As we set off from our beach hut on middle beach, studland to kayak to Old Harry Rocks, our instructors are already pondering about what they might discover along our special stretch of Purbeck Coastline. Will there be a seal in Studland bay today? Have those Oystercatcher chicks left the nest yet? What surprises will we find uncovered today at Old Harry Rocks as the tide drops? Each day is a new adventure.
As the group come together on the water they are given their first task for the day. “Get
comfortable with your kayaks as we head over to Redend Point”. We like to think of our
kayaks as “crafts” that allow us to become immersed and entangled with the environment
around us, taking in the sites and sounds as we cruise along and picking up seaweeds to
learn about along the way.
The weather has been kind to us, the sun is out and there’s not a cloud to be seen. The
water's surface is like a mirror as we carve our way through it just metres from the shoreline.
The sand and silt has settled to the bottom and so everything underneath our kayaks can be seen without the guide of a snorkel. The group observed some mullet swimming past underneath as they make there way over the eel grasses and through some stands of Japanese Wireweed.
Children in the group are hopeful to spot one of our special residents in the bay, the spiny
seahorse, although they are elusive creatures who camouflage well amongst the eel
grasses. The instructor has another trick up his sleeve and guides the group towards a part of
the coast he has been monitoring for the last few weeks. Working their way along the chalk
cliffs toward Old Harry Rocks the instructor is delighted to see some new residents have
Today the group were fortunate enough to observe three oystercatcher chicks that had
hatched and were only a few days old. The chicks traversed the flint stone shore clumsily as
they were still finding their footing and both the male and female were present and guiding
them to safety. The group watched the family from afar as the instructor noted “this is their
home and we are visitors” before continuing the kayaking journey to Old Harry Rocks.
As we rounded the next outcrop of chalk cliffs we came to a cove just in front of Old harry
Rocks that seemed as though it was illuminated from below. Small chalk boulders that had
once been part of the cliffs now clustered the seabed below giving a bright colour to the
seabed. This white chalk beneath us exposed all manner of things and it was easy to identify
fish, spider crabs and seaweeds below the kayaks without having to leave the comfort of our kayaks.
After playing a game in the kayaks within the sheltered waters of the cove, the instructor
began to tell tales of Old Harry Rocks, its geology, its history and the coastlines notorious
reputation for pirates and smugglers who would hide behind the rocks awaiting passing
merchants. The group also got to learn a thing or two about the cormorants sunning
themselves on the rocks and the terns who were diving into the tidal race, collecting
whatever food was being swept out with the ebbing tide.
As the group began to make their way back on their kayaks to Middle Beach, there was smiles all round as the instructor did their routinely headcount. People discussed amongst themselves the many things they had discovered and laughed about who got wet the most during the kayak game. We were fortunate enough today to observe the bounty of life this coastline has to offer, and we had only travelled between our base at Middle Beach and Old Harry Rocks on ur sea kayaks. Who knows what wonders we might discover as we venture beyond Old Harry Rocks during one of our lengthier kayak trips towards the Pinnacles.
We suggest that our two hour Old Harry Rocks Trips are suitable for age 8+ and an ideal introduction to kayaking for beginners, they are priced at £35pp and run every weekend and some dates during the week. To book look at our calendar which shows you everything that is currently scheduled, for further dates get in touch with us and we will try our hardest to add them to the diary.
If you have children who are aged 12+ or you want to explore that little bit further around the coastline towards Swanage to take in the caves and pinnacles shown in the images below then our half day Old Harry Rocks Kayaking tour which takes three hours is the one for you! Read more about the trips on our kayaking page.