How adventurous are you? Do you like the sound of a 5-day expedition exploring far-flung waterways in your kayak? How about circumnavigating exotic islands with nothing but your boat and paddle?
If you’re not quite that daring, there’s still a lot of fun to be had engaging in a spot of kayaking when you’re on holiday, not to mention, it also has the added bonus of working off a few of those margaritas.
Before you start, make sure you take the appropriate safety precautions; inform others about your plans and itinerary, wear a personal floatation device (PFD) and good sunglasses (the sun is extra strong due to the reflection on the water) and store the emergency phone number in your phone.
To help you get the most out of your paddling escapades, we’ve come up with a list of six tips that will make holiday paddling much more enjoyable.
Group Paddling Should Be Based On Experience
As you’ll be exploring unfamiliar waters, it’s best to hire an experienced guide, which most likely means you’ll be paddling with a group.
Most treks will detail the paddling time and experience required, and if they don’t, ask your guide. Now, here comes the hard part. You have to be honest about your paddling experience and only go on those tours that match your skill set. Yes, this may mean giving up on trips that that get your wanderlust taste buds salivating, but it’s the safe and sensible choice.
Signing up for an advanced paddling tour when you’re knowingly a novice is at best selfish as you’ll piss everyone off who’ll have to slow down for you to keep up, and at worst dangerous as you put yourself and the people that may have to rescue you at risk.
Other handy tips for not being “that guy” when comes to group paddling include showing up on time and sticking to the schedule.
Study the Itinerary Carefully
Read the trip itinerary carefully and make sure you pack food, water, sunscreen, extra clothing, medication and anything else that is requested.
Some tours will lead you into the back of beyond where none of the luxuries of the modern world exist. Being ill-prepared for the wilderness will lead to an uncomfortable experience. Spend time to study the itinerary and pack everything you’ll need for the duration of the trip.
On the other hand, don’t take items that are prohibited. If there’s a strict no camera policy, be respectful of the guide’s wishes.
Protect Your Valuables
One of the most common holiday mishaps is water damage to your camera or smartphone. I can understand the desire to make everyone on Facebook super jealous of your epic snaps of stunning coastlines, whales surfacing, and golden sand beaches, but be careful.
Travel insurance is always a good idea, but you can protect against water damage quite easily by locking away your valuables in a safe place on land. Many guided tours take photos the entire day and email them to you later free of charge.
If you must take your electronic devices and other valuables on board, your safest bet is to invest in a good dry bag.
Buy Eco-friendly Sunscreen
You may not even have known there was such a thing as environmentally-safe sunscreen, but trust me, it exists. The chemicals that are contained in most sunscreens have no harmful effects to us but severely damage aquatic life.
Be extra cautious if you’re sea paddling near reefs. The chemicals in sunscreen can bleach coral causing it to atrophy, which in turn affects the marine life that feed on the coral. Protect yourself and the reef by buying ocean-safe sunscreen.
Bring Your A-game
If you’ve booked up for a multi-day excursion or even a whole day of paddling, be prepared to be tested. Each day or even hour could be different, and you should be ready to battle through fatigue and to paddle in all weather conditions.
You may be paddling for several hours at a time, and you’ll need to adopt good technique and stay mentally strong for difficult stretches.
There’s no denying that a paddling holiday can be exhausting and may even push you to breaking point at times, but it will also be one of the most rewarding and fun things you’ll ever do if you’re up for a challenge. Bring your A-game and be ready for an adventure!
Take it Easy On the Alcohol
I know, I know, you’re on holiday and now is the ideal time to let loose. Sorry to be a party-pooper, but if you know a big day on the water follows the celebrations, you should cut back on the cocktails.
Not only while you feel terrible bobbing around in a kayak with a hangover (if you even make it that far), but you’re also putting yourself and your group in harms way by not being 100%.
Good rest and staying fully hydrated are essential for paddling in warm climates, and I’m sorry to say that alcohol doesn’t help with either.
With the above 6 tips for kayaking, you’ll have a great adventure during your holiday! Enjoy!