We pooled our Christmas money and bought two kayaks for ourselves for Christmas.
We were considering using Christmas money for an adventure like an all inclusive, or a snorkeling trip to Espirtu Santo Island.
But in the end we decided that having kayaks to use on our own terms when and where we want would be a better plan as we like camping on the beach and could use these kayaks frequently.
Ironically they are cheaper here in Mexico than they are on Amazon, and cheaper than in Walmart. Yet they are made in the states, imported to Mexico and sold here. Part of the cost savings must come from cheaper retail overhead, but still the importing and shipping has to add up too.
Anyways, a good friend of ours who is a professional kayaker suggested that no one get in a kayak without a lifejacket on and attached to them, since when you fall out of a kayak there is a good chance the kayak will shoot away from you faster than you can catch up to it. Unfortunately the store that sold us the kayaks didn’t carry adult sizes, so we had to wait until Monday when the other store would open (it was closed Christmas, the day after, and Sunday too). We finally were able to buy life jackets on Monday.
But on Sunday the wind was too high to go out on the beach where we’re staying so we loaded the Kayaks up on the van and tried out a very calm bay nearby. Just to get some experience. The majority of this bay was less than 6 feet deep so I’d be able to stand if I had fallen in.
It was a great trip with Josiah and Zan in a kayak with me, and Alia, Thys and Becky in the other kayak. Since we didn’t yet have lifejackets we decided to keep it short and positive. However we did learn on that trip that even if the waves aren’t too bad the wind is a huge factor when kayaking. It took two times the amount of effort to get back to shore because we were going against the wind.
Monday afternoon the big kids wanted to go out again and since we had life jackets I was comfortable taking them out right from the beach we were staying at. There was a bit of surf but the Sea (of Cortez) was a bit calmer after the breaking waves. So I got the kids in, prepped them for what we were going to encounter and prepared myself for helping the kids deal with a fake emergency. (I wanted to teach them to jump off and back on etc).
What I wasn’t prepared for actually happened.
Or better stated we were taking on water and sinking.
Getting through the surf/breaking waves went quite well other than Alia got quite wet, and the waves splashed a bunch of water into the Kayak, but once we got through everything was chill and we sat and took an assessment of the situation, we even turned to Mom on the shore and had her take pictures of us.
From there we decided to head into the wind staying parallel with the shore so when we wanted to go back it would be much easier.
Great thought, but then we started tipping every time we’d look over the edge.
These are really wide sit on top kayaks (we cannot fit them on top of the van side by side, they’re that wide!), so to look over the edge (like we had done the day before) shouldn’t be a problem. However it was a problem and I started yelling at Josiah to stop leaning so much, I was blaming him for us almost tipping.
After two or three of those incidents where I was watching Josiah and realized he was barely leaning over and we were tipping rather quickly I began to become aware of what was happening.
I am heavier than both kids so I assumed I would be lower in the water, but at that point I realized that I was sitting at the water level, not slightly above the water level (which is where I should have been)
We were rowing into the wind so I expected it to be hard work, but at that moment I put two and two together and realized it was harder work than it needed to be because we had taken on water.
The sit on top kayak has a sealed hollow hull. There are access ports but they are designed to seal out the water.
It was at that moment that I realized we must have a hole in the hull and were taking on water.
I explained to the kids that there is a problem, we’re turning back to shore and to work as hard as possible to stay in the center while rowing as hard as they could. We needed to get past the rocks that separated us from the beach so if we did tip we wouldn't be bashed by the waves against the rocks.
Ever try to row when you are increasingly sinking and finding yourself under water?
It was harder than I imagined!
The waves we both pushing us ashore and tipping us, not to mention adding more water inside the hull wherever the problem was.
Fortunately we got to water that was only two feet deep and would be fine to tip out.
At that moment a wave hit us and did tip us. Josiah and I fell out one side while Alia scrambled to the tip and the other side staying on top of the Kayak when it righted itself. I used the opportunity to have Josiah practice climbing back onto the Kayak, and then I pushed it the rest of the way to shore.
After calming the kids down Becky and I went to work inspecting the boat and trying to determine how it could have sunk. We had emptied the kayak of water to get it to shore. Then decided to fill it and tip it over to see where the leaks are. We found more leaks than we could count, every rivet, every screw leaked water, and the access points for the “water tight” hull themselves poured water out.
Now it doesn’t make sense to us as to why the kayak could take on that much water through those tiny holes, but one thing we do know is that we cannot ride this kayak in any waves!
I then brought the other kayak to the ocean and we tested that one too. Sure enough the same issues, we filled the kayak with water turned it upside down and saw water pouring out all over the place.
There is a lifetime warranty on these kayaks for manufacturing defects, and I certainly hope to invoke those, but without internet or cell phone reception we cannot contact the company and aren’t sure if they are going to say “well that’s just part of how they are made.” If this is true I have some really terrible reviews to write on Amazon about this company and their kayaks.
While the kids and Becky and I all want to go out kayaking we don’t trust these kayaks to hold us afloat, even though they did the first day.
Life is an adventure, and we’re living it! Even through sinking kayaks!