I was about 8 years old when I first paddled a kayak. It was timber framed with a canvas skin painted green. I looked forward to every opportunity I had to explore further along the shore and up a creek to the remains of an old water mill. Years later I discovered that sea kayaking could enable me to experience adventures and discoveries far beyond my childhood imagination. I joined a group of kayakers and gained confidence as I was trained by the leaders. Basic paddling skills were followed by self-rescue techniques; braces and how to roll; how to safely make a landing through surf; navigation and more.
Most of my sea kayaking trips were around the coast of Australia's most southern State, Tasmania, and it's offshore islands. When my wife and I did a caravan trip around Australia we took my kayak and I explored various lagoons, rivers and beaches. I've seen a lot of sea birds, turtles, dolphins, seals, even a yellow sea snake that raised it's head only metres away. So far I have avoided encounters with saltwater crocodiles and sharks but I did paddle with freshwater crocodiles in one of our gorges. I enjoy paddling around rocks, often close to cliffs; and also in the surf. I carry self-rescue gear, and don't take risks. But without the training and practice I've had I couldn't enjoy it. The books I've listed below give some insight into the knowledge and skills needed to assess risks, be prepared and paddle competently in a range of environments. Paddling alone is generally not recommended and it's not safe to paddle near rocks, cliffs or in surf without head protection. A couple of the books I recommend are other peoples' adventures - far more interesting than mine, and they can inspire with their writing. Enjoy.
by Shelley Johnson (Author)
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