This past weekend, I was looking for another activity my parents would enjoy. With the sun shining (hurray!), I cajoled everyone into renting kayaks. We did so out of Belle Haven Marina, right outside of Old Town Alexandria. They promised me that no experience was necessary, which was an encouraging sign. Both my Mom and Dad have had at least one kayaking lesson, so I had high hopes that they would be OK.
My Dad got into his own kayak, and I held my breath as they pushed the vessel into the water. Immediately, he was paddling around like a pro. Then came my Mom and we repeated the drill. Again, I held my breath, but my concern was all for nothing; within a few seconds she had herself re-oriented and was tooling around like a pro. Shira suggested we rent a double kayak. This turned out to be a brilliant move. This allowed me to sit in back and snap photos (hundreds of them, of course) while she did all the work of paddling.
By launching out of Bell Haven, you're able to explore the Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve from the water. We only covered a small section of it, but it was really interesting and really was as easy as the folks at the marina suggested. There was a bit of wind which made for a few waves and a noticeable current, but my Mom and Dad had no problems dealing with the conditions. And I had Shira, so I had nothing to worry about.
One highlight of the trip (besides having nobody fall in the water or needing to call the coast guard for rescue) was watching an Osprey swoop down and grab a fish out of the water. It was like something out of a nature documentary.
I'm definitely looking forward to going back and exploring further. I may even try paddling next time. Though, with all the photos that need taking, I probably won't have time.