On Friday, April 13th, De’Vonte and I took 16 students from Elizabeth City State University to the Maritime Forest in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, for an exciting kayaking adventure. Qs we loaded up in the vans everyone was excited to hit the water—especially since this trip was the first kayaking experience for many.

Upon arrival at the boat launch, we met our guides and geared up with paddles and life vests. A brief paddle instruction session followed, teaching everyone how to hold and use their paddles effectively in the water. Soon, we were ready to load into boats, splitting into tandem and single kayaks.

Paddling deeper into the forest, we found the water begin to calm as we became surrounded by oak trees and mangroves, sheltering us from the windy day. The forest was filled with wildlife: ospreys soaring overhead, crows cawing, and a majestic bald eagle flying above before perching in a tree to observe us. We spotted a turtle sunbathing and plenty of fish splashing the surface of the water. 

Any initial nerves quickly disappeared as the tranquil waters carried everyone along the scenic reserve. This outing was a success as we saw participants race each other and soak in the beauty around them. Some even inquired about purchasing kayaks and joining future outings.

After an hour and a half or so, we returned to the boat launch, grateful for the memorable experience. We thanked our guides, snapped a few pictures, and headed back to campus with stories to share and a newfound love for kayaking.