I'd gotten a Groupon for Marina Boat Rentals in Marina del Rey and the weather (and my schedule) finally cooperated earlier this month. Although the Groupon had expired at the end of March, I'd emailed them about extending it and they did with no problem.
It was a first in many ways for me: first time in a single kayak (as opposed to a double), first time without a group, and first time not wearing a wet suit. Worse case scenario I'd get tired, lost and frozen but that's not too bad so I went for it. :)
Here's where I was:
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I rented a kayak for two hours on a Saturday morning and paddled around the marina. The normal rate is $15 per hour for single kayaks but I'd paid half price with my Groupon. When I'd taken kayaking classes with UCLA I'd had to set up my own kayak, carry it to the water, learn how to get into it from the dock and when we came back we had to hose off the equipment, etc.
This time (mainly because it wasn't a class!) it was all set up for me and they had a nifty boat launch so it was easy in, easy out. Bad thing about this was that I forgot to ask the "rules" of the marina - are there certain areas I shouldn't paddle so I don't get run over by a speedboat? Is it like driving where you stay on the right-hand side?
I decided to make up for my lack of knowledge by sticking close to others who were kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding and it worked out pretty well (minus the time I was crossing the marina channel and a lifeguard boat with sirens and flashing lights sped right towards me!)
I was shocked at how warm I was wearing only my bathing suit and a T-shirt (plus water shoes). Paddling was as easy as I remembered and the Pelicans seemed to be out in full force. Many times sea lions would surface just feet from me and on one of the docks I saw more than 20 sunning. Hearing about those kayakers who encountered a whale, I cannot imagine how scary/exhilarating that would be!
I stopped along the way to snap a few photos . . .
and when the 2 hours were up I paddled back in, threw on my skirt over my suit (which managed somehow to be completely dry!) and drove home. They even offer two hours of free parking (or, like me, you can just park at Dock 52 for free). So easy I just might have to do it more often. Of course, there is that other Groupon for a two-hour history & wildlife kayak tour from Channel Islands Kayak Center that I still need to use . . .
4 weeks ago