Sea Kayaking in Sai Kung

After last week’s adventure of scuba diving we decided to spend this weekend above the water (although we did spend some time under the water too in capsize training!) Through meetup’s Sea Kayaker’s and Friends Hong Kong group we had the opportunity to learn through experienced group members about sea kayaking. Today’s training took place in Sai Kung district, so it was an early start taking a bus to Sai Kung and meeting the group of keen learners and teachers then a bus to Wong Shek pier then a speedboat out to Tan Ka Wan where the group has a base and what a lovely place to have a facility for kayaking, it was beautiful.

Basic strokes and moving the kayak

A keen group of kayak learners
A keen group of kayak learners

We started the day with an instructional land based class learning about safety, sea kayaks and what to do out on the water, then it was time to kit up and carry out kayaks down the hill to the sea (knowing that at the end of the day we would need to carry the double kayaks back up the hill!) Phil and I decided it was a bit hot whilst waiting for our turn to get into our kayak so we jumped into the sea to cool off. It was lovely to cool off and then it was our turn to get our kayak and enter in (bottom first!) Out on the water we quickly remembered how to move forwards and backwards from our previous kayaking trips – New Forest in the UK, Laos river rapids, Sai Kung sea kayaking trip and other adventures. Having remembered the basics, it was time to build on these skills and practice turning and going in and out of obstacles (such as moored boats).

Learning together
Learning together
Hayley and Phil learning together
Hayley and Phil learning together

After a morning’s activities we kayaked over to the beach and left the kayaks and then walked back into the sea for a cooling off swim.

A relaxing lunch time swim
A relaxing lunch time swim

Capsize training

In the afternoon, the aim was to practice capsizing and rescuing other kayakers, so that we would all feel confident in case of an emergency to instruct someone in the water as to what to do and get their boat drained of water and help them back into their kayak. The first time that you were told to on purpose capsize it was a bit strange as you we both started rocking the boat and then decided that actually we just needed to decide which direction to go and full out push over, then 1, 2, 3 and go. Once under the water, the aim was to first stay calm and reach forward to release your sprayskirt (water tight covering over your section of the kayak), then push straight down and out whilst still holding onto your paddle and then immediately come back and hold the kayak.

Capsize practise
Capsize practise
More capsize practise
More capsize practise

Once in the water by your kayak, you shout for help and a rescue kayak will hopefully come and they will direct you whilst getting your boat out of the water so that it can drained of excess water inside and then back onto the sea and hold it whilst you re-enter your kayak. It was a fun but challenging activity. After lots of capsize training we practiced our strokes again and then paddled back to the shore.

What a beautiful place to learn to sea kayak
What a beautiful place to learn to sea kayak

After a fun day of kayaking in the bay area, it was time to wash everything down and make sure it clean before putting everything away for next time’s adventure. We all then walked to the next village for a ferry back to Sai Kung, however, as we walked over Phil and I realised that we might be able to get a boat directly back to the east rail line (Ma Liu Shui) rather than having to do the long journey that we did in the morning (2 buses and a boat) so we were left at the pier as the rest of the group headed back to Sai Kung.

A successful day
A successful day
Doom! Abandoned at the pier...
Doom! Abandoned at the pier…

Reflections

We both had a really enjoyable day and are looking forward to our next sea kayaking outing (we have signed up for this Saturday). It was fun and we want to learn more, it will be an interesting way of exploring more of Hong Kong as this group has several bases in different locations.

Thank you to our instructors for their training and to Rico for taking the photos.

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