Kaying in Venice

Trip Start Feb 05, 2010
Trip End May 20, 2010

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Where I stayed
Private Apartment

Flag of Italy  , Veneto,
Monday, April 26, 2010

We went kayaking with Kayak Venice in lagoons, grand canal and small canals. Kayak Venic is the only kayak company in Venice.  The owner RenÚ Seindal is from Denmark. He recently did the paperwork to make his company an Italian company. We are joined by five women from Scotland and a second guide, an American woman Cori.

We don't take any photos, to avoid salt water on our cameras. We found the kayaking easy. In the open lagoons the waves and wake from other boats were not very choppy.

The price is €100 per person which was reasonable since it included equipment, guides and
insurance. Lunch was extra. Every trip route will be a little different.

We had a great time. The guides and other guests were good company. The only downside is that there is lots of boat traffic to negotiate. Also the water in the smaller canals is dirty. When I touched a wall with my hand, a gondolier told me to watch out for rats.

The tours start from the Campeggio (camping) San Nicol˛ on the north end of Lido. It looked liked a good grass campsite with clean toilets and showers. No one was camping there yet – too early in the season. Campground website is www.campingsannicolo.com.

In the afternoon we had a gelato break at a store 'San Stae'. The friendly owner is the person who told us about the kayak company. Her website is www.gelateriasanstae.com.

RenÚ Seindal (rene@venicekayak.com)
Venice Kayak - http://www.venicekayak.com/

Gondolas are the only commercial non-motorized boat in Venice. If you see a sign with a gondola at entrance to a canal, it means non-motorized boats only. Gondolas have been use in Venice since the 11th century.

We kayak from from 10:00 am. To 5:30pm, including a long lunch break and a gelato break.

Our guide says that boat don't like sharing the waterways with kayaks. He says kayaks can legally go anyway in Venice except part of the military Arsenale area. One man steering a garbage boat got annoyed when we were in his way.

The etiquette is to travel on the left hand side of the canal as gondolas do. Rene was careful to make sure were were obeying kayaking rules and etiqquette and that we were safe.

I don't know our entire route, but we did kayak under the Rialto Bridge and by the Rialto market. This is one of the oldest and busiest area of Venice. We also kayaked by the Ca Or and stop at the San Pietro church. At the Arsenale, we could not go in the restricted area, but went under a bridge which involved ducking our heads. We travel a few parts of the Grand canal but more on smaller canals.

Steve adds: "Dodging public boats, yelled at by Gondoliers, going through canals barely wider than my 220cm kayak blade.  The double Cristina and I used had no rudder nor skeg. Hence, I had to rely on my technique, which is poor, since I always use a rudder. Fortunately Rene did have a carbon paddle. The tides are only 1 meter; hence, the water is salty. It was the most boat traffic I have ever dealt with".

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