sea kayaking in nova scotia

Posted by susan on August 29th, 2011. Filed under: getaways.

I can barely swim. Actually, I think I could swim to save my life, but because my group swim lessons as a child occurred at a time when I was overly sensitive and extremely shy, it was too hard for me to get the most out of them. Instead, they were an unnecessarily traumatic childhood memory, so when it comes to swimming, there are a few basics that never really became second nature. Basically, when in good shape I can run for miles and miles, but I’m pretty sure I can’t make it to the other end of a pool.

It’s a little strange that I’m not a strong swimmer because of how much I am in love with the ocean. But while I don’t always opt to go for a swim, when I do get close to the water, it is almost always for the ocean. And when I travel, my utter fear reservations about putting myself in a situation in which drowning is a very real possibility, seems to fade. When I travel, I’m truly adventurous.

One of the few things that I absolutely had to do before leaving Nova Scotia was go sea kayaking. When I was asking advice on things to do in Nova Scotia, the incredibly helpful Doug from Authentic Seacoast – who is in my opinion, not only an incredible ambassador for all of Nova Scotia, but an admirable marketer – recommended East Coast Outfitters, which is about 30 minutes south of Halifax. I didn’t think twice and booked it.

After some quick photos, we geared up, got into our kayaks and set sail…

seak kayaking halifax

seak kayaking halifax

Before getting too far from the dock, our guide gave us a quick lesson on how we should approach the wind, how to turn our kayaks most efficiently and what to do if we flipped. This little lesson was much appreciated because the waters that day were pretty treacherous. Okay, that’s dramatic, but I will say that most of our trip was spent fighting the wind and it included a couple of last minute direction changes so that we wouldn’t be swept out to sea. Surprisingly, I wasn’t scared at all, it was exhilarating. In fact, as we floated through the semi-choppy waters I almost felt invincible.

Then, out of nowhere, a little gust of wind crept in and shit got real. After stopping at a tiny little beach for a snack (our tour was about four hours long), Mike’s kayak flipped while he was waiting for the rest of the group to get back into the water. The wind caught his paddle at just the right angle and it was enough to send him under. He was probably upside down for less than five seconds but that five seconds were the scariest seconds of my life. My entire body went numb and I almost flipped my own kayak.

Okay, that’s dramatic. We were still so close to shore that Mike simply had to stand up after crawling out of his kayak to get a breath of air. Once he was able to get back in we all set off for the journey back.

Thanks to Mike, who’s bravery extended beyond his little mishap (he brought his camera with him with the risk of it getting wet), we got some nice action shots…

east coast outfitters

sea kayaking halifax

In the end, Mike didn’t drown, I didn’t have a heart attack from watching him potentially drown and despite the flip, Mike’s camera made it out okay.

If given the chance to paddle with East Coast Outfitters again, I would do it in a heartbeat.

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