Want to grab your offspring’s undivided attention? Then put them in a kayak with you on a family expedition. Not with a sibling, but with you, alone. Mother or father with son or daughter, grandparent with any grandchild or even with someone else’s if you so desire. The world drifts away and you are your own island. What is communicated between the two of you is yours alone. Your awareness for what is nearby is sharpened and together you discover the shape of the rocky shore or the sea star down below. There are no expectations of deep conversations or of parental instructions, only a giving and receiving of observations of where you are. Maybe a door might open to delve within their mind or maybe not. The richness is simply within the sharing.
Pair up with a neighboring family or collect yours all together and paddle along side-by-side. Laugh and splash or snap a photo. Race with one another. “What’s wrong? Why are we only going in circles? Oh, you are being tricky. Straighten out that rudder.” Generally the heaviest sits back in the stern and is responsible for the steering. Most times that is an adult but why not let your teen take you out for a ride? The forward cockpit might seem to be the place for lassitude but the person there has a task to do too. They must set the pace. Have no fear of meeting the challenge to keep up for the one in the front can’t really see if the one behind is paddling or grinning gleefully.
Family expeditions on board Lindblad’s National Geographic Explorer and National Geographic Endeavour include many opportunities to venture out in safe and sturdy inflatable kayaks. No experience is needed even in the frigid waters of the Arctic or Antarctica. The National Geographic Sea Bird and Sea Lion carry regular sea kayaks. They require a little more skill but on all vessels instruction is willingly given. Whenever and wherever the kayaks are deployed safety Zodiacs patrol unobtrusively to aid if assistance is required or simply to reassure.
In this technological world in which we live, few opportunities come our way to remove our youth from their electronic gadgets. Kayaking on a family expedition is a guaranteed time of fun and freedom for all.
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