On the Road in… St. Martins, NB | New Brunswick Photographer Kandise Brown

I put “Kayak in The Caves at St. Martins” on my 30 before 30 without giving any real consideration to how I might achieve it. I didn’t think it would be that hard. I’d go to St. Martins, and there would be kayaks right there on the beach, waiting for me. Then summer started slipping away, and suddenly it was September. Now or never. We tried to find some information about kayak rentals, but didn’t come up with much. After checking the tide tables, we decided… well, whatever. Let’s just go.

Arriving in St. Martins on Saturday afternoon, I was struck by two things.

1. The tide was out. Way farther out than I’d expected.

2. There were no kayaks.

We decided well, alright. We’ll WALK the caves!

Before leaving the beach, I asked at the restaurant — is there anywhere to rent a kayak? The woman said no, there used to be, but nowhere local anymore. Resigned to calling some combination of hiking the caves and kayaking in Kouchibouguac an approximation of achieving my goal, we got back in the car. Not two minutes later, AG spotted it. A small sign (greatly overshadowed by letters screaming ICE CREAM!!!!) that quietly whispered… kayak rentals.

We took a card for River Bay Adventures and drove home. Sunday we called, hoping against hope that there would be a tour we could join on Monday. And good news, there was! That’s how we ended up making the 2 hour drive to St. Martins for the second time in 3 days.

When I arrived I was nervous to see that (1) there was a headwind and (2) I’d be sharing a double kayak with AG. We’ve shared a kayak once before, and determined it to be, ah, not good for the relationship. And let’s face it, for all my enthusiasm about kayaking, I was scared too. I’d never been sea kayaking before. I’d never kayaked for three hours before. Some of those waves looked big.* I was sure we were going to flip.

*note: big waves are not really represented in these photos, for it was then that I paddled.

 

But as they say… a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.

You guys. It was SO. GOOD. John and Josh, the River Bay guides, were fantastic. They made us feel very safe and competent, as well as providing plenty of information about geological points of interest. We never felt rushed. I got absolutely soaked, but the water was relatively warm, and the colour was spectacular. Our group was small (6 tourists and 2 guides) and friendly. We had Piroulines on a rocky beach. Towards the end we were even brave enough to paddle a little further into the chop, and let the waves really hit us. For hours afterwards I could lick my lips and taste salt. I felt like I’d really accomplished something.

It was exhilarating.

And we didn’t flip.