SEA KAYAK HONG KONG

OCEAN LITERACY INTERNATIONAL

Ocean Litereacy International (Hong Kong)

Pak Lap Wan to Sai Kung Village

An short, fun and beautiful seakayak trip.

Pak Lap to Sai kung sea kayak route

Sai Kung to Pak lap Wan – on a north bound journey OR Pak Lap Wan to Sai Kung on a south bound journey.

This trip route will vary (possibly a lot) depending on the tide, wind and ocean conditions on the day. Do not attempt to paddle this section of the Hong Kong coast unless you can self-rescue. There are no easy escape routes.

Tung Lung Chau to Clearwater bay_10

As this trip is only about 6 klms. If the sea conditions are favourable, its great to paddle into some of the majestic bays and sea caves on the eastern section of the Tung Lung Chau coast before heading north to Clearwater Bay. You also get to see the climbers who scale these cliffs.

Leaving Tung Lung Chau heading north, its a short 500m paddle to the mainland coast, but be aware that this is a busy shipping channel. A major pleasure marina is just around the headland so on a weekend there are hundreds of recreational boats passing through. Keep your eyes peeled for incoming vessels, both left & right.

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Tung Lung Chau to Clearwater bay_15

From here the cliffs and the hidden nooks and crannies are well worth exploring (depending on sea swells and wind direction of course). There are a number of caves that have been formed along the weaknesses caused by the formation of the volcanic tuff (the reason for the UNESCO listing as a Global Geopark).u00a0

As the constant battering of the waves and swells pounded the vertical columns, the weakest places have let go. Sitting in a kayak on an undulating sea makes you wonder at the power of those waves to cut open these cliffs into such awe inspiring features.

This sea coast is formidable. Make sure that you take opportunities to expore as they arise, but don’t take risks, and always keep an eye over your shoulder for the rogue wave from passing ships or cruisers.

Once inside the more protected waters of Shelter Bay, the coastlines becomes more subdued. The human development on the shores and hillsides are pretty obvious. Within 1 km you are paddling passed the entrance to a very overstated marina development for the uber wealthy of Hong Kong. The attitude of the boat captains can sometimes leave a lot to be desired, so make sure you are obvious and be humble in your attitude to ownership of the ocean on which you paddle and share.u00a0

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SEA arches of Hong Kong

Entering into Clearwater Bay you are greeted with pleasure vessels of many shapes and sizes. It gives you a sense of acheivement when you realise you have handled the same seas in your small, self-contained sea craft as the multi-million dollar vessels that are at anchor in what must once have been a pristine bay with sea turtles, coral reefs, tropical fish, sea mammals and an abundance of sea life. Today, we have a great place to swim. The ocean is clean and blue, a remnant of bygone days in Hong Kong.u00a0u00a0

The take out point is a long stair climb, maybe 150 steps to an awaiting carpark. The bus leaves here for Hong Kong districts too.

A fantastic paddle for those who want something spectacular and relatively short.

As always, stay safe!

Tung Lung Chau to Clearwater Bay

Tung Lung Chau to Clearwater bay_20

An short, fun and beautiful seakayak trip.

tung-lung-chau-to-clearwater-bay-2

It’s difficult to get to Tung Lung Chau (only by boat) so you would have probably paddled there already – from the previous north bound route – Shek O to Tung Lung Chau.

This trip can either be very easy or extremely difficult depending on tide, wind and ocean conditions. Do not attempt to paddle this section of the Hong Kong coast unless you can self-rescue. There are no easy escape routes.

 

Tung Lung Chau to Clearwater bay_10

As this trip is only about 6 klms. If the sea conditions are favourable, its great to paddle into some of the majestic bays and sea caves on the eastern section of the Tung Lung Chau coast before heading north to Clearwater Bay. You also get to see the climbers who scale these cliffs.

Leaving Tung Lung Chau heading north, its a short 500m paddle to the mainland coast, but be aware that this is a busy shipping channel. A major pleasure marina is just around the headland so on a weekend there are hundreds of recreational boats passing through. Keep your eyes peeled for incoming vessels, both left & right.

 

Tung Lung Chau to Clearwater bay_15

From here the cliffs and the hidden nooks and crannies are well worth exploring (depending on sea swells and wind direction of course). There are a number of caves that have been formed along the weaknesses caused by the formation of the volcanic tuff (the reason for the UNESCO listing as a Global Geopark). 

As the constant battering of the waves and swells pounded the vertical columns, the weakest places have let go. Sitting in a kayak on an undulating sea makes you wonder at the power of those waves to cut open these cliffs into such awe inspiring features.

This sea coast is formidable. Make sure that you take opportunities to expore as they arise, but don’t take risks, and always keep an eye over your shoulder for the rogue wave from passing ships or cruisers.

Once inside the more protected waters of Shelter Bay, the coastlines becomes more subdued. The human development on the shores and hillsides are pretty obvious. Within 1 km you are paddling passed the entrance to a very overstated marina development for the uber wealthy of Hong Kong. The attitude of the boat captains can sometimes leave a lot to be desired, so make sure you are obvious and be humble in your attitude to ownership of the ocean on which you paddle and share. 

 

SEA arches of Hong Kong

Entering into Clearwater Bay you are greeted with pleasure vessels of many shapes and sizes. It gives you a sense of acheivement when you realise you have handled the same seas in your small, self-contained sea craft as the multi-million dollar vessels that are at anchor in what must once have been a pristine bay with sea turtles, coral reefs, tropical fish, sea mammals and an abundance of sea life. Today, we have a great place to swim. The ocean is clean and blue, a remnant of bygone days in Hong Kong.  

The take out point is a long stair climb, maybe 150 steps to an awaiting carpark. The bus leaves here for Hong Kong districts too.

A fantastic paddle for those who want something spectacular and relatively short.

As always, stay safe!

Sea Turtles

sea turtle and swimmer

Sea Turtle Biology

There are seven species of sea turtles worldwide. They are: (left to right) leatherback, Kemp’s ridley, green, hawksbill, loggerhead, and olive ridley sea turtles.

All sea turtles found are listed as either threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

Human threats, including oil spills, have significantly reduced many sea turtle populations in recent centuries.

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sea turtle species

Sea turtle populations takes a long time to recover because they grow slowly and do not reproduce every year.

Sea Turtle Life History

Sea turtles rely on a variety of habitats that can be damaged by man’s activities.

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sea turtle life history

Nesting Females, Eggs, and Hatchlings
With the exception of basking green turtles in Hawaii, the only time turtles crawl ashore is for the females to lay their eggs. Females lay their clutches of eggs every 2-4 years on beaches, then return to the ocean. The embryos develop buried in the sand for around 45-60 days. Hatchlings emerge from their nests, quickly crawl to the surf, and begin a marathon swim to find refuge within offshore areas.

Juveniles, Surface-Pelagic Life Stage
Most post-hatchling turtles live at the surface of the open ocean. Turtles at this stage have limited diving ability, and spend more than 80% of their time at or near the surface.

Large Juveniles and Adults
Large juvenile and adult sea turtles spend most of their time in shallower water, along the continental shelf or nearshore environments. At this age they have developed into active swimmers, diving frequently to depths greater than 65 feet.

Sea turtles have extremely accurate navigational systems that allow them to migrate between widely separated feeding and breeding grounds.

Keeping a weather eye open

keeping-a-weather-eye-open

"Scoff if you will Mateys! ...but after reading this you'll keep a weather eye on the waters round yer vessel when anchored!"

IDIOM: keep a (or one’s) weather eye open. To keep watch; stay alert.

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language http://www.bartleby.com/61/21/W0072100.html

“weather eye”  NOUN: An ability to recognize quickly signs of changes in the weather.

As a sea kayaker, you should work on developing a good “weather eye” (along with all your other seamen’s tricks).  Various sights, sounds and smells can tip you off to changes that portend trouble. All you have to do is learn what they are for your kayaking area and keep that weather eye peeled. 

What to look for here in Hong Kong.
The weather is the most important criteria for planning when going sea kayaking. The kayaker who paddles without knowing the weather forecast is just asking for trouble.

Winds & the kayaker

When things go wrong for kayakers at sea, it’s usually because of a little too much wind.
Sea kayaks cope very well with waves, tides, currents and extremes of temperature, but too much wind can be a real problem. 

If the day of your trip is windy, you can avoid problems by changing your plans. Shorten the trip. Move it to a small estuary with wooded sides, or the downwind side of a headland. On a windy day, paddle upwind to start with so if anybody gets tired, the group will have an easy downwind ride back to where you started from.

If you are out kayaking and a strong wind is blowing right in your face, keep up the pace until you get to shelter. 
If you go slowly you will be out there struggling for a lot longer. If you stop for a rest you will drift backwards faster than you expect. A 10-minute rest on open water in a strong wind can cost you an extra 20 or 30 minutes paddling.

Also, wind creates waves. When a strong wind blows out to sea, the water may be smooth inshore but increasingly rough as you get further away from the beach. And the further you go out to sea, the rougher the sea and the stronger the wind. An onshore wind blowing a long distance over water can create a heavy surf which makes things difficult or even dangerous, especially when exiting the ocean. Knowing how to surf you kayak is essential in these conditions!

What is the best weather for kayaking?

A cloudy (overcast) day with little or no wind.

Some people are put off kayaking by cloudy days, but that can be the best time to head out. Kayaking in light rain is also quite refreshing and you’re going to get wet anyway, so don’t let a few showers put you off.

When the weather is overcast you don’t get baked by the sun so you tire less quickly and can have more fun kayaking out on the water. This is very important in Hong Kong

Bright sunny days are the most popular time to hire a kayak becuase most people haven’t had the experience of sitting on or in a kayak with no shade in the hot Hong Kong sun. This is infact not the best time to go kayaking. More information about the dangers of over heating while kayaking will be published in a future article.

So, if you are planning a kayaking trip in Hong Kong, or anywhere for that matter, make sure you get the latest weather information, understand it, apply it to the local geography and have a safe fun day on the ocean making sure you always ‘keep your weather eye open”!