Monday, February 9th, 2009...12:39 am

Capsising Kayaks

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Oh what fun we had. I last kayaked at a PGL adventure course back in the UK, back in 1984. Digital camera’s didn’t exist. And of course the internet didn’t exist either. But it would seem that this childhood course had still prepared prepared me perfectly well for this assignment – and luckily i discovered that kayaking is just like riding a bike. You never forget the basics. Like rule 101 – capsizing!! Ahem:

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Maybe we were lucky with our choice of guides, but it was a great pleasure to spend the afternoon with the Chukka crew once again. This might be their ‘job’, their 9-5, the daily-grind, the kayaking equivalent of a ‘rat-race’, but I think they enjoyed the trip down the river even more than we did. Deftly maneuvering their kayaks to pull and push the paddling public from drifting into the surrounding mangrove, or being sucked along the wrong rapid, these guys were always ready at the same time with a smile for the camera:

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Plus they always had an encouraging woop to give us all confidence as we splashed and bashed our way down the river and the half a dozen gentle yet fun foamy ‘white water rapids’. The trip takes a couple of hours all-in, so you really get immersed in the local water flora fauna…and ceiling of the forrest. You see – halfway down the river you park your kayak for a while and head for the tree-tops. Sunlight splashes through the wet dense overgrowth of mangrove and bamboo as you climb into your canopy harness and ready yourself for the next part of the adventure – flying through the trees at a height of 50 plus feet! See below (but don’t look down when flying!)

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Then it’s back, your body buzzing, into the kayaks. To top-it-all-off there’s, an optional, second stop along this safari – in the form of a highly strung rope dangling above the river banks. You grab it. They pull you back. Way back. And then you are hurled forwards through the air, over the river bank, you let go, your stomach goes WOH-AH! for a second – and then SPLASH! into the cool cool water and gentle current below.

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Back at the ranch, jerk chicken, rice and peas was awaiting. So we paddled-back to tuck-in, on the way meeting a local fisherman who had just pulled his lunch from the same water we were kayaking in. I think you can see why the staff are always smiling.

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Please note: I would say that prior experience of kayaking is not mandatory – there are many gentle meanders – but you should be confident in water. In fact, I found the water so luring that I capsized again and again (Disclaimer: Don’t try this at home. Or at Chukka. OK?)

Duration:
2hrs plus
Price: Around $100 US – contact for group bookings and tour discounts
Telephone for bookings: (876) 953-5619
Official Chukka Website: http://www.chukkacaribbean.com/MontegoBay/kayak.php
Bring: Swim wear, shorts, aqua shoes or strapped on sandals. Sun block, bug repellant, towels, money (souvenirs and snacks for sale on site)

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