I recently returned from vacation with my AI. My wife has owned a Revolution for just over a year, and I've had a traditional paddle kayak until I bought the AI earlier this month. I'll post a review of my thoughts on the AI soon, but there was one amazing thing that happened on this trip that made me realize the advantages of a mirage drive kayak over a regular kayak.
We went to Killarney Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada. We camped on George Lake, and each evening we'd try to go out for a quick kayak cruise. We would often see beavers in the water. Even though these are one of Canada's national animals they are quite rare to see, and very difficult to see up close.
One of the things that beavers do when you get close to one, is they slap their large tails on the water supposedly to warn others in the group of any dangers. After this trip, I'm questioning if they slap their tails to warn others, because we spent nearly an hour watching one beaver after another poke his nose up from under water, and slap his tail and go under water as we got closer. This didn't seem to frighten any of the other beavers away though... it was amazing, and VERY rare to see!
After about a half an hour of doing this in my AI, (rigged for kayaking) and my wife's Revolution, another kayaker came over to see what we were doing. As he "paddled" over, we told him what was going on, which was that these beavers were popping up non stop for the past half hour and we were able to get so close to them that their tail slaps would get us wet. We told him to just coast along without paddling and he'd see what we meant. Instantly there were no more beavers. We peddled away and as soon as we were away from the paddle kayak, the beavers kept surfacing again and again. Clearly, the Mirage Drive and it's silent splash free operation allowed us to take in this amazing experience. I took all kinds of video's of the beavers, the following ones aren't the best video's but they do show how close we were able to get to these beavers. I talked to the "paddling" kayaker later that evening, the best he was able to do was sit and watch and get a picture of a beaver in the distance. You'll see from the video's that we were able to peddle towards the beavers in silence, and come within just a few feet of them.
Thank you Hobie for the Mirage drive, this was really cool!
(You'll notice that the sound on the video seems quite loud until the beavers slap their tails. It was actually completely silent around this area, and the only explanation that I can come up with is that my camera is programmed to set it's microphone to its highest sensitivity until it hears a sound to calibrate itself... so picture these videos occurring in complete silence, and you'll get a sense of the actual setting)