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Take to the lake for a moonlit ride
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Kevin Seitz, left, and his daughter Callen paddle at the start of one of the Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club's Moonlight Paddles. The event starts in the evening and continues past sundown.

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Kevin Seitz talks about Moonlight Paddles.

A moonlit stroll by the lake? Hey romantics, how about a moonlit paddle on it?

The Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club is offering Moonlight Paddles Friday night at the Lake Lanier Olympic Venue off Clarks Bridge Road.

Of course, couples may not have much privacy as the monthly event draws several club members, as well as about 30 to 35 nonmembers, said Kevin Seitz, club treasurer.

"A lot of families come out," he added. "... And we draw not just from the Gainesville area, so it's been pretty successful."

If you're interested, be there promptly at 7:30 p.m.; latecomers will be left on the shore.

"We can get (those showing up) matched up with a paddle and a boat, get their life jacket on and get everybody in the water between 8 and 8:30," Seitz said.

The event lasts until about 10 p.m.

"We like to get everybody out on the water while there is still some daylight, so they get used to (paddling on the lake) before throwing them right out in the dark," Seitz said.

The club started the event a couple of years ago as a way to involve the community in a lake activity.

"We light up the Olympic (finish) tower ... and along the water over by the boathouse," he said. "It just gives you a different way to see the lake. It's really peaceful and quiet, and the water is usually very calm, so it's easy to paddle."

Plus, Seitz added, "there's not a lot of boat traffic at night."

Club members don't pay for the event, but there's a $15 charge for each nonmember to paddle.

Seitz said he paddles each month with his wife and two daughters.

"We really enjoy it," he said. "It's a great time to be on the lake and in the summertime, it's cooler. And we've been lucky this year - we really haven't had many bugs."

But he advises paddlers to spray on insect repellent and bring something to drink. There's no room, however, in the boats for a cooler.

Another member, Cheryl Smith, is a frequent paddler at the event.

"I just think it is so cool to be on the water at night," said Smith, Gainesville-based tourism representative for the Georgia Department of Economic Development. "There's such a peacefulness and a camaraderie (with other paddlers).

"It's just a neat group experience, or you can paddle a little bit away from everybody and enjoy the sights and sounds of the water at night."

The last paddle is set for Sept. 19. An October event may be scheduled, depending on interest and weather, Seitz said.

Regional events