Last May 1, 2013, while most of my outdoor friends went to the usual trail running gigs in the mountains of San Mateo, Rizal, an activity I rarely forego, it was replaced by an invitation I would not afford to miss – Kayaking adventure with my son and with friends at Caylabne Bay.
Just last week, my friend Arleen Lindo of Chris Sports invited me to learn and experience the basic of kayaking. Together with my son Gab, we cruised the highway of CAVITEX all the way to Caylabne Bay, Marigondon, Naic, Cavite. Because of the new and faster access route to Cavite, our trip just took us less than two hours from Manila.
At the resort, another blogger showed up, my good friend Paulo Florendo. Together with his wife who also keeps a blog, we were introduced to our host, the father (and mother) of kayaking in the Philippines, no other than the husband and wife Mr. Val and Dindi Camara. I also had the pleasure of meeting another seasoned Kayaking (slash photographer) friend, Mr. Harvey Tapan. Coach Val, shared to me how kayaking was popularized in the Philippines. The sport was brought in the early 80’s that led to the formation of kayaking groups including the Philippine Kayaking Federation, a group that organizes professional competition and kayaking races in the country.
As the sport grew its popularity, the couple decided to devote their time in the leisure kayaking that caters to people who are less-competitive in the sport and just love exploring the vast of the ocean and mangroves in the archipelago. Over several decades, they helped established various affiliates and kayaking groups all over the country.
Almost in their senior year (but not physically), they are now in the business of making locally manufactured kayaks that cost half the price of imported ones. On that special day, me and my son had the opportunity to try out some of the locally made kayaks in the open sea.
Before heading out, all of us had to undergo a briefing session and basic orientation on kayaking. I had some “paddling” experience before on a regular boat in the province but not like this one. I discovered that there is really a technique of paddling more efficiently where one can move the kayak faster and with less effort. We were taught the proper way of handling the paddles, how to turn and how to stop. And before we jumped into the kayak, we were also taught how to board in properly so you don’t be out balanced.
My son, Gab was also as ecstatic as I am when we first experienced paddling together. The technique is to do it simultaneously and on a rhythm. The one seated on the back is responsible of controlling the turns of the kayak.
Our first adventure was the mangroves of the Caylabne Bay. We cruised along a long winding river where fresh and salt water are mixed together. The current was very serine where we simply glide through the waters. At one end of the river, we went through a pass where the branches of the mangroves were hanging low and we all need to lay back so we won’t hit by the sharp thorns.
At the first pass, our kayak went through barely. But the second time around when we went back, the tide went a little higher so the thorns became closer. My son and I tried our best to evade them as much as we can, and in the process, made our kayak tipped over and made us fall over. We were the first casualty of the kayaking adventure.
It’s a good thing that the water was just chest high, and we easily recovered and got back on our boat. It was a good thing that Coach Val taught us how to get on the kayak in the case we fall overboard. After several river banks, we had the opportunity to have a short peak of gracing wild migratory ducks. But as the current brought us much closer to them, they flew off just as quickly. I realized that it was something that I need to document. But as I reach for my camera which placed in a sealed plastic, that was the time I realized that it was gone and presumed that it was lost during our short cap-sized experienced back there.
The group tried to go back and tried to find in the area but with no luck, so I decided to tell the group to forget about it. I guess I just have to re-call those picturesque scenes with the ducks in my memory. Luckily, another kayaker in the group Harvey Tapan brought his own camera, so not all were lost after all.
The river kayaking allowed us to practice the navigating techniques coach Val taught us. The second part was how to kayak in the open waters. Now this one was a bit scary because of the depth of the sea. But this experience is a one in a life time, so head out and conquered our fear. At least we were comforted that we have life jackets on incase we fall again in the open sea. I noticed that Gab had his confidence as well, because he knows how to swim.
So the group spent the while afternoon in kayaking in the open sea. We went to the area where the waves were not as big and we can grab each other’s paddle and connect all the kayaks together. We just sat there floating in the middle of the sea and laid back to view the vast clear sky in Nirvana. A wonderful place to rest our soaring arms and sun burns from the whole day of paddling.
After a few minutes, we kayak back and ride along with the waves that glide us to the shoreline. After bring all the kayaks in their racks, we went back to the resort for some snacks. It was a day of adventure that I hope to be repeated again in the near future. Personally, most of my adventures were confined in the land when I run or bike on the trails, but Kayaking as nother water adventure has proven to have its own thrills and challenges which I vowed to be exposed more in the future.
Note: All photos are courtesy of Mr. Harvey Tapan