An idea for your visually impaired summer: a kayak tour

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I am one of the people who took part in ”The Gods like it Yellow” less than two months ago. After the trek, the participants shared a few messages in their WhatsApp group. Some of the messages were about trekking experiences in the home countries. In fact the passion for trekking is one of the reasons why we joined the walk from Bologna to Florence. However some days ago I wrote: I did 30km paddling by kayak.

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I wanted to share a different experience, a new idea!

Paddling has been a passion for me for almost ten years now.  Here I refer to eskimo style kayak paddling that is made for recreational use (=the kayaks have space for gear and can be used in bigger waves too. Not the Olympic Version.)

With this post I want enforce the NoisyVision’s message about how boundaries can be further than we could imagine.

Even if I am considered a partially sighted, I can still see quite well. But when I am with normally sighted I feel like I am blind. Therefore I am constantly trying to find my place between the sighted a partially sighted and constantly looking for things I can still do.

So, let’s see how you can go a kayak tour even if you are visually impaired.

There are many rules and skills you can learn with orientation and mobility training that can be applied also to paddling.

  1. First, you need to know where you are! In the daily life visually impaired have limited possibilities to read signs, see steps, observe landmarks, relate to other people, walk in the traffic, etc. But hey, paddling might be happening in a floating, strangely moving thing, but at least you have all the chances to TAKE IT EASY!
  2. Take a telescope to observe the landmarks (i.e. islands, city skyline or houses on the shore.)
  3. Take magnified water proof maps if you take a longer ride.
  4. Go at a safe speed so even if there are underwater rocks you won’t break the kayak. Let the faster (boats) go first
  5. Make sure you are visible wearing a YELLOW vest.
  6. Share your experience and go with someone with a better sight. Life does not have to be lonely.

Even if these might be basic tips, I wanted to highlight them to make clear how sometimes you just need an idea to enjoy a great adventure.

Now that you have the equipment and a buddy, put your kayak on the water and … paddle! Just do it! Paddling is just like walking or many other things in life, once you try it. it’s not so hard to be good at it. Well yes, you need to sit straight, avoid falling to the water, know how to turn.

As I said I recently went on a paddling tour myself and I thought how wonderful, cheap, adventurous it is to paddle on a kayak and maybe someone thinks that he/she wouldn’t be able to do it

Limits were just in the mind and it is actually simple to do it and enjoy!

My residual sight allows me to go quite independently but my girlfriend was with me and she is totally blind.

Sometimes we take a kayak with two seats and from time to time we take those with one seat and connect them with a guide rope. It’s just about your imagination and willingness to be a bit brave.

Open your eyes and fall in love with this sport!

I hope I could trigger some ideas and that during the summer someone else will do other great adventures and will be willing to share them through NoisyVision

Enjoy your summer. Cheers from Helsinki!

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