ocean kayaks

I need a new sport/hobby. I love cycling and I love being near/on water so ocean kayaks seem to be a good choice. If any of you are into this, talk me into it! I take it’s more of a relaxed, peaceful activity (like hiking and bike tours), not a high intensity sport? Would it be practical to keep renting the kayaks or will I need to buy (and find a place to store) my own?

Need to be talked into sea kayaking? Hear ya go:

[ul][li]“As Martina and I made our way along the coast we grew used to the marvellous openness of the sea. We would take the tide out for kilometre after kilometre, far out of sight of land, and then return on it many hours later. Every hour we would stop to take a fix, set our next bearing, and lie back in the boat, surrounded by nothing but water and sky and each other. Hour after hour, day after day, we paddled and sang and slept under the hot sun on the Arctic Ocean, wanting never to return.”[/li]
[li]Janet, Morrigaine the cat, and I were close to the end of a week on a remote area of Lake Superior. We had been wind bound on a lovely sand beach for several days, so our only way out was to paddle at night, when the wind was down. The autumn night was clear, with a magnificent sky of stars winking down on us, as we made our way past the cliffs and islands of the cold lake. Then the northern lights came out, bright and coloured and dancing across the sky. The water was as smooth as glass, reflecting the show. The only sound were those of our strokes and of Morrigaine purring. A truly magical night paddle.[/li]
[li]“Oscar decided to stay with me for the night, sniffing about, occasionally running and pouncing, and occasionally curling up on top of my bag. I breathed in the cedar scent of the groves behind me. The water in the Bay gently lapped on the shore, and high cliffs to the north and to the south were silhouetted by the stars. I could hear wind and breaking waves from the other side of the peninsula to the south. I could hear my breathing, my heartbeat.”[/li]
“And above me were the stars and the meteors. Most flew to my right, some starting with bright flashes, and some with long trails. Some flew to my left, with fewer tails, and usually not as bright. And there were so very many of them.”

“Come the hour before sunrise, the sky began to show pastels and the meteor show faded. Only a few flashes. A raven cawed from the south, and another answered from the north. Somewhere behind me, far in the distance, some Canadian Geese honked. I packed up my kit, and made my way back down the beach with Oscar. There were quite a few deer tracks, a moose track, a bear track, and a wolf track. A pretty busy place to share the night and the water.”

About ten feet above the turquoise waters of Wolf Lake in Temagami, under a full moon. Glowing coals, hot steam, Karen and I whipping each other’s backs with birch slender birch branches, then running and diving into the cool lake, and floating on our backs looking up at the moon. Then back into our jury-rigged sauna for another go-round.[/ul]

Quite a few high end sea kayakers communicate through a mailing list called Paddewise. This is a terrific place to get answers to your questions. To sign up for the mailing list, go here: http://www.paddlewise.net/

Sea kayaking can be as laid back as you want it to be – some people like to play in the surf which makes it a lot closer to white-water kayaking. In general, unless you stick to fairly small bodies of water and calm days, you will encounter conditions more challenging than river or lake canoeing. Waves look a lot bigger when you’re staring them in the face than when you’re on a larger boat. If the water is choppy, things can get kind of exciting. So you’ve got your choice – high intensity or laid-back and relaxing.

As for rent/own – it’s more convenient to own your own kayak so you can just fling it on the car and go. Still, not a decision you have to make immediately. Find out if you like the hobby first. Rent several styles of kayaks from different manufacturers so you have an idea of what you like. There’s a bewildering variety of them and a wide choice of materials. The fiberglass and kevlar boats look really nice, but the plastic boats are cheaper and virtually indestructible.

Thanks for the feedback. I think I’ll take a lesson or two and see how it goes.