbs up and K3 sprinted into the ocean. At that moment, we were a group. We weren’t arguing about kayaks or fighting over whose turn it was to be in a double. We weren’t calling people out for not cleaning up or not wearing closed toed shoes. We were just happy to be together. K3 was truly the place to be. At dinner that night, we went around in a circle and shared our rose and thorn of the day. Leigh’s rose was the lightning storm (mine was the brownies). We came together as a group, supported one another, and lived in the moment. The lightning storm was the turning point in K3 and we will forever share that experience with each other.