For those who have become bored with kayaking on rivers and small lakes, take heart, there is another way to enjoy kayaking – sea kayaking. Sea (or touring) kayaks are an entirely different breed paddled in a much different environment. Sea kayaks are built for sailing on open waters – large lakes, bays and oceans.
By design, sea kayaks are seaworthy. They are longer and have a covered deck. Because they are essentially kayaks and meant for straight line travel without sacrificing maneuverability. These kayaks can be anywhere from 10 to 18 feet long for one person and up to 26 feet long for two or three paddlers and their supplies. These craft are built for trips of a few hours or several weeks.
Sea kayaks originated in Alaska, Canada and southern Greenland around 4,000 years ago. They were used primarily for hunting and fishing by the native populations.
Today, sea kayaks are also used for recreation in a variety of different locations and environments. In many cases, very little kayaking experience is needed. Glacier Bay, Alaska is a great example. These waters are home to whales, orcas and other wildlife
Another totally different environment for sea kayakers is North Carolina’s Outer Banks. These barrier islands along the state’s coast are home to Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, ape Hatteras National Forest and the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. There are also many small coastal towns and historic sites along the Outer Banks that are worth seeing.
Down Easter Island, Maine boasts of some of the most rugged coastline on the east coast. The coastline is full of small coves and inlets that beg to be explored.
Another Alaskan sea kayaking paradise is Prince William Sound. The sound is protected from the ocean by mountains and glaciers and abounds in wildlife, including the bald eagle.
Cumberland Island, Georgia is considered to be the premier sea kayaking area on the east coast. The island is located in tidal marsh and is home to many wildlife species.
Atchafalaya Basin in Louisiana is a varied sea kayak trip that moves through bald cypress swamps, bayous and brackish water to end up coming out in the Gulf of Mexico.
Sea kayaking is definitely different and offers an interesting alternative for kayakers.