Monday, June 16, 2014

Get your paddle on! Why I love to kayak.

If you are an outdoor enthusiast, Vancouver Island is heaven.  The list of outdoor activities one can enjoy, anytime of the year, is endless.  It comes as no surprise that kayaking is one of those activities, being an island and all, with some of the best fresh water lakes in all of BC, numerous rivers and the ocean of course.  Kayaking is a sport that is sought out by many and in a wide variety of ways: Recreational, competitive, adventure, and leisure.  I would not consider us to be advanced kayakers but we are certainly not beginners.  Every summer for the past 7 years, we manage to squeeze in a few kayak adventures as a family.   Every time we do kayak, I ask myself why we don't make it a regular part of our outdoor adventures?  Reality is, the only thing holding us back from doing so is having our own kayaks.  So, until we make that commitment, renting or borrowing kayaks will have to do for now. (Thanks Sealegs Kayaking)

Kayaking is a great outdoor activity for so many reasons.  Great exercise, suitable for all ages and experience, is fun, and gets you out on the water.  All reasons we kayak as a family but there are three special reasons why we seek out kayak adventures.

Paddling any floating object involves rhythm and pattern.  I find paddling very therapeutic and calming.  The motion of the paddle moving through the water, the sounds of water splashing the hull of the kayak, and feeling yourself glide over the water releases all the stress that has built up.  Slowly the mind shifts from life's responsibilities to enjoying the people I am with and the gorgeous scenery around me.

One of the passions behind our outdoor adventures is enjoying the natural settings that are around us.  Ocean kayaking lets us get a bit closer to marine life, something land adventures can't offer us. Paddling allows us to move quietly in the water and often we can get close to seals and sea lions.  Eagles and blue heron are a bit more tolerant of our presence and allow us to watch them go about their daily life.  In shallow water we see shell fish, marine plants and small fish in their natural setting, not washed up on shore.  Kayaking always reconnects me with nature and the ocean.

The best thing about kayaking is seeing the landscapes we are familiar with in a unique and different way.  Usually we are standing on the shore looking out but in a kayak, you look back at the shore and see hills behind the shore, mountains behind the hills, and blue skies dotted with white clouds behind the mountains.  Little scattered islands begin to take shape.  Waves are not sparkles far off in the distance, they are rolling under you.  Suddenly I feel my presence and realize just how small I am and how big the earth is.

Those are my reasons why I love kayaking and I bet you have your reasons as well.  Whatever the reasons are, kayaking is fun, it is a great activity for the whole family, and it is a great workout.  If anyone has tips on how to deal with numb, jello, wobbly legs when exiting the kayak, I would love to hear them.  So far, stumbling around in ankle deep water and falling over is not quite working.  The price we all pay for being tall.

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