Sea kayaking is so much more than just a “sport”; more than just a physical activity which happens to take place out on the water. Sea kayaking is pure adventure, a complete immersion in nature and the perennial striving for a deeper understanding of things – out on the water as well as on dry land.
This course, which is incorporated into a six-day sea kayaking tour along the marvelous North coast of Galicia, is not about paddling technique, rescues, or safety on the water. It’s actually about everything else – those things that make our hobby so unique. This is where you will learn what you need in order to prepare for your future sea kayaking expeditions and adventures: camp skills like building shelters, fire techniques, survival skills – all of which will be carefully adjusted to marine environments and – perhaps most exciting of all – gathering, fishing, and setting fish traps. We will in fact be spending much of the week gathering fantastic food to the rhythm set by the tide, gaining a deeper insight into the fascinating world of the edible plants which grow along the shoreline and under the sea. So, this is the ideal course for all adventurers, camping and bivouacking freaks, lovers of nature and wilderness, hunters and gatherers, fish and seafood junkies, and all those amongst you who have never stopped being curious!
It doesn’t matter what knowledge you already have: whether you normally start your fire with a gas stove or a bow drill, this week will provide a unique opportunity for us to immerse ourselves in the subject matter, as we have managed to get hold of an absolute master of all things related to wilderness, survival and expedition skills: top British coach Lee John Waters, freelance trainer for the International Sea Kayak Guide Association (ISKGA) and long-time instructor for the Royal Marines.
New 2022: We have integrated our course content into a first-class, six-day sea kayak tour in one of the most beautiful and exciting sea kayak areas in Europe: In the Rias Altas, in the remote north of Galicia. The highlights of this tour are the two striking capes Estaca de Bares and Cabo Ortegal, which protrude far out into the sea – making their lighthouses visible from afar. The first of the two, Estaca de Bares, forms the northernmost point of Spain and is the most critical point of our tour: we have to paddle around this rocky and rugged headland to get from the Ria d'O Barqueiro to the large Ria de Ortigueira. From here, looking to the northwest over the open sea, it is almost exactly 3000 km to the southern tip of Greenland - without any land in between. Anyone who has some experience in sea kayaking knows: Paddling around such an exposed point is only possible in good conditions - especially since there are no landing opportunities on the west side of the cape for a little over five kilometers.
The second big cape of our tour will practically mark the end point of our trip, because west of Cabo Ortegal begins a 26 km long, very exposed cliff section without beaches – far too exposed for us. Hence the famous sawtooth rocks - the three Aguillóns - of Cabo Ortegal will be the highlight and turning point of our kayak trip. From here we will paddle back towards Cariño and deeper into the Ria Ortigueira, which offers us protection from the waves of the open ocean and many other scenic highlights - possibly enough for one or two more relaxing, wonderful days in the kayak, depending on how many of our planned reserve days have already been used to circumnavigate Estaca de Bares.
Galicia is a world of its own: on the one hand rough, lonely and wild, on the other hand green, lovely and absolutely relaxed. Here it is usually cooler (and more humid) than in most regions of Spain, which is why you often you'll think you're in Ireland or Norway. In addition to all the lush greenery, the steep cliffs and the huge forests populated by wolves and bears, also the so-called Rias make Galicia unique: These are long inlets or river mouths that protrude deep into the interior and are strongly reminiscent of fjords - The only difference is that they are much shallower than most of their Norwegian relatives and therefore often form huge tidal landscapes that release an incredible wealth of seafood at low tide, which thrives here in the clear, clean and cool waters of the Atlantic.
Important to know: This one-week course includes the ISKGA “Expedition Skills” module, which is normally organised as a three-day course. However, we prefer to offer the module in the context of a week-long course because a) we are convinced that it is far more effective to have the time to be able to really practise what has been learnt and b) we want you to really be able to enjoy this time out in the fantastic nature of Northern Galicia.