Tried Kayak diving? Got any tips?

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nwscubamom
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Tried Kayak diving? Got any tips?

Post by nwscubamom » Mon Sep 01, 2014 2:23 pm

Enquiring minds want to know -
1. Do you usually anchor your kayak and hope you surface near it and that it doesn't disappear while you're under?
2. Or do you tow it along behind you? (kind of cumbersome if you're carrying a camera)
3. If you anchor, what do you use for an anchor and how big? Mushroom or Danforth type? How much line do you usually need?
Any other tips really appreciated!
- Janna
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Greg Jensen
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Re: Tried Kayak diving? Got any tips?

Post by Greg Jensen » Mon Sep 01, 2014 6:28 pm

We usually tow ours- that way it's right there for you, wherever you come up. They're so light you hardly notice them at all, except when it's rough- that's when it becomes a hassle for photos, because you end up timing your shots with the lag between jerks on the line. But I've had more trouble with that when towing a dive flag float than the 'yaks. I keep the reel attached to my left wrist with a velcro strap.

We have a mushroom anchor that we use for both boats. Since their pull on the anchor is almost nothing, you just need to be sure you have enough line out that the anchor won't get lifted straight up.

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Re: Tried Kayak diving? Got any tips?

Post by gmdollar » Mon Sep 01, 2014 7:30 pm

Janna,

Usually I just tow it. I use a wreck reel which gives me lots of low drag line. Given the the kayak is also low drag the combination makes a very easy to tow dive flag. If I drop the reel it rarely moves while I take a photo or some such. If I think I might want to anchor it I carry a light dog anchor (the screw into the ground type that you tie Fido's leash to). I also have a folding grapnel type anchor but rarely use it.

As an aside, if you are learning to dive our of a kayak I suggest starting in a lake. Since the lake water this time of year is fairly warm you can use a light exposure suit and little weight. Also the weather is a little more comfortable and the teenage boaters are off the water.

Jerry

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Re: Tried Kayak diving? Got any tips?

Post by RoxnDox » Tue Sep 02, 2014 7:16 am

Hi Janna. I haven't dove from mine, but that was my intent when I got it... Turns out the surface kayaking gets far more time than diving (*), so I've gotten a fair amount of time on it now. And using it as a fishing platform :pirate:

Randy (used to manage Tacoma Lighthouse) said he used his as a transport and usually beached it and did shore dives. Said it was more bother than it was worth trying to get geared up etc than what he gained in having the boat out there with him.

For myself, I have a small (2.5 lb) folding grapnel anchor, which holds pretty well for most conditions and substrates I've tried. It came with only 25' of line, so I am putting together a 100' reel with an anchor buoy and a trolley system on the boat (to position the line btwn bow and stern as needed). I'm not certain that size anchor would be sufficient in a big tidal flow, but in moderate currents it has done fine.

I would imagine that you'll be able to tow the boat without too much trouble, but note that it will be strongly affected by the surface winds (especially once you exit the boat and it's riding nice and high!), so a windy day will make it more challenging.

Jim

(*) my main goal for diving was a mental break and looking for a way to find a relaxing way to focus and de-stress. Turns out that being on a yak and not having to worry about an air supply is much more relaxing than packing a couple of tons of constricting gear down for a 30 minute exertion where watching air supplies is kinda critical... (Who knew? :dontknow: )
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Re: Tried Kayak diving? Got any tips?

Post by jerryehrlich » Tue Sep 02, 2014 8:46 am

1 beach them whenever possible
2 tie them off to a secure structure on the bottom, (or the surface) treat the dive as an unsupported boat dive
3 anchor like you would any boat, we preferred danforth style and always set by hand, same dive as number 2
4 towing is awful

Jerry

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Re: Tried Kayak diving? Got any tips?

Post by archaeofish » Tue Sep 02, 2014 8:48 am

Hi Janna,
I used to dive mine a lot when I was living up in Seattle and I'd be happy to get together with you and show you the kit that I've put together and how I've rigged mine. A while back a few of us got together up at Battleground Lake and did some practice dives that were a lot of fun too.

Ross
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Re: Tried Kayak diving? Got any tips?

Post by Greg Jensen » Tue Sep 02, 2014 2:19 pm

We beach whenever possible, but it isn't practical at a lot of sites. We can't don our drysuits on the 'yaks, so for trips like Pt. Whitney to Pulali we stow them and beach at the site to suit up- otherwise we overheat big time. Beaching at sites like the Sisters isn't an option, but it's close enough to paddle there from the bridge with the suits on (esp if you time it so you can coast there on the current).
At some sites (like Pulali) it can be hard to find a spot to beach at high tide, so if in doubt check it out in advance or ask around.

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Re: Tried Kayak diving? Got any tips?

Post by nwscubamom » Tue Sep 02, 2014 7:09 pm

Great information so far!!
So if you were to create a list of what you'd need above and beyond your normal dive equipment, like anchors, lines, bungees, stuff to hold your camera, etc...list it for me! How do you stow your gear (mine is a situpon kayak, no compartments, but it does have an indent in the back for a tank...)
Oh, and Ross, I'd love to do that. We have a lake nearby (Lacamas Lake) that also might work for a dry run. Thanks for the offer!
- Janna
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Re: Tried Kayak diving? Got any tips?

Post by RoxnDox » Tue Sep 02, 2014 9:50 pm

Trying it out in a lake is probably a very good idea… Currents will most definitely affect your use out in the salt. If you're using it as a ferry to a site, allow for your paddling time (and effort) from launch point to splash.

Mine's also a sit-on-top fishing design (wider, for a bit more stability). One thing I added was a couple of extra tie-down eye pads at the bow. Handy for all sorts of things.

For my fishing and general paddling, I have a plastic milk crate that I bungee into the cargo compartment behind the seat. Attached to that is a safety flag (bicycle orange from a kids bike), you can also rig up one with a dive flag instead. If your yak has any of those molded-in fishing rod holders they would be great for that too. I keep my cell phone in a waterproof bag (ok to about 30' they say) and ID in the small 'waterproof' compartment mine has. One item I have on my list is a waterproof VHF Marine Radio to clip on my PFD.

You will want a leash for the paddle, also leashes for any other items you will leave in the boat - plus you'll want a way to clip gear to the boat as you re-enter if you're not beached. Make sure you have clips, snaps etc that can be operated with whatever gloves you'll be wearing.

If you opt for an anchor, do not just go grab a little anchor bag kit. Those only have about 20-25' of line, and you'll certainly want more. Most of the kayak fishermen seem to have rigged up reels with 100-300' of nylon line, usually 1/4 or 3/8 braided. The reels have a 'lock' arrangement very similar to diving spools, the anchor is on the pay-out end of the line, and a floatation buoy secured to the reel. This whole thing then has a separate (short) line that clips to the boat itself with a quick-release on a trolley system. The trolley is a looped line with a pulley at at bow and stern and a clip for attaching the anchor reel line. You can clip it on, drop anchor, and then use the pulleys to position the clip point to bow or stern so the boat is stable in wind and current. Good for towing too. On the anchor end, you may want a 5-lb or even 10-lb one. Grapnel or claw or mushroom, not sure how big a difference that makes on our substrates here. You may want a few feet of chain at the anchor too, to help it position for best grip. Here's a link with some decent pics to illustrate: http://www.northwestkayakanglers.com/index.php?topic=1596.msg12942#msg12942

Do you have much paddling time out on the Sound? If not, get some time in before you add anything new like dive gear or adding too much new stuff. It can really make a surprising difference when you add just one more item… And your balance in the boat will be affected by the gear load, what you're wearing and how it fits, and the conditions.

A glassy smooth harbor can become 2 foot chop outside when incoming tide meets outgoing, and back to smooth a hundred yards away. Wind and tide can work together and let you coast, or kick your butt, or cancel each other out. Boats may or may not notice you, or follow the rules if they do. The "Law of Tonnage" always applies when you are the smallest thing around.

A good dry bag would be a necessity if you have non-diving gear like cell phones etc. A milk crate works fine for dive cameras, just make sure they're clipped in with other items. Holler if you want to go out paddling in or near Gig Harbor, always happy to find an excuse to go out.


Jim
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Re: Tried Kayak diving? Got any tips?

Post by KneeDeep » Wed Sep 03, 2014 10:08 am

Interesting thread, as I've thought about doing this local. I've talked to a few in San Diego that do this a lot. What are some (best) types of yaks to use. Any inflatables?
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Re: Tried Kayak diving? Got any tips?

Post by RoxnDox » Wed Sep 03, 2014 10:23 am

KneeDeep wrote:Interesting thread, as I've thought about doing this local. I've talked to a few in San Diego that do this a lot. What are some (best) types of yaks to use. Any inflatables?


You'll want capacity and stability, and ease of re-entry from the water if you plan on using it away from the beaches.

Sit-on-top (SOT) models provide you with much easier re-entry, because you aren't trying to work yourself back into a small cockpit. Boats designed for fishing are generally wider and give you both cargo capacity and the stability (at the expense of paddling speed compared to touring sea kayaks). Ocean Kayak (OK) makes a lot of good choices, as does Jackson and Hobie and others.

Inflatables - the only thing I'd be leery of is the extra wear & tear on the boat fabric as you are exiting and re-entering the boat with a butt-load of scrapy, pointy, scratchy gear all the time... Durable plastic hulls would likely be a much better choice, longer term.

Do a google on "kayak diving" and you'll get a flood of good articles, photos, guidelines, and experience. Here's one of the first links to pop up: http://www.kayakdiving.com/

Jim
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Re: Tried Kayak diving? Got any tips?

Post by oldsalt » Wed Sep 03, 2014 1:50 pm

RoxNDox really covered it well. I would add one thing. I found kayak diving wonderful in the tropics, the one I used even had a window on the bottom so I could see the reef as I paddled over it. The extra gear we take here in the Pacific NW made it less wonderful. Specifically, I got overheated wearing a drysuit over my garment, but paddling with the suit unzipped to stay cooler added the problem of securing it without getting wet inside. I'm really klutzy, so donning weights and tanks while maintaining balance provided comedic relief for my buddies. I used a folding grapnel anchor which I always set by hand without ever having a problem. I love the idea of human powered conveyance and still use my kayak for sightseeing.
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nwscubamom
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Re: Tried Kayak diving? Got any tips?

Post by nwscubamom » Thu Sep 04, 2014 3:49 pm

GREAT info!! This has been a wealth of info for me.
When we looked at Sit on Tops, we wound up getting the Ocean Kayak Frenzy model, because it has a much higher weight limit than the other kayaks, plus a molded area that is supposed to fit a tank.
Got it at REI. We were about to purchase another one last week, and it turns out they just stock them seasonally, and there are none to be found at any of the stores. Gotta wait until next year for our 2nd.
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Re: Tried Kayak diving? Got any tips?

Post by stphnmartin » Fri Sep 05, 2014 8:31 am

You can try austin kayak instead of waiting for REI:

http://www.austinkayak.com/products/343 ... Kayak.html

I ordered a Tarpon 140 from them and kayak dived from it for a while. I stopped after my dive buddy, who I also convinced to get a kayak, got tired of the whole operation and bought a real boat instead.
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Re: Tried Kayak diving? Got any tips?

Post by girldiver » Fri Sep 19, 2014 3:30 pm

Just came across this thread. We're bringing in RTM Kayaks....they are rotomolded with a deep tracking skeg built in and a lot more stable than the typical sit on top designed for play paddling in tropical locations. It's the number one kayak manufacturer in Europe (and I didn't know this before...but apparently Europe is super serious about kayaking....who knew???)

I think they are a little pricier than the Ocean Kayaks...not sure. They run about $600 for the kayak, paddle and backrest.

We're going to be doing a test run on the one we have (5 more on their way...) at Redondo in the next week or two. Just some photo's for the company to use at this point. The kayak we have holds 295 lbs....which is fine for smaller folks...and we've got a larger one en route which holds 390 lbs.

If anyone local to the Seattle area is interested in taking a look when we go shoot pictures, let me know. It will be next week or the week after...but on a day predicting sun.

It's a new adventure for us...but a different way to keep our divers out on AND under the water.
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