Sea Kayak in Hout Bay - Page 2

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The unavoidable portage: returning the
kayaks to Adventure Village's trailers
(Nathan Borchelt)

The paddling is easy-going as we cruise alongside the cliff face east of the harbor, but the moment we round Sentinel Peak, the wind hits us square in the face. We hunker down against this physical force and get to work. Within moments, our final destination appears in the distance: a narrow pile of rocks known as Duiker Island, or, more commonly, as Seal Island for the insane number of Cape fur seals that frolic in the waters and crowd every available piece of real estate.

Barry points his paddle east of the island, where a massive deep-water reef system known as the Dungeons transforms the waters into a huge series of waves each May and June, luring hardcore surfers the world over. In the fall, humpback and southern right whales pass through these waters on their annual migration, but on this hot March afternoon, it's just our boats, the waves, and the Cape fur seals.

We keep our distance from the island—but seals are a curious (and smelly) lot. Several of them swim over to our boats, sticking their noses out and wiggling their whiskers like curious puppies. Three boats bobbing in calm waves as seal peek out from the waters makes for a surrean, peaceful moment—and offers a welcome respite for my aching arms and shoulders—until a fleet of jet skis zoom up, destroying our calm and sending the seals scattering back to Duiker Island.

Perhaps because of a sudden resurgence in jet lag, more probably because my arms have turned to Jello, the paddle back to the beach proves more daunting. But once we round Sentinel Peak, the massive rock blocks the relentless sun and the beach comes into view. We breath a touch easier and paddled toward the shore. Things always seem easier when the end is literally in sight. We manage to catch a breaking wave without getting spilled in the surf and then drag ourselves and our kayak back onto the beach, exhausted, exhilarated, and ready for more.

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