Tropical Kayaking allows you to embrace the sea as friend rather than
cold water kayaking, where the sea is your adversary. Everything about
"Northern" kayaking is avoiding water - decked kayaks, spray skirts,
expensive attire. All that grandiose outfitting is irrelevant in Tropical
Kayaking, where you keep mask, fins and snorkels at the ready in case you
find a beautiful coral reef.
Tropical Kayaking still has its dangers, but hyperthermia isn't one of them.
We started in Hawai'i with inflatable kayaks, excellent for inter-island air
travel, downwind paddling and safety in Hawai'i's rough seas and challenging
beach landings. We even surfed them back into the tube, aiming straight at
the vortex and leaning hard into the wave to prevent logrolling in the
exploding white water.
Our penchant for ultra-tough quality allowed us to start sea caving in
Hawai'i, actually inventing the Tidal Technology that allows entry into
low-lying caves in Ha'upu Bay's Needle Cave on the Moloka'i Coast, and ended
up with John designing our own kayaks. .
Most Hawai'i caves are created by high surf, so ceilings are high and
currents brutal. We refined the art in Thailand, where marine limestone
tidal nape cave ceilings are often defined by the high tide line, and sharp
marine limestone is carpeted with oysters.
Two factors define safety in tidal sea caves - experience and equipment. Our
guides are the most experienced in the business, and we use specially
designed SOTAR caving kayaks built from 32 oz. LEXITRON, the world's
strongest inflatable boat fabric. It's 5 times the abrasion resistance and
15 times the puncture resistance than any other fabric, and off-the-charts
stronger than the cheap stock Asian river inflatables all our competitors
Outside the caves, we now use Heritage Kayaks "Redfish" and Liquid Logic
"Manta Ray" Sit-On-Tops, finally dropping Ocean Kayaks over hatches and
We spent two years researching warm water outfitters and shops for the best
contemporary Sit-On-Tops, and the Redfish comes out a unanimous Number One.
Along with numerous high quality innovations, Redfish hatches are excellent.
So is the seat system.
We also have a few Heritage Kayaks decked boats for folks who don't enjoy
snorkeling or swimming from your kayak.
On land, we still camp, and offer you complete turnkey camp kids including
3-season dome tents, sleeping pads and bedding, lighting and all other
accessories. We also provide a full top quality Thai seafood meal plan. You
bring only your lightweight clothes, favorite outdoor toys, and items of a
We are paddling purists - we love South Pacific coastal paddling without a
support boat, but in Asia's widespread limestone islands, support boats are
essential unless you have months to paddle hot tropical crossings.
We use different styles of boats for different trips.
For small overnight groups - a couple or two - we use Thai Traditional Fast
Longtails - a 10-15 meter cabined longtail with a converted truck engine on
the longtail. On Day In The islands we take up to eight people. Guest
feedback says folks prefer the Fast Longtails over speedboats because they
are almost as fast, close to the water, traditional in design - and light
years more environmental than 2-cycle speedboats.
Fast Longtails are especially popular with honeymoon and anniversary
charters, and for the "Day In The Islands" day trip.
Larger groups get s medium-size support boat. We use these boats for larger
groups of 6-12. Slower than Fast Longtails, these boats have galley,
toilets, outdoor showers and a covered dining deck.
Our day trip boat Sin Daam Rong is featured in John's 1998 documentary
"Adventure in South Thailand". We started contracting Sin Daam Rong in 1977,
and it's been our Starlight support boat and large overnighter group boat
ever since. Twin screw, large galley, toilet, changing room and shower, Sin
Daam Rong comfortably seats up to 32 people on our Hong By Starlight trip
every afternoon and early evening. You also see it on the Marakon Consulting
group trip to Hong Yai.
We always carry a full compliment of life vests in all sizes. Non-swimmers
must wear them at all times in kayaks, and infants even on the support
boats. Even swimmers should have them "readily accessible" but if you
snorkel without wearing a guest we don't expect you to wear a life vest
while group paddling in tropical heat.
John Gray's SeaCanoe does not rent kayaks for safety reasons. We believe in
guided group paddling, especially in complicated limestone islands. Aside
from safety issues, you just won't find most of the best sites on your own.