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Ever dreamed of exploring the remote wilderness of Alaska where glaciers meet the sea? How about secret lagoons filled with mangroves in Ao Phang Nga, Thailand or hidden coves and pink-sand beaches in Crete, Greece? Or maybe you’d prefer venturing into the sea-carved caverns of La Jolla, California? All of these majestic destinations offer unforgettable sea cave kayaking adventures, but here are five things to know before you go.

Related: Check out 10 totally amazing Australian natural wonders.

1) A guide is good. If you’re a first timer, a guide will be well worth the expense. They’ll teach you the proper way to enter and exit the kayak, paddling and steering techniques, how to maintain balance while aboard and what to do if you capsize in the sea. Don’t rock the boat! Your guide will navigate through the caves ahead of you in his/her own kayak or sometimes he/she will be your kayak partner, so you can simply sit back and enjoy the ride.

Sea Cave Kayaking Guide

2) Know the highs and lows. Pay attention to the tide prior to entering each cave. Calm waters can turn into stormy seas quickly. Notice the swell patterns throughout the day and allow enough time to enter and exit each cave prior to high tide. If you’re with a guide, they’ll be familiar with the weather conditions and will ensure that you are safe.

Sea Cave Kayaking Tides

3) Keep your hands and feet inside the ride. Just like the carnies told you at the fair. Passages can be very narrow with just enough room to squeeze the kayak through. The ceiling may become lower as you paddle your way farther into a cave, so at times, you might have to lie back in the kayak to literally save face and avoid the rocky and razor sharp walls or ceiling. And remember that your skin oil could be harmful to stalactites or stalagmites—so don’t touch!


4) Don’t freak out if you see a furry friend. Caves are filled with many insects and animals that hang out near the entrance or venture deep into the darkness. Some live there permanently while others camp out temporarily for protection or rest. You know those winged animals that hang upside down from ceilings? Yeah, you’re bound to encounter them, and the awful smell of bat guano (a.k.a. bat poop). If you feel uncomfortable, close your eyes, breathe through your mouth and you’ll be bat-free in no time. Crickets, spiders, crayfish and a host of other creatures may also make appearances. Depending on what part of the world you’re kayaking in, you may even spot a monkey near a cave’s entrance.


5. Pack it in a waterproof bag. You and the inside of your kayak are guaranteed to get wet. Take only what you need: Sun screen, a hat and a camera to snap those Instagram-worthy shots are essential. Check to see if your guide will provide a flashlight, food and water. If not, pack those, too.


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Tagged: California, Europe

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Jennifer Eiber

Jennifer Eiber

Jennifer is a freelance writer and content strategist based in Denver. Combatting a serious case of wanderlust, she may be found exploring her city, traveling the globe or on her yoga mat somewhere in between.

5 thoughts on “Sea cave kayaking: 5 things to know before you go”

    1. Hi Dan, the pics in this article are from a sea cave kayaking excursion in Ao Phang Nga, Thailand near Phuket.

  1. Thanks for travel knowledge. How about the South Pacific? Not Hawaii. Polynesian culture? Cook Islands? Fijian Islands. Somona…….? Let us know. I am a traveling photographer and Nutritionist. Thanks.

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