My First Canoe Travel

Recently, I went for a trip down a small section of the stunning Murray River, in Australia. This was my first unaccompanied journey, taking around four hours.  Getting to experience this portion of the river has helped instil in me a love of canoeing and the excitement it can bring. 

Preparing For The Trip

My preparation for the trip began a few months before the journey. I needed to make sure that I was confident about handling the canoe, and could keep the boat balanced. To practice this, we went to a quiet part of the river. There was no tide, so I could fall in safely. At first, I did struggle to keep the boat steady for long enough to get in. However, the more I practiced, the easier this became. In addition, I found that it became easier to steer the boat and control its trajectory. Once I was confident in this area, I was able to start planning for the trip. 

The first thing that I needed to do was study the maps. Thankfully, this part of the section was wide, gently sloping its way through the landscape. The tides wouldn’t be too strong, allowing me to have a leisurely paddle. Also, I identified a picnic location, around 6.2 miles (10 kilometers) away. This would be the perfect time to have lunch before turning around and returning home. Having planned the journey, and purchased all the necessary equipment, I went to bed nervous but excited. 

Making The Journey

The next day, I rose early, excited about making my first canoe trip. The canoe was already strapped to the top of the car, so all I had to do was travel to the river. By the time I got there, it was nine o’clock. I got the canoe off the car, double-checked the water-proof bags had been closed properly and put the canoe into the water. Holding the sides of the boat steady, I got into the craft smoothly. Then, I was on my way, paddling down the Murray River. 

Instantly, I was overwhelmed by the peace and serenity. The only sounds were the wind rustling through the trees, the birds chirping overhead, and my paddle pushing through the water. The longer I paddled, the calmer I felt. Along the way, I also got to experience some of the beautiful sights that the river could offer. The riverbanks were lined with green grasses, gently swaying in the breeze. On the surface of the water, a family of birds was gently gliding along. 

By around eleven-thirty, I was getting hungry and was ready to stop for lunch and have a rest. I put my paddle back in the boat, letting it float gracefully across the river. Getting the map out the bag I studied the route carefully, afraid I’d missed the picnic spot. But just when I was putting the map back, it came into view around a curve in the river. I paddled down and pulled the canoe onto the shore, making sure that it was wedged securely. Then, I went up sitting at a table to eat my lunch. It provided all the nourishment and energy I needed for the return journey home. 

It was just as relaxing as the journey to the picnic spot. Despite traveling against the tide, I didn’t have to expend that much energy to make progress. By the time I got back to the car, it was a little after three o’clock. I had a quick snack, then pulled the canoe from the water, tying it securely to the top of the car. Though all the equipment was stowed, I stayed back for a few hours, watching the sun set over the river. This gave me some time to reflect on my day, and consider what my next canoeing adventure would be. 

Conclusion

I hope that you enjoyed this account of my first canoe trip. To help you create your own canoeing memories, I wanted to share this excellent guide which contains everything you need to know about choosing your own canoe. If you have any additional questions, you can register and ask them in this professional forum. So, make sure to get out on the water today and experience the joy that canoeing can provide.

[Guest post by George Aubrey]

kayaking with dolphins in tenerife

We went kayaking with dolphins in Tenerife

By Lianne, responsible for the Spanish market and content/translations at SeaBookings:

On our holidays we went kayaking with dolphins in Tenerife. I never sat in a kayak before, so that was pretty exciting already, and the idea to see dolphins was even more amazing!

Earlier in the week, it was a little stormy, and many tours were cancelled or rescheduled due to strong winds. But luckily enough, today was a sunny day and the sea was nice and quiet. As we went kayaking in the winter (still nice and warm) they gave us wetsuits so we would feel more comfortable during the tour. I was really happy I had one because it can be windy out at sea, and you never know as it was still my first time kayaking I could end up taking an unexpected dip into the sea.

Kayaking was a whole challenge but after a while it became a lot of fun

Kayaking was a whole challenge but after a while it became a lot of fun

After we changed, we walked towards the beach where the kayaks were waiting for us. On the beach, Nikola gave us a few instructions on what to do and what not do on the kayak. If you are with two people in the kayak it is very important you synchronize while paddling because otherwise, you can’t go forward at all. I can tell you, this was quite challenging at the beginning but then you get the hang of it.

As there were always small waves we needed to do our best to keep up with Nikola. She is doing this every day but still, she was on her own and we had the power of two people! It’s a whole workout! This kayak tour is the most ecological and friendly way to discover the ocean. No loud motor noises, only now and then the person behind you saying you are not doing it right… but that’s ok!

After about 20 minutes we could see some dolphins already further into the distance. Two by two they were swimming curiously around us. It is very impressive to see these wonderful creatures so close but still in their own environment. Nikola told us before the tour that she couldn’t guarantee that we would see the dolphins, but 95% of the time they were successful in seeing them, and so we did!

The dolphins are very curious

The dolphins are very curious

It is quite an amazing experience because you never know where they will show up. On a couple occasions, they came really close to our kayak!! You really don’t have to be afraid you will frighten them or that you disturb their natural habitat as they can, of course, go wherever they want! It is almost impossible to take pictures of the dolphins (unless there are a lot of them and you have experience in taking snapshot photos). But no worries, Nikola also took amazing photos and she sent them afterwards to everyone in the group. That way we could just sit back and enjoy the moment without worrying about taking photos.

This was a truly unforgettable experience

This was a truly unforgettable experience

Besides the fact that you get to see these remarkable creatures, kayaking with dolphins in Tenerife is also a very nice way to explore the area along the coast of the island. If you are lucky, the waters are very clear and you can see fish swimming. We were even lucky enough to see a sea turtle swimming under our kayak!

Kayaking with dolphins in Tenerife took about 2.5/3 hours and that was more than enough! Afterwards, you are pretty tired of kayaking all the time. This work-out made us hungry! The owners Paul and Diana were happy to give us some good advice about the best restaurants in the area of Los Cristianos. It was so nice to have this experience, we will definitely never forget it. Thank you Nikola for the amazing tour, you were an awesome guide to have with us. And thank you Paul and Diana as well for this unforgettable experience and all priceless tips you gave us.

We highly recommend kayaking with dolphins in Tenerife, feel free to book here.

Kayak in Vilamoura

Why you should go kayaking instead of taking a boat tour

This is a guest post by Mark from Kayakguru.com

Portugal is a beautiful country, with rich and diverse natural environments. With a warm-to-hot climate that is convenient for year-round outdoor activities, the Portugal coastline is perfect for exploring by water. If you prefer convenience, you might consider a boat tour. These are often narrated, and can offer restrooms, snack bars and other amenities that a casual tourist will find useful.

But if you are a more adventurous type of person, and prefer to do things for yourself, you may find that a kayaking trip is more your style. There are several advantages that paddling a kayak has to offer.

Join us on a kayak tour in Portugal

Join us on a kayak tour in Portugal

Kayaking Is Relaxing

One of the biggest advantages that kayaking has over a boat tour is peace and quiet. Most of us spend our time in urban environments, surrounded by the sounds of engines, noisy crowds and notifications from electronic devices.
There are many benefits to escaping the stress of the modern world and spending time in nature, including:

  • Decreased stress and anxiety
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Pumping up the heart rate
  • A general sense of well-being

With the noise of the engine and the other people on a boat tour, you might find that you aren’t getting the escape that you were looking for.  Kayaking, by contrast, eliminates all of these factors. Leaving behind the engine and the crowds, you are left with your ‘yak, the sounds of your paddle in the water, and maybe a close friend or two (human or otherwise!). Paddling with a tandem kayak can be really fun if you’re not alone.

Kayaking can be done all around the Portuguese coast

Kayaking can be done all around the Portuguese coast

It Brings You Closer To Nature

In addition to relaxation, the relative silence and increased maneuverability of a kayak, also allows you to see more of the nature that you are looking for. On a boat tour, you are limited to a pre-planned route. You may see wildlife from a distance, but a larger boat can only get so close before the size and the noise of the engine potentially chases them away.

Kayaking is a completely different story. The compact size leaves you free to explore coves and small creeks, circle islands, and even land on shore and walk around when you see something interesting. When you do encounter wildlife, you are less likely to disturb their activities, because you can stop paddling and drift. This lets you get much closer, and really see nature in action. If you are planning to fish from your kayak, you will find that the decreased noise and disruption will improve your catches.

Kayaking in a group is a lo of fun

Kayaking in a group is a lot of fun

Kayaking Provides Beneficial Exercise

If the benefits of being truly within nature aren’t enough for you, there are also the advantages of the physical activity of kayaking. Some of us need to find time for more exercise anyway, and this is a perfect opportunity to kill two birds with one stone (not literally!).

Kayaking is a full body sport that offers many health benefits, including:

  • An excellent upper body workout
  • Weight loss
  • Increased core strength
  • Toning of the legs
  • Improved cardiovascular health

But don’t let this scare you; kayaking is not the same as trying to squeeze a workout into an hour at the gym. You can set your own pace, so you won’t have to be pushing yourself the entire time! Even at a casual speed, the exercise offered by kayak is a whole lot better than nothing.

It Is Better For The Environment

As well as the benefits to you, kayaking is also better for the environment you are exploring. Kayaks, in addition to not using a motor, are easy to clean, and don’t require water resistant surface paints that can leach chemicals into the water. With all of these factors to consider, kayaking is often a better option, for your health, and for your overall experience.

If you are thinking about exploring Portugal in a kayak, you can choose from many planned tours, or you can simply grab your paddle and explore on your own. See you out on the water!

We went kayaking in Benagil

Kayaking in Benagil is a must!

Grab your friends together and go kayaking in Benagil

Grab your friends together and go kayaking in Benagil

We love to try out the experiences that are available on our platform. Femke and a group of friends went to try out the kayaking in Benagil. This kayak tour in Benagil takes you to one of the biggest marine caves of Portugal and even Europe.

Kayaking in Benagil is a lot of fun. You’ll depart from Ferragudo on a boat. Ferragudo is a cute fisherman town, next to Portimão, in the South of Portugal, Algarve. Parking facilities next to the departure point are great and free.

The kayaks for the kayak tour are tandem

The kayaks for the kayak tour are tandem

The kayak tour in Benagil

The kayak tour in Benagil takes about 3 hours. On the boat, you’ll get a brief instruction by one of the guides and then you’re ready to get into your kayak. The guides that will take you kayaking in Benagil are very kind and speak English and Portuguese. The trip starts at a boat trip and only closer to the Benagil caves, we’ll step over to the kayaks.

The kayaks that are used for this kayak tour in Benagil are tandem kayaks. They take two people at a time. Life vests are mandatory to go kayaking in Benagil and provided by the tour operator.

Bring sunglasses and a swimsuit for kayaking in Benagil

Bring sunglasses and a swimsuit for kayaking in Benagil

The fact that the kayaks for the kayak tour in Benagil are tandem makes it suitable for families. Children can go with their parents. For example, mom can go with one of the kids and dad with the other. As long as the kids can swim, they are welcome! Don’t’ you want the kayak but your whole family or group of friends does? No worries, come along on the support boat and enjoy the sun, view and take some pictures.

The kayak tour in Benagil will be continuously accompanied by the boat. If you feel tired or something goes wrong, the boat is there to support immediately. Of course, this is usually not necessary, it’s just a matter of precaution. To go kayaking in Benagil, you do not need to be super fit. Obviously, it’s a physical exercise, but not very intense and it does not require any previous experience.

About the tour itself, kayaking in Benagil is amazing! You’ll have the change to stop on four different beaches for a little rest and to explore the beauty of the rock formations. In total, you’ll be able to get into about ten different caves. Kayaking in Benagil, as said, starts at Praia de Benagil and you’ll be kayaking up to Praia da Marinha. The huge cave of Benagil is the highlight of this kayak tour in Benagil. This is one of the largest marine caves of Europe and the waters around it are several shades of blue. Just beautiful!

The sights along the kayak tour in Benagil are stunning. We went into a lot of different grottos. As it was a very warm day, we even went for a swim. As the kayaks are rather unstable and can get totally wet, it’s not recommended to take your phone or camera. You can store your luggage and phone at the tour operator. If you have got a water-resistant GoPro, please bring it! You’ll make impressive pictures and videos for sure!

Blue waters under you in the kayak tour in Benagil

Blue waters under you in the kayak tour in Benagil

Now it’s your turn!

All you need to bring to go kayaking in Benagil is a swimming suit, towel, hat and a lot of sunscreens! As this activity is very depended on the tides and waves, we recommend you to book a few days ahead and stay in contact to be informed about the conditions of the ocean. Of course, cancellations are not part of the plan but due to the nature of this activity, they may happen! Controlling the weather and ocean conditions is still something that is out of our reach.

The cave of Benagil is impressive!

The cave of Benagil is impressive!

Let us know if you’ve got any questions or suggestions about kayaking in Benagil and also, feel free to book now, of course! You can read more about Benagil here.