Words and Photos By: Ian Ganderton
Kayaking in the Dubai Marina area offers a unique perspective on the city and there aren’t many places in the world where you can be floating completely surrounded by towering skyscrapers one moment or view sky divers from directly below as you pass Skydive Dubai. It also offers a sheltered area very suited to beginners.
There are two options: a there-and-back trip launching from one of the access/egress points, exploring a bit then returning the same way. The other option is the 8.5km circumnavigation which is a fantastic trip exploring the whole area.
My favoured launch point is the beach next to the Sheraton at the far southwestern end of JBR’s The Walk. Parking is easy and close to the shoreline.
Starting out from the beach, you can head out just 100m and savour the seaside view of JBR’s impressive skyline before turning left and rounding the sea wall to enter the Marina. You quickly feel yourself being surrounded by the imposing, albeit majestic towers.
The route is obvious and there are lots to explore. But any day of the week at any given time there can be plenty of boats moving around so take care to stay well out of the way.
From this point onwards, your option would be to putter about and explore the area before heading back the way you’ve come or to continue through the inland waterway passing under bridges and passing the luxury yachts on the right and the palm tree and café-lined walkway on the left.
After a few kilometres you reach the Marina’s northeastern corner with yet more luxury yachts and speed boats racked in the jetties. Turn left and head towards the open sea. Grovesnor House is on the left then Mina Seyahi on the right, just after the bridge, then Skydive Dubai on the left.
Don’t get too distracted by the sky divers as this is a busy area of the sea between the drop zone and The Palm.
Once you get past the end of the runway, JBR’s magnificent skyline will again be visible to your left. You’ll find the water quieter and closer to the beach, and you make your way back to your start point at the far end.
Starting and finishing points
- Sheraton End Beach (25°04’26.3″N 55°07’33.8″E) – Easy parking pretty close to the beach. Easy access to the southern end of the Marina.
- Yoga Beach (25°05’07.5″N 55°08’13.5″E) – Beware of the soft sand here, keep well over to the right and park sooner rather than later if you are in a two-wheel drive vehicle. This area provides great access to the Skydive Dubai area and the northern end of the Marina.
Things to consider
Once inside the Marina you are completely sheltered from the wind but the launch points are more exposed despite the construction work going on for the Dubai Eye Ferris Wheel. Bear in mind that the wind always picks up as the day goes on so I always recommend an early start as paddling on calm water is quite special. Be extremely cautious when winds are offshore.
The area is busy with plenty of water traffic away from the beach. Keep your wits about you and use common sense to keep out of harm’s way. Keeping to the JBR side of the Marina away from the jetties will keep you safe from other water craft.
Wear a PFD. Respect other water craft. Paddle within your abilities and experience. Paddling in small groups is safest. Tell someone where you are going and let them know when you get back.