Watersports were made for the Jurassic coastline. Our trip to Dorset was the perfect opportunity to continue with part of my ‘4 adventures in 4 months with a 4 year old‘. I abandoned the idea of wild swimming as my son can’t swim yet, so probably not the best idea. However there was still plenty of choice to do some adventuring offland. We chose sailing for June and kayaking for July. Snorkelling is another option, and Kimmeridge Bay is actually a brilliant place where you can do it even if you can’t swim, as the water levels are so low.
Sailing around Portland Harbour
I couldn’t find any small boats to have a go on with my son. Most operators seem to only offer sailing courses, or trips if you are already qualified. I found a few places near home which occasionally take out families for a hour or so to show them the ropes, but nothing was happening when I wanted to do it. Luckily we did find Moonfleet Adventure Sailing.
Think of an old pirate ship – big white sails, flag, ship dog, and you’ve got the Moonfleet ship! It’s very rough and ready, and a real man’s ship. We were given a brief tour, and there are no luxuries on board. Expect to shape up and chip in on here. Luckily, our son was keen and was super excited to help pull up the mighty sails and lower them down again, and even sail around some of the harbour.
We went out for the shortest time, which is two hours. It was plenty. We all went, so that included my two year old son, though I probably wouldn’t bring him again, as I spent most of the trip clinging onto him and making sure he didn’t trip over odds and sods on the deck.
Highlights of the boat according to my son was the dog and the biscuits. I’m not sure we would go again to be honest. Maybe one to save for when kids are a bit older.
Kayaking at Studland Bay
Kayaking at Studland Bay, on the other hand, was a downright win. It was so successful, my two year old had a paddy because he wanted to have a go as well, which he did. Again, I looked for places that offered kayaking or canoeing for young kids, but the only operator I could find was Foradventure, on selected dates. They do look very cool, so another time maybe.
However, it’s so easy to hire kayaks at Studland Bay for 30-60 minutes and just paddle around the shallows of the bay – which are just perfect for first timers. Very calm and pretty. My husband took the kids out and I watched from afar as I’d had a recent eye operation, but its safe to say we will definitely be going out on kayaks or canoes again somewhere near us.
My children can’t swim, so life jackets are a must (and for those who can swim too), so we’ll make sure we choose very calm and shallow waters. And we’ll carry on with our swimming lessons!
Other watersports to try along the Jurassic coastline
Jurassic Coast Activities offers kitesurfing, windsurfing, kayaking, coasteering and paddleboarding. Land and Wave offer coasteering, paddleboarding, family survival skills and sea kayaking. You can learn to sail with Shell Bay sailing. Shallow snorkelling is available at Kimmeridge Bay. And of course, if you can swim, the world (or sea) is your oyster.