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KAYAKING AND THE DELTA

Paseos Travesías Moonlight Trips

Information and training about kayaking and the environment.

THE KAYAK

The kayak is a kind of boat propelled by a paddle that is not attached to the deck as in rowing boats, and has a blade on each side of the shaft. In a kayak, the crewman sits near the waterline facing forward. This affords the paddler a closer relationship with the water and the environment. Furthermore, kayaks have minimum draft and small beam, which makes them ideal for rowing in narrow and quiet streams not navigable by larger boats or ships.

Sea kayaks have been designed for tourism, recreational activities and trips. They usually have a rounder or flatter hull (for additional stability), hatches (for storing luggage), and a rudder system (for steering). Below you can see a kayak diagram in order to learn its basic components.

Kayak components

WHAT IF THE KAYAK TURNS OVER?

  • If the kayak turns over, you will not be trapped inside;, the cockpit is big enough to allow you to get out comfortably.
  • If a sea kayak should turn over, it won’t sink; the hatches are water-tight compartments which will pocket air and allow the kayak to keep on floating.
  • In this case, consider the kayak as an additional means of flotation, much like a life vest.

PDF about PADDLING TECHNIQUES

download here

STEPS TO FOLLOW SHOULD YOU TURN OVER

1. If you are wearing a spray skirt, pull it off.
2. Get out of the cockpit and make sure you are in a safe area (for example, away from the main canal and ships).
3. Flip the kayak back over to its normal position; to do this you have to rotate it from the edge of the cockpit.
4. Try to keep an eye on the paddle and put it back in the cockpit.
5. If someone else on a kayak gets close to aid you, don’t get hold of the side of his/her kayak (you might turn him/her over also) but seize either the bow or the stern.
6. Swim ashore pulling the kayak from its bow or stern.
7. Once you set foot ashore, you can bail the water out of the cockpit.

BASIC FLAT-WATER KAYAKING MANOUVERS

You’ll be using the paddle not only to propel the kayak but also to:
1. Change the kayak’s course, that is steering or turning. If you make a stroke with your right blade, you will turn left. You can also turn left by making a back stroke with the left arm.
2. To stop the advance of the kayak, you’ll have to dip the blade in the water the same way a shovel goes into the soil when you dig.
3. To move backwards, you’ll have to make several back strokes with both arms.
4. To use it as a point of support to gain stability, for example by placing the blade at an angle of around 35 degrees on the water surface.
5. To move the kayak sideways, for example to get closer to the shore or a pier.You’ll have to make a stroke that pulls water towards the side of your kayak, that is, perpendicularly to its longitudinal shaft.

Colores de río

The Paraná River

The Paraná is a vast, imposing flatlands South American river that starts it’s course in southern subtropical Brazil and runs through Paraguay and Argentina to finally empty into the River Plate estuary between Argentina and Uruguay, after a journey of some 4,000 km (2,500 mi).

Together with other large rivers like the Paraguay, the Uruguay, the Pilcomayo and the Bermejo, and different wetland systems, such as the Esteros del Iberá, the Paraná is part of the River Plate basin, which ranks as the world’s 6th largest basin.

Paraná / River Plate basin area
3 million km²

Paraná River Delta area:
14,000 sq km

Length of the Paraná River:
4,000 km
(including the Paranaíba river, its primary source in Brazil).

The Paraná Delta

The Paraná River Delta is a multi-island ecosystem bound by the various forks of the Paraná River that spread out meandering before they empty into the River Plate. The innumerable islands are formed by a permanent process of sedimentation of the organic and particulate matter carried by the Paraná, which settles when the river slows down upon reaching the shoals of the River Plate.

The delta islands are bound by two Argentine provinces: Entre Ríos and Buenos Aires. The islands on the Buenos Aires side fall under the jurisdiction of different counties. The first and second sections of islands are under the jurisdiction of the adjoining counties of Tigre and San Fernando, respectively, in said province.

The rivers of the Paraná delta are meandering, flood plain rivers. Their waters are brown, sediment-laden and temperate.

Delta average annual temperature:
16ºC (62F);

Delta average summer temperature:
22ºC (72F)

Delta average winter temperature:
10ºC (50F)

What can you see around the Paraná Delta?

An extremely natural, wild, green environment:

• A landscape consisting of rivers, streams, and islands covered by profuse vegetation.
• Typical river birds, such as the black biguá (neotropic cormorant) and the graceful garza mora (blue heron), among others.

A particular lifestyle:

• Island houses built on stilts to stave off floods; riverside paths along the shoreline, mooring piers, bridges to cross over the streams.
• Various crafts typically used by island residents for transportation, all the way from canoes to river buses.

A bit of history and culture:

• The names of rivers and terrestrial and aquatic plants and animals are in the Guaraní language.
• Museum homes of important representatives of the Argentine culture, such as the homes of writer and political activist Haroldo Conti and of the nineteenth century Argentine president, and writer Domingo Sarmiento.

And … on a lighter vein, think that you can see all this by just simply moving your bones around a little, so to speak:

• Paddling along the water and placidly sliding downstream with the current
• Walking down shoreline paths along rivers and streams.