What is the difference between a canoe and a kayak? You think you know, and then when you start to try to explain it to yourself you realise you haven’t a clue! Kayaks (or canoes) are big stuff in Mallorca this weekend as come Sunday you won’t be able to swing a cat without hitting a canoe (or kayak) down on the beach at Sant Elm in Andratx.
This weekend sees the annual Volta a Dragonera which is in its twentieth year. It’s kind of like the leisure craft version of a flash mob. About 700 (yes, you did read that correctly: seven HUNDRED) canoes will be launched from the beach at Sant Elm on Sunday morning. Why? For the hell of it really. It is a non competitive event, no one is declared the winner at the end of it, unless you want to go for ‘you’ve all taken part, you’re ALL winners’ left wing primary school teacher attitude.
Kick off or push off is at 9am on the Sunday, and you know what? I will be there. Not in any participatory way, but in a ‘support team’ capacity as my husband is finally going to do it. We’ve lived in Mallorca for eight years, and every single year he has wanted to do it and then been prevented in some way from participating. (The non ownership of a canoe has been a major factor to be honest, along with lack of planning, being in other countries, and working, bad weather or just forgetting). So, to make sure this year I have prepaid his entry (the grand total of 10€, if you want to do it then visit http://www.centaurosdelmar.com) and he has already organised the loan of a canoe, although how it will travel to Sant Elm we don’t yet know.
I’ve been trying to think of a clever way of combining the phrase ‘paddle your own canoe’ which means to do things for yourself without outside help, with the news of the recent 100€ billion bailout. But the Dragonera canoeing extravaganza is such a simple, innocent, and lovely activity I don’t want to come across all clever about it. You shouldn’t miss it, and that’s all I have to say about it. Paddlers come from all over the island, the Balearics, the mainland and even Europe to participate. Everyone gets a tshirt, a sandwich and a nice morning out paddling around a nature park. What’s not to like? Simple pleasures win again.
By the way, I did look up the differences, for the kayak or canoe aficionado (or pedant): open top kayaks are generally used in the ocean, some kayaks have rudders, canoes can carry more than two people, a single person could paddle a double canoe, but not a double kayak. Kayaks sit lower in the water, you will not find a metal kayak although aluminium canoes are common, and finally, kayaks generally appear smaller.
So, if this floats your boat then why not join them on the beach on Sunday morning? But don’t complain about having to get up early on Sunday, you can’t have your kayak and eat it.