Paddling Planet

July 24, 2014

Kayak Yak
kayaking the We(s)t Coast of British Columbia

Suiting Up

Louise has always been reluctant to shell out the $$$ needed for a drysuit, however she has finally seen the light and agrees that a drysuit would be a wise investment. She has decided to put off her purchase until next year, and for a very good reason. t's next that Kokatat is introducing their new Idol drysuit with SwitchZip. This new zipper splits the drysuit into two pieces, making much easier to get in and out of, and allows the two pieces to function as, well, two pieces. Only need pants this trip? Just take the lower half!
The new suit will be available next year. Heck, maybe I need a new drysuit, too!

by (John Herbert) at July 24, 2014 04:00 PM

Being the Continuing Adventures of a Woman and her Trusty Kayak in New York Harbor, the Hudson River, and Beyond. (with occasional political rants just to keep things lively!)


So much for catching up - you know how when you're planning a good vacation, one that takes a little prep time, there ends up being that moment when you go from "omg, it's never going to get here" to "OMG, how the heck am I going to get everything done in time to go?" with no in between? I've kind of got that going on with something I'm doing in August. Did you know that August starts next week? How the aitch-ee-double-hockey-sticks did that happen?

Anyways, here's a food post - I'd never made a duck before but I went ever so slightly berserk (slightly berserk - that's an oxymoron, isn't it? the whole nature of the Viking berserkers was that there was nothing "slightly" about them) at the farm stand my friend I. and I stopped at on the way home - in addition to the usual peaches, tomatoes, and corn (oh my) I got this duck, which I cooked as soon as I got home (there'd been talk of a Sunday paddle on the way home but the forecast was a little on the "meh" side so we hung out on the beach for an hour or so talking and watching the ospreys and then headed on home, so there was cooking time). 

I've never cooked a duck before but as I said to I., "I'm sure the Internet will tell me how", which it basically did (poke holes in skin, douse duck in boiling water, cook at x degrees for y minutes, and turn turn turn), although the improvised teriyaki/adobo basting sauce (shoyu, vinegar, garlic, honey, guava jam, ginger, and five spice) was mine all mine. Came out pretty,  didn't it? And it actually tasted good too. Not up to Chinatown standards, where I can go get delicious duck on a whim on my way home from work, but I will do it again.  Fun trying to cook something new and having it come out so nicely.

Another experiment from the farm stand - I splurged on some duck eggs, just to see what they're like. Sure tasted good over some leftover flatbread with manchego (standard camping trip rations for me, and I always get too much) and fresh farmstand tomatoes - as tends to happen, we got stuck in horrible traffic for the last 10 miles, it took as long to do that as it had taken to get halfway down Long Island. I think I got home about 3 or so, I'd had one of my peaches at the club for boat-unloading energy and I had to make something more substantial before I could face unpacking. This hit the spot (It's not actually burned, somehow the camera just made it look that way). 

I'd really gotten too much food at the farmstand but fortunately TQ was kind enough to assist me with the excess duck, corn, and tomatoes. Phew! 

by (bonnie) at July 24, 2014 03:48 PM

Seaworthy, salty, and sauced.

Kayaking in Sardinia


Yours truly contemplating a crag at Tinnari, Sardinia.

Yours truly contemplating a granite arch at Tinnari, Sardinia. Photo by Barbara Kossy.

We were lucky enough to have not one but two kayak sojourns in Sardinia (actually Sardegna) during a three-week visit there in the summer of 2014. One journey was pretty cushy and guided in the northwest and one self-supported camping in the east. In short: Sardo is awesome and everyone should paddle there, dammit.

Sardinia, an island region of Italy that is smack-dab in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, is a fascinating place: Occupied and conquered by pretty much every civilization that’s ever touched the edge of the Med, it has a history of inhabitation that goes back to the Stone Age, has vibrant and amazing ruins from very sophisticated Bronze Age civilizations, has unbelievable food (in quality and quantity), and has a sturdy, independent spirit that I respect a lot.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. What was it like to kayak there? Well, Nancy Soares beat me to the punch a year ago with her own trip report on the Tsunami Rangers website, so I’ll spare you the blow-by-blow of the trip. I have a Flickr album that does that anyway. Instead, I’ll focus on what’s interesting, cool, and challenging about Sardinia in general, from a sea kayaker’s perspective.

Because, seriously, you need to paddle there.

Sardinia Rocks.

The coastline of Sardinia is fascinating. Some stretches are limestone, some are sandstone, some are pink granite, some white granite…all rock types that are easily sculpted by wind and wave. It makes for some really stunning destinations and scenery for the paddler.

In fact, the northern coast’s pink granite coastline forms amazing rockgardening/rock hopping opportunities. A week there with some Delphins, Fusions, or Karma RG’s would be richly rewarded…with one caveat. With little ocean swell (see below), there isn’t a lot of dynamism unless the Mistral is really howling. Then things get intense/interesting. But there are rooms, passages, slots, and more waiting to be aggressively explored by the adrenaline seeker. The northern areas north of Isola Rossa have the most sculpted, navigable, runnable rock groups. The peninsula east of Fertilia has massive, imposing cliffs and headlands worth exploring. I’d love to explore again in more challenging conditions.

Towns are common, but some stretches along Gallura can be pretty sparsely populated, and there isn’t any road access to the eastern coast for dozens of miles. There aren’t that many tourist boats on the water, but there are plenty of resorts on the water’s edge. Use judgement when approaching a beach with a resort on it. It helps to do so with someone who knows the area. Speaking of which, we were guided in the north by the ever-awesome Claudio of Sardinian Discovery, and that leg of the trip was produced, planned, and arranged by the amazing Barbara Kossy. We ate so much we barely fit into our kayak cockpits.

Caves Galore.

There are many grottos and caves along the coast, of various sizes. We’re spoiled by living in Northern California with sea caves riddling our paddling destinations, from San Francisco to Mendocino. But even so, I’d not been in caves like these: So many shapes and sizes, the majority of which were truly massive. As in “go in bow first without a helmet” massive, which is the opposite of how one enters a cave that opens in to the Pacific Ocean. The longest straight stretch of sea cave I’ve ever paddled was on this trip.

The east coast is where the cave situation goes off the hook. Camping must be done stealth/ninja style, and in return for being sly you’d better adhere to strict Leave No Trace camping ethics. Land after all the tourist boats leave (about 6-7pm), and leave after they re-appear in the morning (about 8-9am) and you should have no problem. Don’t be a weirdo and camp in an obvious place in plain sight on a beach, and no fires. Heck, the local food is so great that we just ate no-cook meals of ham, cheese, tuna, and Sardinian flatbreads, and even that was awesome. All campsites are without water or facilities…except Cala Sistine, which has a place up the wash where you can have a pretty darned civilized breakfast and espresso. Just don’t show up until the first tourist boats arrive in the morning. As is usual, buy something if you want to use the restroom, there or anywhere in Sardinia.

You can rent kayaks in Cala Gonone for day trips, but the really sweet places are midway through an area without roads, about 35km equidistant from Bari Sardo in the south to Cala Gonone in the north. For that, you need to rent gear or have a guide. We had enough kayaking skills to go it solo with some rentals from Francesco at Cardedu Kayak, who went the extra mile with a scenic and informative shuttle back to our car and a great evening of food and drink.

Wind and Water.


Sardinia is far better known as a windsurfing destination than a kayaking destination, due to two legendary winds: The Mistral and Sirocco. The Mistral blows generally from the north and generates intense winds on the west and north; woe be to the kayaker trying to head east through the narrow channel that separates Sardinia and Corsica when that thing gets honkin’. The Sirocco blows from the south, bringing heavy and hot winds with huge amounts of windborne dust from Africa. We experienced this ourselves. Being outside was like being in a blow dryer: 30 knot winds and 104° F.

For all these winds, there isn’t much open-water swell to speak of, not like in the Pacific Ocean. Wave periods were between four and six seconds…paltry by Pacific standards, lacking in punch. We had a ton of days with nearly calm winds and almost glassy seas. Plus, if the wind is blowing hard one day, the whole island can be crossed in a few hours, so it’s not that hard to find an alternate put-in.

The water around Sardinia in the shoulder seasons is still around 70° F, making for very comfortable paddling in light clothing. We wore rashguards, long sleeve shirts, and Kokatat NeoCore shorts, and that worked great. Adding a neoprene jacket made snorkeling for long periods perfectly comfortable.

The water in the Mediterranean is legendary for its clarity. Really clear water can be due to heavy particulates on the ocean floor (i.e., sand and not silt) and a lack of living organic material like phytoplankton. The local rock, lack of coral, and consistency of semi-boring sea life suggests that both of these factors are present (I’m no marine biologist). There are lots of small fish everywhere, but it’s not a snorkeling destination like Hawai’i or Thailand. But white sand beneath clear skies makes for gorgeous turquoise waters.

No Americans.

Well, OK, I’m exaggerating, but Sardinia really is off the radar of American tourists. (The most common response I got to telling friends that I was going to Sardinia was, “Why?”) Germans, Swedes, Australians, and Italians all flock there for its amazing climate, scenery, and food. We saw very, very few other Americans on our trip, which was nice. A note on language: It’s pretty easy to get by in major seaside towns without knowing Italian, but go to smaller seaside towns and in the interior, and you’d better know your Italian. Many Sardinians speak excellent German, so that’s another option.

About Getting Around…

A few notes about getting around if you drive or spend time inland in Sardinia:

  • Maps may contain that things that the government intended to do, but never did. For example, there is no national park in the Gorropu area. Some maps show dozens of provinces, when there are actually less than ten. Signage and maps changed before either political will faded or the money ran out.
  • Stop signs are in English – they actually say stop — and I think that’s why Sardinians literally, completely ignore them.
  • Speed limits are oddly low except for a few major highways…which everyone ignores anyway.
  • If you’re an American, be sure to get a “chip-and-PIN” credit card. Cards of other types simply will not work. Many normal debit cards don’t work in many bancomats.
  • If you can’t drive a manual transmission car, arrange to rent an automatic way, way, way in advance. Rent online from Thrifty, pick up locally from AutoEuropa.

And That’s Not All.


We didn’t circumnavigate. We didn’t paddle the supposedly beautiful southwestern edge. We didn’t get to mix it up in performance boats in tough conditions. There’s still so much yet to see and experience…but regardless, we got a good introduction, and would go again someday if the opportunity arose. The Sardinians are great: Enthuastic, emphatic, and will ply you with some of the best meals you’ve ever had.

And they make actually tasty grappa, and the amazing Mirto liqueur, flavored with myrtle berries. Normal house wines were better than most spendy wines one finds here in the US. I only found one dark beer, but it was amazing. Who’s up for a booze tour via kayak?

Highly recommended.

by nathan at July 24, 2014 01:42 PM

The Ikkatsu Project
In service of the ocean

The public record

Steve is back in Alaska until the middle of August at least. We did have the chance to get together during the time he was home, however, and were able to discuss a few different options for the next project. One idea is to find a way to go back to Newfoundland and tell the story of overfishing and its wide-ranging effects on the environment. We’ve also been talking about a return to the roadless coast to do surveys again on the beaches that we saw in 2012. We’ve gone back to a few of them in the time since then, but it might be interesting to compare the current conditions to the baseline we were able to put together back then.

We may end up with neither of these. (Life is funny that way.) At the moment, I’m working on shooting extra b-roll and starting post-production on a short film about the voyage of the Hyas yiem, the Message in a Plastic Bottle. (There’s a piece on today’s American Canoe Association’s page that I did about the trip this past spring and our first film is going to be on the small screen for the first time this weekend. If you get Outside TV, you’ll be able to watch The Roadless Coast on Saturday, July 26, at 5pm. (Local times may vary; check local listings to be sure.) That’s kind of exciting.

The dates for the Tacoma Shoreline Survey are going to be August 4-6. If you’re interested in helping to collect trash and data, get in touch… it’s the first of its kind for T-town and it will have an impact.

by Ken Campbell at July 24, 2014 12:32 PM

snippets of life from an adventure filmmaker

1000 miles…. nearly!

Today we hoped to paddle over 1,000 nautical miles since Adak. Just two 11 mile crossings stood in our way. A gentle side wind looked promising but within 20 minutes it found its inner demon and started blowing 25 knots turning a flat sea into a rolling, tumbling, crashing wet and cold fairground ride. Sarah […]

by Justine at July 24, 2014 04:17 AM


Seguridad en nuestras travesías .... con el móvil..!

Pues si, Salvamento Marítimo puede seguir nuestro plan de navegación cuando vamos de travesía a través de una app en un dispositivo que llevemos a bordo.

Esta es una aplicación para el móvil o incluso el ipad (para los más avanzados en eso de utilizar la tecnología en el kayak) que nos permite monitorizar nuestra travesía emitiendo mensajes programados a los contactos que designemos, en caso de existir retrasos. El programa da acceso a una WEB donde Salvamento Marítimo pueda consultar con rapidez la derrota que hemos realizado y poner en marchas las acciones de rescate, en caso de ser necesarias. 


A mi me parece una buena herramienta, la probaremos en la próxima travesía larga ...... que ya se acerca....!

by Jose Bello ( at July 24, 2014 01:10 AM

July 23, 2014

kajaknördar - paddling verkar kul
tid utomhus räknas

Kvällstur från Grönemad

Go kvällstur till sovplatsen. Fortfarande framåt åtta på kvällen surrar båtarna och klipporna dräller av bad- och soldyrkande semesterfirare.


by Pia Sjöstedt at July 23, 2014 08:34 PM

Sarah's Soggy Scenarios
A light hearted insight into my paddling trips in and around Scotland - and beyond!

Jersey - Ecrehous and back - the long way!

Lots of bonsai paddlers!
 After having had another long and tiring previous day, I wasn't sure I was going to be fit today, but I'm always amazed at how good it is to get back in the boat and get the old joints moving again.
Our adventure today was to be a trip out to the Ecrehous, a lovely little group of islands about 6 miles from Jersey, a little further from France.
Getting closer

 Heading out past the long breakwater at St Catherines, we set off under the watchful eyes of John and Eric. It was quite sometime before we saw the first glimpses of the islands, but eventually they did come into view a bit clearer.
France off in the distance
The waters round the islands are beautifully clear, reminding me a little of the skerries round Arisaig except the beaches are pebbly.

We had a quick stop on the islands getting to have a wee keek into one of the houses whilst we were there.
Could be described as bijou!
 Big problem with the Ecrehous, no trees or bushes, and every rock you tried to hide behind seemed to be in full view of other visitors!!!

We were soon heading back out, cutting through the small outer islands then making for St Catherines again. One of the websites states the travel time from St Catherines to the Ecrehous is 15 minutes - not in our kayaks it wasn't, it took us almost 3.5 hours to return, thanks to the 5knot tide. We kept adjusting our angle, but we were still going to miss St Catherines. John said to aim for the castle at Orgueil, we'd paddle up the eddy from there. We seemed to have paddled for miles, seeing our destination and never quite reaching it, not much fun for me due to the aforementioned lack of hidey spots out on the islands! Hubby dear had paddled just ahead of me to help me out of the boat and I think must have announced my dilemma to everyone on the pier who seemed to jump out of my way as I sprinted (as best as I could!) up the hill to the loos.
We had a look at one of the paddlers GPS tracking thingies. A lovely straight line on the way across, but a HUGE curve on the way back. It really did show how strong the currents are there.
The good thing about this get out is the icecream shop at the top of the pier - massive dollops - fantastic!
We had to stop and have a look at the sandcastle built by Simon the sandwizard it was absolutely stunning!


by Sarah's Soggy Scenarios ( at July 23, 2014 09:19 PM

OCEANPAX Paddle / Run / Be
Reflections on life, self-propelled outdoor pursuits, and all manner of things that may come to mind while sea kayaking on the waters, and minimalist running along the trails, of south Vancouver Island and Gabriola Island in beautiful British Columbia, Canada.

The Queen's Baton...and the XX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Mike and the family.
We simply can't let the fact pass that cousin and good friend, "MG" Mike, is one of the Batonbearers for the upcoming Glasgow 2014 XX Commonwealth Games. Mike is among the thousands of runners who were appointed to carry the baton and his nomination reflects the difference he has made through volunteering and community support.

The Queen's Baton Relay was launched on October 9th, 2013, at Buckingham Palace. At that time, the Queen placed a message in the baton. Since then, it has travelled from Glasgow, over 190,000 kilometres, through 71 nations and territories before arriving back here in Scotland on June 14th. After criss-crossing this country - 40 days in 400 communities - the final batonbearer will hand the baton back to Her Majesty on the 23rd and she will read her message, proclaiming the Glasgow Commonwealth Games open.

Bravo Mike!

And, oh yes, Glasgow is my "hometown", so it's also just a little extra special to be here this "Year of Homecoming". :)

by Duncan and Joan ( at July 23, 2014 09:08 PM

Kayak Yak
kayaking the We(s)t Coast of British Columbia

Whale Takes Kayakers For a Ride

No, really. A pair of kayakers in a sit-on-top kayak got too close to a whale near Puerto Madryn, Argentina. While the images are amazing, one must remember to follow the local guidelines for approaching wildlife. This story would have a far different ending if these whales had decided it was time for a breach. Check out the video below:

How close is too close when you encounter whales?
Fisheries and Environment Canada recommend that vessels (and that includes kayaks) should stay a minimum 100 metres away from whales. Don't approach from in front or behind, only from the sides.

by (John Herbert) at July 23, 2014 04:00 PM

Sea Kayaking in the Channel Islands
Sea kayaking in the Channel Islands and further afield

Isla San Francisco

There are some places, which you have kayaked to, that leave you with vivid memories.  Isla San Francisco is one of those places, as you paddle into the lagoon you are reminded of what a dramatic location it is.
A crystal clear, horseshoe shaped bay with steeply rising hillsides on two sides create this distinctive feature of Isla San Francisco.  There were a number of yachts at anchor in the bay including ones from Switzerland and Hawaii, demonstrating the attraction of this area for mariners from far and wide.
We spent several hours sheltering in the shade of our simple construction before heading across to mainland for our final campsite, Arroyo Verde, before being picked up the following lunch time.
 Paddling along the eastern shore of Isla San Francisco, this section of coast always reminds me of the sphinx, in Egypt.
 If anyone was to write a book on the great lighthouses of Baja, it would be quite a slim volume, when compared to north west Europe.  This one overlooks the channel between Isla San Francisco and Isla San Jose, to the north.
The inevitable shot of the kayak pulled ashore on a tropical beach.
Shade is at a premium on Isla San Francisco so the more technical amongst the group managed to construct this effective shelter.
 Getting ready to leave, we were aiming to camp at the base of the mountains in the distance.

Looking north across the inland area of Isla San Francisco.  We had crossed earlier from Isla San Jose in the distance
Looking across towards the entrance to the lagoon, the mountains of Baja are behind.
 Kate crossing the channel towards the mainland, amazingly a light north easterly wind picked up and we completed the crossing at speeds between 4 and 5 knots.
Nicky and Tracey taking full advantage of the conditions on the crossing.  It was not hard to imagine what conditions could be like in this area in a strong northerly blow.
Our last beach, easy landing and camping.  Off the point there was some of the best snorkeling that we experienced on the whole trip.  It was here that Kate almost stepped on a rattle snake!

 Our last sunset of the trip.  Looking back towards Isla San Francisco.

by (Kevin Mansell) at July 23, 2014 03:11 PM

What I talk about when I talk about kayaking.

Reiff and Isle Ristol

Overlooking the Summer Isles.
A window of lovely weather out on the west coast of mainland Scotland beckoned, so we packed the van and headed sooth on the first available ferry, hopeful of warmer temperatures and sunshine in Wester Ross.

Advance landing party at the beach on Isle Ristol.
Isle Ristol is located across from our base at Port A Baigh, Altandhu, we crossed with Anne, another visiting paddler we met at the campsite. 
From there on to Reiff  for lunch.

Rockpools at Reiff.
View back to Isle Ristol from the picnic spot.
The wind calmed, the clapotis subsided, and we had a very pleasant return journey back to Isle Ristol.

We rounded Ristol, and my focus was drawn again to the mountainous skyline of Assynt and Coigach - dramatically different to Orkney.

A view of Loch an Alltain Duibh between Altandhu and Isle Ristol.
Isle Ristol once was a herring fishery base like many of the islands in this part of the world. Now it is a Scottish Wildlife Trust Reserve with important wildflowers growing in the machair.

Return to camp.
A very pleasant paddle - thanks to Anne for the added company and conversation.
We knew the forecast was set to improve... and it did!

by Mackayak ( at July 23, 2014 03:08 PM

Essex Explorations
Our membership is small…but that’s by design. Each of our explorers is a recognized leader in their respective field and brings a unique set of skills to the group. Whether a certified instructor, commercial guide, or in the case of our latest member, a professional photographer, each is passionate about explorations, pushing their boundaries, and then sharing that experience with others.

Willapa Bay

Willapa Bay

Camera Settings

Willapa Bay – Summary

Years ago I read the book The Northwest Coast, Or, Three Years’ Residence in Washington Territory by James G. Swan in which he chronicles living in Willapa Bay, known then as Shoalwater Bay, during Washington’s territorial years. His account makes for an incredible read, and it was shortly after finishing the book that Jason and I planned a trip to Long Island, known for its old growth forest, black bears, and mud, to experience a bit of his history for ourselves.

It was a fun trip and sharing sunsets like these with friends never gets old.

The post Willapa Bay appeared first on Essex Media Exploration.

by Steve Weileman at July 23, 2014 01:04 PM
Kajak, Foto,Friluftsliv

Möte med paddlare som var på väg för att bada på Tärnskär

Möte vid Biskopsö, två paddlare som passerade som jag lovade ett foto.





by Bengt Larsson at July 23, 2014 12:47 PM

Paddles with an Anas acuta
Paddles with an Anas acuta.... unashamedly biased towards the kayak of that name

June in Ireland III

 The profusion of orchids....

 and some inland paddling.
 This is Lough Corrib,
 with its rivers,
 historic castles,
 system of buoyage (there are many reefs just awash amongst the islands),
and delightful open crossings. How sweet and unsticky the boat is after an inland voyage and some rolling in warm fresh water.

by Peter Bisset ( at July 23, 2014 12:20 PM

Paddling to See- A blog about sea kayaking in Maine. Join us on scenic sea kayak trips in Maine and other beautiful places

Low Tide at Lamoine

Lamoine State Park is a lovely location, fields and forest beside the sea, the mountains of Mount Desert Island as a backdrop.  Picnicking, camping, swimming and boating are available activities.  My favorite is exploring at low tide. There's so much life available to see.  Crabs, sea stars, urchins, periwinkles, shells in abundance; and a few rarer sightings of anemone and brittle sea stars.  It's an ideal place for cold water snorkeling, and it's fun for paddling, or even just wandering along the water line.
   Now, we've been paddling this spring and summer; mostly on fresh water and mostly in kayaks.  But we haven't done anything particularly photogenic.  So I thought it was time to break from routine- and Lamoine would be a great place for our first salt water paddle board adventure.  We were there fairly early in the morning, so winds were down.

   It took no time to pump up the boards and launch.   Though our long fins mean we need to stay in deeper water than a kayak would, the bottom was easily visible.  Sea star, barnicles and periwinkles dominated on the floor.  But higher up it was jellyfish; moon jellies and lions mane; pulsing and rotating in the water.  Enough jellyfish  so at times it felt like I was paddling through an aquarium exhibit. 
shot from underwater

   There was also this fairly odd creature; which might be a plant or an animal.  It was furled on the rock and looked like thin packing sheets of foam.  When I looked closer it appear to be clear with rows of bubbles within.  (The photo is not as clear as I'd hoped.)   (I'm fortunate that Janet Gagnon from An Ocean Lover in Maine identified this as a tunicate, possibly a didemnum.  Didemnum vexillum is an invasive also known by the unpleasant name, marine vomit.  This particular variant seemed to be whiter and cleaner than other species.  Since I haven't noticed it before, I think it is likely an invasive.
   Ocean Lovers, and Maine Ocean Lovers in particular are missing out if they don't check out Janet's engaging blog.) 

    It was a lovely day, great temperature, not much wind.  We paddled upwind first, the downwind.

    The park is a backdrop for this photo.

    We continued downwind, past the park, admiring the seaside cottages, visiting with a total of six  kayakers out paddling as well.  As it grew closer to lunch we headed back to the park.
   Here our boards, stripped of their fins, are drying in the sun while we're enjoying the view from the shade.

   Summary:  Lamoine State Park   Lots of parking, beach, picnic area, pit toilets, water.  Camping available.  Fee fpor entrance, additional fee to camp.  Launch 9AM, low 10:15AM, finish was 11AM.  Not a lot of miles, but an awful lot of fun.

by PenobscotPaddles ( at July 23, 2014 12:05 PM

Paddle Making (and other canoe stuff)
Functional paddle art and other canoe related ramblings

2014 Wooden Canoe Assembly

Here's a visual treat of all the beautiful boats at this year's Wooden Canoe Heritage Association Assembly...

by Murat ( at July 23, 2014 10:40 AM

Paddling Otaku
Otaku is defined as ' a Japanese term used to refer to people with obsessive interests'

The Delta Seventeen is the Best Expedition Kayak on the planet. Period.

I know.

That is a bold statement. But I have now put a ridiculous amount of miles under the hull of my seventeen. And it is true. I have paddled the Seawards, I have paddled the NDK's, and the Wilderness Systems boats. The P&H Cetus is a beautiful boat too. I came close to buying a Necky Looksha, but at the end of the day, I will stick with my Delta.

After literally thousands of miles, I still love this boat. Let us start with build quality. Beautifully finished, glossy and sexy. With great finishing touches - I would like some more outfitting options. Like a choice of seats, and such. I have made one repair to this boat, and it took me literally seconds - I replaced the hatch cover seals which Delta sent me at no cost. High quality gas pedal style foot braces,  have given me literally zero trouble. After six years and thousands of miles, I have yet to make a repair to my rudder, or rudder cables (and people say they are more prone to problems than skegs, but in the same amount of time I have repaired four skegs for friends or employers) and if you want it with a skeg you can have that too.

Thermoform plastic is a 21st century material, Fiberglass is very 20th century. Sorry folks, but that is how I see it. (the theme of this week at Paddling Otaku is 'drop the dogma' so lets just throw out the notion that fiberglass is the only way to go, because people say it is) Thermoform - when done right, like Delta does - gives me a stronger, lighter, and more forgiving material than fiberglass. Now someone will say "Oh, but you can't fix thermoform like you can fiberglass!" Nonsense. I repaired The Delta 15 after it got damaged from a forklift - yes, that is what it takes to crack one of these boats - and then it did the AGAP trip without issue.  I have done things to this boat where I was sure I had cracked it, and gotten nothing but scratches. I have slid this boat down rocky beaches to get away from bears - yes, a massive coastal brown bear in Alaska, literally had his front paws on my stern hatch, it did no damage - I have loaded it and unloaded it on rocks because it was my only choice for a campsite. It has been on the roof of my car for two round trips to Alaska. Drive the Alaskan highway and you will get hit with debris, I have the cracked windshield to prove it, but no damage to the boat.

For long trips, this boat is exceptionally easy to pack. Large openings, that close easily. No neoprene to fight with over the hatch covers. No day hatch,  with a  tiny opening and adding a bulkhead to the stern. I can put a gallon can of fuel - standing upright! so I don't have to worry about it leaking - in the bow compartment. I don't know of another boat that can do that. Behind the cockpit I can fit three 15 liter dry bags of food, side by side.

A metal locking ring behind the cockpit can also be used as a tie point for towing, and they put supports in the hull where the boat will be sitting in a roof rack. That is the kind of attention to detail I like.

You don't fit well in the seventeen? Well there is a very similar eighteen and sixteen. The sixteen performed amazingly in Alaska, and I will have a review coming up soon.

I think the only real competition for this boat is the NDK explorer, which is a great boat, is beautifully made, and has some incredible attention to detail. The angled rear bulkhead to help empty water out of the cockpit is genius. But it is heavy, and over $1000 more, but neither of those problems  is the deal killer for me. I need to do one thing on an expedition. Move a lot of gear and food. The bow of the Explorer holds 58 liters versus The Seventeens 83 liters. On the explorer add the day hatch to the stern compartment, and you have a total of 99 liters behind the cockpit. The Delta has 135 liters behind the cockpit. We won't even get into the fact that the Day hatch on the Explorer makes it more difficult to pack.

If you have a touring boat you think is better, lets go paddling. Prove me wrong.

by paddlingOTAKU ( at July 23, 2014 09:00 AM

snippets of life from an adventure filmmaker

Island hopping and dogs dinner

We thought long crossings were behind us once we reached the Alaskan peninsula but clearly we were wrong. The mainland is indented with so many large bays that we are often crossing them or hopping from one offshore Island to another on our way NE to Homer. Today we had a 15 mile and a […]

by Justine at July 23, 2014 07:33 AM

July 22, 2014

Have Kayaks Will Travel
Paddlesport Coaching

Progressive coaching at the Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium

Warming up before getting on the water at the Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium.

Warming up before getting on the water at the Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium.

We just completed four immersive days (and nights) at the 30th annual Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium — the oldest kayak symposium in the country, and one with an impressive pedigree. This is the symposium begun by Stan Chladek, who introduced British sea kayaks to the United States and helped jump-start BCU programming and the sport of sea kayaking in North America.

Sharon looks on as participants organize themselves by the length they can hold their breath.

Sharon looks on as participants organize themselves by the length they can hold their breath.

We were fortunate to be asked to teach a “one coach” program this year, allowing us to work with the same 10 students (and one coach mentee) for three and a half days. Students who choose this track are generally seeking a consistent, sequential program delivered over the course of the symposium, as opposed to exposure to numerous coaches offering specific skills sessions. For us, it’s an honor to have that trust. They’ve opted not to take a raft of attractive three-hour courses (offered by a raft of attractive coaches) in order to work with us.

Jeremy Vore helps us film students on the first day of the symposium.

Jeremy Vore helps us film students on the first day of the symposium.

The one-coach track allows us to develop a progression for a group of students. This is especially interesting to us right now because we’re working toward our BCU UKCC Level 2 Certificate in Coaching Paddlesport, which is defined by the ability to “safely deliver a series of pre-planned Paddlesport activities to a variety of different participants” as well as to develop and evaluate those participants’ performance, and review our own coaching sessions.

Participants working together to discover what part of a stroke has the most power.

Participants working together to discover what part of a stroke has the most power.

It was a great incubator for a lot of the coaching practices we’ve been working on, from diverse coaching strategies to engaging and effective activities. We received feedback in several forms: our students’ level of engagement, their improvement, and their comments to us throughout the course and afterwards.

Maneuvering through a slot, using skills developed the previous days.

Maneuvering through a slot, using skills developed the previous days.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore offered an extra opportunity to get feedback, in the form of how well our students were able to use their skills on a journey in a sometimes challenging environment.

Bumpy water on our journey.

For some participants, this was the first time they used these skills on bumpy water.

And a final video analysis session validated their improvement and gave them additional tools for working on their own.

Watching the video, focusing on the key points for being safe, effective and efficient.

Watching the video, focusing on the key points for being safe, effective and efficient.

In the end, the one-coach track was progressive not only for our students, but for us. Coaching itself is a progression. Good coaches are always seeking ways to improve and to assess their effectiveness. We really appreciate opportunities to practice and progress as coaches, and we’re grateful to the organizers of the symposium and to all of our students for allowing us to continue on that journey.

The on-coach group from this year's symposium.

The one-coach group from this year’s symposium.

by havekayakswilltravel at July 22, 2014 10:42 PM

Sea kayaking with
Imagine you are at the edge of the sea on a day when it is difficult to say where the land ends and the sea begins and where the sea ends and the sky begins. Sea kayaking lets you explore these and your own boundaries and broadens your horizons. Sea kayaking is the new mountaineering.

The best sea kayaking day trip.

Photo by Ian Johnston. After our hot descent from the summit of Ailsa Craig it was a relief to cool off by plunging into the cool clear water off the granite spit. Two grey seals swam alongside us but were fortunately not too inquisitive.  We then set off on an anticlockwise circumnavigation... ...below increasingly vertiginous cliffs. This area is the site of the former green  granite

by Douglas Wilcox ( at July 22, 2014 11:28 PM

A whole bunch of Ing's.
Kayaking,camping,rolling, practicing,paddle making, ..Writing,blogging and nautical miles from a normal life

The mini adventure

With a wave from shore we were off. Off on a new to me genre of exploration;  the mid work week mini adventure.

 Rob and I didn't paddle too far as it was after supper before we had even launched. After a full (more than full?) work day he had drove out from the city. Out to escape the city lights and make a attempt at hitting the top of Hopeall head at night.

At sunset we landed at Georges cove in Hopeall and set up our camp next to the kayaks. As darkness approached we switched over to hiking boots and hit the incline. With the heat and humidity we questioned our sanity multiple times on the hike well as heading back down the pathless blow down log parkour. However we had made the summit and covered in stinging nettle stings made our decent.

 We returned to camp just after last light. The fire roared to life and chicken cooked on hot slate as I fried up some toutons. Work, politics, religion and paddling were on our tongues most of the night. Thankfully we share most of the same views; I guess that's why we're still out doing this stuff together after 30 odd years. We turned in at midnight after a good few hours of catchin up.

 An eagles chirp awoke me around 7am. I walked around taking a few photos enjoying the cool morning air. Rob crawled out of his tent shortly after with what has to be the most positive complaint I had ever heard. I guess while I was sound asleep a few whales blowing a few feet from our tent had kept Rob up to 3am. Unlike other critters of the's really hard to shoo a whales away!

With young families, work commitments and general life it really does keep us from camping and exploring on longer trips like we use to. Yet no matter how busy we get (with a bit of effort) even busy folks can squeeze in a overnight trip.

by Lee ( at July 22, 2014 08:25 PM

Being the Continuing Adventures of a Woman and her Trusty Kayak in New York Harbor, the Hudson River, and Beyond. (with occasional political rants just to keep things lively!)

Who's Got Big Bollards?


Who? Why, the Mary A. Whalen, my favorite retired tanker in NYC has got big bollards, and all kinds of other industrial-strength hardware too - and you can grab yourself a bollard (or whatever else you might want) this coming Sunday (7/27/2014) at PortSide NewYork's "Heavy Metal Fundraising Sale".

Click here for more info!

by (bonnie) at July 22, 2014 07:25 PM

Seaworthy, salty, and sauced.

So Done.


Photo of Monsieur Brinestorm by Barbara Kossy.

So very done. Just…done. (Pro tip: With a PFD on, pretty much every beach is comfortable.)

by nathan at July 22, 2014 04:54 PM

Essex Explorations
Our membership is small…but that’s by design. Each of our explorers is a recognized leader in their respective field and brings a unique set of skills to the group. Whether a certified instructor, commercial guide, or in the case of our latest member, a professional photographer, each is passionate about explorations, pushing their boundaries, and then sharing that experience with others.

‘Roadless Coast’ to be featured on OutsideTV

Just heard that ‘Roadless Coast’, my first attempt at making a full length documentary, has been picked up by OutsideTV and will air this Saturday at 6 PM PST. For those of you coming late to the party, the movie documents our paddle down the Washington coast during the summer of 2012 searching for tsunami debris as well as conducting beach debris surveys for NOAA.

Roadless Coast Movie Poster

The Roadless Coast. Poster designed by Steve Weileman

During the course of our journey we found both the remains of a Japaneses home or more specifically the remains of the bathroom as well as a soccer ball. Through the help of news team from Japan covering our journey the ball was traced back to the Otsuchi Soccer Club. With the help of John Anderson and the film crew of Lost and Found it was evidently returned. You can read about it here.

Of course, the film was a collaborative work between myself, Ken Campbell, and Jason Goldstein with everyone contributing to the finished product. I’m tickled to have it showing on the ‘tube’, but as I’m headed back to Alaska this morning, my viewing will have to wait until my return. Still leave your comments and let me know what you think.

The post ‘Roadless Coast’ to be featured on OutsideTV appeared first on Essex Media Exploration.

by Steve Weileman at July 22, 2014 04:40 PM



Tenemos varias WEBCAMs en la costa gaditana, pero no siempre están activas ni tienen buena resolución.
Esta tiene buena calidad y para los que vivimos en la capital está muy bien para dar un vistazo rápido a las condiciones de la mar.
La pongo directamente en los enlaces de este blog:

by Jose Bello ( at July 22, 2014 04:47 PM

Paddling Otaku
Otaku is defined as ' a Japanese term used to refer to people with obsessive interests'

The Shokunin Mindset.

The Japanese word shokunin is defined by both Japanese and Japanese-English dictionaries as ‘craftsman’ or ‘artisan,’ but such a literal description does not fully express the deeper meaning.  The Japanese apprentice is taught that shokunin means not only having technical skills, but also implies an attitude and social consciousness. … The shokunin has a social obligation to work his/her best for the general welfare of the people.  This obligation is both spiritual and material, in that no matter what it is, the shokunin’s responsibility is to fulfill the requirement.” – Tasio Odate

Kayaking is too frequently taught as dogma. I don't believe this is the best way to learn something. I work very hard at two things. Being the best teacher I can be, and doing the best forward stroke I can do. I don't think it can be taught by one method. I have used many over time, and I have learned to tailor lessons to the people in front of me. Not everyone learns the same way. Why should we teach them the same way, particularly something as difficult to teach as the forward stroke. 

Bruce Lee knew that fighting styles shouldn't be taught as dogma. He took this, and he took that and he combined them to create his on style of 'no style'. 

It is that combination of things teaching, and the forward stroke, that I feel is my Shokunin. It is my obligation, to not only continually refine my forward stroke, but to refine how I teach it. Don't get me wrong. I think I am a good paddler, but there are many who are better. I am great at expeditions, but there are many that are better. By I am obsessed by the forward stroke, and appalled by the little bit of attention it gets. 

I am continually drawn back to the film "Jiro Dreams of Sushi" because it is at once so inspiring and so humbling. Today I was struck by a sentence, spoken by the man who sells eel and octopus. That is all he does, is sell eel and octopus. Jiro's son goes to him - as he does all his fish vendors - because they are experts at their craft. Jiro is an expert at making Sushi, but he goes to people who are experts in fish. He knows he can't possibly know as much as they do, because they specialize in just one thing. The eel man said, "even at my age I am learning new techniques. even when you think you know it all, you are just fooling yourself, and you feel foolish."

I haven't held kayak paddle as long as this man has held octopus. I think I am at the point, after 20 years, where I am starting to get good. 

When you choose to do something, you have to choose to do it well. You have to say, Today I am going to be the best I can be. And you have to say it everyday. If you don't you are letting yourself down. But if you do this, you will excel, in whatever you do. If you are a brick layer, strive to be the best bricklayer.

too often I see people who fail, because they don't want to try. I work hard to be as good as I can be. If I know I can't compete I move onto something else, I am not saying I have to be the best, because I am certainly not, But I have to be MY best. Which is why I am no longer a paramedic.

every time I get into the cockpit, I am thinking about all the minutia. The feel of the boat, the feel of the water. The feel of the paddle. I am working to be the best paddler I can be, particularly as it relates to the forward stroke.

You may think that this level of attention is a little crazy. It's just paddling after all, but it makes a difference, at least to me. And the pay off is when I see a student start to get it. Or when I have that perfect day, and the paddle glides effortlessly through the water. That is when it is worth it.

by paddlingOTAKU ( at July 22, 2014 02:29 PM

IKDM Channel (video)


Greenland 515 CS Canoe 48 cm x 5,15 m e 195 litri Peso 12 kg Greenland kayak in Karbon/kevlar East Greenland, hard chine

by IKDMCHANNEL at July 22, 2014 02:16 PM

Océanos de Libertad

BCU 3 STAR ( Training and assessment ) con Marc Martin SEAKAYAKSPAIN.

Marc dándonos instrucciones
De Izquierda  a derecha, Pau, Helen, Juanjo y Marc en Aiguablava.
La costa brava es bellísima, pinares a pie de agua en los acantilados.
Multitud de cuevas a lo largo de la costa.  La Cova d¨ en Gispert.

Bueno, como ya os dije en alguna entrada anteior, formarse es fundamental. Es cierto que supone un esfuerzo económico, pero merece la pena invertir en aprender y mejorar, noas ahorrará tiempo y esfuerzo, a la par que evitaremos problemas derivados de malas praxis. Así que tome en práctica mis palabras, y fui a continuar con mi formación, con uno de los mejores...

 Este pasado fin de semana, tuve el gustazo de poder asistir junto a mis fantásticos compañeros Helen, Pau y Juanjo, al curso para intentar obtener la certificación BCU 3 estrellas impartido por un profesional experimentadísimo: Marc Martin (SeaKayakSpain) 

Juanjo observando un paso.
Pau  disfrutando del recorrido.

Juanjo arrimándose...


El desplazamiento a Palamós merecio la pena, tanto por la calidad humana de Marc, como por su trabajo a la hora de pulir nuestra técnica. Desde luego que uno siempre aprende algo nuevo, algún detalle técnico a corregir, metodología, etc...una experiencia sumamente enrriquecedora.

La valoración del curso, totalmente positiva, y recomendable en un 200%, para quien desconozco lo que significa un curso BCU 3 estrellas, comentar que la British Canoe Union, tiene unas certificaciones, que acreditan la capacitación técnica de un palista, en este caso concreto en kayak de Mar, mi objetivo no es quedarme en las 3 estrellas, sino seguir progresando cuando tenga posibilidad...

 Es la titulación más reconocida a nivel internacional, y por poneros un ejemplo, en muchos paises, sin un BCU 3 estrellas, no te alquilan material, sino que necesitarias contratar los servicios de un guía.

 Ya más adelante publicaré fotos y videos, de esta bellísima costa (pena de que la GOPRO no funcionara...¡¡Claro que si no le pongo la bateria...dificilmente iba a poder hacer toma alguna!!

Pues nada, me despido agradeciendo a is compañeros y ahora amigos su compañía, y a Marc sus enseñanzas, dedicación, y amistad. ¡¡ GRACIAS !!

Práctica de reembarque en las proximidades de Cala de Castell.

Juanjo con Palafrugell de fondo
Juanjo arriesgando...

Helen jugando con un skin on frame.

by Jorge López ( at July 22, 2014 10:49 AM

snippets of life from an adventure filmmaker

22 July, 2014 09:31

Tonight’s campsite is one of my all time favourites. We’re on a bouldery beach with our very own shipwreck, with sea lions and squawking birds for company. From our small island, our view is the majestic sky scraper ridge of Castle Cape and neighbouring jagged peaks. A couple of whales cruised by as we ate […]

by Justine at July 22, 2014 08:31 AM

Jimski's Blog

Skerries in the Mist

Following the great rains of Saturday, I joined members of Liverpool Canoe Club on a trip out to The Skerries off the North West coast of Anglesey. We launched at Cemlyn Bay where there was a gentle breeze and the sun was shining brightly.

As we left the bay we noticed the The Skerries were missing! We paddled into mist and dense fog patches. These weather conditions kept us guessing and focused on our navigation skills. However, past training and practice paid off as the islands loomed out of the gloom with around a kilometre to go.

Life on The Skerries is as hectic as ever. Most of the young Arctic Terns have now fledged but parent birds are still being kept busy feeding some of the younger ones.

A handful of chicks have yet to get their flight feathers. These late comers to the party will have to grow up fast if they are to be strong enough to make the long Autumn migration to the South Atlantic in the next 4-6 weeks.

In the meantime, life in the waters and around the rocks is busy for the seals. There was hardly a dull moment as we were escorted off the premises by several of these playful, inquisitive sea creatures.

The mist and fog patches remained for our return crossing. As we arrived back at the Anglesey shoreline, we took the opportunity to explore the gullies and channels that lead the way from Hen Borth to Cemlyn Bay. Many thanks again to my friends at Liverpool Canoe Club for their company over the weekend.

by Jim Krawiecki ( at July 22, 2014 08:37 AM

Outdoor news and teaching secrets revealed...

Watch these Kayakers Get a Free Ride on the Back of a Whale

Watch these Kayakers Get a Free Ride on the Back of a Whale
Check out this super dramatic footage of two kayakers in a double kayak getting lifted up by a whale. You got to see it to believe it. According to the Youtube title this took place near Puerto Madryn, Argentina.

by (David Johnston) at July 22, 2014 04:00 AM

The Ikkatsu Project
In service of the ocean

The Next generation

The Hyas yiem was a fine craft and it got me from Olympia to Bellingham in style. I’m not exactly sure what comes next for her but right now she’s in storage, hanging out of the weather, just waiting. The thing is, that’s a heavy boat and difficult to move, at least when it’s out of the water. I like the way that, because of its construction, it gets people thinking about single-use plastic and conversations were started simply because of the way it was built… I’d like to keep those conversations going.

I had some bottles left after making the boat and I’ve decided to use them to make a standup paddleboard. I’m hoping to get just as many good conversations but with something I can carry around a little more easily. It’s about half done… looking to get it out on the water next week.

by Ken Campbell at July 22, 2014 03:27 AM

Sea kayaking with
Imagine you are at the edge of the sea on a day when it is difficult to say where the land ends and the sea begins and where the sea ends and the sky begins. Sea kayaking lets you explore these and your own boundaries and broadens your horizons. Sea kayaking is the new mountaineering.

On foot on Ailsa Craig.

As we ate our sandwiches on the granite rubble spit we noticed that there were many blocks of granite that had been bored to produce the plugs of granite from which curling stones are cut. Kays of Mauchline visit every 10 years or so to remove about 2000 tons of granite that were blasted land quarried last century. Green, blue hone and red hone granite is all collected by a digger with a

by Douglas Wilcox ( at July 22, 2014 12:05 AM

July 21, 2014

kajaknördar - paddling verkar kul
tid utomhus räknas

Ont om öde öar i Fjällbacka skärgård

Verkar vara lite snålt med öde öar när det är juli, 29 grader varmt och nästan vindstilla ;) men vi hittade en och det räcker ju ganska långt. Låg nog 20-30 båtar kring Långeskär och ett 40-tal runt Lyngö när vi paddlade förbi idag.
Nu go horisontvy strax utanför Vedholmen.20140721-201357-72837413.jpg

by Erik Sjöstedt at July 21, 2014 06:14 PM


¿Angulo alto o bajo?

Es frecuente que se de por hecho que un palista de mar tiene un ángulo menor de paleo que un palista de aguas tranquilas. Entendemos el ángulo de paleo el que forma la línea de la pértiga con la superficie del agua.

El que la pala entre más o menos cerca de la verticalidad depende de lo alta o baja tengamos la otra mano (la que impulsa la pala), en relación con nuestro cuerpo (lo habitual es usar la altura de los ojos).
Ya he comentado con anterioridad, ventajas y desventajas de usar un ángulo alto o bajo, relacionando ambos estilos con la utilización de pala wing versus europea.

En teoría aquellos/as que priorizan la velocidad  deben usar un ángulo mayor que los que prefieren la maniobrabilidad, por la mayor eficiencia en la progresión, si bien esto resta estabilidad y apoyo a la embarcación, pues la palada tiene dos componentes básicos: impulso del kayak y sustento del palista.  Si no necesitamos estabilizarnos, podemos dedicar todo el esfuerzo al impulso hacia adelante de la embarcación, si al contrario nos sentimos inestables, la proporción del movimiento de la palada dedicada al sustento debe ser mayor, perdiendo impulso de avance.

Los diferentes tipos de palas usadas en mar se decantan por una u otra cosa , también hablé de ello en otra entrada anterior, evolución de la pala .

El avance más efectivo se consigue cuando la hoja entra en el agua lo más cerca posible del kayak y lo más adelantada posible, saliendo del agua a la altura de la cadera.

Todo lo anterior es teoría básica del paleo de impulso eficiente (fordward stroke), un poco aburrido... Afortunadamente para nosotros, kayakistas de mar, la cosa es más divertida cuando las propias condiciones del agua se complican. Es entonces cuando realmente hay que "tirar de técnica" para conseguir un avance efectivo en nuestro medio marino.

Cada uno tendremos nuestro propio estilo, dependiendo de la "herramienta"  que usemos y de nuestra "historia personal" en esto del kayak. Pero si partimos de una pala europea, que en mi opinión es la opción más polivalente, debemos saber que dependiendo de si paleamos con ángulo alto o bajo la forma de la hoja es diferente, para hacer más eficaz la fase acuática (estrecha y más larga: angulo bajo - ancha y más corta: angulo alto) para la misma superficie.
Un par de trucos para afinar la técnica en mar:
  • Encuentra el angulo de paleo ideal para ti, una vez que lo tengas busca  una referencia en la cubierta de tu kayak, que alinee tu visión con el puño cuando estiras el brazo . Intenta mantener ambos puños a esa altura en todas tus paladas propulsoras.
  • Imagina que estas dando un puñetazo cuando empujes la pala con la mano que tienes arriba durante el paleo, esto te obligará a alinear muñeca, codo y hombro, estirando el brazo totalmente. Para evitar distorsiones deja la mano abierta cuando entrenes el gesto (eso evitará que gires la muñeca). 

by Jose Bello ( at July 21, 2014 05:07 PM

René Seindal
Living, working, kayaking, rowing in Venice, Italy

The Redentore Feast

The Redentore Feast is probably the most important popular celebration in Venice. Dinner down in the calle, fondamenta or in barca, ended by huge fireworks in the bacino afterwards.

We celebrated in Riva de l’Arsenal, and enjoyed the fireworks from the nearby Ponte della Marina Veneta.

Dinner in fondamenta Rio de l'Arsenal Party leftovers Showoff boat Dessert is ready Chatting away Digesting Fireworks Fireworks Fireworks Fireworks Fireworks Fireworks Fireworks Fireworks After the fireworks

by René Seindal at July 21, 2014 03:00 PM

Being the Continuing Adventures of a Woman and her Trusty Kayak in New York Harbor, the Hudson River, and Beyond. (with occasional political rants just to keep things lively!)

snippets of life from an adventure filmmaker

Electric bears

“We won’t know if the plane’s coming or not until we hear it”, the surveyor said with a grin. That wasn’t helpful to us trying to plan when our electric bear fence might arrive and whether we’d be able to paddle today. But it was accurate. The locals have nicknames for the small airlines Pen […]

by Justine at July 21, 2014 09:38 AM

Mountain and Sea Scotland
Hillwalking and Sea Kayaking in Scotland

Big air and deep water at Ailsa Craig

Having looked around the lighthouse and the quarry infrastructure, Douglas and I decided to make the most of our day on Ailsa Craig by climbing to the summit of the island.

The start of the path isn't easy to find but Douglas has been up previously and knew exactly where to look behind one of the buildings to find it.  The path is faint and in summer goes through chest high bracken on the lower slopes.  It also climbs at quite an angle, varying from steep through very steep to vertiginous and requires the occasional use of hands. 

After an initial steep pull the angle briefly relents on a shelf of rock.  Ahead is the Castle, a square peel tower built with local stone and dressed on the corners with blocks of sandstone.  The Castle was almost certainly built by the Hamiltons but no record remains of why it was built or how long it was occupied.  It is said to have links with the monks of Crossraguel Abbey and was also briefly held by Catholic forces on behalf of King Philip II of Spain.

Above the Castle the ascent resumes its steep angle.  A small well, more a tiny spring really, sits above the building and may have influenced the siting of the building.  The steep slopes of Ailsa Craig continue underwater as well as above, straight into the deep water of the Firth of Clyde. 

We paused on a level platform just below the final rocky climb to the summit to watch as FPV Minna cruised by below.  At 42 metres long she's not a big vessel and looked even smaller from up here.

One final pull up and we were on the 338 metre/1109 ft summit of Ailsa Craig.  The small summit area is surrounded by ground which drops away to the sea below, the faint noise of thousands of seabirds and the clouds of white specks we knew to be Gannets with two metre wingspans gave a sense of scale; we were truly in "big air". 

And the views!  From the Ayrshire coast round to County Antrim in Northern Ireland to Kintyre, Arran and the mountains of Argyll there is a wonderful 360 degree view with a foreground of blue sea.  Arran looked close and yet is 25 kilometres away.  We picked out Pladda and Benna Head, highlights of our recent journey around the island.

There was almost no breeze on the summit and the afternoon was warm.  We spent some time absorbing the views and then prepared for the descent, the knee-jarring to come would be as tough as the climb - though Douglas' bionic knees can now cope with a remarkable amount!

We were glad of the dry underfoot conditions on our way down.  The angle is such that for most of the way any slip would have serious consequences; in muddy conditions I would think twice about climbing the hill.  Gradually the lighthouse came into view along with our kayaks drawn up on the storm beach.  It's interesting to contrast this image with one taken by Douglas from a similar point in 2012; the curving shingle spit and a huge pile of rock have been completely erased by storms in the intervening period - a really striking change. 

We were hot and tired on the way down and looked forward to completing the "hat trick" at Ailsa Craig by kayaking, hillwalking and swimming.....

On the lower heathery slopes we saw several beautiful Magpie moths (Abraxa grossulariata).  They feed on the leaves of shrubs, so on Ailsa Craig they must favour the only small trees available, Elders (known as Bour trees and so scarce are trees here that they're marked on the map).  Lovely as this small wildlife spectacle was, our wildlife encounters were shortly to get a whole lot more widescreen....

Meantime though there was the pure pleasure of a swim in the cool waters of the Firth of Clyde.  Instantly refreshing and invigorating, our swim was enlivened by the presence of a couple of nearby Grey Seals who were curious about these pale-coloured visitors to their world and stayed around to check us out, quite a privilege

by Ian Johnston ( at July 21, 2014 10:30 AM

Paddle Making (and other canoe stuff)
Functional paddle art and other canoe related ramblings

Labrador Passage 2014 Expedition

Just found out about interesting canoe expedition planned for the summer of 2014. Labrador Passage is a documentary film project setting out to retrace Mina Hubbard's historic 1905 canoe journey through Labrador.

In this particular trip, the two paddlers will be using as much traditional, non-synthetic equipment as possible - canvas packs, tin-cloth rain gear, a canvas tent, etc. In addition, one of the sponsors - The Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum - is commissioning a specially built Atkinson Traveler cedar canvas canoe from Rollin Thurlow of the Northwoods Canoe Company. The plan is that after the expedition the Traveler will be returned to the WCHM where it will be added to museum collection for display.

Here's a vimeo vid of one of the crew members describing the plans for the journey.

This isn't the first attempt at retracing Mina's 1905 route in a cedar canvas canoe. In 2000, British freelance author Alexandra Pratt attempted this route with a single Innu guide, Jean-Pierre Ashini. Interesting that the canoe then was another Thurlow Northwoods canoe.

Pratt & Ashini setting out from North West River, Labrador

Unfortunately changes to river water levels due to modern hydroelectric projects, forest fires, as well her guide's knee injury during some upstream travel meant the expedition had to be abandoned quite early on and the team evacuated by helicopter. Not sure what happened to the canoe in the was left behind to be picked up in the winter. Her adventure was published in a book entitled Lost lands, forgotten stories : a woman's journey to the heart of Labrador. 

Hope this 2014 expedition has lots of success in tackling a very challenging route with the added "burden" of using historic gear on their trip

by Murat ( at July 21, 2014 10:20 AM

Extreme Sea Kayaking Adventures
Exploring the Pacific Ocean Coast of California and Oregon

Up a Hot Creek With a Paddle – Sea Kayaking in the Oregon Desert

On a cloudy day in April we headed east. Clear sailing until five hours out and a pronghorn played chicken with the truck so I had to cross into the opposite lane and take my foot off the gas so it could pass on the right and run in front of the truck at 60 [...]

by Nancy Soares at July 21, 2014 07:45 AM

Sea Kayaking in the Channel Islands
Sea kayaking in the Channel Islands and further afield


There is something very special about kayaking through mangroves.  Living in Jersey it's not something that I get to do that often so we were eager to visit this special corner of Baja, repeating a section of the journey from the year before.
Entry into the mangroves wasn't that easy because of the outgoing tide but the ability to increase the amount of power into the forward stroke and a knowledge of ferry gliding ensured that we were able to overcome the power of the current, allowing us access to the serenity of the mangrove swamp.
What was immediately noticeable was the silence, there was some noise from the numerous birds in the area but almost nothing else, as we drifted through the narrow channels.
We spent a couple of hours in this rather special place before commencing the crossing to Isla San Francisco.  Sadly we knew that this was going to be our last full day on the water.
 Before we left the camp Kate had time for a bit of beach art.  There were hundreds of these huge shells littering the beach.
 Alex entering the mangroves, the current is flowing from left to right with deceptive speed.
 Paddling along the main channel.
 Looking back to the north.  This gives some idea of the width of the main channel
 Entering one of the narrower side channels.  Apart from the drip of water off the paddles there was almost total silence.
 Tracey reaching the end of a minor channel.
 Nicky heading out of the mangroves.  Our next destination is Isla San Francisco which is clearly visible over the top of the shingle bank.
 Crossing to Isla San Francisco.

by (Kevin Mansell) at July 21, 2014 06:09 AM

Paddling to See- A blog about sea kayaking in Maine. Join us on scenic sea kayak trips in Maine and other beautiful places

Oru Kayak Demo

   Mark and I are dedicated members of the kayak of the month club.  It just seems like there are so many good ideas out there.  Like a light kayak you can fold up.
    Just last weekend we loaded our kayaks on the roof and headed two hours south for a gathering which was supposed to happen on a beach accessible by boat only.  However when we arrived it was 68 degrees (F), foggy with a 20 mph wind.  For some reason none of the others (who were arriving via a shuttling skiff arrangement) felt it would be a good beach day.  So an alternative gathering was thrown together, and on the way home, as a consolation prize, we paddled a few miles on a river.  And when we got home we lifted those same 50 pound kayaks back off the car to put them away.

  It was the sort of situation made for an Oru, the origami kayak.  Rather than lifting heavy boats, we could have tossed them in the back.  When there was a change of plans, we wouldn't have had to worry if we'd loosened the straps when the sun came out, or if the boats were filling with rain when a shower passed overhead.

  And as Mark read about the Oru, he found that they were doing a "Pop Up"  demonstration in Portland Maine on Sunday.  So we signed up, via Facebook and planned to attend. 
The boat launch in Portland, viewed from on high where we found parking
   There were the usual signs of disaster on the way down.  When Mark called Portland Paddle (the sponsor) to confirm the event at first he was told it had happened yesterday.  When Mark expressed dismay that Facebook said it was a Sunday event, the voice reconsidered and said she was mistaken, she thought the day was Monday; but had that error corrected, the day was in fact Sunday and the event had not occurred yet.  (I'm still not sure if that reflected her being overworked or over-partied.)  There were rain showers, Mark's computer turned itself on, overheating and using up most of the charge trying to run a fan to cool itself, there was a huge traffic tie-up....  still we got to the Portland Promenade about the same time the Oru rep, Cara, arrived.

   Portland Paddle has a nice set up at East End Beach.  They offer kayak and SUP rentals, lessons and tours and with Fort Gorges just a half mile off shore, some awesome places to explore.  They take kids as young as 7 on tours.  Portland Harbor is one of my favorite places for day trips in Maine - having a kayak rental on site makes it even better.

  Cara put the kayak together, while we all kibitzed about how heavy our kayaks are.

    As Cara put it together she was careful to explain about what changes had been made since the first edition, including new end caps (which are sturdier than those on the model we tested)  We took turns sitting in the Oru, then brought it, and a second boxed Oru kayak to the beach where we took turns testing the boat.  There wasn't a very big group of testers; though the second Oru was unfolded, it wasn't used.

  The questions folks seemed to have are: 
   Is it light?  Yes, it's very light.  Folded up or constructed I could easily move a boat.

Light as a feather
  Is it sturdy?  Time will tell.  The folds are rated for 10,000 folds.  I checked the bottom of one of  the kayaks for scratches and didn't see many, but it would be nice to check it again in a year.  Mark managed to pop the back of the kayak as he got out.  He was using his paddle to brace.  A bracing paddle should be placed over the combing, while his was on the back deck, plus Mark is a bigger guy. I don't have a picture of what happened, because we scrambled to fix it.  It popped back into place, but a channel sealing section was slightly torn.  (This is a piece which snapped off every time the kayak is disassembled, the tear didn't effect seaworthiness, but it would probably need replacement.)

Is it stable?  Definitely, it's stable and it tracks well.

Is it a sea kayak?  No.  It does not claim to be a sea kayak.  It does not have genuine bulkheads.  There are float bags available.  A tester from Portland Paddle rolled the kayak easily, and I'm sure that rescues like a foot hook rescue or re-entry and roll are possible for everyone.   Scramble rescues are practical for average sized paddlers.  But it's only a twelve foot boat and its not designed for open ocean.

Is it a fun paddle?  Yes, it feels like a bigger boat than it is. It's responsive, you can edge it, it moves quickly and obediently through the water.  It tracks very well.  There is a foot brace, a bar positioned by straps.  The seat is basic and flat, but bearable.   There is storage behind the seat and some deck storage.

Optional equipment for the Oru include float bags, a backpack, and a four piece paddle adjustable in length and angle.  The float bags are a great idea, the backpack could be useful and the paddle seemed well worth the price.  Cara mentions they are thinking of a better paddle and perhaps an add on rudder. (A seat upgrade would be a nice option too - not so much more padding, which a yak pad would offer but a little contouring -  if they're looking for suggestions.)

Cara did a great job, showing us the Oru,  and letting us test it.   She had been in New York, demoing the boat and was scheduled to be at Oru's next East Coast demonstration  in Boston, Tuesday, July 22, 2014.

The Oru was a fun kayak and is very tempting.  If money were no object I'd add it to my collection.  But, as it is, we've already bought paddleboards this year. (we might be more in the Kayak-of-the-Year club)  So we need to assess where and how likely we'd be to use it.  The Oru would be great if we were regularly traveling to quiet waters, say driving south every winter....  Ideal, if we had a sailboat we were taking to exotic locations.  Tempting if we sometimes drove long distances to family gatherings and wanted access to paddling without being too blatant about it.

Also seen at the Promonade were many other kayakers.  There was a long skinny Cheaspeake lurking off shore.  A trio of fast fiberglass paddlers came in from a trip around Peakes Island and up to Little Chebeague.   A traditional paddler who'd been out rolling visited us.  He mentioned Portland was about to get a skin-on-frame store.  (maybe called Dancing Bear??)

East End Beach Portland on a Sunday afternoon is entertaining for the kayak variety alone. 


by PenobscotPaddles ( at July 21, 2014 05:52 AM

July 20, 2014

Sea kayaking with
Imagine you are at the edge of the sea on a day when it is difficult to say where the land ends and the sea begins and where the sea ends and the sky begins. Sea kayaking lets you explore these and your own boundaries and broadens your horizons. Sea kayaking is the new mountaineering.

Big boats and wee boats, all headed for Ailsa Craig!

It was an overcast morning when Ian and I met at Lendalfoot on the Ayrshire coast for a trip out to Ailsa Craig. It was actually my third trip of the year but Ian had missed the last trip so any excuse as they say. We were not the only ones interested in the Craig. The cruise liner MV Discovery beat us too it despite Ian's 04:30 start from Aberdeenshire! A telephoto lens makes Ailsa Craig

by Douglas Wilcox ( at July 20, 2014 11:42 PM

Sarah's Soggy Scenarios
A light hearted insight into my paddling trips in and around Scotland - and beyond!

Jersey - Wheeeeeee!

Looking for rough water
I crawled along for breakfast, I think yesterdays rough water rescues has taken it out of me, but todays sessions should be easier - rough water handling!!!
Richard from Cornwall

Hubby dear keeping his feet dry!
Showing off as usual
Back down to Corbiere, of course still no drysuit, but thankfully, the water is considerably warmer here than in Scotland! When we got there, there was a distinct lack of rough water so we had a wee paddle up through the rocks til the tide turned. We then headed back down by the lighthouse where Richard from Cornwall put us through our paces in the now lumpier water, vectoring, breaking in and out round the rocks, then again backwards, hitting targets and lots more besides!  
Now his feet are wet!
Richard sitting pretty
Quick bite of lunch, then off for our afternoon session, surfing down at St Ouen's Bay. Paul, John and Tracey were there giving us hints and tips. Again there wasn't a lot of surf, but enough to give us a wee taster, a real good giggle, a fine chance to go "whee" lots and true to surfing form, we surfed til we dropped with just one last go - OK, just another last go, - right, this one has to be our last go, OK, this is really our last go!
Missed that one!

Yet another great days paddling before going onto a buffet, then dancing til the wee hours down the road at the Corbiere Phare.

by Sarah's Soggy Scenarios ( at July 20, 2014 09:44 PM

kajaknördar - paddling verkar kul
tid utomhus räknas

Go kväll på Ulsholmen

Efter supertrevligt kajakkalas paddlade vi ut från ett stilla Havstensund och har nu landat på västsidan av Ulsholmen. Grymt fina klippor och superfin kväll.20140720-221501-80101678.jpg




by Pia Sjöstedt at July 20, 2014 08:17 PM


Sea Kayak Estonian Gathering 2014: such a special experience!!!

E' successo quasi per caso, una di quelle fortunate coincidenze che ti fanno sorridere alla vita.
Renè Valner mi ha invitato a raggiungerlo in Estonia quando eravamo entrambi ad Anglesey, lo scorso mese di maggio. E' stato bello ricevere l'invito e ancora più bello partecipare alla quinta edizione dello SKEG!
L'incontro si svolge ogni anno in un luogo diverso e stavolta la meta era il piccolo ed accogliente arcipelago di Kolga Bay, ad est della capitale Tallinn, nel Golfo di Finlandia, lassù nel Mar Baltico.

Almost ready to start from Kaberneeme...
Quest'anno le condizioni meteo sembravano avverse: un inusuale e forte vento da est, basse temperature dell'aria e dell'acqua ed un mare scuro sempre increspato... Non mi aspettavo di trovare nessuno all'appuntamento di venerdì sera a Kaberneeme: ed invece i quasi 40 partecipanti sono arrivati tutti alla spicciolata, impazienti di stivare in kayak l'essenziale e partire all'avventura! Ed un'avventura è stata!

First breafing with the 3* group...
Non solo perché all'imbarco il pozzetto di un kayak, traversato dalle onde, è stato forato dalla poppa di un altro kayak, e neanche perché alle 22.00 ora locale eravamo ancora a metà del percorso, e neppure perché siamo sbarcati che era quasi mezzanotte, cominciava a far freddo e dei compagni di viaggi si intravedeva solo il profilo scuro sull'acqua nera. Ma anche perché il vento teso dei due giorni successivi ci ha costretto a rimanere sulla splendida isola di Aksi, senza poter raggiungere la più lontana e piccola isola di Keri, di cui abbiamo potuto solo ammirare il faro distante all'orizzonte ed ascoltare i racconti della sua sauna seminterrata...

Guessing where excactly we were...
E soprattutto perché la traversata del ritorno è diventata lenta e faticosa: un ragazzo ha iniziato ad avere la nausea e conati poco dopo la partenza, è stato zatterato e trainato da tre compagni per quasi due ore. Quando il nostro gruppo ha raggiunto il suo, un'altra ragazza ha sofferto il mal di mare, che come l'ipotermia è contagioso. Sono arrivati i soccorsi e tutto si è risolto per il meglio, ma è stato impegnativo. Ed istruttivo, anche. E' stato importante per tutti sperimentare dal vivo una situazione di reale emergenza, rimanere compatti e concentrati, aiutarsi a vicenda quando necessario. In kayak si è soli ma in mare non mai!

Paddling at the sunset... around 11 p.m.!
Per questo e per altre mille prove di buona competenza tecnica (e di grande solidarietà umana!) i sei ragazzi del nostro corso 3 stelle BCU sono stati tutti promossi a pieni voti: Mariell, Kessu, Toomas, Juri, Indrek e Rainer sono stati tutti meravigliosi, entusiasti e positivi!
Come positiva ed entusiasta è stata la partecipazione di tutti gli altri insegnanti presenti: Trenk Muller con cui ho condiviso non solo la tenda e la cucina, ma anche la gestione del gruppo in acqua; Johan Wagner che ha coordinato gli aspiranti 4 stelle e ha sempre avuto un aneddoto adatto ad ogni situazione; Marc Martin, Anna Moreno ed Eva-Lotta Backam che hanno gestito il più numeroso gruppo di aspiranti 3 stelle, in una straordinaria mescolanza di lingue e stili d'insegnamento, perfetta per un symposium internazionale.

Trenk showing the sweep stroke...
I padroni di casa Rene Valner e Mariell Jussi sono stati perfetti e si sono occupati di me anche dopo il symposium. Sono molto riconoscente ad entrambi. Ci sono solo due voli diretti da Bergamo a Tallinn, il lunedì ed il giovedì: mi sono concessa qualche giorno di vacanza per visitare il paese baltico. Mai avrei immaginato di immergermi tanto nella cultura e nello stile di vita estone! Grazie a Rene e Mariell, che mi hanno condotto nella loro nuova casa di campagna, ho scoperto il lato nascosto e più attraente della vita rurale estone e non sono mai stata tanto bene durante un viaggio "da sola"...

Individual feddback...
Ho ammirato un kayak esposto in una teca del salone centrale dell'aeroporto, tra i divanetti imbottiti e l'angolo del book-crossing. Ho sgranato gli occhi nei bagni per signore, dove porte e pareti sono state riempite con brevi racconti bilingue sulla storia dell'abbigliamento (chissà quelli per uomini!). Ho girovagato senza meta per il centro storico di Tallinn, Patrimonio Mondiale dell'Umanità dal 1997 come "esempio eccezionalmente completo e ben conservato di una città commerciale del Nord Europa Medioevale". Ho abbracciato i tigli secolari del belvedere di Hirvepark, tra le cui foglie a cinque falde si ammira la più bella torre superstite del castello di Toompea.

Lunch break with bit of sun...
Ho sgranocchiato noci caramellate alla cannella mentre curiosavo tra i cortili interni delle botteghe artigiane. Ho camminato sui ciottoli irregolari e levigati, fotografando le porte in legno decorate con cornici colorate e le doppie finestre che accolgono come in piccole serre orchidee e piante grasse. Ho dormito accoccolata nella cuccetta di una barca a vela per ricerche scientifiche su foche e cetacei. Ho osservato il lento movimento dei traghetti per Helsinki e Stoccolma sprofondata nelle poltroncine di un ristorante ricavato nei vecchi magazzini del porto turistico. Ho passeggiato lungo la pista ciclabile ricavata da una dismessa linea ferroviaria per raggiungere uno sbocco al mare tra i sobborghi popolari.

Session about first aid kit and incident managment...
Ho apprezzato la cucina locale pranzando e cenando in un locale incantevole stretto tra la ferrovia e la vecchia zona industriale (che tanto mi ha ricordato Christiania a Copenaghen). Ho letto le insegne italiane di alcuni negozi del centro, "Benessere" e "Vita di moda", e l'incipit della Divina Commedia impresso in lettere d'argento sul muro in pietra di un museo. Ho ascoltato il vento tra i boschi di betulle. Ho bevuto un liquore forte ed aromatico ascoltando intorno al fuoco il suono dolce della lingua estone. Ho imparato le prime 7 delle oltre 30 figure della danza tradizionale Tuljak (uno spasso!). Ho mangiato per la prima volta un gelato alla vaniglia guarnito con le fragole e "condito" con quadretti di pane tostato, olio d'oliva e pepe nero (giuro!).

Socializing is the most important moment in a symposium!
Ho fatto la sauna finlandese prima e poi quella a fumo, tuffandomi ogni volta in fiumi per me troppo freddi. Ho sudato sette camicie per mantenere l'equilibrio (fisico e mentale!) nell'attraversare il ponte sospeso di Karuskose. Ho seguito il sentiero di assi di legno che serpeggia nel bosco fino alle piscine naturali del Parco Nazionale di Soomaa. Ho fatto un bagno solitario in quelle acque arancioni immerse in un paesaggio a metà tra la palude e la savana. Ho raccolto fiori di campo ed intrecciato mazzolini da seccare per un'intero pomeriggio. Ho lottato strenuamente contro le zanzare, perdendo la battaglia sin dalla prima sera. Ho apprezzato le zanzariere sul letto nella mia stanza al pian terreno nella casa di legno colorato (che mi ha ricordato quelle dell'isola rumena di Mila nel delta del Danubio!).

Real situation: seaskness and hypothermia beaten!
Ho cucinato uova al tegamino sulle braci della pignatta allestita al centro del cortile. Ho pagaiato in canadese su un'affluente del fiume Parnu e nel silenzio ronzante della foresta ho ammirato il volo di cicogne ed aquile reali. Ho letto appollaiata nell'amaca appesa al melo del cortile mentre Rene falciava l'erba e Mariell preparava il te con i fiori di tiglio. Ho fatto lentamente ritorno in città e ho  consumato uno spuntino sul tetto del Museo Marittimo a base di aringhe essiccate, grissini speziati e noccioline. Ho visitato il Museo Mikkeli e mi sono emozionata davanti ai dipinti di Konrad Magi. Ho raggiunto a piedi il museo di arte moderna Kumu un quarto d'ora prima della chiusura e sono rimasta a bocca aperta davanti alla sua struttura a mezza luna in pietra, vetro e rame incastonata in un giardino ad anfiteatro che ospita altre installazioni futuriste... Un giorno, dovrò tornare a visitare le sue sale disposte su sette piani!

Six new happy 3* Estonian paddlers!
Ho ripreso l'autobus, l'aereo, ed il treno per il ritorno a casa. Ho guardato dall'alto cumulonembi possenti come grattacieli e campi coltivati a losanghe multicolori e laghi alpini color verde smeraldo. Ho volato con la fantasia e sognato di vivere una vita di viaggi continui e continue scoperte. Ho fatto incontri interessanti: nonostante la proverbiale riservatezza nordica gli abbracci sono calorosi e gli sguardi sinceri. Come sempre, forse, tra uomini e donne di mare. Ho pensato. E ho dolorosamente ripreso contatto con la realtà (che notizie orribili dal mondo!). Mi sono sentita fortunata: il kayak mi regala una vita diversa e pacifica e il mare non ha confini da difendere! Dovremmo tutti vivere così, in contatto permanente con l'acqua...

Blue springs in Saula...
... and natural swimming pool in Soomaa!
Renè Valner has invited me to join him in Estonia when we were both to Anglesey, last May.
I was really happy to receive the invitation and even more to participate in the fifth edition of SKEGThe Sea kayaking Estonia gathering is organized by Rene, every year in a different place, and this time the destination was the small and pleasant archipelago of Kolga Bay, on the east coast of the capital Tallinn, in the Gulf of Finland, up there in the Baltic Sea.

Paddling an open canoe while fighting mosquitos...
The weather conditions seemed adverse: an inusuale and strong east wind, low temperatures both of the air and the water and a crinkled dark sea always around... I didn't expect to find anybody at the meeting point in Kaberneeme on Friday evening but I was wrong and all the almost 40 partecipants arrived in time, impatient to start the adventure! And that was an adventure endeed!

The result of my hard job during a whole evening in Karuskose...
Not because at the early beginning one kayak, crossed by the waves, has been perforated by the stern of another kayak. And not because at 22 p.m. we were still fifty-fifty of the route, and not because we were landed almost at midnight, when the dark profile of the paddlers was glimpse on the black water. But also because the tense wind of the two following days has forced us to remain on the wonderful island of Aksi, taking of the plan the most distant and small island of Keri. We have been able to admire only its distant lighthouse far on horizon and to listen the stories about the sauna someone have built there...

That scared and marvellous suspended bridge...
Above all, the gathering was a little adventure because the return crossing has become lengthy and fatiguing because a young man has had a bad seaseakness. They needed to be helped by rafting and towing for almost a couple of hours. When our group has reached his group, another girl felt seasick, that is as contagious as hypothermia. The rescue boat arrived few minutes later and everything was solved for the best. That was an instructive real situation of emergency rescue and we were all involved in an incident managment training. As team leader we were happy to see the group very closed and the paddlers very open to help each other when necessary!

Back to Tallinn after three days spent in the courtryside...
For this and for other thousand evidences of good technical skills (and great human solidarity!) the six kayakers of our 3 stars course have passed the assessment: Mariell, Kessu, Toomas, Juri, Indrek and Rainer have been all marvelous, enthusiastic and positive paddlers!
As positive and enthusiastic has been the presence of all the other coaches: Trenk Muller shared with me the tent on land and the sessions on the water; Johan Wagner coordinated the aspirants 4 stars leader and he has had always a proper anecdote to every situation; Marc Martin, Anna Moreno and Eva-Lotta Backam managed the big group of aspirants 3 stars, in an extraordinary mixture of languages and coaching styles, perfect for an international symposium.

Little Greenland kayak, paddle and harpoon in the Maritime Museum of Tallinn...
Rene Valner and Mariell Jussi have been perfect as organisers and promoter and they also took care of me after the symposium. I'm very thankful to both of them. They showed me the countryside, maybe the most attractive side of Estonia... I have had the chance to embraced secular lime trees and to listened to the wind among the birch treesI have drunk a strong and aromatic liqueur listening the sweet sound of the Estonian language, I've crunched walnut-trees candied to the cinnamon and I have eaten for the first time on my life a vanilla ice cream garnished with strawberries and toasted bread, olive oil and black pepper (it's true!).

My last brunch in Tallinn during a sunny light shower!
I have had both the Finnish sauna and then smoke sauna, I have had to walk the suspended bridge of Karuskose and I have had an unforgettable swimm on the orange water of the natural pools of the National Park of Soomaa. I have picked up flowers to dry for a whole afternoon. I have paddled an open canoe along a tributary of the river Parnu and in the humming silence of the forest I have admired the flight of storks and royal eagles. I have slowly made return to the capital and I fell in love with the painting made by Konrad Magi. I have reached the museum of modern art Kumu 15 minutes before the closing and sooner or later I must return to Tallinn for visiting it! And I'd like to learn the other figures of the traditional dance Tuljak (such an amusement!) 

Presents from Estonia!
At the end of the weeks I have caught the bus, the airplane and the train to come bach home. I have had a look on the cumulonimbus as tall as skyscraper and on the multicoloured farmed fields and green emerald alpine lakes. I have flown with the imagination and dreamt to live a lifetime of continuous trips and continuous discoveries. I have made interesting meetings: despite the proverbial reservation of the Nordic people, they are bright-eyed and they know what a warm embrace is. I have painfully recovered the contact with the reality (what horrible news from the world!). I felt my self very lucky endeed: kayak offers me a different and pacific lifestyle and the sea doesn't have boundaries to be defended! We all should live in a permanent contact with the water...

by Tatiana ( at July 20, 2014 07:16 PM

kajaknördar - paddling verkar kul
tid utomhus räknas

Livet vid strandkanten

Livet_i_strandkanten_1av: Lars-Ove Loo, Fredrik Pleijel, Annelie Lindgren & Phillip Davies

Ett uppslagsverk om vad som finns i strandkanten, kan de va nått?
Jajamen, i alla fall om man är som jag. Nyfiken på det mesta och gärna rotar runt bland skal och tång på promenaden längs stranden eller klippkanten. Ofta dyker frågor upp, vad är detta, går det att äta, var kommer det ifrån mfl. Några av svaren finns i Livet Vid Strandkanten.

En rejäl och trevlig bok som går igenom allt från olika bottentyper, arter, alger, djur, lite snorkeltips och utrustning mm. Vackra foton och korta övergripliga texter gör boken enkel att ta till sig.

Två av författarna finns eller har funnit vid Tjärnölaboratoriet utanför Strömstad

Finns hos till exempel Bokus.


by Pia Sjöstedt at July 20, 2014 03:45 PM

Mountain and Sea Scotland
Hillwalking and Sea Kayaking in Scotland

Light and heavy stones at Ailsa Craig

As we finished our second breakfast MFV Glorious re-embarked her passengers and headed off for a tour around Ailsa Craig.  We intended to do the same circumnavigation, but Douglas suggested we do it later in the day when the light would be better on the south-west facing cliffs.  Meanwhile, we had plenty of time to explore.

A feature of the area around the quarry and boulder beach near the lighthouse buildings and pier are the shaped offcuts of granite lying around.  They are the clue to Ailsa Craig's world-renowned status as the origin for most of the world's Curling stones.

Curling has a long tradition in Scotland and the Netherlands, and when taken abroad by emigrant Scots became a major sport in Canada.   Known as "the roaring game" from the noise of the stones rumbling down the ice "sheet", it is still a popular pastime with indoor rinks and also (like in my home village of Alford) outdoor rinks used in winter.

The granite stones have to be of a prescribed weight between 38 to 44 lbs (17 and 20kg) and with a maximum circumference of 36 inches (910 mm).  The two principal sources of stones ar Ailsa Craig and Trefor quarry in Wales.  The preferred stone is made from a particular type of microgranite known as Blue Hone from just one area on the island, its characteristic fine grain and hardness resist water absorption and makes long-lasting and true running stones.  Quarrying ceased for a time between 2002 and 2013 because of the bird reserve status of Ailsa Craig, but in 2013 Kays of Scotland, who have exclusive quarrying rights graned by the island's owner the Marquess of Ailsa, quarried 2000 tons of rock - enough to fill anticpated orders until 2020. 

Adjacent to the lighthouse building is the narrow guage tramway which ran from the quarry to the pier to transport the quarried rock.  Remarkably, the points on the tramway still function.

We like lighthouses a lot - and Ailsa Craig is a fine example of a Stevenson light built for the Northern Lighthouse Commissioners.  The buildings and surrounding area are in separate ownership to the rest of the island, there was a plan to turn the keeper's cottages and storerooms into holiday accommodation but nothing seems to have come of it.  Some of the buildings are open and are showing the signs of neglect and exposure to the elements.

The best view of the lighthouse is from a little distance away.  Completed in 1886 under the supervision of Thomas and David Stevenson, the light is 18 metres above sea level, flashes white once every 4 seconds and is visible for 17 nautical miles.  Prior to the installation of wireless telephone equipment in 1935, the keepers relied upon pigeons to carry messages ashore to a loft at Girvan on the Ayrshire coast.  Ailsa Craig was automated in 1990 and converted from gas to solar-electric power in 2001.

We had seen such a lot during our short exploration around the landing area - it was time to get a bit of a higher view!

by Ian Johnston ( at July 20, 2014 04:15 PM

Paddle Making (and other canoe stuff)
Functional paddle art and other canoe related ramblings

New Book: 100 Canoe Paddle Designs

Master Paddle Maker, Graham Warren, of Moosehead Canoes & Paddles has released another must-have publication for anyone interested in this art form. Entitled,  100 Canoe Paddle Designs,  it features measured offsets and historical background for a wide array of paddles. Here's a glimpse of the cover...

by Graham Warren
March 2014. Raven Rock Books.
200 pages. A5. Spiral bound.
ISBN 0 9530352 2 0

Using digitized methods, basic outline sketches of the paddles have been rendered along with their precise measurements for anyone wishing to replicate the designs. Given the high cost of print media these days, the book is all black & white, but it isn't meant to be a coffee-table conversation piece, anyway. It was created by a paddle maker for other paddler makers!

Graham has meticulously documented a cross-section of functional paddles from around the globe. In fact, half the book is devoted to paddles outside my obviously Canadian-biased concept of "canoe country". There are fascinating examples from the Caribbean, South America and the Pacific Islands. For the history buff, he has included ancient paddles unearthed in archaeological digs in China, Denmark, The Netherlands, and the U.K. And, for owners of heirloom cedar canvas canoes, he has included offsets for famous brands like Chestnut, Peterborough and Rushton replicated from historic catalogs.

A few of the paddles in the book have been featured here on the site, including the c1878 Maliseet at the York Sunbury Museum, the Iroquois paddles at the Royal Ontario Museum, the c. 1860-1875 voyageur paddle authenticated by Canadian Antique Roadshow, and the "Northeastern Woodland" paddles at the British Museum.

Graham humbly mentions that he is no professional archaeologist or ethnologist but he does a marvelous job of providing the relevant background on each of the designs along with additional reading sources.

Most interesting and also very unique is the "Consensus Paddle". Offset data from 50 paddles in the book were entered into CorelDraw and a composite sketch created. I'll keep the surprise open for readers, but the blade design that resulted from this global pool of paddles is something that looked very appealing for a future carving project.

Between this new book and his previously publications - Making Paddles in Wood (see this post here) and Canoe Paddles: A complete guide to making your own, there are now more than enough plans to keep the enthusiastic paddle maker content for years to come.

Hat's off to Graham for doing a wonderful job in creating this outstanding paddle making resource.

by Murat ( at July 20, 2014 10:39 AM

snippets of life from an adventure filmmaker

Swimming bear

“That’s a bear”, Sarah said in a slightly higher octave than usual. She was pointing at a seal in the water 200 metres from our “bear free Island”. “It’s a seal”, I maintained but at her insistence I got out my binoculars. Magnified, I saw the light brown fur and two rounded furry ears of […]

by Justine at July 20, 2014 08:36 AM

Outdoor news and teaching secrets revealed...

Thousands of Surfers and Stand-Up Paddlers Gather to Honor a Lifeguard Who Fell in the Line of Duty

Thousands of Surfers and Stand-Up Paddlers Gather to Honor a Lifeguard Who Fell in the Line of Duty
Last Sunday (July 13) thousands gathered in Newport Beach, CA to pay tribute to Ben Carlson, a lifeguard who gave his life while attempting to rescue a struggling swimmer. The highly respected 15 year veteran lifeguard got the call and jumped into the water to save the swimmer struggling in the 6-8 foot surf waves. Both men were pulled back into the water by a large wave as they struggled to get back into the rescue boat. Sadly Ben was pronounced dead after an exhaustive 3-hour search. If you are unfamiliar with surf culture, when a fellow surfer passes away (either in an accident or non-surfing related cause), the community will organize a memorial service out beyond the surf. Typically they will form a ring, have a moment of silence and throw flowers into the center of the circle. It's been a tradition for years. Watching the video of the…

by (David Johnston) at July 20, 2014 04:00 AM

July 19, 2014

Sea kayaking with
Imagine you are at the edge of the sea on a day when it is difficult to say where the land ends and the sea begins and where the sea ends and the sky begins. Sea kayaking lets you explore these and your own boundaries and broadens your horizons. Sea kayaking is the new mountaineering.

We may have left the shelter of the Eileans in Millport Bay on a millpond but...

We left the shelter of The Eileans in Millport Bay on a millpond to find somewhat different conditions off...  ...Farland Point where the wind was at the top end of F4 against an ebb spring tide in its third hour.  These photos can only give an inkling...  ...of the fun conditions we experienced. Once round the point we entered the main tide race with the wind behind us. There

by Douglas Wilcox ( at July 19, 2014 11:13 PM
Cycling, sea kayaking and life in the Scottish highlands

UK's 10 Highest Peaks Run in 13 hrs 10 mins Today!

Driving to Nevis Range… eating!
Huge congratulations to Andrew Murray and Donnie Campbell for completing the first circuit of the ten highest summits in the UK in a staggeringly short time.  

Their stated goal, as I explained earlier today, was to complete the round in one day - 24 hours.  They've done it in just over half that time - utterly amazing! 

The Adventure Show, which is made Triple Echo Productions for BBC-2 Scotland, followed the runners.  You'll be able to see the whole thing in a future programme - we don't yet know when.  Follow on Facebook for details.  

I tripped over Andrew, who was sleeping on the floor, at 3:20 this morning when we started.  We saw them leave Ben Lawers car park at 4:20 in the dark.  We drove with them to the Nevis Range where, high in the mountains, one of our cameramen had bivouacked overnight.  Keith filmed the pair as they ran Aonach Mohr.  Then they tackled Aonach Beag, Carn Mhor Dearg and Ben Nevis - Marco Consani ran alongside with a GoPro.
5 down. 5 to go.

I was waiting in Glen Nevis to join them for the drive across to the Cairngorms where the photo alongside was taken.  

Five down, five to go.

Cairngorm and Ben MacDui came next, shot by Ross Lawrie who had already run to the first summit to be ready.  

A steep drop then tough climb to Braeriach, then a ridge circuit to Angels Peak and finally Cairn Toul completed their 'Big Ten'.

Another of our camera teams had hiked four hours to reach their final summit to capture their success.

It is a truly amazing time. The pair have earned a place in the record books (again!) and have established a record in a time which will take some beating.

As I write they're not yet down and back to their vehicles but they will be soon.  Aviemore should see some celebration tonight!

(Oh - and we're off on another amazing shoot tomorrow.  Check this blog Monday for details)

by Simon ( at July 19, 2014 09:33 PM