Kayaking To Cumberland Island: Choosing The Right Gear

Kayaking to Cumberland Island is becoming more and more popular as a result of the growing interest in kayaking. More than ever before, kayaking is accessible to everyone. But the fact that kayaks are easier to find does not mean that kayaking is any safer — especially kayaking in open water, or even more protected tidewaters. If you want to paddle to Cumberland Island, or any offshore destination, there are some things you need to consider about the equipment you will be using if you want to be safe.

For starters, the kayak you choose will make or break your trip. Kayaks are not all created equal. There are many, many styles and manufacturers to choose from for a reason. Some kayaks are for whitewater, some are for recreational use on flat water (such as lakes or ponds), some kayaks are for surfing and some are for open water paddling. There are singles and tandem kayaks; and there are kayaks made from plastic, carbon fiber, fiberglass, wood, fabric, and a number of other materials. All of these factors should be taken into consideration when choosing a kayak for a specific application. For paddling to Cumberland Island, you’ll need a Sea Kayak — preferably one with a rudder or skeg and two bulkheads.

A sea kayak is the ultimate open water craft. Designed to hunt large marine animals in some of the coldest, most dangerous waters on the planet, sea kayaks are designed to handle the ocean just as well as any sea creature. The only question is: Are you? Sea kayaks should have storage compartments in the front and rear of the boat which are separated from the cockpit (where you sit) by airtight, or waterproof, bulkheads. Besides keeping your gear dry, these compartments keep the boat from becoming swamped in the event you take waves over the side or capsize. Another important feature of the bulkheaded storage compartments is that they keep a capsized boat from filling completely with water and sinking. In fact, those air-tight compartments cause the boat to float level, and even higher out of the water than it rests with you in it. This feature enable you to right the boat without taking on a lot of water.

In addition to fore and aft bulkheads to help you keep your gear dry and recover your boat in the event of a capsize, you’re going to want to make sure your kayak has a rudder or skeg before paddling in estuaries or open water. The reason for this is wind, and the wind’s effects on surface conditions. Rudders are typically retractable mechanisms that allow you to steer your kayak with your foot pedals — push on the right pedal, the boat turns right, etc. But rudders should not be viewed as steering contraptions, but rather as a way to minimize lateral movement in beam or following seas. Steering a kayak is accomplished with the kayak paddle and specific strokes and techniques. A tailwind, and the following seas it creates, can create situations where the back of your kayak tries to catch up to and pass the front of your kayak. A rudder will help minimize this tendency. Likewise, when paddling with winds and seas coming at you from the side, a rudder keeps you from having to use turning strokes on every other stroke.

A skeg is a retractable fin in the tail of the kayak that is somewhat reminiscent of a dagger board on a sailboat. It simply deploys and retracts with the slide of a lever, or by releasing the uphaul line from it’s keeper — typically some type of cam-device. Though skegs do not give you the ability to turn your kayak, they do indeed provide a substantial amount of lateral stability and save you a lot of energy on windy days. And, the bottom line when you’re kayaking on open water is safety; if you wear yourself out fighting wind and surfing following seas before reaching your destination, you could be in deep trouble. If you are an expert kayaker, and you paddle a sea kayak without a skeg, you have already taught yourself to deal with certain conditions. But, if you are not an expert, and you are paddling in big water, do yourself a favor and take the right boat. It really could make or break your trip — and even be the difference between making it or not.

Other necessary equipment includes a PFD (personal flotation device) with a whistle attached (this is a USCG regulation), a bilge pump and/or sponge to remove water from inside the cockpit, and a light if paddling after dark. Keep in mind, this is the bear minimum required safety equipment for making this trip in fair weather. Other gear I would recommend taking along would include: 1st aid kit; Marine radio, cell phone, extra food and water, knife, duct tape and some sort of tow line. Ever kayaker will develop their own personal set of gear, but it is important to think through every conceivable contingency and prepare for it in order to be as safe as possible. Kayaking to Cumberland Island is an absolutely fantastic trip in a kayak; and choosing the right gear for the journey can make all the difference in the world.

A Guide to Sea Kayaking

Sea Kayaking is a new style of kayaking which allows people to explore further afield over a certain stretch of the sea. You will be able to explore parts of the sea that other styles of boats and vessels cannot reach. Typically you can paddle around the coastline; however, you may also want to explore estuaries and bays that are unreachable by lager boats. There are differences between the traditional kayaks that you can use on rivers and those which are used in the sea.

Many people believe that sea kayaking is a new sport; however, the Eskimos have been using this technique of transportation for centuries. For over 4000 years, the people of the Arctic region have been using kayaks to glide over the water. The kayaks allowed the Eskimos to hunt for food and travel from one area to the next. The original sea kayak was a primitive design; however, it was incredibly effective.

The sport of is now huge all over the world and is considered an Olympic event. Many people use the sea kayak to circumnavigate around the world, and although this is extreme more people are attempting this challenge. Before starting out in this extreme sport, you will need to fully understand how the kayak works, they have to be far more robust and durable to withstand the harsh sea.

The style and design of kayaks are typically larger than other models, enabling people to store items for transportation. The design of the sea kayak enables them to be paddled in straight lines, with more efficiency. Although they are harder to turn quickly, they are not typically designed for speed, but endurance. Before you are allowed to go out sea kayaking, you will need to perform a series of safety checks, and procedures to ensure that you are capable of coping at sea.

Even if, you have kayaked in the past, you have to appreciate that sea kayaking is far more dangerous and will need you to be more alert. Depending on where you want to kayak, and how long you want to be out on the water, will depend on the safety training that you need to go through. You will need to prove that you are capable and confident of controlling the kayak.

The only equipment that is needed for is waterproofs; life jacket and the sea kayak and paddle. If you are planning a longer excursion, you will need other supplies such as warm clothing, food, water and the necessary equipment to cope for a longer period. There are many great tour guides and excursions that you can be part of until you feel experienced sea kayaking on your own.

This style of sport is fantastic for adventurous people who like a challenge, and want to explore the coastline. If you have the time and expertise, you can go sea kayaking often; therefore, purchasing your own equipment is advised. However, if you only want to experience the thrill once in a while hiring the equipment may be better.