You see, the thing about these paddleboats is that they are exactly what you picture when you hear the words “swan paddleboats.” They are big, white, plastic, swan-shaped vessels that you lower yourself into and then maneuver around the lake via two sets of pedals. And no matter how many times I see them, they never fail to excite me. “Look at the paddleboats!” I squeal, pointing gleefully to the middle of the lake. “We should totally rent one sometime.”
Well, Internet, this weekend we did just that.
I should say that the last time I was in one of these paddleboats I was approximately eight years old. My grandparents were visiting, which means it must have been around Easter, and my whole family went out for lunch at a lakeside restaurant that’s now long gone. Afterward, we took a walk around the park, and my grandfather decided to take me out in one of the paddleboats, probably after I begged and pleaded.
The best part of this story, however, is that I insisted I would help paddle, but who are we kidding? I “helped” my grandfather paddle for about two minutes before I got tired and stopped, and I’m fairly certain that I did not put my feet back on those pedals for the whole rest of the 30-minute ride. I’m fairly certain that my grandfather’s legs hurt pretty badly the next day, too.
This time, I’m happy to report, I did help, but here’s a funny story: The guy who rented us the boat was the only one working at the time, and right around the time we walked up, a long-ish line began to form behind us. The swan paddleboat renter guy was so, so nice and accommodating, but he forgot to tell us that the boats move best when you paddle slowly, not like you’re participating in some sort of crazy fowl race. So we ended up paddling like maniacs, panting and sweating, for the majority of the ride–thank you, spin class, for strengthening my leg muscles, I really appreciate that–right up until we neared the dock again and the guy called out, “Oh, you guys are supposed to paddle slowly! I think I may have forgotten to tell you that. The boat moves better that way.”
Thanks, Mr. Swan Paddleboat Renter Guy. I definitely got my cardio in that day.
Anyway, Jell-O legs aside, the swan paddleboats were just as fun as my eight-year-old self remembered. Plus, it was a perfectly sunny day, the weather wasn’t too hot for Florida in mid-June and the water was a gorgeous blue.
And really, sometimes that’s all you can ever ask for, anyway: a beautiful afternoon with people you care about in a big, white, swan-shaped boat.