OK, so I'm spending money in my mind that I don't have in my wallet. I've got on my rack a somewhat old and probably somewhat brittle OK Malibu II. It's a great kayak and a lot of fun, but getting elderly.
I paddle alone for fishing. My wife would like to get more into paddling. She's been a few times and loved it. My daughters are intrigued. 4 yo and 8yo. 8 yo is trained on paddling and will be paddling solo the first time this spring when water conditions are sufficient. She's a Red Cross level 3 swimmer and comfortable in water and on kayaks.
So, I'd like a couple tandem inflatables, one of which would be suitable for use fishing solo in rivers (nothing over class 3 and usually not over class 2).
Family paddling two per boat will be on mild rivers, lakes, Chesapeake Bay (near shore), salt marshes and other protected waters, and rarely at an ocean beach (so self-bailing is a must). Once the family has experience, I may take them out in up to class 2 if they get comfortable with the idea, but I won't push them into bumpy water if they don't have a desire.
I've got an assortment of other paddle craft to cover a number of other things, so I'm really looking at something to replace the OK Malibu II and give me a second similar boat that will be nearly flip-proof for inexperienced paddlers and wiggly children. All of the boats below have good reviews wherever I've been able to find them, so I'm pretty comfortable with the quality.
I've been looking at several options for these disparate tandem/family paddling uses:
2 Advanced Elements Straightedge 2 kayaks (roughly $700/each)
1 Advanced Elements Straightedge 2 kayak and 1 Tributary Tomcat 2. (roughly $700-800 each)
On the higher end:
Aire Traveller and Aire Outfitter ($2,000 / $1400 respectively) are considered. I am not above buying used, but most used boats of this nature are VERY used.
I have been wanting to do this "someday" with the family. Yesterday, I went and looked at a friend laid out in a box. We had talked many times to paddle and fish together "someday." So, I'm feeling as if "someday" can kiss my big fat backside and if I can possibly swing the finances to get some boats and get paddling (come safe water conditions obviously).
Any thoughts, suggestions, considerations, manifestos, or ramblings are welcome.
- Big D