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Name: radar1

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I was looking for a stable kayak that I could use either as a tandem with my wife, or solo if my wife didn't want to paddle. We already have a tandem sit-inside that works well for when we both paddle but with non adjustable seats it wasn't suitable for solo paddling. Our last few camping trips to FL convinced me that a sit-on-top for use on the beaches and for easy climbing on and off for snorkeling would be a welcome addition to our fleet. After doing a lot of research I came across the Crescent Splash II, which is billed as a tandem kayak, yet has 3 seats so you can move to the center seat when paddling solo. We could also carry a small child in the center seat when we paddle tandem which would be impossible in our tandem sit-inside.

I've used the Splash II on 3 trips now. Two were on lakes and the latest was paddling 10 miles down the Chattahoochee river. The Splash II is very stable, and it paddles well. It also tracks straight due to it's built in "keel" so it worked well with my picture taking. The middle seat is probably just a little in front of the center of gravity, so if you don't have any gear in the back you are probably riding just a tad low in front, but that was not troublesome at all. We had steady winds yesterday on our outing but they did not affect our speed or direction much so this is much better in the wind than our canoe is. We have the optional high back "Seals" seats that are very comfortable and have brass clips that allow you to switch from tandem to solo easily.

The Splash II is heavier than most sit-inside kayaks but at 66 lbs seems to be average weight for tandem sit-on-tops. Although it weighs less than my old Scanoe, it does have the drawback of not having any side handles to help one person lift it or steady it after you lift it. I can get the kayak up on my shoulders and carry it easy enough but without handles on the sides to hold onto while doing that it's pretty unmanageable. I temporarily solved the problem by wrapping one of my tie-down straps around the center and that gives me something to hold onto and maneuver easier when it's on my shoulders. I plan to install two handles that I ordered on the sides to solve this oversight.

Overall, compared to other tandem sit-on-tops I think this is an excellent value and hope to have many happy trips on lakes, rivers, and beaches.

I purchased my Scanoe back in the early 80's in Omaha. I've had it in lakes, rivers, and even off the Carolina coast. Early on I used it for fishing, and it's a very stable platform. Now I'm more into kayaking on rivers, but I still use the Scanoe when camping overnight on rivers due to it's cargo capacity, and also take it down the Chattahoochee with class 1-2 shoals when our group does river cleanups. I've hauled truck tires, wooden ramps, and a gazillion basketballs and plastic bottles in the Scanoe during cleanups. The only downside is the weight, but as long as I can hold onto the crossbar while balancing the optional middle seat on my shoulders, it is actually fairly easy to carry and load on the T-bar on the back of my truck.

I wanted to be able to take digital photos while on kayak trips knowing that whatever I got would be subjected to both splashing and immersion in water sometimes. It seems the choices are to use a non-waterproof camera and risk ruining it when it gets wet; use a non-waterproof camera and use either a waterproof bag or box to protect it; or use a waterproof camera.

I have a great non-waterproof camera and use a waterproof box to protect it, but that still entails risk taking it out of the box while still on the water, and a delay if I see something I want to take a photo of right now. I thought about the waterproof bag, but my camera requires a large bag due to it's size and I wanted to be able to work all the controls without any interference from the bag. Waterproof cameras are expensive!

What I finally decided on was to keep my good camera in the dry box, but supplement it with the Vivitar Vivicam 6200W waterproof camera. This camera cost $120 on-line at Target.com and I was impressed with the results. Having this camera allowed me to have the camera ready for those quick shots without worrying about whether it gets wet.

The camera is a 6.0 MP camera, and the pictures I took on my first trip turned out nearly as good as my more expensive camera, although I missed the 10X optical zoom feature of my more expensive camera. This camera only has digital zoom, which I knew when I purchased it, and don't use. Digital zoom is not much different than using the crop feature on your computer, and is not nearly as good as optical zoom, but waterproof cameras with optical zoom cost more than twice as much as the Vivitar.

The camera is yellow for good visibility. Controls are easy to use and should work even with gloved hands. The two AA batteries lasted for the entire paddling trip (about 4 hours) but would not have lasted much longer. I took 140 photos on this trip with the original set. These were the batteries that came with the camera, I expect to use high capacity rechargeables in the future. The camera supports up to a 2GB SD card, and has software included for editing your photos. I haven't tried that yet because my computer recognized the camera when I plugged it in and I used Picasa to edit my photos since I use that to share the photos with the kayak group.

PROS: Easy to see yellow color.
Rugged rubberized case.
Positive double locking door on batteries and SD card prevents accidental opening.
Very good photo resolution.
Low price compared to more expensive digital cameras or cumulative cost of using throwaway film cameras/developing.
Comes with a zippered case you can secure with belt loop or PFD loop, has a cord that you can hang around your neck, and has a spare gasket.
No need to focus, just point and shoot (although it does have a close-up switch setting).
Waterproof down to 30 ft.

CONS: No optical zoom.
About 2 seconds elapse from the time you press the shutter until you get a confirmation the picture was taken.

Bottom line: I'm happy with my purchase and this camera exceeded my expectations. If you want a knockabout waterproof camera you don't have to worry about while kayaking/canoeing (or even in the rain) that will give great digital point-and-shoot snapshots, then this is a great choice.

I've had a canoe for 30 years, and rented kayaks before, but this is the first kayak I've owned. I'm impressed with this kayak, I've had it out on the mild stretches of the Chattahoochee river and a small lake, and was impressed with both the stability and the tracking. It feels stable and gives a feeling of confidence and the large cockpit makes entry easier than other sit-in kayaks. I've also purchased a bulkhead kit from Austin Kayak so I can seal off the rear hatch, and also got a Harmony fishing console that fits well on the front. If you want a low priced kayak to get you started so you can do river or small lake touring then this is a great kayak to do it in. Highly recommended! This feels like a sports car compared to my canoe and easily fits in the back of my pickup truck.