The sun broke through an overcast sky as it sank toward the horizon in Morro Bay. An easy breeze blew across the bay. Two girls navigated their kayak around the boats that were docked out in the water and pointed out the wildlife to each other that they could see as they paddled around.
The two girls, Paso Robles High School students Roseanne Carter and Victoria Teck are no strangers to the water. They often go boogie boarding near Cayucos Pier, but they decided to try something new for their Spring Break. They rented a kayak for the first time and were pleased with the experience.
“It was really comfortable,” Carter said. “You can pretty much go as you please, it’s really easy and it was really pretty.”
Kayaking is a fun, easy outdoor activity that is accessible to people of all skill levels. It is one of the many ways to enjoy being out on the water and to explore all the Central Coast has to offer. Kayaking trips can be as casual as spending the day cruising around with friends or as detailed as taking a guided tour with a marine biologist. It can also be a inexpensive activity for people looking to get away for a little while without spending too much money.
On campus, Poly Escapes offers discount rentals of kayaks for students, starting at $10 per day for a single or $15 for a double. They can also be rented for the weekend or an entire week. Local rental shops usually cost a little bit more, but a short instructional session is included.
Morro Bay is a great location for beginners, because the waters are calm, like a lake, compared to being out in the open ocean. It is a migratory spot for hundreds of birds and there are plenty of opportunities for discovering other wildlife such as sea otters.
Dennis Krueger, owner of Kayak Horizons suggests taking a picnic out to the sand dunes that separate the bay from the rest of the ocean. The other side of the dunes is rarely crowded, and crossing on foot takes 5 to 10 minutes at most points of the strand.
“Each trip you take is different,” he said. “The otters, sea lions and all the wildlife are used to the activity, so it’s easy to get good pictures.” He said that some of his patrons have even reported seeing deer out on the dunes.
Kruger’s store on Embarcadero backs up to the bay, making it an easy place to launch. He suggests other places to launch in the area include the boat launch at Embarcadero, Coleman Park or the state park marina when it is high tide.
Trips can be a great teambuilding activity for any type of group. Poly Escapes offers guided kayaking day trips to local areas, or combine it with other outdoor activities such as climbing on weekend trips.
Katie Evans an environmental engineering junior, is a trip leader with Poly Escapes. She said that trips with poly escapes are great because your trip leader is less of a guide and more of a participant, since it is completely student-run.
“It’s a great way to get away and meet new people,” she said. “Everyone is on the same level.”
Kayak rental shops typically offer tours starting at about $60 per person. The price goes up based on what the tour centers around, such as exploration, fishing or picnicking.