We have visited Port Orford many times, taking in the sweeping vistas of the beautiful rock formations and crystal blue water from the viewpoints. It is really breathtakingly gorgeous with what feels like untouched shoreline and not many people around so you often feel like you have it all to yourself. When I ran across South Coast Tours - Port Orford Heads kayaking tour I thought it would be a new unique way to explore Port Orford heads and would be fun to take Ilias and Olivia on a new adventure that they would remember for the rest of their lives.
When we got there we were greeted by our tour guides Anthony and Alison, then we were told to suit up! I don't know why I expected a sweatshirt and track pants would be appropriate clothes to wear out in the Oregon coast Pacific Ocean but yep that is what we wore so when we were handed a full wet suit, including booties, waterproof coat and life jacket we were so happy to have the warm gear on once we hit the water.
When we got down to the shore we were instructed by Anthony and Alison how to paddle and use the rudder. Both Gary and I appreciated that our tandem kayaks had the rudders, making it much easier to steer in what ended up being a pretty rough day out on the ocean.
I'm not sure what my expectations were once we got out on the water, but I will tell you this, kayaking on the ocean is way different than on a river or lake. The day we went was pretty windy so the swells got pretty big, plus it is more gorgeous than I can describe; the water is all sorts of different shades of blues and greens along with the iridescent yellows and greens of the seaweed and kelp. We saw so many beautiful, brightly colored seabirds when we were out; Olivia really enjoyed that part of the trip.
Once in our kayak's we headed straight out from the beach by the Port of Port Orford sticking pretty close to shore. I ended up bringing up the rear because I was basically paddling for both myself and Ilias. It was fun, but slow going. We kayaked into Graveyard Point and then into Tichenor Cove and then Nellies Point where were given the opportunity to go into a sea cave. It was kind of cool because the best way to go into the cave was backwards because obviously you need to come back out and it is a cave, so there is only the way you went in to come out.
After Nellies Point we went into Nellies Cove which used to be where the boathouse for the Lifeboat Station at Port Orford was. It burned down in the late 1970's and you can still see its piling and breakwater structures, and a rail-mounted carriage used to launch the boats. This is also where we dined on some fresh sea kelp; it wasn't bad, I would chop it up and add it to a salad easily. It was a bit salty …and oceanie, if that's a word 😉. ) Ilias tried it and Olivia wanted to but Ilias threw it back into the ocean too soon and we ran out of time for Anthony to find the right piece to eat. (For the best kelp eating experience find the thinner, ribbon like pieces.) We also so a couple of seals poke their heads out of the water but they were too quick for us to take a picture. Olivia got really excited when she saw them of course! I was too occupied with enjoying the moment to take pictures so you will have to go on the tour to experience it yourselves! 😊
On the way out of Nellies Cove we were each given the opportunity to go through the Aquarium Arch (named by South Coast Tours owner Dave Lacey), but only after Alison checked to make sure that it was safe enough for us and we wouldn't get caught in a wave breaking while going under the arch. Once we got the all clear each one of the eight of us on the tour went through. This was Ilias' favorite part!
After that we rowed into one more cove and then turned around and headed back to our home shore. When we were heading back to the Port beach we were paddling against the wind and honestly we were having a rough time of it so Anthony was nice enough to tow us the last 1/4 mile. We were really straggling so it was great to have the extra help to get us into shore.
All together the trip was about 4 miles long in 2 1/4 hours’ time. Olivia loved it even falling asleep towards the end as Gary rowed his way home. Ilias got really tired the last half so the help from Anthony was welcome. In hindsight I should have thought of the ocean wave factor and for the first trip out with the kids I probably should have booked maybe the South Slough Coos Bay or Bandon Coquille River Tour. The waters would have been easier for both Ilias and I to navigate.
A few tips for first timers:
Make sure to wear a waterproof coat if you are going out on the ocean. They do have some to lend but I'm sure you would rather wear your own coat.
If you get event the teeniest bit motion sickness make sure to take some motion sickness pills. The waves were pretty gnarly out there so you wouldn't want your trip ruined by you getting sick.
If you want to take a smaller one like our 5 year old Olivia, make sure that they can sit for 2 1/2 hours straight without moving. We take Olivia out kayaking and paddle boarding so we knew that she would be fine.
While this is a sponsored post, all opinions are our own and are in no way influenced by South Coast Tours.