9. Self organized -paddling kayaks and canoes

As a last self-organized trips we made two day trips to the local area. The first one was with kayaks. We had divided our group in two in terms of more efficient planning, so the other half was responsible for the first trip, and the other form the second one.

First was the kayak day. The wind during this day was quite hard, and as we were paddling along the coast line, there were some high waves, especially at the spots where we wouldn’t get any shelter from the Islands. At many points I had to focus really hard, to keep the kayak stable. On the other hand it was thrilling, as you were constantly “reading” the waves and adjusting your paddling and balancing to them. However, in the beginning I struggled because of the hard wind, and the kayak was turning all the time strongly to my left, and I had to work extra hard to keep it going straight. After a while I got quite frustrated, and Kyle as experienced paddler came to me and noticed that my kayak didn’t have a rudder at all, which explained the difficulty. Therefore, when paddling in harder weather conditions, if not a very experienced paddler, one should definitely have a rudder in their kayak.

We kayaked the first part of the trip in more open area, and the rest of the trip in more sheltered canal. We stopped for a lunch break on a small Island, and as we had paddled quite fast, nevertheless the wind, we wanted to have a relaxed, and long break, and enjoy the weather and the nature. However, the Brits wanted to explore the area more, and use the time for kayaking, therefore they left before the rest of the group, which was alright as there were four of them, and we remained six. In our trips it was preferable that there were at least three kayaks going together, which would ensure that the rescue would be effective enough in case of a capsize.

The last part of the trip was enjoyable, except for the last bit where we were paddling to head wind. In terms of planning, the it wasn’t the most enjoyable trip because of the wind, at parts that weren’t sheltered. Therefore, a good idea in this case would have been to paddle from A to B, instead of making a loop and have paddle to the direction of the wind and to get the wind in our backs.

In canoeing we had some similar difficulties with the wind. And when reaching a more open area we in fact had to turn back earlier than we had planned. Also taking the canoes in the sea was not maybe the best idea, but some members or the group had complained before that the river would be a boring option to paddle. On the other hand it was an experience to go in the waves with the canoe, because usually the circumstances for canoeing would be more stable.