Before the Adventure Begins

For those of you who grew up in Boy Scouts, you will know that the “Scout Motto” is to “Be Prepared“.  This was drilled into me during my days as a scout and I can say, most great scout troops still place a great deal of emphasis on this.  To be honest, one of the biggest things that gets to me is watching the vast majority of people take off with their kayaks are woefully unprepared for what they are fixing to do.

This was brought home to me this past weekend when I saw a young couple jump out of their vehicles, toss their kayaks in the water and jump in and go!  No PFD, no sunscreen, no WATER, no clue to the weather coming or going, much less of the river currents that will affect their paddle.  When I pointed out the oyster beds they were fixing to walk into, they could care less (yes, they had no shoes of any kind on).  I could only imagine that they had a less than pleasant time on the water.

It is because of this lack of proper preparedness that I write the next blog.  I hope over the next several weeks to add additional blogs that will help you be “Prepared” when you head out on your next adventure.

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Here are some very basic things that need to be considered before you take your next kayaking adventure.

  • Always try to plan for the unexpected “what ifs?” What if I get delayed? Lost? Injured? Am I prepared to cope with that?
  • Always have a map and compass with you.  This means that you know how to orientate the map and use the compass, so make sure you learn basic map reading and compass navigation skills before you head out on the water.
  • Pick a trip, even a short day paddle and study your intended route on a map at home. Doing this when you’re not stressed allows you time to become more familiar and comfortable with the unique markings of a topographic map and where you will be going.
  • Additional essential items that can save your life when out kayaking:
    • Plenty of water to drink
    • Hat
    • Sunscreen/bug spray
    • Flash light
    • Cell phone
    • Matches for a fire
    • Extra clothing
    • Rain gear
    • Snacks
    • Knife
    • Dry bag for all your essentials to be placed
  • Float Plan.  It is critical that you let someone know where you’re going, what route you plan to take and your estimated return time. If you get lost, the sooner a rescue operation begins the better for your searchers and you.  If you change your plans before you start a trip, call and update someone, even if you simply leave a voice mail.  This also implies that once on the river that you stick with your plan and not deviate.
  • Oh, I am assuming that you will have your PFD with you before you get into the water.

Mahanaim Adventures provide wonderful adventure in the Wilmington and Carolina Beach areas of North Carolina.  We can also customize a guided kayaking adventure to Florida as well as any other location in the Southeast US.  We specialize in creating that memory of a life time for you and your family and friends.  Check out our web page and find out more details about all of our adventure locations.

Campfires and Smores?

Last Friday evening, I had the privilege of leading a group of people from Brunswick Forest on a moon light kayaking adventure on Town Creek.  The evening was almost perfect; except for a few thin high clouds that tried to cover the moon.  It was about 30 minutes before the sun set when we stopped for dinner on the river for a picnic and camp fire.  We had been paddling for about 90 minutes and everyone was starting to get hungry.  So while everyone was starting to enjoy their picnic dinners, I got a nice warm campfire started.  In just a few minutes, the fire was blazing away, casting its glow around the area and creating a wonderful warm feeling for everyone there.

It was almost instantly happened; once the fire was started everyone sat down on the bench or on one of the picnic blankets that were around the fire; when everyone stated sharing memories about their going up and campfires.  It was so cool to sit back and watch everyone relax and enjoy the warm fire as the sun was setting to our west and share with each other.  Stories about campfires they remembered as kids; the fun of roasting marshmallows and making s’mores.  It seemed to me that all of these memories shared a common theme; family and fun.  Someone shared that in her family, they would go to the family farm this all 6 of her brothers and sisters.  As she talked about that, I could see the fun they had in her eyes and hear it in her voice.  I shared about how my grandmother took candles and show me and a friend how to roast a marshmallow, while it was storming outside the house.  For all I know the power could have been knocked out at the time, but I don’t remember that, I just remember how our little fire changed an evening into something fun.

Soon, it was time for us to pack up, put out the fire and paddle back home by the full moon light that shown in the river.  What an adventure the evening was for us all.  I am sure that the paddle back to the kayak launch was memorable for each of them.  But I am also confident that the time shared with new friends sitting around a campfire; roasting marshmallows and making s’mores will be a memory that these people hold onto.  These people not only connected with something they remembered from their childhood, when things were simpler in their lives.  But they also connected with each other, building important relationships.  I don’t know about you, but I need this myself; what about you?

Mahanaim Adventures offers guided kayaking adventures in the Wilmington, Carolina Beach areas as well as the Cape Fear Region.  We specialize in creating that memory of a life time for you and your family and friends.  Check out our web page and find out more details about all of our adventure locations.

Gloomy Days May Not Be So Bad?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The past Saturday evening was one of those unexpected evenings.  The day started out overcast and in some ways very gloomy.  You know the type of mornings I am talking about; the ones where it just seems that it could just start drizzling and drizzle all day long.  It seemed to be a perfect day to stay inside with a good book and read all day long.  Yet for some folks, there is beauty to be found in the outdoors on a day like that.  Besides, it was a welcome change to be out kayaking on a day that was very cool by comparison to most of the summer.

I have often spoken about how much I like to take a hike or even to talk a walk in the rain.  (I must admit, I get some strange looks, but that is OK.)  It seems that the forest takes on a different feel when you are walking through it in the raining.  When you do this often enough, you begin to see the forest in a different way.  Then when the sun does decide to make its appearance, wow, words cannot describe the beauty of the forest at that moment.

This past Saturday evening was like one of those days.  That afternoon, Joseph and I meet a group of co-workers from a local business at River Road Park for a sunset kayaking adventure on the Cape Fear River.  The day was still overcast and the hope for the skis to clear for a sunset was starting to look like it would not happen.  Despite the fact that it was a cloudy and cool afternoon, these co-workers were excited about having some kayaking fun.

We started out paddling along Keg Island, when I noticed that the weather was beginning to change.  Joseph, spotted some rain to the southwest and northeast of us, yet there was a glimpse of some clearing to the west and northwest.  I am not sure that our guests were even aware of this; they were having too much fun being out of the office and doing something fun together.  Yet there it was a break in the clouds.

After about an hour of paddling, we stopped on Keg Island for the picnic and before you know it, there was the sun!  Shining brightly as only the sun can, reflecting off the almost mirror like water of the early evening.  It is amazing how intense the sun can be reflecting off still water.  But what a treat it was to be in such a beautiful place, just at the right time to witness a stunning sunset.  As I was watching this sunset as we paddled back to the river launch, I was struck by the fact that we were the only people out kayaking that evening.  Why was this?  Maybe it was because of the overcast skies from earlier in the day?  Maybe people did not want to risk, getting out and exploring something if the weather is not just perfect.  If that is the case, they have missed a masterpiece of a sunset.

I guess the point I am trying to make is this; don’t be afraid to step out and do something outdoors if the weather is not what you think it should be.  You never know when things will change and you have a chance to be in the right place at the right time to witness something that few people ever do.  If these co-works had let what they saw keep them from getting out that evening, they would have never had this experience of last Saturday’s sunset.

Mahanaim Adventures offers guided kayaking adventures in the Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach,  Carolina Beach areas as well as the Cape Fear Region (Cape Fear River, Town Creek, Holly Shelter Creek, Eagle Island, Black River, Lumber River, Moores Creek and much more).  We specialize in creating that memory of a life time for you and your family and friends.  Check out our web page and find out more details about all of our adventure locations.