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Water sports centres' marine tours get close to nature


Water sports enthusiasts will soon have the opportunity to explore the natural wonders of the Hong Kong coastline - including coral communities, mangrove stands and sea caves - by kayak.

From November until January 2004, the four water sports centres managed by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) will organise a series of Marine Ecological Tours. They will also offer tailor-made "Sailing Adventures".

Led by experienced instructors, the Marine Ecological Tours will provide kayakers with the opportunity to become more familiar with the ecosystem of Hong Kong's coastline.

Kayaking qualifications are required to join the tours. These may be obtained from the LCSD water sports centres or the Hong Kong Canoe Union and its affiliated clubs.

For holders of the Kayak 3 Star Award or above, The Jockey Club Wong Shek Water Sports Centre will lead tours of the spectacular coral communities of Hoi Ha Wan and Tai Tan Hoi. Alternatively, the Tai Mei Tuk Water Sports Centre leads tours of the mangrove stands at Plover Cove in Tai Po.

Holders of the Kayak 1 Star Award or above may visit the mangrove stands at To Kwa Peng, in Ko Tong Hau, Sai Kung, located next to the The Jockey Club Wong Shek Water Sports Centre, or join a tour of remote beaches organised by the Chong Hing Water Sports Centre in Sai Kung.

For holders of the Kayak Proficiency Bronze Award or above, the Chong Hing Water Sports Centre will offer a tour of sea caves formed by the forces of the sea.

They may also join the Tai Tam ecological canoe trip organised by the St Stephen's Beach Water Sports Centre in Southern District. Participants will paddle past the Radar Tower at Wong Ma Kok on the way to Tai Tam Bay to inspect the Red Hill Peninsula and the large eroded rocks and caves at its base.

Fees per person range from $15 to $45, according to the tour itinerary and the age of the participants. If the number of applications exceeds the quota, places will be allocated by drawing lots.

The four water sports centres also offer a tailor-made "Sailing Adventure" programme that includes kayak, dinghy and windsurf visits to coral communities, mangrove stands and sea caves.

"The centres will design sea expeditions or adventures based on the participants' level of proficiency in water sports," said an LCSD spokesman.

"The benefits of the programme are twofold: besides improving the physical skills involved in kayaking, dinghy sailing or windsurfing, the programme helps to develop the self-confidence of the participants, gives full play to their learning potential and fosters team spirit in the planning of expeditions."

For novices, the centres can even design sea expeditions that include elementary training in kayaking, dinghy sailing or windsurfing.

Each Sailing Adventure can accommodate five to eight participants. Fees will be charged on a daily basis depending on programme content and itinerary.

"The Marine Ecological Tours and the Sailing Adventures not only allow participants to enjoy the fascinating maritime scenery and appreciate the wonders of nature: they also foster environmental consciousness and allow people to increase the enjoyment of their leisure time," the spokesman said.

Pamphlets on "Marine Ecological Tours" and "Sailing Adventures" are now available at the four water sports centres and the District Leisure Services Offices of the 18 districts. For enquiries, please contact the water sports centers.

End/Thursday, September 11, 2003

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