Paddling through the clear azure seas as you breathe in fresh salty air and the sun shines from above; it’s about as good as a day by the water can get.
The idea of sea kayaking has always fascinated me. Everyone you see paddling out in the depths of the ocean always looks so relaxed and comfortable. I had always imagined though that I’d be the one hunched over with numb arms begging to return to shore.
However, there’s a little secret. It’s all in the technique, a little twist of the paddle and if you’re equipment and kayak is decked out, you’ll be cruising along like you’re driving a car….on the water of course.
I jumped at the chance to try sea kayaking for the first time recently with Sea Kayak Santorini. While I’ve paddled in canoes and used the colourful rental kayaks plenty of times, I’ve never sat in a fancy sea kayak which has lots of leg room, a cushioned seat and back rest!
Safely tucked into the mango coloured kayak, we set off to explore the southern coast of Santorini from the water which if you read this site regularly you’ll know is my preferred way to see the world.
The red cliffs and rugged rocks of the aptly named Red Beach (Kokkini Paralia) was the first stop barely ten minutes after the tour started. Bobbing off the coast it was possible to see all the way to the ocean floor as the water sparkled beneath and waves gently rolled in to shore located just beside the ancient site of Akrotiri.
Paddling when the water is so clear feels less like exercise and more like an endless hunt for the next fish or glowing patch of white sand below.
One of the best aspects of sea kayaking is the ability to reach areas that are impossible to access otherwise. Passing beneath rock faces that dropped straight into the water and through caves only wide enough for a single kayak. Witnessing fascinating landscapes like these up close felt like we were on a VIP tour…one where they made us do all the work to get there though! All totally worth it of course.
Because the sea caves are almost inaccessible, the water clarity is completely pristine. It’s possible to snorkel without even leaving the comfort of the kayak, we could just stare over the side.
Approaching the White Beach (Aspri Paralia) our guide Kostas waved us over to a cave with a large entrance and helped lift our kayaks onto the rocks. Those brave enough could jump off the rocks above the entrance to the cave…after a bit of an example back-flip from Kostas.
I dedicated myself as the photographer…aka wimp.
We continued on for a more rugged lunch spot where a flock of sea birds were a little less than happy with our arrival. Immensely jagged peaks rose above the pebbled beach almost at the entrance to the Volcanic Caldera.
Dramatic cliffs, crystal clear water and a spread of Greek snacks made for a welcome break from the kayak.
The tour was approximately 11.5km in around 5 hours although our tour group got a little excited by the entrance to the Caldera and we decided to venture around the corner to see the villages of Fira and Imergovigli from the sea beneath the Akrotiri Lighthouse. Completely worth the extra distance!
If you’re looking for a unique way to experience the landscapes of Santorini, I can’t recommend a Sea Kayak tour highly enough.
Upon our return we assumed our arms would be useless for the rest of the week but surprisingly enough they weren’t even sore afterwards!
Contact the friendly team at Sea Kayak Santorini for an adventure you won’t forget…take a peek at a collection of photos from my paddle below.
The Wandering Lens was a guest of Sea Kayak Santorini and as always, all opinions are my own. Go kayaking, it’s crazy fun!
Hello! I’m the founder and photographer behind The Wandering Lens. With 14+yrs experience as a professional travel and landscape photographer, all advice found on this site is from my personal experience on the road. I hope it’s useful for your own travels and would love to hear in the comments about your trips and experiences around the world.
I'm Lisa Michele Burns, a professional photographer and founder of The Wandering Lens from Australia. Welcome to your guide to photographing the world, improving your photography and scouting unique and inspiring places to experience with your camera. After three years online, The Wandering Lens has turned into the leading publisher of photography focused travel guides and I'm always so excited to hear from readers as they're travelling and improving their photos!