Thursday, 26 August 2010

Full Moon Kayaking

This week I went kayaking in the Abu Dhabi mangroves, under the full moon. The heat is still fairly intense during the day, so the kayaking tour takes place in the evening. I would have liked to tell you all about the flora and fauna and show you some interesting pictures of my first kayaking experience, but it didn't quite work out like that.

We each were given an ill-fitting life jacket and a 5 minute lesson in how to kayak, then we were off into the water. I'm new to kayaking, but I was fairly sure my kayak was broken because it just would not go in a straight line. There was a difficult balancing act between gathering momentum and actually trying to go in the right direction.

I was enjoying kayaking, despite taking the “scenic” meandering route to the first meet point. I think the others in the group eventually resigned themselves to the fact I would be continually crashing into them throughout the tour.

When we reached the first meet point, 10 minutes in, I realised this was going to be a long session. My shoulders were already tired and my back was killing from sitting in such a funny position. As I reached the meet point we set off again, so I didn't even have chance to rest.

Kayaking in the dark is a strange way to spend an evening. Unless you are up close to the mangroves you can't see anything. I also realised that I had underestimated how wet I'd get. I thought we'd be dry because we were in a kayak. With every stroke, water drips off the oar into your lap and head, and I kept taking on water when I would do a stupidly sharp turn for no reason. The face towel I brought along wasn't going to be sufficient.​

Eventually we reached 'Crab Alley'. This was a natural inlet into the mangroves where the soil was absolutely covered in little crabs. I was a little bit distracted by the smell. Apparently the soil is made from 'decomposing material', but it just smelt like s**t to me.

So after 45 minutes of kayaking we'd reached as far as we could go into the mangroves. I'd seen some crabs and got a lung full of 'decomposing material'. I was also soaked, tired and had drank all my water. All we had to do now way kayak all the way back to the shore.

We took a different route back to the shore and stopped off at a small island. We all parked our kayaks on the beach and got up to have a wander. I tried to get out of the kayak as unglamorously as possible and succeeded. Once I had stood up I realised my legs couldn't support my weight. I tried to walk forward and just ended up doing Lee Evans impression. My knees went one way and my hips the other. Thankfully I didn't fall over. Hopefully people just thought I was dancing. Eventually the blood returned to my legs and I could walk again, just in time to get back in the kayak and head for the shore.

It was a great experience to go kayaking in the mangroves, but I took it a little too lightly. I would recommend doing it in daylight so you can actually see things. Also, take a spare change of dry clothes. It's not the best feeling to be sitting in soaking clothes as someone gives you a lift home in their nice car. Especially when you smell like 'decomposing material'.

1 comment:

  1. What a night that was. I think that decomposing material smell spoil that experience.

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living in the United Arab Emirates