Kayaker is a familiar fixture on Galveston Bay
Martha Kaminsky began canoeing at age 15.
“I was living in Houston and came to Armand Bayou with a boyfriend,” she said. “We took out a 12-foot canoe and canoed for seven hours straight — I was hooked.”
Seeing alligators and snakes didn’t sway her. A few years later, she began kayaking.
After she married and became the mother of three sons, she introduced them to the bayou and opened up her world to them.
Today, Kaminsky is remarried and resides in San Leon with her husband, Marty Kaminsky. Living on Galveston Bay has afforded her the opportunity to explore not only the bay, but also tributaries.
She began going out in her 9-foot, sit-on-top Pelican, but discovered it was made more for buoyancy and stability, and less for speed. So, she sold it and began using Marty’s 12-foot Old Town Loon. They eventually bought a 15-foot Cape Horn.
It isn’t unusual to see Kaminsky paddling around Galveston Bay, often making the 3-mile trek to Redfish Island, where she has planted numerous palm trees.
“Marty told me there used to be foliage growing there before Hurricane Ike,” she said. “Since I love to garden, I started digging up our royal and queen palm offshoots and transplanting them out on Redfish. I take a shovel, fertilizer, some water and head out.”
Kaminsky has been out several times to check on the plants. Some have made it; some have not.
When not venturing out to Redfish Island, she paddles over to TopWater Grill in San Leon or the Bacliff Spillway.
“I don’t really have a plan — if the weather looks good, I just take off,” Kaminsky, who doesn’t like schedules, said.
“Sometimes, the water looks a lot smoother than it is,” she said. “You can’t tell about the wind until you get away from the shore, because the houses block the wind. But, when you get out there, it’s a whole different ballgame.”
Kaminsky and her husband often go out together and do some fishing, but most of the time she just goes out on her own — either in one of the kayaks or in her paddleboat.
An avid hiker, biker and runner, Kaminsky, 55, came in second place in the 20k cycling event at the Texas Senior Olympics last year. She now qualifies for national in July in Minnesota.
“I am the youngest of six children, so I’ve always had a very competitive edge,” she said.
Kayaking has several positive components for Kaminsky, including the amazing wildlife she encounters.
“I’ve had dolphins swimming beside me and a 3-foot long sow trout,” she said.
Plus, kayaking is a good workout for the upper body and core.
“Since I go out for speed, I am also working my legs pretty vigorously as well,” she said.
There’s never really a bad day for Kaminsky to paddle out.
“I usually go on a whim — I’ve just got to be out there,” she said.