At NC Kayaks, we don’t just make kayaks, we are also kayakers. We often use the kayaks we build to enjoy the waterways of the Puget Sound. Over the years, we have seen changes to the environment – mostly positive, in the Tacoma area, especially. There is more wildlife to be seen than just a decade ago. It used to be rare to see a sea lion in the sound; now it’s rare not to – I’ve even seen a raft of California Sea Lions dozing in the sun. The harbor porpoise population has grown from being virtually non-existent 25 years ago to around 2,700 individuals, and we see them regularly. In fact, there are certain areas where it’s an anomaly if we don’t see a pod frolicking nearby.
But not all the news is good. It’s a rare day kayaking when I don’t pull some piece of garbage out of the water – usually plastic bags or single-use water bottles, though sometimes a balloon, beach ball, or other inflatable toy that has blown away from shore. The Southern Resident Orca population is down to 74, and that’s including Lolita/Tokitae, the Southern Resident that is at the Miami Seaquarium. It is unacceptable to me that we don’t do everything we can to help these animals as they struggle to exist.
I believe that introducing people to the sea, where they can experience the wonder of the wilderness that lies where the land ends and the water begins, is one of the best ways to protect it. Once you experience a curious Pacific White-Sided dolphin, witness a pod of harbor porpoises passing close by, or realize up-close-and-personal just how big a humpback whale is from the seat of a kayak, it’s almost impossible not to care. People protect what they care about, so the more people we invite to join us on the water, the louder the chorus of voices calling for the protection of the sea and those that call it home.
I do this by talking about kayaking a lot and listening so I can build the best kayak I can for my customers, in hopes that they, too will paddle often and see the wonders of the water.
This year I’ve decided to give 10% of proceeds of all new kayak orders now through Giving Tuesday (December 3, 2019) to organizations that are helping to facilitate a better understanding and experience on the water. Stay tuned to hear more about each one, as they’ve each played an important role in our journey. They have helped us, as guests of the sea, to understand what is happening and what is required of us, as stewards of the sea.