Mangareva is a bunch of small islands inside a single broken encircling reef. This makes it prime kayaking territory -- much like our home waters of British Columbia.
There have been places where we have not used the kayak for a few months. As with anything on our boat, if we aren’t using it, space is tight and we start to wonder if we should get rid of it. The truth is that the reason that the kayak (and the paddleboard) are sometimes not used is that we are lazy about inflating things and we don’t have enough deck space to store things inflated on transits and still sail. We finally bought a 12V inflation pump which (while pathetically underpowered) does the bulk of the pumping for us.
Now that we are in an atoll where we are staying for a few months, and the distances are small and can usually be sailed on single tacks, we have become a three car family again (dinghy, kayak and paddle board). I think it surprises people to see three inflatable “boats” behind a 35’ monohull.
I love kayaking. It is a great way to explore coral reef laden areas because we have such a shallow draft in the kayak that we touch with our paddles before we touch with our bums. We can get closer to things because we know that we have the power and control to paddle away if needed. And inflatable kayaks make great snorkel platforms – very easy to roll in and out of the water.
It is always more fun in light or no wind, but we can paddle against some fairly good wind and chop in the kayak and still make way. It adds an element of safety to our exploration.
Our kayak is somewhere near 6 years old and still going strong. We have a bit of tape on the nose where we regularly bang into rocks or grind up onto beaches. The bungee rotted off for the baggage straps on the nose and rear. Otherwise, no holes!
*We are not affiliated with any kayak companies – just happy users.