Great Bay Discovery Center Offers 2008 Kayak Tours of Great Bay

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Great Bay Discovery Center Offers 2008 Kayak Tours of Great BayGREENLAND, N.H. — Looking for a summer adventure?  Join staff of the Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve on kayak tours in the Great Bay Estuary, where you can watch osprey diving for fish, herons gracefully glide overhead and learn what makes the Great Bay Estuary one of the most amazing and diverse places on earth!

The 3-4 hour tours take place in the tidal waters of the Great Bay.  Most trips begin and end at the Great Bay Discovery Center in Greenland, NH.  All safety equipment, kayaks and basic instruction are provided.  Participants learn proper entry and exit of the kayak, basic paddling techniques and how to safely and easily do a “wet exit” (on dry land, of course).

No experience is necessary to enjoy your paddle, however, kayaking is moderate to vigorous activity, and you will spend approximately 2.5 hours on the water. The remainder of your time will be spent receiving instruction and assisting guides in carrying the kayaks to and from the waterfront. 

You must be at least 16 years of age to participate.  You may sign up for one trip at a time.  If upon completion of your trip, there are still spaces available, you may sign up for another trip.

Costs are as follows:  $15 if you bring your own boat; if you don’t bring your own boat, the tours are $20 for Great Bay Stewards members and $30 for non-members.  Checks should be made payable to:  Great Bay Stewards/Kayak Trips, 89 Depot Road, Greenland, NH, 03840.

Cancellation Policy:  7 days prior to trip – full refund; less than 7 days – 50% refund; less than 24 hours, no refund.  If trips are cancelled because of bad weather, there is a full refund.

For more information or to register, call Education Coordinator Kelle MacKenzie at the Great Bay Discovery Center at (603) 778-0015.

Following is the schedule of tours:

Saturday, June 14, 2008, 9:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.:  Salt Marsh Exploration — This all-paddling trip begins and ends at the Great Bay Discovery Center.  Paddle along the southwestern edge of Great Bay, past tall stands of spartina grass and over waving beds of eelgrass.  Listen for the calls of salt marsh sparrows, watch ospreys gliding overhead and if we are lucky, catch a glimpse of the majestic bald eagle.  Paddle under the Squamscott River train trestle and into a hidden creek where we will raft up for a snack and a drink.  Learn about the natural and cultural history of the region while immersing yourself in the unique flora and fauna of the Estuary.  Rating: EASY.

Saturday, June 21, 2008, 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.:  Roundabout the Reserve — Join Reserve Manager, Peter Wellenberger on a casual paddle “about the Reserve.”  As manager of the Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Peter has over 18 years experience in this national program designed to protect and preserve estuaries throughout the nation.  Learn about the unique characteristics of a National Reserve as you paddle to working examples of research, stewardship and education in the estuary.  This trip begins and ends at the Great Bay Discovery Center.  Rating: EASY.

Saturday, July 12, 2008, 8:00 a.m. – noon:  Saturday Morning Snorkel — Join us as we paddle to Nannie Island located in the southeast portion of Great Bay.  When we arrive, you will have the opportunity to snorkel around the island with gear provided by the Reserve.  Look for juvenile flounder, pipefish in the eelgrass or green crabs in the shallows.  If you chose not to snorkel, you can relax on the rocks and enjoy the breeze off the Bay waters.  Trip begins and ends at the Great Bay Discovery Center.  Rating: MODERATE DIFFICULTY.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008, THE GREAT BAY KAYAK RACE  — Visit

Tuesday, July 22, 2008, 10:00 a.m. – 2 p.m.:  How Low Can You Go — Low tide is an amazing time in Great Bay.  Creatures we normally paddle right over, without noticing, are more visible in these shallow conditions.  Look for bulldozing horseshoe crabs, flounder, mud snails and other ecological treasures as we paddle lightly through Great Bay.  Many birds also can be seen on the Estuary when waters are shallow and prime for feeding.  During our paddle we will skirt the edge between high and low water and wait for the depths to return as we explore this unique time of the tide.  Bring your sense of adventure to this trip and be willing to poke around!  Check-in begins at the Great Bay Discovery Center.  From there we will carpool to the “put-in” at Chapman’s Landing boat launch in Stratham.  Trip ends back at Center.  Rating: EASY.

Saturday, August 2, 2008, 1:00 – 5:00 p.m.: Salt Marsh Exploration — (See descripton above)

Saturday, August 30, 2008, noon – 4:00 p.m.: Goat Island Geocache Grab — Join Reserve staff as we paddle to Goat Island located in Little Bay.  While there we will have the task of locating the geocache that is hidden on the island near an historic archaeological site.  This geocache is one in a series that are associated with the “Passport to Great Bay.”  If you are new to geocaching, it is a popular hide and seek adventure game using a GPS unit.  We will provide a GPS unit for participants to try, but please bring your own if you have one.  You might also enjoy the short hiking trail or relaxing on the beach while on the island.  All participants will receive a Passport to Great Bay booklet to take home.  Trip begins and ends at the Scammel Bridge parking lot in Dover/Madbury.  Rating: MODERATE DIFFICULTY.

The Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is a cooperative federal-state partnership between the N.H. Fish and Game Department and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  It was established in 1989 to promote informed management of the Great Bay estuary and estuarine habitats through linked programs of stewardship, public education and scientific understanding.  In addition to kayak tours, the Reserve’s Great Bay Discovery Center offers many summer programs for children and adults.  Visit