Picks and Pans Review: Kayaking the Vermillion Sea
This deft mix of adventure, history and lyrical reflection might as aptly be called, "Can This Marriage Be Saved?" Actually subtitled "Eight Hundred Miles Down the Baja," Waterman's account of two months' kayaking along the Baja California desert coast with his wife, Deborah, stays afloat partly because of updates on their already shaky, yearlong union. The fights and affections of this mid-30s Colorado couple testing their love in the wild add poignancy to what might have been just another portrait of nature in decline.
For example, after weeks of hard paddling down the starkly beautiful eastern coast of the peninsula, Deborah has a migraine and thumps her hands against the kayak, yelling at her husband for not helping her. They beach their boats, she takes a pain pill, then lies down in the sand. "I come back to her," Waterman writes, "and say that I love her and rub her feet as she moans, writhing on her back.... Our own relationship—clinging to this raft of love—seems our only chance of survival. Without each other we would be lost on a dying sea."
By trip's end, after more headaches and other hardships, the couple discover they can survive a harsh, remote wilderness and still remain in love. (Simon & Schuster, $22)