Sea kayaking is an experience unlike any other. It affords one the unique opportunity to experience the ocean in a way that cannot be duplicated by any other means. It allows you to get closer to sea wildlife without disturbing their natural environment and experience some of the modern wonders of nature like glaciers from an up close and personal perspective, all while giving your upper body the workout of its life!
There are several different ways of experiencing the world from a sea kayak. You can either to participate in a guided tour through a travel agency or tour operator, or you can plan a trip on your own. If you are going to book a trip through a tour operator, preparing your trip is usually as simple as making a phone call and paying the fee. If you are going to plan a trip on your own, however, it is imperative that you have had the proper training and take the necessary precautions. Beginning kayakers are best advised to plan their trip with a trained instructor. This way there is a trained professional there should things get too difficult for newcomers to navigate.
If you are an advanced kayaker and decide to plan a trip on your own, do plenty of homework beforehand. Do your research on the area you are traveling to. Weather can throw a huge kink in the mix and create challenging – and sometimes dangerous - situations for even the most advanced kayak expert. It’s important to understand the tides. If conditions become rough you can conserve your energy by padding with the tide rather than against it.
Before venturing out, let someone on shore know of your exact plans. They should know where you plan to go and how long you expect to be gone. Map out an action plan in case you are not back at the agreed upon time. Always carry some means of communication like a cell phone in a waterproof container or walkie talkies designed for outdoor excursions.
Even under the best of circumstances, kayaking for long stretches of time will sap your body of energy. Bring protein bars or other foods that are rich in carbohydrates so that you can replenish your energy. Also bring plenty of fluids and make sure to stay hydrated.
It is essential to take the proper safety precautions in terms of your attire as well. Most kayakers wear a life vest and it is not a bad idea to consider wearing a helmet as well. A life vest will keep you afloat if you are knocked from your kayak or if the kayak turns over and a helmet helps protect you from bumping your head against the boat or rocks should you have an accident.
Sea kayaking is a truly one of a kind experience, but it can also be extremely dangerous. Be sure to get the proper training and take all the necessary precautions when planning your trip – it could save your life.