While almost any patch of water can be of interest to the kayaker some places are just outstanding and the UAE has some amazing environments for the kayaker to explore. Kayaks give you access to places inaccessible to most and a completely different perspective. Kayaking accesses the places other boats just cant reach.
Try paddling around the Al Jazirah Port in Al Hamra, RAK and seeing everything from huge tugs and barges leaving piled high with rock next to the small local fishing fleet preparing their nets and crab cages. Or head over to Khor Kalba and explore the compact mangrove area rich with both fish and bird life. A kayak allows you to move silently and right into the shallows allowing you to explore right into the mangrove and see the detail in close up.
For the Sit On Top Kayaker the Abu Dhabi and Um Al Quwain mangrove and archipelago areas offer absolutely stunning areas to paddle in easily accessible and sheltered. Regular kayakers in the Um Al Quwain area will become blasé about seeing turtles, flocks of flamingos and having huge rays under their boat.
While longer journeys in more exposed water (open sea) are possible on Sit On Tops a closed cockpit Sea Kayak is in its element. A relative novice can cover 15km a day in a sea boat while an expert can cover anything from 35 to +60km a day in a boat carrying everything they need for multiple day expeditions. The entire coastline of the UAE offers interest to the sea kayaker. They will find completly deserted stunning beaches stretching for miles, see rays jumping, paddle below soaring cliffs, see city skylines from a different perspective and explore inaccessible mangroves and they’ll do it all under their own steam with only the sound of their kayak blades cutting into the water contributing to the quiet roar the sea makes even when calm. They’ll hear the turtle spash as it ducks back down after taking a breath, they’ll hear the sound of the cormorants wings as they pass and they’ll hear the wind in their ears.
Outstanding areas to explore for the sea kayaker include the coast between UAQ and RAK which has ship wrecks, a huge colony of Scotia Cormorants and inaccessible mangroves. Also look at the East Coast between Dibba and Kalba with its coves, islands and more exposed feel. For a very different feel plan some trips around the Palms off the city coasts.
The jewel in the crown on the Arabian Peninsular for the sea kayaker is Musendam. Wild and beautiful rugged coastline resembles the glacier-carved coasts of polar regions and is often compared to the Norwegian Fjords. The sea kayaker can explore the tourist hot spots for free while others pay to chug on the crowded dhows and then with a few stokes of a blade they’ll be off the beaten track paddling under soaring cliffs seeing remote communities rarely visited. There are so many possibilities for journeying in the Musendam area from day trips in Khwar Sham and Khwar Habalayn to multi day expeditions on the wild and deserted east coast. The circumnavigation is an awesome and challenging journey thats rarely completed.
For the kayaker after more thrills and spills then its worth initially looking to the beach for surf. Sunset Beach, Um Seqeim, Dubai has a good surf community around it. There is also surf to be found in Um Al Quwain on the headland at the top of the town and also in Just south of RAK in Jezirat Al Hamra.
For blog posts detailing a variety of sea kayak trips including forays into Musendam, exploring the Creek, turtles and rays in Um Al Qwain and a night time journey around The World development off Dubai click on the Sea Kayaking category of this blog (also found here)