Bruce in kayak.

"We specialize in small group travel, which minimizes environmental impact, increases safety standards and allows for personalized, enriching and authentic experiences."

— Bruce Smith, founder and owner, Seascape Kayak Tours Inc.

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Seascape strikes twiceSeptember 27th, 2010

Peter Farley is a 50-year-old professional having worked in New York City’s advertising industry for the last 25 years. He resides in New Jersey and when not working, his interests turn to kayaking (often on the Hudson River), photography, cooking and he’s now beginning to dabble in road bicycling once again. Here is his guest blog:

I recently returned from Seascape’s Deer Island base in the Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick, Canada. For those not familiar with this area, we’re talking eastern Canada right above Maine. This was my second trip with Seascape Kayak Tours, the first having been to Costa Rica in January 2010, where I experienced my first KaYoga retreat (yes that’s kayaking and yoga as complementary exercises – not Yoga IN a kayak – that’s a whole different story).

Deer Island is simply one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited. I chose to drive from my home in North East New Jersey and am glad I did because I got a much more intimate and close experience with the land as I drove north up to Campobello Island, where I crossed over into Canada. Reminiscent of SE Alaska, where I lived and worked many years ago, the cove where Seascape is situated is breath taking. Upon arrival I was met by a stunning double rainbow, which was a harbinger of good things to come. RAINBOW OVER DEER ISLAND BY PETER FARLEY.

The program run by Bruce and his team here is highly organized, professional and fun. Rising early to do Yoga, followed by a healthy breakfast and then off to kayak in the stunning Bay of Fundy is a great way to start the day. Lunch is usually had on some distant beach where you can watch whales and other wildlife pass by. Afternoons find you paddling back to Seascape’s cove past the beautiful scenery, soon to be followed by a restorative yoga session and a fabulous dinner, complements of Mabel and the rest of the staff. It bears stating that the staff at Seascape is top-notch in all regards. They are very talented, warm, funny people who are a pleasure to spend time with. All too soon the weekend was over and I was driving south back to the everyday grind. However, that was tempered by a new-found contentedness and fond memories of fun times with a great group of people in a beautiful part of the world.

The January trip to Costa Rica had actually been a surprise birthday present from my family. And while I had done fair bit of kayaking and had dabbled lightly in yoga, this was a whole new thing. I really wasn’t sure what to expect and was a little concerned about my capabilities especially on the yoga front. Happily I found that my neophyte status in yoga was easily accommodated. While I’ve been on numerous tropical and northern vacations, I had never been on a trip like this; traveling solo to meet 5 other people I didn’t know for a 9-day camping, kayaking, and yoga trip.

SHARON AVRUTICK, BRUCE SMITH, NINA SNODDY AND
PETER FARLEY ON THE JANUARY 2010 KAYOGA TRIP

What I found was something that had been dormant for quite a while. Namely a spirit of adventure; that special connection that develops between people when they establish an impromptu community on a tropical beach, or anywhere for that matter; the rewards that come from challenging yourself in a different way and the chance to step away from the stresses of everyday hectic life in a way that is personally grounding and reaffirming.

It is easy and perhaps convenient to go on a “typical” vacation with attendant luxury or throngs of other people. But often you return as you had come. For me, it is and was altogether more fulfilling and memorable to leave the crowds behind and experience something unique with the small number of very talented, funny and warm individuals who comprise and attend Seascape trips.

To Bruce, Frances, Lauri, Frank, Katinka, Mabel, Guy and Dave. Thanks. They say lightning never strikes twice, but it seems you have found a way to keep things sparking quite well.

GUIDE KATINKA POSTMA PASSES A HERRING WEIR IN THE
BAY OF FUNDY, PHOTO BY PETER FARLEY


Brilliant CombinationJanuary 21st, 2010

I’ve returned from the Jan ’10 KaYoga trip a couple of days ago and still can’t stop thinking about it.

Combining kayaking and yoga is brilliant. The two practices build on each other philosophically, making the whole experience richer than the sum of its parts. And there is a more earthly benefit, too: Because of the yoga, I felt no pain or stiffness at all from the paddling.

Bruce is an extraordinarily knowledgeable and devoted instructor and guide. His deep love of the sea—and of the natural world in general—is infectious. And he is the most patient teacher I have ever met, answering the same questions over and over, never exhibiting even a hint of annoyance. He pays close attention to each individual and his/her needs, which made us all, regardless of our level of experience or ability, feel comfortable and relaxed on the water and on land from beginning to end. He’s also a terrific cook!

Lauri’s yoga instruction is warm and supportive. She also pays an extraordinary amount of attention to each individual, tailoring every pose to each person’s needs and abilities. But her caring doesn’t end when the yoga practice closes. She’s always watching, always caring, always supporting. Ahhh. “It’s all good,” she says. And it really is.

Logistically, every step of the trip was beautifully executed. All the connections were flawless, and every single person we dealt with was friendly, professional, and helpful.

In closing, I want to express my appreciation for your ability, Bruce, to convey a sense of place during the trip. On the plane home I sat with a couple who’d been on the Windstar when we were there. They had a nice enough time, I think, but they knew nothing of the places they’d been, not even the names. They did not recognize the word “Curú.” And when I asked about the highlights of their trip, they said vague things about seeing a lot of crocodiles in one place and monkeys in another. Sensing the superficiality of their experience made me realize and appreciate anew just how deep mine was. Muchas gracias, again.

I came home with a profound appreciation for the deep and outrageously positive experience I had. Muchas gracias to Frances, Bruce, Lauri, and todos mis amigos del mar.

-Sharon AvRutick, Pleasantville, NY, El Espiritu del Mar, 5-day Yoga and Kayaking in Costa Rica


El Espiritu del MarMarch 17th, 2009

This morning saw the departure of our first combination yoga and paddling trip. Our yoga instructor, Lauri Nemetz, and three participants Wendy Crowley, Greg Kofsky and Sandy Taylor spent several days at Tambor Tropical before the launch acclimatizing. Yesterday Bruce met with the group to go over the planned five-day itinerary, orient participants to the region and discuss environmental safety. Bruce also took the group on an initial paddle here on the Rio Panica and there were several initial yoga sessions here at Tambor Tropical as well.

yoga

INSTRUCTOR LAURI NEMETZ LEADS THE GROUP IN GENTLE INTRODUCTORY YOGA PRACTICE IN A THATCHED RANCHO AT THE HOTEL TAMBOR TROPICAL. 

Wendy Crowley, 54, found out about the trip via the internet. "From the moment I googled this trip, I knew I had made the right decision," she said. "Engaging in my first yoga session, then hitting the water for a calm kayaking experience is indescribable. This trip will be a highlight of my life, I know."

Greg on river"PADDLING DOWN A TROPICAL ESTUARY IS ONE OF THE MOST RELAXING THINGS I CAN THINK OF DOING," SAID GREG KOFSKY, 23. "ONE OF THE FEW THINGS THAT BEATS IT IS YOGA." 

Yoga instructor Lauri Nemetz teases the group that she could join the circus and utilize her seemingly uncanny ability to name her students’ past injuries, vocations and recreational preferences. "You’re a runner, aren’t you?" She says to Wendy Crowley, while assisting her with a leg extension. Earlier she anticipated that Sandy Taylor would have a little trouble with a stretch for her wrists. And that was true because Sandy spends her work days doing surgery: she’s a veterinarian. 

How does Lauri know all these things about the body? In addition to holding certifications in teaching hatha yoga and yoga therapeutics, she has studied anatomy extensively. And this allows her to focus on each individual’s physical habits and preferences, allowing each member of the group to benefit personally from her attention to his or her specific needs. Lauri will often create modifications on a posture for each participant in the group, so that every person is taking a different pose that will allow their unique set of abilities and limitations to make the most of their yoga practice. 

Bruce teachingEL ESPIRITU DEL MAR GROUP PARTICIPANTS LISTEN AS BRUCE SMITH PROVIDES A GEOGRAPHICAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL ORIENTATION TO PADDLING IN COSTA RICA. 

The group will come off the water on Saturday, when I’ll update you about their experience. Meanwhile, stay tuned for some special wildlife blogs from Tambor Tropical.

Pura vida,

frances