As I was browsing my travel series for Palawan, I realized that I forgot to blog this first hand experience.
Call it as a shallow achievement but it took me years to finally experience and learn how to kayak.
I never had plans of learning how to kayak. However, my boss was a very persistent adventure buddy. He insisted that I try. How could I say no if it becomes an order from the boss? ;)
My first taste of kayaking happened on our second day in Palawan. While everyone was waiting for breakfast to be served, the boss was asking for kayak companions. It was another male colleague who joined him first. All the while, I thought I was already relieved. Minutes later, my colleague passed to me the huge and heavy paddle. I don't want to be the biggest KJ (killed joy) in this expensive and probably, once in a lifetime trip. Hence, I dipped in the cold waters of Kubo sa Dagat and there, the photo above made it.
Of my short lived kayaking experience, here are a few reasons why I learned to love it.
1. I discovered an alternative for swimming. To begin with, I never had formal swimming lessons. In effect, I'm always afraid to move away from the shore. I don't swim in areas that my feet can't reach. When I learned how to kayak, I discovered another way to reach the middle of the sea. I don't have to exhaust my lungs for the breathing techniques I never learned.
2. I can reach places. If I will rely to my self-learned swimming skill, it would take me a lifetime to move away from the shore. Kayaking offered me a faster and better alternative to experience the sea.
3. It's a great form of exercise. I've been wishing for an exercise that wouldn't make me feel that I'm torturing myself. Kayaking gave me this opportunity. As I paddle my way to reach places, my upper extremities received it much needed exercise. The continuous paddling made my arms feel tired once in a while, but I was surprised of my fast recovery.
And of the few days I ventured to kayaking, here are some things I learned.
1. Even though you can't swim, you can still kayak. Swimming is not a requirement for recreational kayak. As long as you have an expert companion and a life vest, you can take the challenge. Though in my photo, I was brave enough to forget my lifevest. :)
2. Choose the still water. Beginners like me are encouraged to start their kayaking adventures in still water. It supports stability and removes your fear of losing your balance.
3. Being able to balance your body is one of keys to a successful kayak adventure. Though balancing in a kayak is not as demanding as riding a bike. I have to say that because I never learned to bike. Hence, balancing my body against another sporting equipment was never in my vocabulary. Surprisingly, my kayak adventure didn't require me to achieve that perfectly balanced sitting stance. Sitting up straight, having stretched and relaxed legs, leaving body weight from the waist to hips and leaning against the seat are the key points in finding your balance.
4. Paddles and direction are inversely related. If your direction is leaning to the right, paddle from your left side. A forward movement means that paddle should move backward and vice versa.
5. Aside from balance, having the right grip of the paddles is another major challenge. The paddles are designed to be a bit heavy. Paddling demands having stretched and relaxed arms. So how do you have relaxed arms with a heavy rod that needs to be constantly moved? In my case, I have to stop paddling once in a while to rest my tired arms. The technique to survive the paddling requirements is to have a male companion who has stronger and firmer arm muscles. haha
6. The most important requirement, NEVER PANIC! Relax and enjoy the scenery. In case you feel that you will soon lose grip and balance, remember that you have your life vest.
If given the chance, I want to regularly engage myself in this activity. But before that, I have to remember the reality that I can never bring Palawan in Manila. So I guess, I really have to stick with jogging again .. sigh