Frequently Asked Questions
John SeaCanoe was formed on September 11, 2001. Caveman went home, watched the first airliner fly into the World Trade Center, called his partner and asked if he still wanted to proceed. His reply was, “I gave you my word. Let’s go for it,”
The company purpose is to create an environmental education experience in a “fun” manner. Our slogan is “Natural History By Sea Kayak Since 1983.”
SOTAR makes the World’s best White Water rafts from electro-welded Lexitron fabric. Our SOTARs have never had a failure with a lifespan of 3,000 day/use in Phang Nga’s limestone sea caves. They never capsize or have an accident. The “Sea Explorer” draft is 3 inches – about a centimetre so they can get into very shallow water spots. Sea Explorers make excellent camera platforms and numerous professional video crews use the without incident.
John picked 9,021 bags of rubbish from Phang Nga Bay by kayak until his thumbs became arthritic. He now uses a foot pedal kayak to reach 10,000 before he retires. “Caveman” was born into an environmental family. His parents met in a Sierra Blub outing in the 1930’s and started SCUBA diving in the 1950. John was SCUBA certified in 1957. The same year he won a National Science Fair Award for “The Great Aquarium” on Baja California’s Sea of Cortez.
John’s first kayaking company – Pacific Outdoor Adventures - was founded in June 1983. Hawai’i “expeditions” included Koolau Moloka’i, Kona, Maui and Na Pali Coasts. The concept is to demonstrate the Hawaiian concept of Aha’pu’a’a’ – Harmony with Nature from the top of the valleys to the edge of the reefs.
Caveman ended up in Thailand by mistake when no money was transferred from the Hawai’i home office in December 1989. He cashed in a domestic air ticket and started the “SeaCanoe” industry on B700 – (US$28).
Knowing his “Caveman” nickname was too close to reality, the JGSC staff renamed him “Ling Yai” – Thai for Big Monkey.
Little Johnnie Gray started kayaking in home-made plywood kayaks at Lido isle, Newport Beach, California in the early 50’s.
1971 - In July-August, Caveman spent 30 days in the Trinity Alps Wilderness without seeing another person – aside from bears, deer and his dog Dweezle.
1957 - Caveman was first published nationally in Parade Magazine (USA). His article was entitled “There Are Us Who Murder The Thesaurus’’.
John was Junior Achievement California President of the Year in 1961 and 1962. He was a winner of the “Junior Achievement National Annual Report Contest and was a guest of New York Stock Exchange President Keith Funston and was awarded a “Bull and Bear” award on the floor of the NYSE.
Day trips included Windward O’ahu, Waikiki (including a “Starlight” trip). International trips included Samoa, Fiji, and Tahiti.
Caveman’s Thailand companies won 11 major Ecotourism awards.
1983 - On his first International trip, Caveman was appointed Samoa’s Minister of Communications by Prime Minister Tofi Eti Alesana. Gray was also UPI Reporter for the South Pacific Games, the Olympic Qualifier contests.
No guest has ever had an accident on any trip, including “Hurricane John” and “Tahiti Storm”. After “Tahiti Storm” US Coast Guard Search and Rescue Commander Kevin O’Conner said “Your kayaks are amazing. I would have lost my own boat today.” Of course seamanship based on Polynesian “Wayfinding” navigation led the way in zero visibility.
All guides are trained to international standards including kayaking, lifeguarding, First Aid, hospitality and Natural History.
Meal plans are “Best Meal of Our Vacation’’. John worked for the US National Cancer Institute and promoted healthy food with the slogan “Eat Less Red Meat”. Our meals are based upon NCI epidemiology studies.
Before professional sea kayaking Caveman was Communications Director, Pacific Basin, National Cancer Institute (“Eat less Red Meat”), Marketing Director Aloha United Way (His “Spirit of O’hana” campaigns are still remembered) and Publications Editor, Hawai’i Employers Council where he promoted “Enlightened Human Resources” for 1,200 Hawai’i companies including Fortune 500 corporations. The first edition of his quarterly journal “Council Forum” was “The Rising Costs of Medical Care”.
All food is carefully purchased to be healthy and chemical free as per US National Cancer Institute guidelines. Only Net caught fish and shrimp, aeroponic veggies, brown-red-black rice and free range chicken go into our meal plan. All food is prepared on board during your trip to be “Best Meal of Our Entire Vacation” (numerous Trip Advisor comments.)