Friday, 25 January 2008

Kayaking on the Bay

Forecast for this weekend: perfect beach weather. Great for a swim. But have you ever thought about kayaking along the Bay's beaches? Here's a feature on a business hiring kayaks at different points along the beach and if you're inspired to give it a go, there's a special offer for Baysidemama readers.

Words: Clare Kennedy. Pictures: Maia McKelvey.

This summer we've had a lovely time in Beaumaris during the school holidays: the beaches have been quiet, except for the pelicans – and the children have enjoyed paddling, boogie boarding and snorkelling in the clear waters of Dalgetty Rd and Ricketts Point beaches.

But every week, for a change of scenery, we’ve headed up to Elwood beach, where, to my delight, Steve Smith, (a relation, how convenient), has set up a kayak-hire business.

I was a little nervous the first time I hopped into a kayak, but after about five minutes I was in my element as I skirted the pier and headed out to sea.

Did I imagine it, or was my husband standing on the beach waving his arms telling me my time was up? (One does lose track of time, when one is enjoying herself). Afterwards, I rewarded myself with a coffee from Elwood Beach café. Bliss.

The jelly-bean coloured craft, lined up on the beach next to the OKA (Ocean Kayaking Australia) tent, are hard to miss. Kayaks are available for hire at four pretty locations: Elwood, St Kilda, Kerferd Rd beach and next to South Melbourne Life Saving Club at a cost of $20 per half hour or $35 per hour. Adult and child-sized life-jackets are available.

My husband took the children - eight and six years-old - for a paddle in the shallows. They loved it. Shortly after, a dolphin cruised by, causing great excitement on the beach - and a flurry of new paddlers.

Now the children have something to say at “show and tell” – how Mum almost paddled out to the Channel, sorry, I mean - how they went kayaking on the clear waters of Port Phillip Bay before the dredging began - but that’s another story.

There are trained OKA staff at each site to provide tips to kayaking novices.

For more information about group bookings and training phone: 0449 009541

A special offer: Mention baysidemamas to OKA staff until the end of February to hire two kayaks for the price of one.

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