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Kayak comes from the Inuit word qayaq, meaning 'hunter's boat.' Developed more than 4,000 years ago, the kayak was first used to hunt animals on inland lakes and rivers.  
Credit: Mark Jordan, oi2.com 
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The Sea of Cortez is more than just a sea-kayaking mecca. Sustaining some 900 species of marine vertebrates and 2,000 invertebrates, it's the most biologically diverse body of water on the planet.  
Credit: Ben Davidson, oi2.com 
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With just over 88 miles of stunning sea cliffs and sandy dunes along its coastline, Molokai, Hawaii's fifth largest island, is a paddling paradise.  
Credit: Ben Davidson, oi2.com 
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Paddlers can choose among three types of kayaks-hardshell, folding, and inflatable. Depending on the type, kayaks may be made of wood, plastic, fiberglass, kevlar, carbon fiber, or aluminum.  
Credit: Peter Dennen, oi2.com 
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Kayakers share the waters of Kenai Fjords National Park with puffins, sea lions, otters, and killer whales. And if they're lucky, they may catch a glimpse of wolverines, moose, bears, and mountain goats on land.  
Credit: Cliff Leight, oi2.com 
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Paddlers, like local artists, appreciate Cape Ann's dramatic coastline. The nation's oldest artists' colony, located on this Massachusetts peninsula, is as replete with easels and paintbrushes as it is with lobsters.  
Credit: Scott Underhill, oi2.com 
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Dutch explorer Abel Tasman wouldn't have guessed that when he spotted New Zealand 360 years ago, the South Island's crown jewel of kayaking would soon become a national park bearing his name.  
Credit: Sonja Burgard, oi2.com 
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Belize is a favorite destination for many kayaking enthusiasts. Kayakers can paddle languidly from one island paradise to the next, then set up a hammock to contemplate the lapping waves and the sunsets.  
Credit: Slickrock Adventures 
 
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