A Summer Classic: Kayaking

Wed, 06/28/2017 - 10:45am

The salt pond offers paddling option for all ages and abilities, a little research and you are certain to have a fantastic experience. 

Don’t miss out on these summer highlights:

Meet-Up Kayak group

Want peace and quiet? Kayak in the early morning or evening. New this season Pond and Beyond is hosting an early morning group kayak paddling session. The Meet-Up group meets on Tuesdays at 6:45 a.m. behind the Block Island Maritime Institute (BIMI) Center on Ocean Ave. in New Harbor. This meet-up is a silent or quiet conversation paddle — with the purpose of exercise and reflection — and simply a beautiful way to start the day. The group is free of charge. You can bring your own kayak or rent one. Pond and Beyond offers rentals on this day for $10 per boat (for this group only). The rental money is donated to the Block Island chapter of NAMI (National Alliance of Mental Illness). Reservations are required and no beginners please.


Sunset Kayak Tour

There is not much to say as the pictures speak for themselves.  Again this guided tour is not intended to be an eco-based tour simply a group outing to enjoy the sunset together. Some basic experience is required as we typically kayak north out the channel to witness the sun set into the Block Island Sound. Plan to stay on the water until 9 p.m. as we typically linger until the sun disappears. Seems to be a tradition for paddlers to do a quick change into dry clothes and hit Dead Eye Dicks next door for a late dinner.


Low Tide Tour

The already shallow inner ponds can be impossible to paddle in during certain tidal cycles.  While this might not be ideal for getting around it is a fun experience for the youngest.  Kids love having the opportunity to get in and out of their boats, explore the exposed shoreline, or take a dip. Multiple species of crabs, fish and shorebird can be seen during the low tide cycle.  The favorite creature hands down is the fiddler crab.  This small intertidal crab is only active during low tide when they emerge from their burrows to feed.  Observe this fragile species by standing completely, completely still — no movement, no vibrations — for at least a minute and wait for their re-emergence.  Fiddler crabs dine on detritus, aka: dead plant and animal material. While feeding and recreating burrows the fiddler crab is constantly recycling and aerating the soil. Respect this keystone creature.



Kids in Kayaks — Kids Only – No adults Allowed!

Drop off your kids ages, 6 and older, for a two hour adventure. Kids learn to kayak, have a chance to try a snorkel mask, and learn a bit about the local salt marsh community. Older experience kids practice wet exit rescues and mentor the youngsters.  Program is offered weekly and more times added if needed. Don’t under-estimate your child’s ability to paddle. Pond and Beyond has small kid sized kayaks and paddles. All kids in kayaks programs take place in the shallow inner ponds.

Call Pond and Beyond at (401) 578-2773 for reservations and information.

Insider tips and advice for paddling on the Great Salt Pond.

Beginners Guide: Kayaking and Paddleboarding

  • Be smart, be safe.
  • Have fun; don’t be annoying!
  • Practice defensive paddling.
  • Never assume that a power boat can see you.
  • Avoid high traffic areas when possible proceed with caution when you can’t.
  • Be aware of factors like fog and glare that make it more difficult for you to be seen.
  • You must have a life jacket (PFD) on your kayak.  All children 16 and under must wear a life jacket at all times.

While there are some situations where the kayaker has the right-of-way, you cannot assume that other boaters are able to see you or even know the rules. In narrow channels stay to the right, as close to shore as possible, and do not impede vessels that must use the marked channels to travel safely. Boats entering waterways from slips or marinas will not see you, exercise caution in those situations.

  • Don’t stand up in a kayak.
  • Do not drink alcohol before or while operating a kayak. Alcohol affects balance, coordination, and judgement.
  • If you paddle out solo, tell someone before you go. 
  • Be specific about where you plan to go and when you will be back.
  • Be sure to report back in when you return.
  • Know the conditions before you set out.
  • Always paddle within your abilities.

In general, kayaking on the Great Salt Pond is safe and fun. Just be smart.