Kayaking for most people is a fun hobby or outdoor activity they may do on vacation. Enjoying it and making memories that will last a lifetime, but for me kayaking is so much more for I’ve learned more while kayaking than I think I did in school. All these life lessons and interactions I’ve had on the water have brought light to new ideas or perspective which I wouldn’t have thought of other wise, growing me as a person both socially and professionally.
Some of these lessons are as simple as seeing someone conquering their fear of water or even kayaking. For the fear is in their head and once you change their perspective on the situation nine times out of ten, they will give it a try and enjoy it. I’ve learned that if the kids are happy then so are their parents, less is more and even when someone’s mean to you be nice to them and maybe you’ll bring the good out of them. Never judge a book by its cover for you don’t know their story and always show respect. While most of these are commonly heard, having seen these in action drives their point home.
The effects of kayaking haven’t only affected me but also the people we take out, our valued customers. While I am seeing the overall effect of a situation, the individuals in the situation have their own takeaways such as they can kayak or get outside and explore when they thought they may have gotten too old or nervous. I witness this with the retirement communities we work with, being very rewarding along with allowing me to learn life advice from people who been there and done it.
Never stop exploring the world is your playground and you can only make the memories if you go and conquer. Thank you all for reading, see you out on the water. -Grayson Harris
A family adventure
One of my favorite trip’s is the very family-oriented trip we do here at Mahaniam Adventures the sharks tooth island trip located on the Cape Fear River. On this trip we see a multitude of wildlife ranging from Ospreys and Bald Eagles to bait fish and even an occasional alligator. The beautiful ecosystem allows for all the wildlife to cohabitate, making finding shark teeth and fossils even more fun.
My favorite aspect of this trip is when kids discover something new. On the island there are hundreds if not thousands of little fiddler crabs running about, which some kids love and others don’t, but many have never seen them. When they final capture and look at the little crabs they light up with curiosity and excitement, making being a guide very rewarding. Similarly with the shark teeth and the fossils because many people don’t know that the fossils are there allowing them to learn something new, that goes for all ages. The simile from finding their first tooth or fossil, which pushes them to find more is one that lifetime memories are made of. So get your youth, elders, and you out there and explore. Find some teeth or fossils, kayak through the coastal bays, creeks or rivers of southeastern NC making memories with family and friends. Thank you all for reading and well see you on the water making a “Positive & Memorable” experience. -Grayson Harris
What do you think of when you see some old growth trees? Do you ever wonder what they would say if they could talk? What they would say they have witnessed over their life time of standing, weathering storms, drought, fires, floods, heat and cold? I have had this thought many times as I paddle through North Carolina’s 3 Sisters Swamp. Recently it was announced that researchers from the University of Arkansas identified a bald cypress (Taxodium distichum)tree that was 2624 years old! Wow, imagine that a tree here in eastern North Carolina that is one of the oldest trees known to man today. This tree started putting down roots around 605 BC!
Just paddling in this ancient swamp give you a since of
awe. Trees that are so big, it takes 3
or 4 grown men to put arms around them and cypress knees that are talker than I
stand. Every time I am there in the
magical place I find myself in awe at the majesty of God’s awesome creation. I also realize just how small I am in the
grand scheme of life and grateful that God is always there each day for
everyone who looks to him.
I have written about this subject several times over the past years in our blogs. Often when setting up for our kayaking adventures, it is hard not to ask different people at the kayak launch if they know what they are doing or not? When we do, I often get a silly look or simply no response at all. The simple matter of fact is that we witness lots of people go kayaking (or any other adventure) and they just are not prepared for all that can go wrong. Twice this week, we had kayaking adventures that we canceled due to high winds (Small Craft Advisories) on the water. As we were putting up our gear, both times we witnessed different persons or groups heading out into rough waters.
Questions to ask yourself before you take off kayaking:
What is the weather like at this moment and what is the forecast for the rest of the time on my adventures?
These are all important things to consider before you strike
out on any adventure. Being able to
properly answer these questions can mean life or death if you are not
prepared. I know of other kayaking adventure
businesses that once to twice a summer, save someone from a really bad
situation and even drowning. Bad things
can happen quickly and if not prepared, things could turn out really bad for
This past Sunday I had the pleasure of helping Don guide a group of people to Sharks Tooth Island on the Cape Fear River where we hunted for prehistoric sharks teeth and fossils. Around mid-morning everyone had found their fair share of sharks teeth and fossilized shells on the island and were ready to get back on the water to do some more paddling. It was at this time that Don and I had noticed a fairly large container ship easing its way up the river towards the port, so we decided to stay on the island and let the ship pass by before returning to our kayaks and continuing the adventure. We chose to stay on the island because these container ships are known for having big wakes, especially while traveling in a river such as the Cape Fear. The areas where this is most prominently noticed are in shallow water. Because just like any wave, the wake from these ships doesn’t start to break until it finds shallow water. This is especially important to know while paddling because when the wake from those ships hit shallow water and start to break, it can provide an authentic whitewater experience here on the coast. And if you find yourself paddling through shallow water when this happens, you will most likely get flipped out of your boat.
So as the ship passed by, we gathered our group on the side of Sharks Tooth Island that faces Kegg Island, watching the wake from the container ship crash into the shallow water around the island. After we had watched the wake stop crashing in the shallow water between the islands we then headed back to our kayaks to continue our adventure. It was at this time, we noticed a fisherman who was fishing on the opposite side of Sharks Tooth Island in a small john boat had been capsized by the wake. From the position we were at, we noticed the man didn’t have a PFD in sight, his boat was completely swamped, and he was having trouble swimming. So, Don and I immediately began our rescue procedures by jumping in our boats and getting to the man as quickly as possible to save him from drowning. Once we were able to get the man safely to shore, we then recovered his gear that was floating away and fortunately we had additional help to recover his boat and paddle as well.
This situation goes to show that if you are out paddling, or on any outdoor adventure, without a trained professional, that being aware of your surroundings can help you better manage for any possible risks and it could possibly save your life. It is also a great example of why you should always wear a life jacket while paddling on the water. Because if you paddle enough, it’s not a matter of “if” but a matter of when you are going to fall out of your boat and go for a swim.
This blog was written by Mike Manning. I am Mahanaim Adventures new intern for the summer of 2018. I am a Park and Recreation Management student at East Carolina University, Go Pirates! I love the outdoors and have a strong passion for kayaking. This coming summer I will be writing a blog similar to this every other week to let everyone know about the awesome adventures we will have on the water this summer.