Friends go kayaking for birthday celebration

HOMESTEAD, Fla.— I was really excited to go kayaking. After all, it had been almost five years since I got together with friends, rented a kayak and got in the water.
What was different about this trip, however, was that I was going to spend the day with friends I had met a the University of Florida and, more importantly, we were going to surprise my classmate Misha Vaidya’s friend Rudy Baez for his birthday.
You see, Rudy had been talking to Misha about going kayaking for awhile and often tried to convince her to go to the beach to rent kayaks for the day, but when Misha and I started working on our stories for the Our National Parks Web site, the perfect idea came to us.

Rudy Baez and Leslie Sandoval relaxing in their kayak at Biscayne National Park (Photo by Misha Vaidya).  

“We should figure out a way to get Rudy here,” I said to Misha. “Maybe we can tell him we’re going somewhere else and surprise him by driving down to Biscayne to go kayaking.”
“That’s a great idea!” Misha said. “We should plan a trip for his birthday.”
So, sure enough, on a Saturday morning we gathered our bathing suits and beach gear and told Rudy we were going to a quite beach area we discovered in the South Miami area. The best part was that he didn’t question anything and just went along with the idea.
After driving for a while, he finally turned to us and asked, “Where are we going because I don’t think there are any beaches down here.”
With smiles on our faces we said to him, “You’ll see.”
As we drove down the long road leading up to the Dante Fascell Visitor Center on Convoy Point, Rudy figured out that we were probably not going to the beach, but we continued to reassure him that the surprise would be worth it.
Once we arrived and stepped out of the car we all looked at Rudy and said, ”We’re going kayaking!”
With excitement in his face, he laughed and thanked us for coming up with a fun and out-of-the-ordinary birthday adventure.
Once we all got our kayaks and eased them into the water, we were off!
It was such a beautiful, relaxing day. The water was sparkling and calm, the sky was perfectly clear and the heat from the November sun was shining down.
We couldn’t have asked for a better day for a birthday surprise! 

Sheena Morales
University of Miami M.A. ’10


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