Kayaking the Holyland

Beginner’s lesson on a beach
in Tel Aviv
Saggi and Omer have managed to turn
a passion into a career. Both men learned to kayak on post-army trips abroad
– and upon their return they establisehd a modest kayak outfitting service
on the shores of the Mediterranean. What started out as a “let’s see if it
will work” experiment, is today a resounding success.

Saggi invited me to experience a sea
kayaking morning in the Mediterranean. I, in turn, invited my husband, Joel,
and son, Eitan, both experienced whitewater kayakers, to don life vests and
helmets with me.

Rolling in the Mediterranean

We set out at sunrise to meet Saggi’s
“regulars” at the marina in Herzliyya. Sure enough, about eight men — although
there is at least one woman regular who was absent on that day — were pulling
on gear and outfitting their sea kayaks. Joel and Eitan followed suit and
were off in a flash. Saggi gallantly offered to escort me on a tour of the
Mediterranean shore — including the remains of a Crusader fortress — as
he and I set out — each in our own sea kayak. Turns out that Joel and Eitan
had taught me well and I was able to follow in Saggi’s wake. The sea was
unusually calm that day — and although my guys were on the lookout to roll
in towering waves, I was very happy in the almost lake-like conditions of
the ocean. Under Saggi’s guidance I learned some secrets of the sea kayaker.
Two hours later when my progress had slowed down — he hitched my kayak to
his and gave me a free ride home.

In the salty Dead Sea

against the mountains of Jordan

As it turns
out, my high-tech guys were right in their element. Most of Saggi and Omer’s
regulars work a few blocks away in the then hallowed halls of Israel’s high-tech
industry. The early morning kayak outing gives an excellent workout and in
these stressful days provides a complete getaway out in the middle of nowhere.

Besides the thrice weekly sessions,
Saggi and Omer lead kayaking tourists to see the sites by kayak in the Sea
of Galilee, along the Mediterranean shore, and in the winter, the Dead Sea

Text by J. Isaacson


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