FOUR WOMEN ON KAYAKAlthough it is not a well-known sport in Chile, Kayaking is one of the mostfriendly and entertaining activities that any type of person can practice.By Miriam Cuevas

Aventures in kayaking

Our challenge was to learn and to go on kayak. A group of young women with three months of going to the gym, we had no fear of going on an adventure that seemed entertaining. It was a different panorama for a Sunday.

We departed from Santiago close to 9:30 in the morning and after a two-hour drive we arrived to our destination. A half sized reservoir surrounded by pastureland and trees. Located on the route to the central coast.

At first we took down the kayaks from the vehicle. As in every type of team activity the most important is cooperation and working eagerly in a group. In the mean while we changed clothes and put on sun block.  We transported our things and prepared our supplies. After a few minutes we were ready to receive the first instructions.

The appropriate attire

Apropriate attireOne of the important details in kayaking is the clothing. In general it is recommended to utilize synthetic attire that it will keep you warn even when wet. On the contrary cotton makes humidity remain on the body; although the kayak is always moving at all times, while rowing you get wet and without knowing it your body becomes cold.

First instructions

The kayaks, be it dividual or double, have seats that may be regulated that adapt to the size of each person. One of the first things that you should do before entering the water is regulate the seats. Therefore the person should sit in the kayak with your back in an upright position and your legs slightly bent and arched in a form that they do not get out of the kayak at the same time not bumping against the sides of the kayak. This is the position that you should maintain always being that the way you position your legs, it's the way the kayak maintains its balance allowing you to row in a secure and stable manner.

Learning to paddle

Kayaking Instructions

For the kayak you use paddles with double blades, one on each end. The length of the shaft and the form of the blades can vary; nevertheless  what counts is how you position the paddles. By taking the shaft in both hands and put it in front of us, if the right oar is found in vertical position, then the left should be inclined almost completely in a horizontal position.

This related with the technique to row. The right blade should enter vertically in the water, this way there is less resistance. The blade enters from the front and exits from the back. At this moment the right wrist rotates back as if you were accelerating a motorcycle. This make the left blade rotate as well to a vertical position upon entering the water. In kayaking the left hand only should allow space so that the paddle rotates with the right hand movement.

You should never let go of the paddle. Your wrists should maintain a straight position other wise with time your back would suffer the consequences.

Who takes the wheel

SincronizingThe rudder situated in the posterior part of the kayak, and only drops when it enters the water. Although some kayaks don't have a rudder , it is indispensable for long trips and in waters with a lot of breaking waves. The rudder is controlled with your feet with two-foot paddles. If you step on the right you should let go of the left foot paddle and thus vice versa.
In the case of a double kayak the person in the back is the one who operates the rudder, therefore he or she practically takes control of the vessel.

Without forgetting your stomach

The kayaks possess two compartments, one in the front and the other in the rear. They are used to keep food, supplies and some instruments.  It is recommendable to carry enough high energy food, and a lot of water. Although kayaking  looks like a light activity it gets you very hungry so it is better to go prepared.

To enjoy yourselves safely

Its hard to imagine being in a slim and seemingly fragil vessel in the middle of a lake or open sea without feeling a little bit of the shivers. But in spite of the kayak looking flimsy, it is a very safe sport. You only need to know how to swim and to take the basic precautions like a life jacket. You also need to learn what to do in case the kayak capsize and  travel with experienced people who know how to correctly lead the trip.  

Break into an adventure

Group picture

After receiving all the instructions and recommendations we were ready to go into the water. Although at the beginning it was the waves that carried us, and little by little we started to take control of the kayak and moved away from the shore.

The most entertaining about kayaking is that it allows you to enjoy| nature without disrupting it, as small crafts and paddling hardly affects the environment.

Upon cruising the lagoon that day we learned about different trees, types of vegetation in a calm and silent way. Listening to birds singing and the sounds of the chirps of the cicadas.

When it was time for lunch, we stopped at a small beach were we siezed the occasion and stretched our legs, fed ourselves and rested in the sun. As well as practicing one of the most entertaining types of activities in this type of traveling we talked and got to know the rest of the crew.

Later in the afternoon the ones who were in double kayaks were paddling in sync meanwhile each person looked for their own objective like, paddling towards ducks further away, trying to get to the black necked swans or finding a secret beach.

At the end of the day back at our departure point, we put every thing in order, took final pictures and bid farewell to this handsome place.
Other than being tired, in the van we laughed remembering all the adventures in this incredible day traveling on kayak.

Article by : Miriam Cuevas

Photos by: Paola Villagra and Jean Pierre Orduña