Kayaking in Mactan, Cebu

Learning to kayak

Estrera Beach House, Marigondon

Just across Plantation Bay is a family vacation house-turned-dive center - Stella Maris Dive Experts, one of the only two dive centers in Mactan Island that offers instructional diving course. Kayaking activities were introduced there last year by Isla Adventures. These include Basic Kayak Clinic for beginners, Kayak Clinic Plus, Moonlight Paddling (night kayak) tours and most notably, the Cebu-Bohol (Mactan-Getafe) kayak expedition. Chico Estrera, together with his partner Randy Salazar, facilitates the kayak clinics and trips.

Novice participants and non-swimmers need not worry for their safety because a shallow coral bed extends about 200 meters from the shore. That translates to easy recovery in case one falls off his kayak. That coral bed then drops into a wall where larger-than-life underwater grottoes can be seen (for divers).

A different kind of paddling

My first kayaking experience can be summed up in two words: panicked and scared. That was in Lake Danao in Camotes, Cebu. Two weeks later, I signed up for a Kayak Clinic.

It's a half-day activity that can easily be day long if your biceps can take the beating. Maneuvering a kayak seems pretty easy. But just like running (it isn't just about speed), kayaking can also be a technical sport. Basic techniques were taught. Surprisingly, getting on and off the canoe (kayak entry and exit in technical terms) is one of the most important skills you need to master!

That day in Mactan, I learned to slice water and push my boundaries a little further. Yes, I have conquered my fear of the water horse and is now ready to explore new destinations on it - Getafe, here i come!

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