After much debating we signed up to this trip. It cost $35 for 2 hours but it was totally worth it and we actually got a little extra than 2 hours due to spending too much time watching the whales, but I’ll tell you more about that in a minute.
We met down by the harbour at 10 am. After getting a life jacket and leaving our shoes behind it was into the kayaks and off. There were no safety instructions or demonstrations on how to actually use the paddle but that didn’t matter to us as we already knew. The group headed off down the river away from the sea to start with. There were 16 of us in total and then 2 instructors in one boat who would float between the people checking everyone was okay. There was a small rapid to overcome but apart from that the water was very calm and easy to paddle on. We were taken among the mangrove trees which were all hanging down over the water. Some were pretty low – being able to steer the boat was pretty important along these parts but not many of us were brilliant at steering and at several points we had to duck out of the way of the branches.
We saw water lizards and bats along the way, as well as a rather friendly fish that jumped out of the water and into one of the other girls’ boats! At one point the guys took us under this tiny bridge. You had to lie flat back on the kayak and close your eyes and mouth so as not to get anything in your mouth while going under. We did that only to find out they had taken us down a dead end and we had to do it all over again to get out! Obviously it was done on purpose but we did get to see the bats really well so it was worth it. We seemed to be paddling faster than several other members of the group, but another boat with some girls from Canberra were keeping up and the four of us had a lot of laughs and jokes about racing each other and one boat being ‘Australia’ and one being ‘England’. This definitely made our trip much more light hearted and fun.
Once we were done on the river we headed back out the way we came to the sea. Going back was a little hard – we had to overcome the rapids and then the tide was on its way in so we were fighting the waves to get out of the harbour. We didn’t go too far before we surfed in to the north beach on our kayaks. Everyone was finding the waves a little hard to paddle on and I for one was very glad of a break. After Mark, our tour guide, spent ages looking for this girls sunglasses who had lost them in the sea on the way in to the beach, we headed up to the rocks for some fruit – oh and he did find the girl’s sunglasses.
We enjoyed some fresh watermelon, bananas and orange whilst watching out to sea when Mark spotted the water from a whales blow hole – yes, even he put it like that. We kept watching and it became very apparent there were two whales not far from shore. They were playing around and every so often you would see half their body flop out and in the water. They were massive, like really massive, you could see the huge distance between head and tail. I was amazed and in awe, having never seen a whale before. Mark noticed that the whales were actually swimming north, which was very strange as in mid-October they should be heading south. I could have watched all day but by now it was 12 o clock and the tour was meant to have finished. So we all headed back to our kayaks and paddled in to the harbour where we started.
We were helped out of the river, completely soaked and very thankful the sun was out to keep the chill away. After paying Mark with wet money – yes we proved Aussie dollars are indeed waterproof! – and thanking him for such a great tour, we headed back to our hostel feeling very satisfied and happy we had paid the $35 each to kayak. Sometimes you think about doing a trip so much that in the end you convince yourself not to waste the money, I would say if you are even slightly considering it GO FOR IT. We might not have got to see and kayak with the dolphins like I hoped but we got to see a whale, which was totally unexpected, and meet some pretty cool people.
Apologies I didn’t take any photos while we were out on the water!