Family Vacations, Summer 1996
If Sea kayakers were any closer to the water, they’d have gills.
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The basic sea kayak design, 4,000 years old, still offers a reassuring body-hug. These boats are faster, more stable, and easier to paddle than canoes, and you can cram an awful lot of stuff into the bow and stern. More than one first-time sea kayaker has wondered why anybody would
Until your child is 14 or so, he or she won’t provide much in the way of paddling power, so for younger kids you’ll have to make some adjustments. While covering eight miles before lunch at full steam without rest stops may be your objective, such rigidity won’t appeal to your kids. They’re interested in the here and now and would much rather stop to watch a nearby turtle sun
Give each child a responsibility, even if you have to make one up. It makes them feel important and included, which then makes them more agreeable. (My girlfriend and I provide her nine-year-old with a compass-on-a-necklace and our heading. If we get more than 15 degrees off course, Molly issues corrections.) Likewise, everybody gets a paddle, even if it’s plastic and only 18
The following routes will maximize your time close to shore, which is not only safer but also more interesting (novices should sign on with an outfitted trip). And remember the answer to 90 percent of the paddling questions posed by children between seven and 12: “In about 20 minutes.”
Copyright 1996, Outside magazine