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Thread: Kayak Advice for Beginner

  1. #1
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    Default Kayak Advice for Beginner

    Hey All. Looking for advice on a kayak trip.

    My girlfriend and I are going to Halibut Cove for a few days and I want to rent some kayaks. I don't want to have a guide and I don't have time to take any training. It seems like most of the places that rent kayaks want you to have experience. I grew up canoeing... a lot, and I have been in a kayak a couple of times on lakes. We are fairly young and I have extensive outdoor experience, including being very comfortable on the water and a good swimmer. I don't think I need any training, as it seems like common sense, but what do you guys think? Can I read up on it and do my own little training session before we set out? I learn most everything by trial and error, but since my girlfriend will be with that may not be the best way.

    In my mind we get in the thing and paddle around and keep from tipping it. What's so hard about that? I guess the dangerous part would be if we did tip, how do we get back in it so we can get to shore and dry out. By the way, I will rent a tandem.

    Also, any advice on who to rent from in Homer or nearby.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Member Sierra Dragon's Avatar
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    I think you are seriously underestimating the hazards there my friend.

    keeping a kayak from tipping in a lake... not so difficult. Keeping it from tipping in calm conditions on a sheltered bay... Also not so difficult. Keeping from tipping if the wind picks up at all? Yea... thats a good way to get dead real fast.

    If you've never kayaked at a minimum I'd find someone to demonstrate and let you practice self rescue. Getting in and out of a Kayak may not be much of a challenge but until you've tried it when hanging upside down with your legs stuck in freezing cold water and low visiblity? make sure you and your girlfreind know how you would react to the situation as it can be fairly disorienting.

    Drysuit is also pretty much manditory. If you end up in the water and get into trouble you want to give rescue hours, not minutes.

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    Member ksaye's Avatar
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    I would not rent a tandem; just rent two kayaks; rent a yurt in katchemak bay SP; http://alaskanyurtrentals.com/; and have homerdave on this forum drop you off and pick you up. Most kayaks these days are very stable. You don't need to know how to roll, etc. Just be smart stay close to shore and wear a life jacket. I have kayaked for 9 years and have not worn a dry suit; but always wear a pfd. Of course I would not cross big water either; stay in the bays.
    IMG_3825a_50.jpg

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    Default Bad idea

    Water temp, wind, being scared, and being exposed for periods of time in the elements, after an unplanned mishap, could put your girlfriend in someone else's arms who would make sure she had all her safety measures, intact, before embarking on an adventure.
    Most of the time floats are just a fun relaxing time, but sometimes things do go wrong and you will have to self rescue, rescue others, or deal with multiple other possibilities stemming from unexpected mishaps.
    I drag my family all over this state, they are game but totally rely on me doing my homework, and maximizing their safety, and comfort as well.
    In an inflatable one man boat we learn self rescue first, and in a hard boat an eskimo roll first. Think about it...
    Mark

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    Default Yikes!!!!

    Thanks for the advice everyone. Seriously, very good things to consider, that's why I asked. I thought my post made it somewhat clear that I wasn't a complete bonehead, but I guess not. Of course we will wear pfd's, stay close to shore, watch the weather and tides, carry my SPOT and not take any risks we're not comfortable with.
    If the good Lord takes me home... so be it. Nice try sierra dragon and mark oathout... but I'm still not scared.

    If anything your doom and gloom makes me want to do it even more. I had to laugh at the one about me dying and my girlfriend hooking up with someone who will keep her safe.

    ksaye... thank you for the positive response... at first I questioned having two kayaks, but assume that's in case one tips?

  6. #6
    Member Sierra Dragon's Avatar
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    Seriosuly not trying to scare you. Just trying to point out why the rental places are a little leary about renting to beginners.

    and in my defense your post only said (couple days, halibut bay, no guide, not much experience) that kinda sent up alarm bells in my mind.

    if you are close enough to shore to swim for it... that helps

    drysuit thing you will run into a whole host of opinions. Think of a dry-suit as your seatbelt/motorcycle helmet. not absolutly necassary but I personally wouldn't be out there without one. but then i have 4 little boys and a wife who depend on me for income, and most life insurance policies (including mine) expressly indicate kayaking as one of those activities that are grounds for denial of payment, so my tolerance of risk will be different from yours.

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    Member ksaye's Avatar
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    I suggested 2 kayaks because it may be easier to maneuver and may be more stable. Someone told me the quickest way to divorce is a tandem kayak. LOL. Then you 2 could both explore and take photos, etc.

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    Thanks guys. Good point about two kayaks ksaye.

    Sierra I will have to look into my life insurance policy. I wonder what might be in the fine print...

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    You're kind of a smartass wooderson. Mark is very experienced and is not lying to you. Rent some kayaks from REI, go to a nice calm lake and make sure you and your girlfriend can wet exit, re-enter, and paddle. I have gone with several people who "know how to paddle" and are "athletic and good swimmers" and when it comes down to it they paddle incorrectly, can't maintain a straight line, risk their shoulders, and don't have the strength/skill to re-enter after a wet exit. I told one guy to come by and get my drysuits before going out of whittier and he didn't do it. When he went to shore to relieve himself he came back to his friends being blown out into passage canal, one of them had overturned, and a cell phone call was all he know how to do to save his friends ass. He was lucky a group of people were out fishing on that early spring day or he would have been responsible for the death of his friend, who when was was rescued was mumbling about playing baseball or some B.S. You won't stay close enough to shore to swim for it, the tide has a nice way of making sure of that, if you are not taking a water taxi you will have to cross the the bay to halibut cove you will be at least two miles from shore. All very doable, all very easy. Drysuits, wet-exit and re-entry, stay with your boats if an accident happens, carry waterproof flares IN YOUR PFD POCKETS!!! and if you can muster up a handheld marine radio do it. Practice assisted rescues with two kayaks, practice wet exits and re-entries with a double. The safest way is to call alaska kayak academy and take a quick kayak class with them, they are very good and offer extremely helpful classes on how to paddle correctly, self rescue, and planning. Take these steps and have fun. P.S. she will leave you if you almost kill her..

    Chris

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    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    No need to get onery about all of this..
    People care about other people, and its a wonderful thing for everyone to go out on adventures and return happy and alive.
    My self, I took classes for sea kayaking about 20 years ago from a pro sea kayaker from Seward.
    it was money well spent.. I learned so much about deep water rescue, how to get back in your kayak if you do get dumped,
    lots of safety stuff that becomes a part of you when you venture out alone or with loved ones..
    My hope is that all of us use positive verbage in explaining our views and our council to others here on the forum.
    oft times a joke told on these threads is easily confused with someone being serious and smart.
    Please ,, please.. take the high road when you read a post on here, and don't always go into the ditch..
    even if the sarcasm is pretty rough.. we all need to avoid calling each other out..
    I have yet to see any positive to any of that kind of posting.
    We end up not moving forward with any learning or meaningful dialog.
    thank you all for your help and positive ideas and attitudes here on this forum..
    Now back to the topic at hand..
    My vote is that Homer Dave be given a chance to help with this adventure.. he has a couple of Kayaks and a great shuttle business to help get you to some great waterways that offer exactly the type of kayaking experience you would be suited for.
    I find that several of our folks here on the forum offer great advice and council and I have learned much from my readings here.
    please let us know how your plans are going.. and a report on the adventure..
    Maxd
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

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    I wasn't being onery. Just using my sarcastic flair. It's all good.. I absolutely encourage kayaking in all forms, but have also had to help out the unprepared. All in good fun!
    Chris

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    Default Kayaking.

    G'day wooderson, pls pay due attention to the posts re wet re entries/training.

    They offer excellent advice and are totally correct.

    An observation from a very experienced mate of mine - he says doubles are quicker than singles at 2/3rd the effort. The doubles I paddled with earlier this year left me for dead and reinforced that observation.

    Doubles, up to 7.3metres long, are normally wider than singles and much, much more stable enabling you better safety margins if you get caught out in some wind.

    My 24" wide X nearly 18ft long single sea kayak is NewZealand made and fitted with a rudder and sail - still working on the sailing skills but to date enjoy it no end. It is said to be on the slow side, (the narrower the faster) but excellent for stability and load carrying.

    Singles might sound attractive for independence, but when group paddling you are only as fast as your slowest paddler whereas in the double its not a problem.

    Should one of you get ill or for some reason can't paddle then the double will be better suited to getting to your destination, and far better than for instance towing the disabled kayak as you might have to if in singles.

    It takes some practice and training to do wet re entries, its harder than you might think until you have had a go at it.

    In March this year our group did a 120KM (75mile) inland paddle in Aus, the difference re individual abilities in rough water, endurance and boat stability were quite marked.

    Above all, its great fun, you can carry heaps more than a back pack for overnighters and if planned properly, very safe.

    Heap of reading on:- www.seakayakforum.com, an Aus forum.

  13. #13
    Member Mark Collett's Avatar
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    Default A Cavalier Attitude Kills People

    wooderson,
    Mark and Chris have both given you some excellent food for thought in their replies.I really don't beleive they are trying to scare you--maybe they want to help open your eyes.Alaskan water will not forgive casual,rash,and stupid mistakes.Salt water even more so.....You mess up in the salt--you become statistic.........period.
    You haven't seemed to mention how "young and atheltic" your girlfreind is.Nor have you said anything about how well you or she can handle swimming in 3-6 foot chop against a 30 foot tide swing.That might be somethig to consider as well.
    Mother Nature is very unforgiving.Treat her with respect or pay the price.........that price can be very expensive young man........

  14. #14
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    The other day I had a group of folks out on the water on a smaller lake, ( 35 acres) and we had kayaks and canoes.
    before we started I ask this question. ( all of them were newer to the sport of canoes and kayaks )
    If for some reason you end up tipping and end up in the water, what would you do?
    The answers were all over the board... most of them would not be considered the best choice..
    ....
    what do you do when you tip over and are now in the water?
    what do you do with a kayak full of water? how do you get it up right and empty?
    How do you get back in the kayak?
    does the kayak float when full of water?
    should I swim toward shore and abandon the kayak?
    How long do I have in water that is 40 degrees ?
    would I be afraid of the event, or comfortable with it?

    These are just a few of the thoughts that might be good to consider when we go out on the water.
    the most powerful tool in our war chest,, is knowledge.
    One of the best things I ever did, was getting the chance for someone to ask me alot of questions about what I would do in the event I ended up outside my kayak.
    The reason it was one of the best things .. was because the person that asked me those questions also had answers that would help me to make it thru the events...
    think about any and all the possible things that could go wrong.... then pursue answers ..
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

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    Member Mark Collett's Avatar
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    Very well spoken Max.

    You,sir,are wise beyond your years...............
    Last edited by Mark Collett; 07-10-2011 at 06:07. Reason: It looked Funny

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    What are the best places in and around Anchorage to kayak, with a sea kayak? I'm rusty, and need to get back into practice, and I've never been more than a novice. How frustrating that I am only just now capable of carrying my kayak to the water due to knee injuries three years ago.

    Well, after reading this thread, I guess my daughter (15 years old) and I won't rent a tandem kayak and try a little kayaking around Homer next weekend. This trip. Dang it. I'm so excited about getting back into it, after being forcibly inactive for so long. We've both had lessons years ago, and both have kayaked on lakes and sloughs.

    How about sea kayaking lessons in Homer in a tandem? Any suggestions?

    My daughter likes to kayak tandem, not single, which she's done with other people. I have my own single kayak I'm starting back with it, but it's a simple sit-on-top. And I've never kayaked tandem. Thanks ahead for any advice, I am grateful for your input.

    Veronica

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    Homer Dave, I replied to your PM, thanks for the offer.

    Max... very wise advice, thank you.

    Good advice by all, even the naysayers . No need to get upset though. As we all know, trying to convey attitude or tone of voice in writing is difficult and I think some of you misunderstood mine. I would never purposely put my or my girlfriends life at risk, but I also won't live in a bubble because I'm scared of life. I am here for advice, not lectures, and I apologize if I sounded like a smart ass (and apparently also a dumb ass).

    I guess my first sentence in the opening post threw everyone off. We are not actually going on a kayak trip. We are staying in a cabin and going hiking. I thought if the weather was nice and the water calm it would be nice to have a kayak at hand to paddle around a bit. This isn't going to be some grand open ocean adventure. We would be able to plan our LITTLE excursion on the water based on tides and weather.

    We are staying on the east side of the cove, I think near the saddle trail trailhead. For those of you familiar with this area, is this a good place to kayak? Are there heavy rip currents in the area? There is a 1.3' to 17.9' tide swing on the day we would go.

    And I doubt she would leave me over kayaking, especially after 9 years and 3 kids.. lol.

  18. #18
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    lets hear the full report with pictures ???
    I was in Halibut cove the other day and remember a trip 11 years ago when my wife and I paddled the calm waters the last week of may in that wonderful little cove and bay..
    Otters , seals, Minky whale came so close we had some raise in our heart rates... we paddled over to the north side of the bay and found a family enjoying a beach side campfire.. we visited from our kayaks and were offered Smores from the kids.. we accepted the offer... I watched a father teach his 6 year old son to skip rocks .. and for a moment I regained faith in mankind.... As I saw good parenting and family values in that short visit.... As we paddled back towards the cove.. the outgoing tide was going to leave us to get out and drag or carry our kayaks 50 feet over the exposed muscle beds and rocks in that shallow area... we made it just in time with only 3 or 4 inches of water to glide over...
    My wife reminds of that trip often and how much fun we had just hanging out in Halibut cove...
    I hope your trip and future trips will bring you as much joy as many of ours have over the years..
    Max
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

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