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
Risk Management is something that we deal with on a daily basis. This is not to say that we deal with high risk adventures, but we do want to be able to provide a positive and memorable experience. There is a lot that goes into managing for risks for an outdoor adventure. For example we constantly watch the weather before any trip starts. This is to make sure that we don’t have any high winds to deal with and to keep an eye out for scatter thunderstorms too. Here in the Wilmington area scattered thunderstorms happen a lot all throughout the summer season. Another safety concern that we monitor during many of our kayaking trips is boat traffic, and container ships that travel along the Cape Fear River. These ships can create large wakes which become hazardous in shallow water areas. We also carry rescue gear in our guide boats on every trip in case someone does fall out of their boat. This is so that we can safely get someone back inside a boat if they do fall out. Along with our rescue gear, we also bring a large first aid kits on each trip.
This past Thursday I had the opportunity to go to BSA Cape Fear Council’s Camp Bowers with Don to learn about the high ropes course, climbing tower, and zip-line that is part of the C.O.P.E. course there. The risk management that goes into operating these aspects is serious. Risk management starts before the course ever opens by having trained a professional such as Don inspect all the equipment, including different carabiners, ropes, helmets, and harnesses before use to make sure that everything is working properly and efficiently. Once all the gear is inspected and cleared for use then Don can inspect the course for any damage and safety concerns. After he has inspected the course, and everything has checked out, Don then begins to set up the course to be able to have participants safely climb up to the top where they can begin the course and use the zipline. To set up the belay system which makes sure everyone can get up on the course safely, Don uses steel climbing carabiners, it is important to note that he is not using aluminum carabiners because aluminum carabineers would be damaged by the steel cables that are part of the course which the belay is anchored to. Once participants are on top, they then have a self-belaying system with two adjustable ropes with clips that attach to their harness. These tethers are then clipped into the steel cables for safety (called lifelines). These are used as a backup device in case anyone does slip or fall off of one of the obstacles. Even though it may seem as though there are many different risks to manage for, if done properly it makes any adventure operate safely and efficiently.
Don & Diane Harty own Mahanaim Adventures. They specialize in helping families and groups to have “Positive & Memorable” outdoor adventures. Whether these are wildlife view adventure, camping adventure or a simple kayaking adventure. They provide kayaking adventures on Town Creek, Cape Fear River, Fort Fisher Basin, Masonboro Island, Black River, Holly Shelter Creek and Moores Creek. Contact them at www.mahanaimadventures.com for more information about all of their adventures.
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.