Our day began around 8 in the morning in Kratie, Cambodia. We would soon find out how good our kayaking skills are since we’re going kayaking with dolphins. It was me, my niece Ahna, two British gals, and our tour guide on a half a day trip with Sorya Kayaking Adventures.We rode in a truck bed and our ride there was bumpy and long. But we made it after about 40 minutes.
Butterflies began in my stomach as the workers offloaded our kayaks and the rest of our gear. It is wet season, so the current is stronger than usual. We couldn’t even paddle in the flooded forest because of the current.
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As we began paddling, we watched many trees being pulled under the water. It was amazing to see how strong water can be. All that was left, was the tops of the trees trying to stay above the water.
My niece was in the front and I was in the back of our kayak. I had to be the powerful motor. Our instructions were to follow our guide as close as possible. Which was difficult with the current. Multiple times, the current tried to overtake us. Then it came time to paddle across the current. My muscles began aching.
It is wet season, so the current is stronger than usual. We couldn’t even paddle in the flooded forest because of the current. As we began paddling, we watched many trees being pulled under the water. It was amazing to see how strong water can be. All that was left, was the tops of the trees trying to stay above the water.
Time for our first break, phew! Soon, we would be kayaking with dolphins, but a rest was needed. We rested on a sandy island that would be flooded in a few days or so. The water looked murky, but was actually clear when you had it in your hand. We learned that it only looked dirty because of the silt bottom in the river.
All of us ladies enjoyed the refreshing feeling of the water. It helped ease my aches in my body and calm me. I could relax again, the feeling of fire within my arms had subsided. We asked our tour guide to jump in, but he told us most Cambodians don’t know how to swim. It makes sense, their education is not a high priority to them. Nowadays the education system is becoming better though.
Our guide gathered us back onto the island after a while. Once we were there, he gave us each a bamboo tube claiming it was a cigar. All of us didn’t want it, he chuckled and said he was joking. They contained food. It’s called Krolan, a sticky rice, beans, and coconut milk. He explained the nature to us and the Irrawaddy dolphins. Which almost went extinct, but now there’s around 100 of them and increasing! The fishermen would catch them and eat them. Still some fishermen catch them, but many are realizing there’s a business in tourism if they save the dolphins.
Once the break ended, we began kayaking to where the dolphins liked to hang out during the wet season. We had been lucky with no rain. But the clouds were rolling in and becoming darker. Each thrust with the paddle was a fight with the current now. My arms were starting to get weak, but I kept pushing myself so I could be kayaking with dolphins. The last stretch to the spot, felt it took ages. Finally, we made it.
The four of us tourist took a breath of relief. Just as we began to relax, our kayaks were rampaged by ants and other bugs. They wanted to survive the flood so they clung to our kayaks. For the first 10-15 minutes, we were struggling with the bugs and trying to watch the dolphins. The bugs slowly calmed after all of us washed them away repeatedly.
My full attention was on the place in front of us. Every 10 minutes an Irrawaddy dolphin needs a breath. At first, we saw a handful, then it multiplied. There must have been around 10-20 dolphins. It felt so peaceful sitting in our kayaks and watching the dolphins in their natural habitat. They were mesmerizing with each breath they took. Usually, they came up in pairs. A tranquil feeling crept over my body as we watched in silence.
Soon our time to go back had reached. The last part felt like we were racing against the threatening looking clouds. Every minute they got darker and crept closer. Kayaking with dolphins was over, but now it’s a speedy return back. The steps were in sight. We just had to cross over the last current and then we’re on land! As we paddled closer to the stairs, somehow a tiny fish jumped into our kayak and onto my niece. She panicked and I began laughing.
This last bit, I had to paddle it on my own. We made it to our smiling guide, who threw the fish back into the water. On our journey back to town in the truck, we got soaked. The rain pelted down on us. A few times it stopped, but not for long. At least at the end, we had pizza!
Check out: https://www.soryakayaking.com/
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