Backlit sea kayaker

A glorious end of season bespoke sea kayak day

If there was a great way to finish the season, then paddling in perfect winter conditions would be up there. Paddling with guests who have become friends (and paddlers) made it even more special and memorable.

Mirror calm conditions on Loch Sunart
A perfect start to an early winters day on Loch Sunart. And an amazing place to be sea kayaking.

It was the first cold day of the winter with frost on the kayaks. The morning temperature was about 3 degree, but the sun promised to warm things up!

Frost on sea kayaks
Winter had set in and there was a frost on the sea kayaks in the morning. But sun was forecast for the whole day…

Tim sea kayaked with me for half a day last year and loved it so much he brought his son and his wife along for a second half day that week.

A year on

Jump a year on and his son is buying him a sea kayak and got in touch with me for advice. We decided that the best way forwards was a 1:1 day for Tim now, with another one once he had got a kayak. This meant I could see him paddling and discuss what he hoped to gain from a new pastime. He could also pick my brains and ask whatever questions he wanted to about kayaking.

What made it more special was that Tim’s son and daughter-in-law joined him on a surprise visit. And they were able to join us on the water again; but only for the morning.

Preparing sea kayaks fro a journey
Although we started on the colder south shore, we soon headed out into the sun and along Loch Sunart heading east initially.

We planned a gentle day on Loch Sunart: two ‘half-day’ trips for Tim. Unfortunately, the others had to leave to get home ready for work the next morning.

In search of the sun

From our launch point we headed into the sun and east towards the head of Loch Sunart. It is always surprising how the sun warms everything, even when at such low angles in winter.

Returning along the opposite shore ensured we Stayed in the sun for as long as possible. And also so we got to see the loch from a different perspective.

Winter sea kayaking in calm conditions
Once on the water and in the sun, it soon warmed up and the light was quite magical against the flat water.
Sea kayakers drifting and chatting on Loch Sunart
Having reached the north shore and turned westwards, we basked in the sun for a while, chatting, drifting and watching wildlife. there is never any pressure to paddle great distances or great speed on an Otter Adventure.

After saying goodbye to them Tim swapped boats to try out a different sea kayak (the Venture Kayaks Jura MV in Trilite) for the afternoon. It was great that he instantly felt the difference between the two boats. And also that he took to the Jura very quickly.

Mirror reflection on Loch Sunart
Perfect reflection tins are rare – but very beautiful. Not being able to see where land stops and water starts can be a little disorientating, but not today as the beautiful blues ‘top’n’tailed’ the rocky foreshore.

One + one = three (course lunch)!

Bow of sea kayak in winter waters
The rich, deep blue of the sky reflected in the deep waters of Loch Sunart are irresistible! Add in the bow wake as you glide across the water, and you get a stunning view wherever you look.

We aimed to get through the Laudale Narrows on the last of the outgoing tide and lunch on Eilean Mor. A simple three-course ‘feast’, freshly cooked while admiring the view. It was finished off with coffee, cake and conversation while looking west towards the changing colours on the landscape..

Heading further west towards Ardery we turned back in the last of the sun’s rays. We also used the incoming tide to help carry us back through the narrows and on to the car.

Hardly a breath of wind all day and perfectly clear skies.

Last sunlight for winter sea kayaker.
Ending the day exploring several small rocky islands only exposed at low water means you can find urchins, starfish and all sorts just beneath your sea kayak.

It was cold once we had stopped paddling! Made worse by being on the south shore and in the shade of the hills. However, it had been a fantastic day. Tim had learned a little about different kayaks. He had improved his paddling technique. And we had all had a fantastic bespoke sea kayak day on Loch Sunart.