Written by Ess Opiyo
Water is calm; but you get the impression that it could turn on you at any time. Ever got stuck in a flood or encountered a mild rage of the ocean? Makes sense that my sister gets her daily dose of cringe every time I tell her I will be spending time in the ocean, doing water things. On the other hand, the mystic character of water is that it offers compassion, healing and a kindly understanding. That is why I am in a stable relationship with water. The chap touches all my emotional switches in the right ways, soothes my pain and I can cry in his arms and leave no trace of evidence, because… the water does its magic!
Kayaking is now one of my favorite watersport activities. It rubs off on you when you live in Mombasa. The ocean offers the best spot to take it up this. Fairly accessible to everyone; good thing is that there is no claim to the ocean or sections of it belonging to a particular someone, here in Kenya. But this would only make sense if you owned a boat/ kayak and skill. That is why there are various entry points like Tudor Watersports have been set up.
Located in the suburbs of Tudor area, Tudor watersports is a private property. Idling is not encouraged here . You have to part with Ksh. 200 to access the area, which is redeemable by paying up for any of the activities offered: Boat trips, kayaking, swimming at the pool, fishing, enjoying a drink or food at the restaurant and photography. Taking selfies for the gram is Ksh.300. How ostentatious!
My Sunday afternoon had me signing up for the Kayaking experience with Explore Phototrip, who organize various affordable day trips around Mombasa. Kayaking is an easy and fun sport. Skill is required in the strokes you give the ocean and how you maneuver; but you get a crash course by the lifeguards on the same before you jump into the Kayak. You get to sit facing forward with your legs in front and use a double bladed paddle. You will be told how to hold the blades but the accuracy will depend on your memory. The currents of the ocean make it more bearable too, you get swayed regardless. The fun is in when you have mastered the strokes and how to navigate. You gain confidence, and with that you are able to cover a lager perimeter.
Together with a couple of friends you can have a race, as we did. Hey, if there is ever any competition involved, have me in your team! I noticed many residents doing the same. Some do it professionally, and during this lockdown period, they occasionally kayak to keep the fire burning in them. A picnic is also quite viable with a partner or a friend. Trust me when I tell you that can literally put down your paddles and rest in the arms of the ocean, have candid conversations, snacks and enjoy quality time. At some point, we hummed the nursery rhyme: “row row row your boat”, now a tiktok challenge! A solo adventurer or longing for some alone time? One-man kayaks are also available. The activity is family friendly and able kids can have a go at it as well.
I tried one of the pedal boats as well. What an extreme leg work- out that was! The pedalling required a great amount of effort and it felt as though we weren’t moving. My patience is thin; I abandoned it minutes into it. Perhaps if the pedals were greased, it would have been more bearable. The advantage is that it offers more space, for my suggested picnic. Is it safe to Kayak without prior experience? Yes, it is. Besides the fact that life jackets are provided, the place is situated on a creek where the ocean water is more still and gentle. The lifeguards also advise you not to wander away from their sight, especially if you are a novice.
I signed up for the kayaking experience because I was bored at home and needed some distraction. I was also getting stressed about not being able to travel to places I would like, so I gave myself a talk on exploring and documenting about places within my reach. This quarantine season could really mess up one’s mind. This was just the perfect affordable getaway for me. While at it, I met and made more travel buddies in Mombasa! The community is growing.
Kayaking is a great exercise for the body and the mind. I spent a solid hour in the ocean. I retired from it because I was physically exhausted; I need to build some strength. It also gave me ideas. I would really love to build a community of kayaking friends. Who wouldn’t love that? You get hooked to this thing. Trust me. If you are a fan of outdoor activities, kayaking must be among your favorites. Also, this was the first time somebody who saw me on Facebook recognized me underneath my N95 mask :-). Humans never cease to amuse me.
Click here to watch a video.
Click here to see more on trips organized by Explore Phototrips and charges.