Channel Adventure Kayaking Experience
I recently went out with Darren from the Channel Adventures team to get a bit more experience on the water and remind myself what Fatyaking is all about. I was up bright and early at Lynmouth Harbour for 9am, the weather was slightly overcast but none the less we were expected to have some perfect conditions on the water and were fortunate enough to be accompanied by a family of four who were around on holiday and keen to get on the water having had little previous experience sharing two of our Mahee boats.
We each carried our boats down to the water after getting our gear on, and got in to the bottom end of the east lyn river (a river well known around the country for whitewater kayaking!) and having been a while since I’d been on the water it was all a bit wobbly but luckily we all avoided any spillages… for the moment. The plan was to head Westwards along the coast to valley of the rocks where we’d be doing a number of activities and see some spectacular views. One perk of kayaking that I’d never really thought of previously was sight seeing, I’ve been going to Lynton and Lynmouth for years but to see the harbour and the valley of the rocks from a new angle and cliffs inaccessible in any other way but water bound was something else! Usually you climb the rocks and cower over the edge to look down on to the water but being out on a kayak gave a sense of freedom as you could see the unseen side of the cliff. The water was completely flat all day as well making it easy for us to paddle which is something of a rarity and we saw a number of caves and interesting sea birds that you wouldn’t usually see from the land such as oyster catchers (which ironically don’t even catch oysters).
Darren was a great instructor and threw a number of challenges at us, first off was some boat maneuverability in and out of small rocky sections. The Kaafu really proved itself here performing brilliantly in these tight sections, being dynamic enough to move at a quick pace and easy to balance and manoeuvre. Even the Mahee’s weren’t falling behind despite being a much larger boat, they got through spaces which I would have questioned whether or not a single seater could pass through! It was all great stuff and a lot of fun in the waves swirling and breaking up on the rocks giving an entertaining amount of chop.
After a leisurely lunch on woody bay and seeing the old ruins of lime kilns in the rocks, we were due a surf session. I have to admit the last time I tried kayak surfing I capsized over and over but with Darren’s easy to understand step by step instructions and a bit more time, I think I could have nailed it in no time! I did manage to catch one good wave without resulting in a face plant into the water and I have to say this was probably my favourite part of the day and despite my lack of skill I managed not to get anything wet proving the quality of the water proof hatches. I think I really underestimated the thrill you can get from riding the waves when you get it right! And again the Mahee’s definitely didn’t fall behind despite the extra weight, they capsized less times than me which says something!
Heading back towards Lynmouth the sky started to brighten up and the water became even flatter than it already was, it was incredible to think that in theory even if we didn’t paddle we could sit there and be travelling Eastwards at 2kmh with the tide. Not to mention whilst watching the goats up above on the cliffs getting themselves into all sorts of crazy places. The journey back really was the definition of tranquil. The kayak was comfortable, easy to paddle and very stable meaning I could paddle easily rather than all my movement and energy being wasted on rocking the kayak side to side. Weirdly enough carrying the kayaks back up the rocky and slippery river was something we all found almost enjoyable, by which i mean laughing at each other slipping over. The kayaks weren’t too heavy and Darren showed me a tip of detaching the back rest and threading one of the straps through the carry handle so that I didn’t have to bend down whilst carrying the kayak.
All in all I had an amazing time and got to spend the day with some great people! The weather was perfect, the water was even better and I’d highly recommend it to anybody looking to get into the water – whether experienced or not! I’d also like to say a huge thanks to Darren and the rest of Channel Adventures for a great day!