Paddling Planet

October 25, 2014

IKDM Channel (video)


Greenland 550 CS Canoe A greenland kayak, looking quite similar to a Qaanaaq despite the different size, 5,50 m x 50 cm. The cockpit is a keyhole type,75x40 cm, the fit is precise. The front hatch is 10" and is installed perfectly flush to the deck.The rear hatch is oval and allows to fill larger objects. Anyway the storage space is limited. The boat has a medium rocker, bow and stern are slim. The sides are well flared, according the east greenland style. This should give a good speed expecially upwind. Same for the rolling, it should be quite easy. Si tratta di un kayak di concezione groenlandese ispirato al Qaanaaq ma decisamente diverso nelle misure (5,5 m per 50 cm) Il pozzetto è molto ampio, quasi un key-hole,75x40 cm, aggancia molto preciso, ottimo il sedile fisso avvolgente. Il gavone anteriore è da 24 cm perfettamente incassato. Il gavone posteriore ha il tappo ovale che permette di far passare gli oggetti più lunghi. Lo spazio sotto i ponti è comunque poco. Il rocker è medio, poppa e prua decisamente filanti. I fianchi sono ben sfilati, in accordo allo stile delle barche east greenland. Ciò conferisce una buona velocità e capacità di risalire il vento. Idem per il rolling. Filmed with camcorder GE DV1

by IKDMCHANNEL at October 25, 2014 01:17 pm

U Piscadori

Il gallurese è una lingua romanza parlata in Gallura e derivante dal corso oltramontano sotto l'influenza del sardo logudorese, più altre influenze minori. La sua più antica documentazione letteraria risale ai primi decenni del settecento, ma vari documenti bassomedievali inducono a datarne la formazione ai primi decenni del quattrocento. La sua origine è controversa ma e' stata ricercata nelle migrazioni dalla Corsica alla Sardegna attraverso le Bocche di Bonifacio avvenute nel corso dei secoli. Ed e' proprio qui, tra le Bocche di Bonifacio, che abbiamo incontrato Duiliu, ex pastore che oggi vive di pesca e parla questo idioma nella sua versione piu' pura e incontaminata. Musica: Zirichiltaggia - Fabrizio De Andrè

by IKDMCHANNEL at October 25, 2014 09:39 am

Liquid Fusion Kayaking
This is Cate's blog about the kayak adventures of Liquid Fusion Kayaking in Fort Bragg, on the Mendocino Coast, and beyond.

Winter is Coming?

The Mendocino Coast seems to be in a bit of a storm pattern.  Rain and large ocean swells make us think that winter is coming but warm temperatures make it feel more like we are in the tropics.

Of course you know that we love rain (and California desperately needs it).  Rain makes our wild mushrooms grow and our rivers flow.  The small storms that we have been getting have been enough to trigger our wild mushrooms, but it will take a bit more to get our Mendocino Coast Rivers running.

To the north of us, whitewater boaters are enjoying runs on the Smith and Trinity Rivers (quick Jeff - let's clear the schedule and head north).

Large ocean swells can be a blessing and a curse in the kayak business.  Personally we love them!!!  We love going out to the headlands and witnessing the power and beauty of our wild Pacific Coast.  
Noyo Harbor entrance during a large Pacific Swell.
The Mendocino Coast also has some awesome surf breaks that take a larger swell to work.  Some are friendly to teaching so if you are interested in kayak surf lessons, give us ring.  Whether you are looking to get started, get a tune-up on the the basics, or are ready for more dynamic maneuvers on a wave or are training for a surf competition like Davenport or Santa Cruz, we can build on your skills. 

For the Fall/Winter 2014, we are offering a special on private lessons.  This is a great opportunity for you to get completely customized and personalized instruction.  Here's a link to our private lesson special.  For those that are doing their holiday shopping, they also make great gift certificates.

Planning for 2015 is underway . . . Please contact us if you have any ideas for classes or events.

by Cate Hawthorne ( at October 25, 2014 08:44 am

October 24, 2014

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.

Biking and Hiking and Kayaking
Ramblings of an outdoor person trapped indoors.

Damn Big Dam


Over 37 years ago I toured the Hoover Dam for the first time, and I just went back again, for the same reason: to get away from Las Vegas. I'm not a big fan. It is a very interesting contrast to hear of the cost of building the dam vs. the cost of yet another mega casino (casinos cost more) and compare the benefits (the dam wins hands down.)


The view downstream has changed since 1977. To cross the river into Arizona you used to have to actually drive down a winding road, drive over the top of the dam and then back up another narrow, winding road. In 2010 they built an amazingly high arch bridge over the river and now those fleeing Las Vegas zip across 800 feet above the Colorado River.


The one thing that hasn't changed a bit is the tour, though there is now a new visitors center. The movie they have you watch looks identical and the tour people make the same jokes. The electrical generators are still just as enormous (over 600 tons each) and just as impressive and made me think:

Engineers of the 1930's invented and built things like the Hoover Dam and we got flood control, irrigation and electrical power that reached millions of people.

Engineers of the 1960s developed rockets that reached the moon and we at least got Tang.

Engineers of the 1990s developed the PC, the Internet and social media and we got viruses, phishing attacks and identity theft.

Dam up

When you look upstream of the dam you see Lake Mead, with a very visible "bathtub ring" showing how low the water level is, due to long term drought in the Southwest. They do point out that the top level has only been reached twice: immediately after the dam was finished and they tested the spillways to see if they would really work; and in 1983 when record flooding caused those spillways to be userd for real, preventing water flowing over the top of the dam. But, the level has dropped something like 40 feet over the past 20 years - not good.

Lake pic

A more recreational view of Lake Mead, also showing that bathtub ring effect. From here it is about a 30 mile drive back to Lost Wages.

by John P. at October 24, 2014 09:47 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.

bi- (sometimes multi-) lingual bits and pieces about travelling and kayaking, though being in wheelchair

wieder mal auf dem Walensee – und erstes Mal auf dem Greifensee

short version in English and Italian at the bottom of the post

Lange ists her seit dem letzten Eintrag…

Die Umbauarbeiten (Anpassungen, um die neue Wohnung vollständig rollstuhlgerecht zu machen), die Umzugsvorbereitungen, der Umzug selbst und das Einrichten haben viel Zeitund Energie  in Anspruch genommen, und das Kajaken kam darueber dieses Jahr viel zu kurz.

Die Schul-Herbstferien waren die vielleicht letzte Gelegenheit nochmal aufs Wasser zu gehen- und das Herbst-Wetter war ja, nach dem eher feuchten Sommer, in den letzten Wochen sehr gnaedig. Zwar haette es schon noch eine Menge dringender Arbeiten zu erledigen gegeben, aber ich will ja, nach den vergangenen anstrengenden Monaten, den Winter auch moeglichst gut ueberstehen,  musste mir also wieder mal etwas Erholsames gönnen.

Um lange Autofahrten zu vermeiden, und den Aufwand gering zu halten, standen “nur” der Walensee und der Greifensee auf dem Programm. Der Greifensee wird ja  mein Haus-See werden, und den Walensee kann man von meinem neuen Wohnort aus in einer Dreiviertelstunde erreichen.

Das Wetter sollte am Dienstag besser als am Mittwoch sein, darum peilten wir am Dienstag den Walensee (die groessere Unternehmung) an. Fuer Jean-Claude war es das erste Mal auf dem Walensee, für mich das dritte Mal.

Wir haben uns viel Zeit genommen, um von Weesen nach Walenstadt zu paddeln, zuerst haben wir noch ein Auto verstellt, um am spaeten Nachmittag die Boote sofort aufladen zu koennen.


vor dem Start in Weesen

Da wir erst kurz vor 12 Uhr auf dem Wasser waren, haben wir schon kurz vor Quinten gepicknickt . Ausser wenigen Kursschiffen war kaum jemand auf dem Wasser, die Stimmung war herbstlich:

Blaetter im Wasser


Jean-Claude mit Spiegelung



Wenig Wind, das Wasser meist spiegelglatt, und ziemlich klar: es war ein wunderbarer Tag, mit einem unglaublichen Ausblick nach dem Ausbooten.

Nach dem Ausbooten in Walenstadt

Nach dem Ausbooten in Walenstadt

Am folgenden Tag war es zwar morgens feucht und recht kuehl, es wurde dann aber im Laufe des Tages immer schoener.

Stehruderer im Hafen Niederuster

Stehruderer, morgens im Hafen Niederuster

Das Wetter im Laufe des Tages war ideal, um den Greifensee, meinen “neuen” See, zu umrunden, und uns auch noch im “Kiosk am See” einen feinen Lunch an der Sonne zu goennen. Anschliessend konnten wir auch noch Eskimotieruebungen (ganz ohne zu frieren) machen. Vor allem wollte ich erproben, ob der neu angepasste Gurt im Kajak mir besseren Halt gibt – das Resultat war überzeugend.

Ausser ein paar wenigen Fischern, drei Ruderbooten – und vielen Vögeln – hatten wir auch hier den See praktisch für uns.

Noch ein paar Infos zum Greifensee, von Wikipedia:

Der Greifensee liegt im Kanton Zürich in der Schweiz, gut zehn Kilometer oestlich der Stadt Zürich, durch die Pfannenstielkette vom Zürichsee getrennt. Mit einer Länge von 6 Kilometer und einer maximalen Breite von 1,6 Kilometer ist er der zweitgroesste See des Kantons. In der Mitte verjüngt sich der See auf eine Breite von weniger als 800 Meter.

Hauptzufluesse sind die Ustermer Aa (Ausfluss des Pfäffikersees) und der Aabach. Der Abfluss ist die Glatt, die einen grossen Teil des Zuercher Oberlands entwässert.

Finally on the water again, after the relocation from Zuerich to Uster. The two days spent on the Walensee and the Greifensee will probably be my last paddling experience for the year 2014. We were happy with the weather and wind conditions, and we could even do a little bit of rolling exercises. And I’m very happy – the Greifensee is a really nice area for kayaking. Thanks for the company and the help, JC!

Cari amici italiani, dopo un periodo molto lungo di abstinenza kayak (dovuto al mio trasloco) sono finalmente tornata sull’acqua. Avendo poco tempo a disposione ci siami limitati a fare un tour sul Walensee e il giro del “mio” nuovo lago, il Greifensee. Il tempo è stato clemente e alla fine del secondo giorno ho fatto, grazie all’aiuto di JC un po’ di esercizi pre-rolling.

by esyned at October 24, 2014 05:44 pm

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

Life Boat Launch

I hope everyone had their seatbelts fastened....
Check out the video:

by (John Herbert) at October 24, 2014 04:16 pm

Gnarlydog News

The power of disconnecting

. I call it "expedition style". Petra was starting to understand what I meant by that; it was not the fact that we were now on our third week of 5 paddling and camping in the Swedish archipelago, it is more the state of mind that comes from being away from everyday life. My highlights of any given year are usually my trips. I love being away from the confinement of 4 walls and a roof, plugged

by gnarlydog ( at October 24, 2014 02:32 pm
Cycling, sea kayaking and life in the Scottish highlands

Develop a Career in TV News

Crikey - Auntie Beeb was not like this when I started!  The BBC Academy is a useful resource for anyone wanting to develop television related skills.  Since leaving the corporation I've used their online courses to update my self-shooting technique.  This video seems aimed more at international journalists but the advice, particularly about the SWOT analysis, is applicable to everyone hoping to work for BBC News.  The advice about talking to people already doing the job is spot on.  The full page is here.

by Simon ( at October 24, 2014 08:00 am

Paddle California
Thoughts from the world of kayaking centered in California. Ocean, whitewater, flatwater, wherever the paddling takes me. Trip reports, gear reviews, teaching and leadership, with pictures and video.

The Art of Whitewater: Group Management

This is the fourth in a series of posts about whitewater kayaking and some philosophy beyond the basics; ideas and concepts meant to help intermediate paddlers improve and get more out of the sport. As parts are added, these links will go live:

Part 1: Technique
Part 2: Momentum
Part 3: On or Across the Water
Part 4: Group Management
Part 5: Fear Management

Group Management

The Theory

This isn't about being in charge of a group, it's about being part of a group. It's about your responsibilities as an individual member and the roles that must be taken for a group to function safely and efficiently. Even novices have a role, one they're normally not even aware of, but once you've learned enough to no longer call yourself a novice, you need to be aware of what you are doing in relation to the rest of the group.

Awareness is the key word. The most important skill to have when it comes to safety is the simple awareness of what hazards are out there and what everyone is doing to avoid them. That means you need to be aware of where other people in the group are, what they are doing, and how you fit in to the larger picture. It doesn't matter if someone is 'in charge' (whether a paid instructor or just the most experienced paddler), everyone has a responsibility to work with the group. That responsibility could be as simple as doing what you're asked, or it could mean positioning yourself where you could lend aid if needed. If you're not sure what you should do, ask. Ask anyone. You might not get the right answer, but at least it will start the right conversation.

When I teach or lead a group I'm responsible for its management. Complete beginners are too overwhelmed by trying to figure out their paddle, their boat, the river current, remembering technique, listening to my instructions, worrying about their safety - and a load of other things - to give much thought to other people. But my instructions include the simple idea that they should help out if they can do so without putting themselves at risk. I teach them from the start that we are all in this together, and while I'll be there to set safety and explain the risks, every boater should look after themselves first and others second. But it's still too easy for them to get in the habit of letting someone else evaluate the choices and make decisions for them. It's a habit I try to break before it forms, but it's after they leave my class that it really matters.

When people start paddling 'on their own', it's often with a more experienced paddler who takes the role of group leader. But let's look at what what you should do if you're NOT the leader, if someone else has more experience and better skills than you do. First, don't assume your 'leader' is right. Think for yourself and make your own decisions. Not all leaders are capable and even the best sometimes miss things. Speak up if you have questions and be honest in your self-assessments. It's ultimately you, alone in your boat, that runs the rapid (or portages), so never give up your own responsibility for your own safety.

But if you do have a leader who is competent, listen to what they have to say. Most importantly, follow the plan, whatever it is. If everyone is going to stop above the rapid, you should too. If people are taking the left channel, don't be the only one to go right (or at least make sure you know what you're doing and so does someone else in the group). The plan doesn't have to be perfect, but if everyone is on the same page it will still work. If different people execute different plans, then none of them will work.

Don't assume anyone will help you. Yes, people should help you, but if you blindly assume it, you're not likely to get it. If you actually ask, your chances of receiving aid are much higher. This might mean something as simple as stating at the start that you don't know the lines. Or if your roll is shaky, maybe telling another paddler that you might need a bow rescue after the drop. And it's much easier for folks to help you if you are nearby, if you're listening to what they say, and pay attention to the river and what's coming up. It seems obvious, but I've paddled with enough newbies who I've had to chase down to inform them of a danger ahead and then repeat myself several times because some of them were busy fiddling with their GoPros when I described the line. Don't expect others to put themselves out to help you - make it easy for them.

Help others when you can. Even if you're the weakest paddler in the group, you can be helpful. Take a rope with you when you portage so you can set safety for those running the rapid. Grab a rock when you're in the eddy so the next person can hold onto you. Relay signals so everyone knows what's happening. Try to lift your focus above your own concerns and pay attention to the bigger picture - not only will it help the group, it will ultimately help your own paddling as well.

What if you are the most experienced paddler in the group? Or have the best roll? Or just know that river better than the others? Are you the LEADER? Not necessarily - it's not really about leaders and followers. If you want to step up, take charge, and direct the group, that's great. But not every trip needs a designated leader, and no one person needs to take all the responsibilities on themselves. But just like adulthood, responsibility isn't something we can avoid, but we do have control over how we experience it. As I mentioned above, everyone has responsibilities, and most important thing is to make sure everyone is aware of that. But if you have more experience, more skills, are familiar with a run, or have newer boaters with you, share your wealth and you'll end up having a better time on the river.

The main thing is to pass along information and make sure everyone is on the same page. You don't have to 'run' the safety meeting, but just call everyone together and start a discussion. Ask people where they're at mentally and physically. Tell people about the tough rapids, or suggest a way for the group to operate (point/sweep, buddy system, free-for-all). You don't have to set a bunch of rules, but if you bring up the subject, maybe offer what you think will work best, chances are everyone will either agree with whatever you want to do, or they'll offer a different solution (thus taking some of the responsibility off your shoulders).

I think a lot of people are afraid of engaging others in this manner because they think it means they have to make all the decisions and look after everyone else. But ignorance is not bliss - if someone swims, you'll still have to help them. But if you know someone has a weak roll and doesn't know the line, perhaps you can tell them the easy route and be there for a bow rescue - saving everyone time and trouble. If you don't want any responsibilities for anyone else in the group, then you're basically paddling on your own - an incredibly risky proposition. Most of us love the camaraderie we find on the river, and part of that is the understanding that we all look out for each other. It's not about everyone contributing equally, but everyone contributing their best. Some days you'll have more to offer, some days you'll receive more help. The more you give back to newer boaters the more you'll find the paddling community giving you what you want.

And what if you are the LEADER (in all capitals)? That's a lot longer discussion and a two day course on the water (as a start). Professionally leading folks down the river is a challenging endeavor that requires lots of hard skills and even more soft skills, more than I can even touch on in a blog post. The truth is that if your group takes responsibility for themselves and everyone has the necessary skills to handle that run, it really shouldn't take much effort to lead them. It's when you're teaching the necessary skills, or everyone just depends on you for their safety, that things become harder. All I'll say is that if you are going to take that role, make sure you have what it takes to handle it. A bad leader is often worse than no leader.

The Practice: CLAP 

There's an acronym we use on the ocean called CLAP. I'm not big on acronyms, but the ideas are simple enough and worth noting and remembering. It starts with Communication. On the river, that starts before you hit the water. People in the group should know if it's your first time on that run, if you have a reliable roll or not, if the difficulty of the run is at your limit, if you have a bad shoulder and can't paddle very hard, anything that might impact the group as a whole. Everyone should know everyone else's background, so they can act accordingly the rest of the trip. If I'm sitting above a hard rapid with someone who's never run it and is doing their first class IV, I'll treat them differently than if it's a hard-core class V boater who's done this stretch a million times. Most people will offer help and support, but only if they know it's needed/wanted.

Communication continues as you put on the river. A good thing to talk about is safety equipment - who has what? Does anyone have a spare paddle? First aid kit? Pin kit? If you have nothing, you might want to stick close to someone who's more prepared (and you might want to learn a thing or two from them).

And you always need to go over signals. Even if everyone knows everyone else and thinks they all use the same signals. There are some pretty standard ones out there, but there are a lot of little variations that are quite useful if everyone knows them and potentially dangerous if folks get confused. Take sixty seconds and review them with the entire group.

The L in CLAP stands for Line of Sight. It doesn't mean that everyone has to be able to see everyone else, but there needs to be a chain so that everyone has some pair of eyes on them. If I can't see Jimmy, I can at least see Suzy and she can see Jimmy.  If something happens to Jimmy, Suzy can pass the word on to me and I can pass it on to others and we can help out as a group. No one should be all alone and out of sight of the group.

A is for Avoidance (or Awareness). The idea is that it's easier to stay out of trouble than it is to get out of trouble. In order to avoid risk, you need to be aware of what it is. The truth is that as kayakers we often put ourselves at risk - that's what running a rapid is - but we need to carefully choose what risks are acceptable and to do that we need to be aware of what all the risks are. Does everyone see that strainer just below the surface on river right? (That's a good time to use your Communication/Line of Sight skills to make sure).

Avoidance goes beyond specific hazards. It also means having the common sense not to put on a swollen river in the rain if no one has done it at a high level. It means not putting yourself at risk by doing something that the rest of the group isn't comfortable with. Think about things before you do them (and think about yourself before blindly following others), and you'll be able to avoid a lot of the dangers before they materialize.

The P to end CLAP is Position. It really refers to the position of most usefullness, and it applies to everyone in the group. It means you need to think about where you are in relation to others and how you could best help if things went wrong. Do you want to be in the lead (yes if you know the run or are a strong paddler, maybe no if it's your first time down). Do you want to be at the rear (sweep)? Do you want to follow that crazy guy in the little playboat? Or do you want watch from shore - ideally with a rope and in a position to throw it if the paddler swims at the big hole. Do you want to catch that small eddy above the lip when three paddlers are following close behind you? Or maybe catch a bigger eddy a little sooner so you can give everyone the line? (or are you so close behind someone that when they catch that little eddy, you have no choice but to run the drop blind). Think about where you are in relation to everyone else, and what you would/could do if something bad were to happen.

If you've Communicated to others about what the plan is, made sure that everyone has a Line of Sight to someone else, are Aware of and Avoiding the hazards, and Positioned yourself in relation to the rest of the group, you're much more likely to have a successful day and a good time together. That's CLAP.

Here's a short video with a couple clips showing how awareness of others on the river can minimize time and trouble.

by Bryant Burkhardt ( at October 24, 2014 03:47 am

The Art of Whitewater: Technique

This is the first in a series of posts about whitewater kayaking and some philosophy beyond the basics; ideas and concepts meant to help intermediate paddlers improve and get more out of the sport. As parts are added, these links will go live:

Part 1: Technique
Part 2: Momentum
Part 3: On or Across the Water
Part 4: Group Management
Part 5: Fear Management


The Theory

Technique is not something that you learn at your computer. Yeah, videos can be helpful, and breaking down components can give people new ideas to try. But you learn by doing, and learn fastest with feedback from someone who knows what they're talking about. The truth is that if you started with a two-day class from a competent instructor you probably were taught most of the technique you actually need to use even on a class V river. The problem is even those who 'learned' the right technique do very little to practice and improve it. With that, most paddlers on the river have poor technique that gets even worse when under pressure or fatigued. Even most class V paddlers.

That points out a couple things: first, you don't need to have great technique to paddle hard whitewater; second, me talking about technique on a blog isn't likely to change anything. But I'm going to throw this out there anyway, in hopes it might inspire a few folks to do what is needed to improve their technique - and only you can improve your own technique. All it takes is practice. You really just need to want to improve your technique. So why should you?

Technique gives you options. It gives you control, protects your body, increases your safety, extends your career. It's a long term thing. Most people paddle whitewater for the thrill, the sensation of of wildly crashing down a rapid and hoping to make it to the bottom. Technique, in a way, is the antithesis of this. That's why I think beginners give up fairly quickly on technique once they've reached the point that they can survive a rapid upright - they've achieved their short term goal and don't see the need to put in more work. Over time, they learn to handle harder rapids and advance in the sport. That's when the short term thinking eventually catches up.

When you start paddling class IV and class V, the consequences are more severe. Not just the danger of the rapid, but the toll it takes on your body. The rivers are more powerful, moves need to be executed quicker with more precision. The lack of good technique leads to blown lines and blown shoulders. It holds you back, slowing progress and limiting fun. But by the time most people realize this, they're set in their way and think they know what they're doing. It's hard to step back and NOT have fun on the river, to spend time working on technique and admitting that there is more to learn and improvements to be made. So most flounder on, having fun without recognizing that even more enjoyment is just beyond their reach.

If you want to get more out of your kayaking, and you want to do it for many years to come, find yourself a good instructor, get a one day lesson on a river a grade or two easier than you normally paddle, and learn how to do things properly. Then spend lots of time working on technique every time you paddle. Practice, it's that simple.

The Practice

A good forward stroke will vastly improve your ability to avoid hazards. It will give you more return for less effort, saving you energy and allowing you to paddle safely as you age and lose strength. Most people have crappy forward strokes. I'm not going to try to teach the keys to an efficient forward stroke here, but I will say that a good way to learn what works and what doesn't is to do attainments. And slalom practice - that's always a good one for technique.

A good brace (technique-wise) is the difference between staying upright and flipping over with an injured shoulder. If you work on the other lessons you shouldn't need to have to brace much, but when you do it's essential that you have safe form.

Eddy catching. There are lots of techniques to catch an eddy - bow draws, low braces, duffeks, gliding stern draws, etc. What dialing in the varieties and proper form will give you is the ability to catch the important eddies - the small ones near rocks, the hard ones with fast current right above the drop - and the right way to leave that eddy and enter the drop. I tell my students all the time that eddy catching is the most important skill they will learn for running hard stuff and I stick by my words.

As I said, you don't need to have good technique to have fun. But I do believe that the better your technique, the more potential for fun you will have. Isn't that worth it?

by Bryant Burkhardt ( at October 24, 2014 03:45 am

The Art of Whitewater: Momentum

This is the second in a series of posts about whitewater kayaking and some philosophy beyond the basics; ideas and concepts meant to help intermediate paddlers improve and get more out of the sport. As parts are added, these links will go live:

Part 1: Technique
Part 2: Momentum
Part 3: On or Across the Water
Part 4: Group Management
Part 5: Fear Management


The Theory

When people start paddling on the river they simply want to get where they're going without running into trouble. What separates skilled paddlers, those who move effortlessly around obstacles and paddle with grace, from whose who struggle to survive, is the realization that the battle is won long before the enemy is faced. The strategy to master is the role of momentum.

Not to get too technical, but momentum is a vector, meaning it has a magnitude and a direction, both of which must be controlled to achieve the desired result. The beginner sees a rock and paddles away from it; the intermediate sees open water and steers for it; the zen master floats away from the one and towards the other with hardly a stroke.

Momentum towards the eddy.
The basic concept to start with is this: if you want to get left, start right. Too many people see their downstream goal and try to get there early, not understanding that they will need to have momentum when they arrive and momentum is built upstream. Shooting for an eddy on the left, they start on the left side of the river. When the eddy approaches, they point their nose at it but the river carries them past. They scramble to paddle forward and eventually aim upstream, clawing their way into the bottom of the eddy. They were in the right position at the top of the eddy, but had no momentum to carry them in the direction they wanted to go.

If you start right of the eddy (exact distance will depend on strength of the current and your own speed) and are already moving to the left as you approach the top, your momentum will carry you across the eddy line and into the eddy itself. The same is true of any target - if you want to avoid a rock, one of the best places to be is right above it with momentum heading away; if you want to hug the inside of a river bend, start on the outside and paddle towards where you want to go. It's not enough to know where you want to be, but you also have to know which way your momentum should be carrying you when you get there.

The paddler is headed (and pointed) left and doesn't need
to paddle hard to avoid the hole on his right.
The next level is understanding how your boat interacts with the water to change momentum for you. We've all seen two boaters enter a rapid at the same place and achieve vastly different results. The expert takes a handful of strokes and emerges at the bottom unscathed; the learner battles fiercely to follow the line, blades windmilling and boat turning every which way, only to get pushed off course and fighting to survive. It's the difference between letting the river provide the power, using it's flow to redirect the kayak when needed, and trying to do everything through brute force.

A wave will deflect you in the direction your nose is pointing. A wide stroke against that wave, on the downstream side, will accelerate the change in direction and move the boat across the river. Catching a blade in a passing eddy will slow the boat and allow the water to take the paddler on its path, whereas a driven boat will cross currents with little change in momentum. Sharply edging a boat away from the current increases its affect, while flattening the boat will minimize it. Use these tools to let the water move you from one side to the other, always with an eye far downstream, adjusting to the next goal well before it arrives.

The Practice

The best way to work on understanding and using momentum is to eddy catch your way down a rapid. Pick a long rapid, ideally a step below challenging for you, with lots of rocks on the sides and in the middle. Work your way from right to left and back again, catching as many eddies as you can along the way. Start by spotting the crucial point right before you catch the eddy - where do you need to be, which way should your boat point, and what momentum should you have when you get there.

Once you can hit your target with your desired momentum, try repeating the performance with fewer strokes. The fewer strokes you take to accomplish your goal, the more you'll have to let the water do the work. Play around with edging and boat angle, slow your strokes down and pay attention to the flow of water around the paddle. The same tricks that allow you to leisurely move around on easy rapids are the ones that will let you handle harder rapids when the slots are narrow and the water more powerful.

by Bryant Burkhardt ( at October 24, 2014 03:45 am

The Art of Whitewater: On or Across the Water

This is the third in a series of posts about whitewater kayaking and some philosophy beyond the basics; ideas and concepts meant to help intermediate paddlers improve and get more out of the sport. As parts are added, these links will go live:

Part 1: Technique
Part 2: Momentum
Part 3: On or Across the Water
Part 4: Group Management
Part 5: Fear Management

On or Across the Water

The Theory

My last post talked about momentum and its role in whitewater kayaking, a common theme among coaches. Another way of looking at things has served me well, though it's harder to summarize and not something that I've heard from others. When paddling, you want to move on the water or across it, never against it.

Every drop of water in the river is moving somewhere, including the water beneath your boat, and you want to follow it or flee from it. To know which, you have to look downstream, to watch the little bubbles and swirls in the water that tell you which piece leads where, and decide accordingly. This is what the great ones do when they scout, seeing every line, knowing where the water that flows cleanly through the carnage begins its route. Some even toss in a stick or leaves to help the reading. It's an art dictated by science, a skill worth time and practice.

The paddler's riding the water that skirts the hole, but also
pointing downstream to move across the water when it turns
sharply to drop into the second hole.
Seeing the water you want is the first step, but once you are are on it you are not done. To stay with it requires constant adjustment of boat and momentum, sometimes matching its speed but often moving a little faster and a little sooner to stay one step ahead. Move left before the water hits the rock and moves left; drive forward to accelerate just before the water falls off the lip of the drop. Find the safe route down by following the safe water.

But more often than not, there is no single piece of water that will guide you safely through an entire rapid, or even a single move. Quite often, the water that is in the perfect place is not headed in the right direction. You need to pass over that water, moving across it in the direction of your goal.  This requires moving across the water, for fighting against it will gain you nothing. The key lies in knowing when and how to disengage from the current..

This connects to the idea of momentum, where I said that in order to get right you have to start on the left. You start moving right by disengaging your boat from the current you are in. Change your momentum by turning your boat away from the flow, edge away if necessary, and paddling. This may take one stroke or many, a slight edge or a hard lean, all depending on how far you wish to move and the strength of the current you are in. Spot the new current you want to reach and continue to drive until you get there. Match its flow, its angle, and follow it for as long as it takes you in the right direction.

Just like with momentum, the key is to start upstream. If you wait until you reach the point where you want to be disengaged, then it's too late by the time your boat is moving across the current. You need to get your boat unstuck from the current upstream in order to be able to make a quick movement across the current when needed. The stronger the current the earlier you need to escape it.

The paddler is sliding across tongue to avoid the rooster tail.
There's a few different ways in which this all goes down. The simplest example of staying on the water is a tongue that leads you through the rapid. Start early and get on that tongue, matching it's movement, and ride it out. As you step up in the difficulty of rapids, it's less likely that a single tongue will get you all the way through. It might take you halfway through the rapid, or even more, but at some point you'll need to get off and find new water. In this case, you don't want to simple float on the water, you want to separated from that current. That means that your speed and/or direction should be different than the tongue - ideally moving across it in the direction you ultimately want to go, but it could also mean paddling faster, or even slower. Any difference will help raise your boat out of the water and make it more responsive to changes that you make.

Another key place where the idea of separating from the water comes up is on boofs, or any significantly vertical drop. The reason we don't want to get stuck with the water is that it normally lands in a hole and recirculates. Once again, our goal is to separate ourselves from this and going across the water is often the best way. When approaching a lip, have a slight angle in the direction you want to go on your landing, or if that's not possible, accelerate to separate yourself from the current. This will make the actual boof easier and allow you to launch clear or the hole at the bottom.

When the vertical drop gets higher, and boofing the waterfall a bad idea, we return to the concept of being on the water. Match it's speed and direction as you go over, plugging the drop and staying with the water that goes under the hole, popping up beyond the recirculation.

The Practice

Start by just noticing the difference in flat water between floating along and paddling across the water. Feel the difference when you try to move left - how much easier is it if you already where sliding in that direction, or if you were moving faster than the current, compared to when you floated on the water.

Find your favorite boof and try it with different approach vectors. Launch from the same spot, but see if it's easier coming from one side or the other; see if you go further when you come in with speed instead of relying on the last boof stroke; see what happens if you plug it (caveat - make sure you know the landing is deep and safe before you try any plugging).

When you're scouting a rapid, watch the water carefully and see where it goes. Start at the bottom and follow a bubble line upstream until it runs into trouble, then see what other line you'd want to be on at that point. Work the whole rapid backwards, and then follow it forwards, maybe even tossing in a leaf at different points to see where the water takes it. Plan your transitions from on the current, to across it, to back on again. It's a positive way of looking at the water on how to move on it, instead of watching the hazards and worrying about avoiding them. And whitewater kayaking should always be a positive experience.

Here's a little video that shows more of this in action:

by Bryant Burkhardt ( at October 24, 2014 03:44 am


Endureciéndonos la vida

Experimentando.... en mis tiempos de mountainbiker ya estuve cambiando entre horquilla rígida y de suspensión. Aunque al final la suspensión ganó .....  porque la tecnología las ha hecho ligeras y sobre todo bloqueables a voluntad con un simple movimiento.

En mi kickbike, orientado al cross-country, hasta ahora siempre he usado suspensión. Aprovechando que ando con cambios voy a probar una temporada una buena horquilla rígida, a ver las sensaciones.

Hoy día no es fácil encontrar horquillas rígidas ligeras para ruedas de 26", sobre todo si la quieres para frenos V-Brake y no para disco.  Esta es de aluminio triconificado y pesa sobre 700 gr, una vez cortado el tubo a medida de la dirección. Lo más importante de una horquilla rígida es que debe estar "compensada" es decir disponer de medida eje-corona similar a esta medida en la horquilla de suspensión estando el piloto sobre el aparato.  De esta manera se mantiene la geometría del cuadro y la distancia entre la plataforma y el suelo (más alta en los kickbike de campo que en los destinados a carretera),  para salvar los pequeños obstáculos.

Soy un fan de la simplicidad, creo que en ella radica el éxito de muchas cosas, así que a ver que tal funciona.. está claro que llaneando y en subidas irá mejor... en las bajadas habrá que ir "fino"...

by Jose Bello ( at October 24, 2014 12:41 am

October 23, 2014

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.

Mercipourlekayak !
Pratique du kayak de mer

A Sein avec un kayak en carton !

Un kayakiste s’est lancé dans la traversée du Raz à bord d’un kayak en carton, à partir du petit port de Bestrée (Pointe du Raz). Ce mercredi 20 Août 2014, Didier est accompagné par des amis kayakistes, l’un en kayak, l’autre en zodiac, tous 3 anciens de « l’Association des Kayakeurs du Ponant ». Il a ainsi […]

by Arzhela at October 23, 2014 09:21 pm

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

Another day

The sky a grey filter; blotting the sun into a large glowing splendor in the heavens. I sat on Hopeall island; taking in the coldness that has become the mean temperature this week. The sea calm after days of gale force winds.

 I crossed the bay to the headlands to take in the majestic beauty of these towering cliff's. Relaxed on sumptuous beaches and drank fresh water from her streams.

 Holes worn by eons of pebbles circulating in the tumble of surf. A progress that doesn't have the confines of fatality our human frames are confined with. Nature carving for thousands of years till the pebbles break through one day; slowly floating to the seabed.

Another day on the brine.

by Lee ( at October 23, 2014 07:41 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.

Sea Stacks [Flickr]

Essex Explorations posted a photo:

Sea Stacks

Sea stacks on the shore line at Point of Arches.

by Essex Explorations at October 23, 2014 03:36 pm

I am a paddler, explorer, guide, and coach. Any day on the water is a good day, and I can't get enough.

Little Bandera Mountain

My good friend Mariko and I decided to hike Little Bandera Mountain on what may have been one of the last true summer-esque fall days. We had blue skies, big puffy cumulus clouds, and the sun beating down-it felt like midsummer. So it turns out the second half of this hike is a scramble. After leaving from the car, switchbacks started immediately, and went on for almost 5 miles. The last mile up the trail forgoes the switchbacks, and climbs directly up a loose, rocky/sandy slope. I believe it is more of a scramble than a hike. 
Mt. Rainier peaking over the hills from early in the hike.

Just one bit of red.

Looking over the ridge into the North Cascades.
You can see Seattle in the very far distance.
Made it!
Looking down to Mason and Little Mason Lakes.
Quite the view from the top.
Classic Mariko pose. 
Glamour shot galore.
My three essentials.
Mac & Cheese for the win.
See? Go to pose.
Mt. Rainier in her full glory.
Big thanks to these guys-Spot Adventures

by donaldcheyette ( at October 23, 2014 01:41 pm

On the Big Sea in a Little Boat
Trip reports and other kayaking related ramblings.

Outer West Passage of Terror

It was a rough week at work. My boss resigned and my new master made it clear that I was no longer going to have as much freedom to address issues as I was used to having. So H pushed me to get out and paddle if possible.
TG posted a level 3-4 paddle out of Bay Campus for the weekend. Level 3-4 is around the top of my current range, but it is safely in the range-as long as things don't get too pear shaped. The forecast was for wind, but I was feeling pretty good about getting on the water. Then I read the message board on Saturday.....
There was a thread about how this was going to be an advanced level paddle, Only paddlers who had been paddling regularly should attend. There was a second post describing the conditions on Saturday as closer to level 4-5. I was feeling a little less confident that I was up for the trip. Was I really up for an edge of the envelope paddle? Would I slow the group down or become a safety issue?
Upon careful consideration of the facts, I decided to go. I had been paddling regularly. A lot of the paddling was not in rough conditions or on RIC/KA trips, but it was time on the water paddling. Pushing Big Red around exercises the same muscles and takes a good deal of skill. Maneuvering a double without help is not easy. The NOAA forecast for the area did not match up with the described conditions; they were night and day. It was a safe bet that reality was somewhere in the middle. I was comfortable with the middle. I also trusted that TG and TM would tell me if they felt I wasn't up to the conditions.
At the put in, it was a little windy. The seas looked bumpy, but not scary. The scariest decisions were where to park and what to wear. Autumn, like Spring, is always tricky from a wardrobe perspective. The weather was sunny, but a little windy. The water is a little cold, but not really cold. People were wearing drysuits and people were wearing shorts and paddle jackets. I wasn't ready to give up on the warm weather or admit that winter is bearing down, so I went with the shorts and paddle jacket.
We launched and crossed over to Dutch Island. From there we proceeded along the Jamestown coast. The wind and swells were a minor presence. You knew they were there, but just. It was nice to just paddle and catch up with people.
Once we passed Beaver Tail, the wind and swells picked up. Crossing the mouth of the Bay from Beaver Tail to Whale Rock is bumpy on a clam day. Today was no exception. It was bumpier than average, but far from uncomfortable.
From Whale Rock we paddled down to Narragansett Town Beach for lunch. Getting to the beach took some planning. The beach was busy, there was a little choppy surf, and the rip from Narrow River was in place. We stuck close to the rocks to avoid the rip and the surf. A few adventurous paddlers did take the opportunity to play.
Lunch was nice, but windy. It was the only point on the paddle that I regretted not wearing a drysuit. My legs got a little chilly. Several people pulled out storm cags for warmth. I took the opportunity to break out the emergency shelter for a little respite from the wind. The shelter, which is little more than a big nylon sheet, is a little unwieldy. Once inside the shell, you are toasty warm. From the inside, the shelter is easy to manage.
After lunch, we paddled back along the mainland coast and the rocks. The wind and the swell made it a fun ride. We also had the National Guard giving us a show of men being dangled from a helicopter. Gawking at the string of men being dragged through the air on a rope was a nice way to spend the breaks between surfing through rocks.
I've grown more cautious as I've gotten older. I am not more concerned about getting myself hurt; I'm more concerned about finding the time and money to get the kayak fixed. OK, I am also concerned about getting myself hurt. The worry is not really for myself though; it is for my family. How would my being injured effect them? Could I afford to get the kayak fixed without impacting them? That doesn't mean I don't want to play in the rocks. I just have to balance my desire to play with my responsibilities differently.
The rocks were fun. I didn't tackle all of the rocks, but I made anough runs to challenge and satiate the need. Ultimately, I think I enjoy the distance paddling more than the rock playing. The adrenaline rush is great. The quiet is better.
We ran into some paddler looking for surf in Bonnet Cove, so we checked the beach out. The surf was small. People played a little. I mostly just bobbed and recharged.
Back at the put-in, I did the mandatory roll on each side. I can still roll. They were not as pretty as in the past, but I get up.
The paddle was just what the doctor ordered. I drove home feeling much better and mentally relaxed. A good day on the water can wash away a lot of crap.

by Eric J. ( at October 23, 2014 01:32 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.

A blizzard of gannets does not deposit snow on the rock ledges of Ailsa Craig!

After Phil had partaken of a solo luncheon while Tony and I explored the industrial archaeology of Ailsa Craig, we set off on a clockwise circumnavigation of the rock in late afternoon. Top tip: on a visit to Ailsa leave the circumnavigation till last. This means that the sun will be well round on the W and NW breeding cliffs and by going clockwise, the sun will be behind you for best viewing.

by Douglas Wilcox ( at October 23, 2014 11:07 am

October 22, 2014

kajaknördar - paddling verkar kul
tid utomhus räknas

Höstfärger på Hjörneredssjön

Platt, höstigt och riktigt skönt

Platt, höstigt och riktigt skönt

Höstfärger och lite ödräll

Höstfärger och lite ödräll

Lite grå onsdag idag, lite ruggigt på landbacken men väl i kajaken är det som vanligt alltid gott. Tog en sväng på Hjörneredssjön och i Lagan idag på förmiddagen. Mycket vatten i sjön och gott om granna höstfärger. Finfint helt enkelt. Och så luktar det dessutom inte sololja, grill å sånt överallt :)

Fika som räknas, Utefika! :)

Fika som räknas, Utefika! :)

Gott om vatten. Inte bra då blir kanske elpriserna för låga i vinter ;)

Gott om vatten. Inte bra då blir kanske elpriserna för låga i vinter ;)

by Erik Sjöstedt at October 22, 2014 06:29 pm


3 star course in Salerno

L'accoglienza non poteva essere più calorosa. L'atmosfera non poteva essere più calda. Il luogo non poteva essere più attraente. La sintonia non poteva essere più profonda. Il divertimento non poteva essere più grande!
Il corso 3 stelle BCU che si è da poco concluso a Vietri sul Mare mi ha molto emozionato.
Non solo perchè ho rivisto una terra a cui sono da sempre legata, o perchè il mare era di un colore particolarmente intenso, o perchè la luce della costiera amalfitana è sempre speciale... e neanche perchè ho ritrovato amici di vecchia data e ho avuto la fortuna di stringere nuove amicizie e ho trascorso lunghe serate fuori dall'acqua a ridere e scherzare davanti a delizie "eno-grastro-nautiche" di ogni tipo...
Ma perchè l'ospitalità del circolo Ondalunga Kayak Salerno è stata eccezionale! Come eccezionale è stato il presidente Gianni De Luca che oltre a ricoprirmi di regali e complimenti mi ha messo a disposizione il suo kayak per l'intera durata del corso... altrettanto eccezionale è stato Gaetano Clarizia, l'istruttore di riferimento dell'associazione che mi ha aiutato a coordinare il corso, così come tutti i soci che ho avuto occasione di conoscere durante questo lunghissimo fine settimana in terra campana... sono tornata a casa carica di emozioni, colori, odori, sapori e suggestioni che non mi lasceranno più!

... c'è una magia speciale lungo questa costa...
Imma, Marcello, Pierpaolo, Antonio e Crescenzio
Papele, l'amico che mi ha fatto scoprire il kayak e a cui devo tutto questo! 
La magia della terra vista dal mare...
... e del mare visto dalla terra (picture made by Gianni De Luca from the tower of Erchie)! 
L'eccezionale presidente del club Ondalunga Kayak Salerno Gianni De Luca...
... e tutti i suoi doni, compresa la tessera onoraria "per sempre" dell'associazione!
The welcome could not be better. The atmosphere could not be warmer. The place could not be more attractive. The syntony could not be deeper. The fun could not be greater!
Last BCU 3 star course in Vietri sul Mare was really very excited for me.
Not only for that special land I'm so tied to, or because the sea decided to show us particularly intense colours, or because the light of the Amalfi Coast is always special... or even because I've met old friends and I'm so lucky to meet everytime new peculiar people and I've spent long evenings chatting and laughing and eating delicious dishes...
But also because the hospitality of the local club Ondalunga Kayak Salerno has been high-powered! As high-powered is the Chairman Gianni De Luca, who covered me of gifts and compliments and let me use his own kayak for the entire course... as many high-powered is Gaetano Clarizia, the instructor of the association who has helped me organizing the course, as well as all the paddlers I've met there during a long pleasant unforgettable weekend... I come back home full of good memories, colours, smell, tastes and suggestions that won't leave me anymore!

by Tatiana ( at October 22, 2014 05:27 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.

Cook Inlet

I’ve been fortunate enough to have spent the last few summers working and exploring the west side of Cook Inlet. In terms of raw wilderness and remoteness, I’ve never been anywhere like it; you feel it like you would someone standing next to you while waiting in line.

Alaska PeninsulaCamera Setting

Cook Inlet

It’s hard to imagine the actual size of the inlet and to look at a chart doesn’t really give you much appreciation for its size either. I can mention that it’s roughly 180 miles long and close to 40 miles wide at its southern end, but that still doesn’t give a sense of the immensity of the place. But when you start to consider that 3 separate zones of weather are assigned by NOAA then you start to get a feel for the size of the place. And the place is incredibly raw. Last summer, the calm season mind you, we had a marine forecast which included seas of 16’. That’s what we occasionally see on our Washington coast during winter storms!

“To the lover of wilderness, Alaska is one of the most wonderful countries in the world.” –  John Muir

The inland bears the name of the English explorer Capt. Cook, but it was the Russians who were the first Europeans in the area. Lebedev Lastochkin Company leader Stepan Zaikov established a post at the mouth of the Kenai River, Fort Nikolaev, in 1786. The small community of Ninilchik now resides where the old fort stands (see Ninilchik)

We came across this incredibly massive arc (the trees you see on the top are mature and would tower over a person standing next to them) after stopping to fill our water bladders and take a break. When we pulled into shore fog had prevented us from seeing the arc, but after launching and turning our bows to the north, the impressive formation came into view leaving us speechless while we tried to comprehend the size of this thing.

Just wish it had been high tide so we could have paddled through it.

The post Cook Inlet appeared first on Essex Media & Explorations.

by Steve Weileman at October 22, 2014 12:17 pm

Gnarlydog News

GEAR: SeaDog sail Code Zero

I nearly tipped in and went for a swim when a small set picked up my kayak and I started surfing. I was in my "tippy" kayak and half an hour into testing a new sail: the SeaDog 0.7 mt² in Code Zero . I was having fun trying to catch the short wind waves that the tidal flow against a healthy breeze was producing. I am familiar with this location and often I wait for the conditions to be just

by gnarlydog ( at October 22, 2014 09:22 am
Cycling, sea kayaking and life in the Scottish highlands

Learning to Shoot DSLR Video

Five weeks ago yesterday I underwent open surgery to repair two hernias.  Recovery, I was told, would take at least six weeks.

During that time I could not carry heavy rucksacks of video kit and tripods.

I've always considered working in television to be be a binary condition: you were either fit enough to work fourteen hour days and cope with whatever the shoot threw at you, or you were not.

If you couldn't handle any and everything, stay home.

In the freelance game there's no such thing as an easy booking.  So I've kept the bookings diary on my website clear until well into November.

To use my time productively I decided to learn how to shoot video on a DSLR camera, specifically a new Canon 5d mark 3.

Until now I've always shot on cameras with small sensors.  Good cameras, you understand, like my much loved Canon XF305 on which we shot Volume 3 - Sea Kayak with Gordon Brown and which I use regularly on shoots for the BBC.

For a long time now I have wanted to learn how to use a full frame sensor camera to get that much valued shallow depth of field.

My ideal video camera in this category is the Canon C300.  Once fully tricked out, it's out of my price range for now and I'm not good enough to make the most of it.

I know, I've tried.

The Canon 5D mk3 is a much cheaper compromise, especially if you buy a grey import here as I did.

The EF lenses it uses will fit the C300 and frankly, it's much harder to use for video.  After all, it's a stills camera.  If I can make this thing work for video then the C300 ought to be easier.

I could have bought a cheaper, more modern 'starter' DSLR video camera, but I'm thinking long term.  And an unexpected by-product is that I'm rekindling my love of stills photography.

I'll write more about the kit I've bought, the tutorials I've used, how it's working and hopefully post some video.  Once I've produced something which you might want to see.

by Simon ( at October 22, 2014 08:00 am

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!)

What's cookin'?

Spam musubi -- my first try ever! Why did it take me so long?

by (bonnie) at October 22, 2014 05:26 am

October 21, 2014


Cross Max... la renovación

Mi kickbike fué de los primeros (si no el primero) que llegó a este país directamente desde Finlandia, hace ya un porrón de años.

 Los componentes estaban muy mejorados pero el cuadro ya se había quedado un poco antiguo.

He mantenido todas las piezas sobre un cuadro race max, con la excepción de la rueda trasera, que para este cuadro es de 20 pulgadas, en vez de 18.

El resultado....


8 kilitos exactos...... por asfalto va perfecta.... este finde toca pegar botes por el campo........

by Jose Bello ( at October 21, 2014 11:32 pm

Trailrunning y .....drones

Las posibilidades de seguimiento de las pruebas deportivas en la naturaleza son cada vez más. Una pequeña grabación en "la trampa" cortafuegos de arena que nos pateamos en la carrera del fin de semana pasado.

by Jose Bello ( at October 21, 2014 11:30 pm

La Mesa de los Tres Reyes

Esta cumbre, la más alta del Pirineo Navarro (2.428 metros), se situa en la intersección de la frontera de Francia con España y la línea limítrofe entre Navarra y Aragón (Huesca).

La toponimia viene de esta localización histórica, entre los antiguos reinos de Navarra, Aragón y el vizcondado de Bearne (Francia).

Este mes de octubre está siendo sensacional para ir al monte, con una climatología en los Pirineos propia del verano. Así que aprovechamos... El mejor acceso es por el valle de Ansó, ascendiendo por el barranco de Petrechema.

El inicio de la ruta en si se situa en el refugio de Linza a 1340 m.

En el ascenso al collado de Linza, vamos dejando campas y pastos con ganado vacuno, ovejas y caballos.

 La vista hacia el noreste, ya nos muestra picos interesantes, aparte del nuestro, el más lejano y alto, destaca a la derecja el Petrechema.


 Al pie de la barrera rocosa ya tenemos sensación de altitud.

El terreno se empina.


Si como dice la tradición los reyes subían aquí para tratar las cuestiones comunes de los tres lo curraban...

 Llegando a la arista cimera


Estirando el día, ya de vuelta.

by Jose Bello ( at October 21, 2014 11:29 pm

South West Sea Kayaking
The personal blog of Mark Rainsley

Herm Island

On account of a camera battery failure, I have just one blurry camera phone picture of the stunningly beautiful island of Herm. It tells a story, though. The northern half of Herm is surrounded by white sandy beaches. The girls wanted to stop and camp here, I wanted to go on. I came up with all sorts of logical reasons why we should continue, but basically my motivation was simple: I really, really hate camping on sand.

I was outvoted, and sulked.

Actually, it wasn’t so bad there.


Filed under: Camping, Channel Islands, Islands, Kayaking, Mobile phone photos

by MRY at October 21, 2014 08:04 pm

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

Rice Lake Canoe Catalog Paddles has a copy of the Rice Lake Canoe Co. Catalogue dated to 1900. The company was one of the many builders in southeastern Ontario at the turn of the 20th century and it's well illustrated catalogue showcases many style of canoes being built at the time. A short history of the company can be read here for anyone interested.

Page 14 of the document a full page ad with a series of paddles. They're all long deep-water paddles consistent with the deep lake water conditions of region. Check out those prices...$1.00 for an oiled Maple, Ash, or Spruce paddle!

Rice Lake Canoe Co. - Paddle Closeups

by Murat ( at October 21, 2014 09:35 am

October 20, 2014

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

Nature is Speaking

And honestly, Nature sounds a little pissed off....

.... Rightfully so.

The Trees are a little pissed too.

We treat this guy, like dirt...

Yes, we will wage wars over you.

And this guy, he sounds indignant, and angry. I spend a lot of time with him, and I am a little afraid.

All of these are brought to you by Nature is Speaking ( When I saw it, I figured it was going to be lovely pictures crossed with he destruction we have wrought. I am glad they didn't go that route. I am glad Nature is angry. I am a angry, and very sad. I love nature. I really do. If that makes me a hippie, or a lefty or a freak, I am okay with that. This is a small planet, and we have no place else to go. If we don't start taking care of this place, we are in for a very. big. surprise.

I realize the truth in that statement. Do you? 2014 is on track to be the hottest year in history. The bee's are dying. Disease is spreading. California has no water. Last year my town in North Carolina got more rain than Seattle, Washington... Does that sound right to you?

by paddlingOTAKU ( at October 20, 2014 07:51 pm

South West Sea Kayaking
The personal blog of Mark Rainsley

Flat Holm morning

A grey morning on Flat Holm Island. We explored the overgrown and neglected ruins of the cholera hospital and the various WWII bunkers and barracks.

A cold stiff headwind was making the paddle back to England – into the teeth of this wind and across several major tide races – look distinctly unappealing and more crucially, rather unwise.

After lots of umm-ing and aah-ing, we came up with Plan #B – hitch a ride on the boat leaving that morning. But, it turned out there was no space on the boat. Plans #C and #D I forget (I’m sure they were good) but Plan #E was to paddle a shorter distance downwind to the Welsh coast, and then figure out how to retrieve the car from where we’d left it on the English shore of the Bristol Channel.

For all its faults, Plan #E turned out to be a success…

Filed under: Bristol Channel, Castles and Defences, History, Holm Islands, Islands, Kayaking, Wales

by MRY at October 20, 2014 05:33 pm

Travels with Paddles
a sea kayaking journal

Waiting for a train

Because of time and schedule constraints I could not drive to Cornwall and instead had to fly in via Bristol. It had already been a tight schedule but at least I made it to Bristol Temple Meads train station on time. Only to find my train to be delayed by 26 minutes. The platform by then crowded with people for a next (last) train in that direction. Like herrings in a can... At Truro the delay had run-up to 45 minutes, making me miss my last train on the Falmouth branch line to Penmere. Fair to say that Great Western Railways kindly provided for a taxi-bus to drop the stranded passengers off along the line's stations. But Jeff Allen picked me up from Truro and at midnight I could call it a day.

On my return trip a week later (today) I opted for the connection that needed no other transfers and a reserved table seat. So at 09:26 I am waiting at the (non-staffed) Penmere Platform for a train... that is canceled... Fortunately I could sit at (unreserved) table seats on both connecting trains and I am now 30 minutes away from Bristol Temple Meads. Then only a bus ride away from the airport.

The British and the Dutch rail system appear to have more than one thing in common. Privatized and delays. And maybe they also use the same statistics for measuring service, in that a canceled train does not count as delayed. Also it seems there are a lot of jobs with British Rail. All those gated stations and platforms with service personnel at those stations, gates and platforms to help people with valid tickets and non-opening gates. And many conductors on the trains, at least on the ones that run, calling out for tickets of newly boarded passengers only.

The British rail users remain kind and polite under all of this and show patience in queus. The train conductor on the Penmere branch line gracefully accepting my written-down reservation number, despite regulations, for I only could collect my on-line booked ticket at a Truro ticket machine.

by (Axel) at October 20, 2014 03:10 pm

something to sink your teeth into
sea kayaking in Israel and kayak building

3 days at sea, again

Our annual trip from Rosh Hanikra down to Sdot Yam got off to a good start with a rainbow as a good omen

once the kayaks were loaded we set off

28 kayakers to look after, luckily the sea was calm and the weather good for paddling, Did you ever try to count all your paddlers, when the group is so big it gets difficult to keep track of everybody. We have one guide  leading one in the middle and one guide at the back, sometimes two of us at the back helping keep the group together , but from time to time the group stretches for about one kilometer. This would not be good in rough water but here its ok and we manage to keep tabs on everyone. Sometimes you have to count the group a few times just to get the right numbers.

Rain clouds in the distance but not on us

First stop for a coffee break 

Happiness is a wet paddle

Acco is an interesting town to pass from the sea

should I take a break now?

the wall round Acco

and then the crossing of Haifa bay, about two and a half hours across

as you get closer to the port you have to watch out for larger vessels, they don`t see kayaks. We landed after a hard days paddling and about 30km all in all

Camping here is a luxury experience, the manager of the beach lets us in after the official closing time, he leaves the showers and toilets open for us, brings us firewood for a fire and chairs and tables for our comfort. He gets a gold star from us.

Noam makes us coffee whenever we stop

Next morning we pack up and leave before the beach opens to swimmers again, and we leave no trace of ever having been there

Packing a kayak is an art and it takes a while to remember where everything goes , so one of our paddlers has a map to remind him

Leaving the beach

we pass fishermen 

always put on sunscreen

We stop for breakfast  after about one and a half hours and get ready for the next leg

We pass a navy base and have to go 3 miles out to sea to avoid the firing zone, they send out a patrol boat to check on us

It takes about 4 to 5 hours and we need to stop for frequent breaks, the water is still nice and warm so its easy to jump in for a pee when you need to and no dry-suites to worry about

there is some boat traffic out there too

Food is an important part of the trip.We make all our meals into one big picnic. This time Avigail delegated everybody a specific meal and asked them to bring the necessary  ingredients.Good planning made meals easy and fun and very tasty

The forecast for Saturday was worrying, strong Southerly winds were predicted and the sea was going to get rough, so we decided to push on as far as we could on Friday evening

We found a great beach just north of Nachsholim

and spent the night here, another 30km day, well done to all

Saturday morning the wind was up and against us, and the sea was more active

We left the beach and began to paddle 

But then Yiftach decided that it was too dangerous to take such a large and mixed group out in such conditions and we aborted , landing on Nachsholim beach and called for transport home.

A few brave souls decided to paddle home anyway and left us 

The menu for Saturday breakfast called for pancakes, and as we didn`t have time before leaving the beach we decided to have a late meal when we got back to the club.All in all it was a great trip, not easy to do such distances when the usual trip is only about 2 hours. It puts a great strain on the body and takes a lot of determination and will power to paddle for a whole day so I think its a good achievement to all who did it. See you again next year and thank you all for being such a great group

by Steve Gordon ( at October 20, 2014 02:41 pm

Biking and Hiking and Kayaking
Ramblings of an outdoor person trapped indoors.

Volksmarching the Volkswagon Trail


The Frederick MD watershed area is bisected north/south by the Catoctin Trail. On the south end, the Gambrills State Park trail system gives you some loop opportunities, and at the northern end frequently used mountain bike trails do the same. However, we've never found loops in the middle section but Carl did some research and found this Volkswagon (sic) Loop someone had documented.

So, after the traditional coffee and bagels at Frederick Coffee (along with Carole who was on her way to visit her brother in PA) we headed up Hamburg Road to the start.


The Catoctin trail is a hiking trail so it tends to take the shortest path to get from Point A to Point B. Mountain biking trails rarely do that - they tend to try to find the most fun path for an exciting bike ride, so we did a lot of snaking around at the start of the hike. As we headed downhill to connect with the Catoctin Trail, we passed a the root system of a very large tree that had blown down - sort of looks like nature's Rorschach test.


About 3 miles in you find out why this is called the Volkswagon Trail...


From there it was  a brief downhill to a stream crossing above a set of cascades that didn't quite add up to a waterfall but it was very scenic, anyway. After that a brief section of a pine forest that looks like some planting plus lots of wild "volunteer" pines. From there we could not quite find one of the connector trails on the map, so we did some backtracking on the Catoctin Trail until we found an old Jeep road that took us past what looks like an abandoned small reservoir, or just a part of a flood control system.

After that, it was about another mile back to the Catoctin Trail and a short walk back to the trailhead for a total of just over 5 miles. Waiting for Carole to get back, we found that the vaunted Sheetz kiosk order system for sandwiches seemed to have turned into some kind of a random lottery system where order of output seemed to have no relationship to order of input but eventually our custom designed sandwiches did come out...

by John P. at October 20, 2014 12:51 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!)

Coney Island to Sandy Hook Test Swim with CIBBOWS, 10/18/2014

Preparing for the day at 5:30 am. I'm sharing a small selection of the day's photos here - visit my Flickr for more from the day (with a lot less words) 

I had an interesting adventure yesterday with some of the lovely folks at the Coney Island - Brighton Beach Open Water Swimmers (more commonly known as CIBBOWS). I've served as kayak support for a number of their races along the Coney Island shoreline and I always enjoy volunteering for them, so when I got a message saying that they were looking for kayakers for a special test swim from Coney Island to Sandy Hook, New Jersey, and it turned out that I didn't have anything else planned for the day, I said "Sure!"

When I started doing kayak support for swims (1999 or 2000, not sure exactly), most of the swims were along shorelines, with the biggest one being the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim, a 28.5 mile circumnavigation of Manhattan Island.  Over the last few years, the local swim organizers have been developing a number of new swims. A couple of them were based on historical swims; Rose Pitonof's 1911 swim from East 26th street to the Steeplechase Pier in Coney Island was commemorated in 2011 with the Rose Pitonof Swim, organized by Urban Swim and now an annual event, while the Manhattan Island Foundation's Ederle Swim honors Gertrude Ederle's 1925 achievement in becoming the first woman ever to swim the length of New York's Upper and Lower Harbors, breaking the standing record in the process (the following year she became the first woman to swim the English Channel).

Meanwhile, CIBBOWs continues to run their annual classics, Grimaldo's Mile, (named in honor of the understanding lifeguard who went to bat for the early CIBBOWS crew as they began regularly turning up for open-water swim training at Coney Island, arguing in favor of allowing them to swim outside of the jetties which the lifeguards had previously regarded as the de facto boundaries of the swimming area), and the Aquarium Triple Dip (one mile, five mile, and 10K races with a simultaneous start at the New York Aquarium), while actively developing new swims.

Interestingly, their public entrant in the "Big Swim" category, the Eight Bridges Swim, is not on their "home turf" at all but is rather a spectacular 120-mile seven-day swim down the Hudson, named after the eight bridges that mark each day's segment, beginning with the Rip Van Winkle Bridge in the Catskills and finishing at the Verrazano Narrows Bridge that marks the southern end of the upper NY Harbor. Still, they must stand by Grimaldo's Chair and look out across the lower harbor and say, "Wouldn't it be neat to swim...there?" The most obvious of those would be Breezy Point, which you're looking straight at when you stand on Brighton Beach and look south; it's temptingly close for an experienced open-water swimmer (5K), the currents are fairly straightforward, the point shelters the waters there, and although you are crossing a channel, it's primarily recreational traffic. The organizers deal with the safety issues by simply not making it a race, but a group swim for members; the number of swimmers is limited and swimmers must choose to join one of three "pods", slow, medium, or fast, with the pace of each pod set by the slowest swimmer and runaways returned to their pods by the jetskiers who form part of the safety escort.

Sandy Hook is the other of the two arms that embrace lower NY Harbor, and so naturally that's another tempting destination from Coney Island. It's a MUCH more complicated venture, though, and they still consider it a test swim, working out the kinks. This one, the swimmers are striking out for a destination that's over 10 kilometers away; on the Coney Island to Sandy Hook version that we did on Saturday, they travel across currents that can be flowing any direction from northeast to due south as the water runs out of the Upper Harbor, Raritan Bay, and Sandy Hook bay, all eventually funneling out of the five and a half mile wide mouth of NY Harbor. As the various flows run into each other and over various shoals and sandbars around Sandy Hook, chaotic wave conditions form (we managed to avoid the worst of them this year but if I heard the story right, last year as they crossed the Romer Shoal they got into some stuff that was so rough that the escort boats had to detour while the kayaks took the swimmers though), and before you even get to that of course you have to cross the Ambrose Channel, which feels a little bit like crossing the runway at JFK - big big craft coming in and out and they can't stop and they aren't going to go around you if you get in their way. All in all, when I first heard about this swim, I had reservations - that wasn't why I didn't go with last year's, I think I had a prior commitment, but it just sounded kind of scary.

The kayakers who have gone came back with stories of a challenging but well-run day, though, so this year I didn't hesitate when I got that email - for all the reasons I just gave, kayaking across the Lower Harbor is a pretty rare occurrence for all but the most ambitious, but it's also spectacular, and to have the chance to take swimmers across? The Manhattan Island Marathon Swim was always one of my favorites to volunteer for back when my boat was in Manhattan just because it's such a feat, and this had the same wow factor to it.

It was a hideously early start - five a.m., and as you can see from the first photo, it really was "oh-dark thirty" - but with the forecast for the day showing a small craft advisory with winds gusting to 25 kts, that actually worked out really well - we'd gone over and been brought back and were back on shore in Brooklyn long before things kicked up. The waves were pretty good-sized when we launched (I don't think I've ever done what I would quite consider a surf launch at Coney Island before but this time I did not turn down a helpful shove out) but either they settled down as the sun came up - or they just stopped seeming so big once I could see 'em. Also may have been a factor of getting used to the boat - clubmate Larry is another big fan of CIBBOWS and volunteers for them a lot (in fact when I was the kayak organizer for the Grimaldo's Mile this year he was a huge help), and sometimes lets me borrow one of his boats when Eri (another frequent CIBBOWS volunteer) isn't; Eri was in fact in on this one and was the one who told me they needed kayakers, but she was volunteering on one of the support boats this time as she's a less experienced paddler and this one needs some really solid skills, so Larry's spare boat was open for me, making the whole thing work. He has 2 Tchaikas, which are really nice little boats that put the lie to the common belief that a sea kayak under sixteen feet long can't keep up, great boat for a small to medium paddler. I'm pushing the limits of that boat at my size but it's worked well enough for me and I expected that that was what I would be paddling, but then Larry told me that one of the footpegs in his spare Tchaika was broken and how would I like to use his newly-acquired Epic 16 instead?

Sounded great except that one fairly good rule of thumb for kayakers is "Don't try a new boat for the first time for a long trip" - sometimes you'll run into a boat that just doesn't agree with your body type (I've only run into this once but that once, it was profound - the boat was the Anas Acuta - lovely lovely boat, beloved of many paddlers, but I got into one once and within five minutes my hip joints were screaming for mercy) - but given the choice between taking that gamble and dealing with a missing footpeg, I decided to take the gamble, figuring if worse came to absolute worst, I was sort of a spare kayaker for the relay team (they had me and Larry) and bailing out would be an option. Worked out fine, I would say it felt a bit less stable than my Romany, and it took me a little while to get accustomed to the steering (it's got a rudder that is meant to be used, I'm accustomed to ruddering on my surfski but it took a little while to get it through my head that I should steer with the rudder in a decked boat) - anyways, to get back to the point of things, getting settled in the new boat may also have been part of why the waves seemed bigger at first.

The swimmers started from the beach on Coney Island at 6:30 am - the sun was not up yet and the swimmers were wearing lightsticks, but you could barely tell them apart. I got in as close to shore as I could without getting involuntarily surfed back in - still really hard to see but I did manage to guess the right swimmer.

Larry and I were accompanying a three-person relay team - Phyllis was their starting swimmer. It was too early and a little too rough for my camera to focus but it looked pretty neat with Phyllis swimming along with her glowsticks past the Parachute Jump with dawn's early light finally coming up so...

Absolutely gorgeous sunrise, shortly after 7.

Phyllis stroking along smoothly, chasing Larry down the harbor

After an hour and twenty minutes during which Phyllis barely missed a stroke except to sip some water and liquid nutrients, Capri (Polar Bear Princess, the day's race organizer, and the relay team's boat volunteer) called on the radio to let me know that it was time for the switch. Phyllis swam over and boarded the Karen II, and then Spence, our second swimmer, jumped in and set to work. He's a big rangy guy and we moved on towards the Ambrose Channel (see the freighter in the distance?) at a good clip.

Not too long after that, I got a surprise call on the radio that a second swimmer was going to be joining us. It was Shara, who was slated to swim the third leg; it turned out that she had gotten terribly seasick on board the Karen II, the waves weren't crazy but they were enough to set a slow-moving boat to rocking heavily and it was too much for her. I guess she'd consulted with Capri and they decided that she might do better joining Spence in the water. 

Worked like a charm. Within a few minutes she felt well enough to take a few sips from the food bottle I still had from Phyllis. At this point I was VERY glad that the Epic 16 and I were getting along well - Shara is another strong swimmer but she just didn't have big rangy Spence's speed, so Larry took him and I stayed with her. It was actually particularly fun watching her because I think she's one of the happiest-looking swimmers I've ever seen. Don't know if she just has a naturally cheerful swimming face or if she was particularly happy to be off the boat -- could've been the latter because when Capri hailed me on the radio again ten minutes later to ask if she was ready to re-board, she grimaced and said "I don't EVER want to get back on that boat!" -- I relayed the message back and we were given permission to carry on. 

Capri did call her back on board about half an hour before her official start time, and I caught back up with Larry and Spence. Spence was doing an admirable job of closing the distance between himself and the solo swimmers out ahead of us, it wasn't a race but we were still having fun yelling "Go get those guys!" and Spence was having fun trying to catch 'em. We were closing in on the Ambrose Channel when he began to get too cold - I think he had maybe just a couple more minutes in his swim but his teeth were chattering and he decided it was time to get back on the boat. 

Shara was of course very happy to get back in as she'd gotten quite seasick again, and she was closing the distance to the Ambrose Channel quite nicely when, unfortunately for her, we saw three container ships heading north up the channel towards us. After a bit of discussion, the decision was made to pull all three of us onto the Karen II (she was an excellent swim support boat, being a dive boat with a big, sturdy, easy to negotiate swim ladder and a big open back deck with plenty of space for both kayaks) and motor across the channel. 

The loading needed to happen pretty fast; it was quite choppy here and being worried about having one of the steel-pipe rungs come down on Larry's lovely shiny red boat, I decided that instead of manuevering the boat to the ladder, I would just jump out nearby and swim to the ladder (our skipper cracked us up at this point, I told them what I was going to do, I said it was because I was worried about damaging the boat and without a pause he said "Oh, don't worry about my boat!" - the Karen II is a big sturdy vessel and a carbon fiber kayak was about as likely to do damage as an eggshell so we all started laughing and I said "It's Larry's boat I'm worried about!"). Larry followed with a little more elegance and then our captain put the boat in gear and we zipped on across the channel well in advance of the three big container ships. At this point Capri and the captain decided that as long as we were all on board, we would continue on to just past the Romer Shoal light, as the ebb was quite strong and we had already been carried pretty far down towards the mouth of the harbor - with this swim, the concern is being swept out into Atlantic, and we could see large breakers to the south that we definitely didn't want to get mixed up with. Our skipper was great, btw, been running dive boats for a long time (including a 6-year stint with the NYPD scuba division) and knows the Sandy Hook area very well. When we got into those areas I mentioned earlier where the currents get very confusing for one unfamiliar with the area, he gave Capri good clear directions and points of reference to relay to us. Really, really helpful!

Once we passed the lighthouse, we were ready to go again. I decided to jump into the water again to take care of, er, some personal business (there was a head on the boat but I was wearing a Farmer Jane and I was going to have to take off all of my gear and then put it all back on again and it was SO much easier to just jump back in the water) and just have them throw my boat in after me. Unfortunately in the process of scrambling back in, I managed to pull the wrist strap and float off of my camera, so I didn't take too many more pictures after that, but eventually I just couldn't resist the "god rays with swimmer and kayaker" shot. 

As we made the final approach to Sandy Hook, Shara started feeling bad about her teammates sitting on the boat waiting for her while she finished the swim, so she asked me to invite them to join her if they wanted to. Phyllis jumped in right away, Spence waited until we were a little closer, and then the three swam together most of the rest of the way.  

Phyllis had an arm that started to bother her and decided that close was good enough, but Shara and Spence swam on in to the beach together - a successful swim! 

I couldn't resist running off then and catching one of those lovely waves that were sweeping along diagonally to the shore - Epic 16 surfs very nicely - and then I made my way back to the boat for the ride back to Coney Island. Several of us adjourned to Tom's on the Coney Island boardwalk for lunch, and then Eri gave me a ride home - thank goodness for that, after a cheeseburger, fries, and a beer I could barely keep my eyes open there at Tom's and I just couldn't get home fast enough.
And again - repeating in case you missed it at the start - of COURSE I took more pictures than this, too many for a blog post. visit my Flickr album for the full set. 

by (bonnie) at October 20, 2014 03:00 am

October 19, 2014

En blogg om padling og annet friluftsliv i (hovedsakelig) Vesterålen

Geocachingtur til Kringelneset og Fiskholmen

I dag tok jeg med meg speilrefleksen på tur. Men skarv er virkelig ingen enkel fugl å ta bilde av likevel. Den flyr fortere enn det ser ut til! Det var forøvrig et strålende vær i dag.

Dagens mål var testing av geocaching. Den blå prikken viser meg, som står ute på et nes ikke midt i havet som det kan se ut til. Målet er den grønne prikken til høyre. Der skal det altså befinne seg en boks med ett eller annet inni.

Rett og slett inni skauen her et sted. Egentlig skulle jeg ikke padle Avocet i dag heller, men det har fortsatt ikke kommet noe ny Nordkapp, over tre uker siden den etter sigende skulle sendes fra Vestlandet.

Denne her traff jeg på i fjæra på Kringelneset, la selvsagt ikke merke til den før den beveget seg. Tror de liker oppmerksomhet selv om de er godt kamuflerte, for hvis man ikke ser dem så begynner de å løpe eller hoppe, mens de lager pipelyder, he he he.

Jeg var ikke eneste båt på sjøen, men jeg kan ikke si jeg så noen ombord i denne. (Den lå skylt opp på stranda, men jeg sjøsatte den selvsagt igjen. Kom ikke på før nå, at den kanskje var satt i vinteropplag.)

På neset på andre siden hadde ikke sola nådd fram ennå, så der var skjellsandhaugene harde som stein og fulle av rim.

Det vil si, noen steder hadde sola nådd der også - såvidt.

Selve geocachinga kan jeg ikke vise så mye bilder av, man skal jo ikke spoile hele greiene. Folk skal jo lete selv. Det jeg kan si er at jeg fulgte anvisningene til telefonen (caching-app) gjennom en skummel krokeskog med skjegg på trærne, til jeg fant en boks. Ganske stor boks faktisk. Jeg skrev i boka og logget cachen. Min aller første - en slags testtur, rett og slett.

En rimelig stor bestand av kråkefot!
Så gikk jeg gjennom skogen tilbake til fjæra, men en annen vei for det gikk ikke sti der akkurat. Da jeg kom ned til fjæra var kajakken vekk. SKITT!

Søkk borte. Jeg så den ingen steder. Det var merkelig. For det første var jeg rimelig sikker på at sjøen falt, og for det andre var det lite vind der, og for det tredje gikk den lille vinden som var - rett mot vika, og der var heller ingen kajakk. SKITT!!! Noen må ha vært der og gjort jævel med meg???

Ingen kajakk der, så jeg fant ut at jeg måtte bare gå helt ut til neset selv om jeg så helt dit. Og sannelig, neset viste seg å være lenger ut enn jeg trodde, så kajakken lå rett bortafor det jeg trodde var ytterst...

Så enkelt viste det seg å være med den saken, altså. Jeg satte kursen mot Fiskholmen, der er det ingen cache, men jeg ville nå bare bortover for å se. Og det var lurt, for det begynte å blåse bittelitt, og så tok straumen seg litt opp, så da jeg kom helt til Fiskholmen var det faktisk litt action der. Her er jeg på tur utover mot der det er mest straumbølger, men da kom det en båt på helt kryssende kurs så jeg snudde.

På andre siden av Fiskholmen var det helt rolig - og masse hoder i vannet. Plutselig begynte skjæret til siden for meg (motsols) å bevege seg, og det ble action der også! Masse sel! Gøy. Lenge siden jeg har vært så nært, og sett så mange.

Jeg tok meg liksågodt en rekognoseringstur på land med det samme jeg var der. Vurderte fortsatt å padle helt bort til Jennestad. Det viste seg imidlertid at jeg måtte padle mye i skygge videre hjem i så fall. Fristet lite. Flatt var det også bortover.

Nei da var det mye bedre å bli her, det var nå litt fres i hvert fall. (Forøvrig et selhode til venstre i bildet.) Ikke enorme bølger akkurat, men det bråket og splæsjet og var betydelig bedre enn flatt hav.

På et spesielt sted var det til og med surfebølger som var helt perfekte for Avocet'n.

Seilbåten gikk litt rundtomkring og hit og dit, men uten seil. Her er den på vei tilbake fra Sortland, den svingte innom sentrum også.

Kanskje ikke så rart, det var jo fint lys der borte.

Ikke helt typisk midten av oktober, men de setter liksom stemninga uansett når, blåklokkene. Rett og slett et herlig innslag på denne turen. (Nei, jeg har IKKE spart bildet fra juni, det er tatt i dag.)

Ja, for jeg tok en tur i land på Kringelholmen også. Det er alltid noe kult å ta bilde av der, og jeg hadde jo med meg speilrefleksen i dag.

Dermed fikk jeg dette kule bildet, av en stakkars, stakkars glassmanet skylt på rygg opp på stranda.

Men så begynte ryggen å krangle, det var bare å komme seg hjem. Jeg skjønner ikke hva det er den driver med - den pleier å være grei hvis jeg bare ikke padler lenger enn 1,5 mil i strekk eller løfter tungt. Det var bare en mil tilsammen i dag, og jeg kan ikke huske å ha løftet tungt. Urettferdig.

Ikke mitt naust, men tøft var det likevel. Fin liten tur i dag.

by Miamaria Padlemia ( at October 19, 2014 09:11 pm

kajaknördar - paddling verkar kul
tid utomhus räknas

Text i bilder är väl ändå onödigt

Bild med copyrighttext. Ingen ser bilder, bara texten

Bild med copyrighttext. Ingen ser bilder, bara texten

Jag gillar att spana på bilder. Inom blandade områden, kanske mest inom friluftsliv, kajak, natur och sånt men även inom de flesta andra områden. Bra bilder, helst oarrangerade, är alltid skoj.

En del lägger in text i sina bilder. Kan vara så brutalt som ovan men även mindre varianter och/eller ibland med logotype med mera. Tanken är nog att försöka framhäva sitt namn eller varumärke och/eller för att försvåra kopiering.

Jag tycker det förstör bilderna. Man ser knappt bilderna, hur de än ser ut, lätt att man fastnar på texten istället.


Och visst lär det bli färre som ”snor” bilden. Så det är ju bra om det var man ville uppnå, men tyvärr lär betydligt färre titta på den och betydligt färre dela den tror jag.

Så dela med er av era bilder men skippa texten. Låt bilderna tala för sig själv. Uppmana istället andra att dela bilderna vidare och de gör de såklart med glädje om den/de är bra och om det inte finns text/logga som stör.

Man vill se hela bilden utan störande texter eller logotyper såklart

Man vill se hela bilden utan störande texter eller logotyper såklart

by Erik Sjöstedt at October 19, 2014 06:54 pm

South West Sea Kayaking
The personal blog of Mark Rainsley

Sea kayak surfing at K-Bay

A splendid surf at Kimmeridge Bay this morning. Although Kimmeridge is famous in surf circles for its reef breaks, the slow moving and not-especially-steep waves which form in the bay are simply perfect for sea kayaks. Exciting surfs, forgiving consequences. Perfect!

A wonderful spot, indeed one of my favourites….but not somewhere I now visit very often. Not since the Smedmore Estate greedily started charging ten quid to use the road to the bay, anyway. Yes, you heard that right. Ten quid.

Filed under: Dorset, Isle of Purbeck, Kayaking, Surfing

by MRY at October 19, 2014 06:41 pm

English Whitewater – 2nd Edition

The recent rain has brought the rivers of the South West up nicely; this seems a good time to remind folk that the second edition of English Whitewater is now in print and on sale. I updated my section on the South West’s rivers and I’m proud of the work I did…and if nothing else, it got me out paddling. I didn’t make any money out of this but if you click THIS LINK and buy yourself a copy, I will get a small commission, enough at least to buy a lottery ticket and hence become immensely wealthy.

Picture below shows the upper section of the splendid River Walkham, Dartmoor.

Filed under: Dartmoor, Devon, Kayaking, South Devon, White water, Writing

by MRY at October 19, 2014 02:44 pm

Kollbergs Kajakblogg
Nynäshamn / Stockholm / Sweden

Lunchpaddling till Yttre Gården

Vaknar tidigt. Det är fem minusgrader och klarblå himmel. Dricker kaffe och äter en smörgås. Solen börjar värma på. Temperaturen stiger sakta. Packar för en dagstur. Kokar gulaschsoppa. Fyller termosen med kaffe. Blir avsläppt vid NSS. Byter om. Bär ner kajaken till bryggan och stuvar ner packningen. Pelle, Carina, Mats och David möter upp. Vi lägger i och tar oss ner längs Gårdsfjärden. Paddlar genom Gårdssundet  och ner på utsidan av Yttre Gården. Det är lågvatten och svag vind. Kliver iland för lunch. Vågorna sköljer upp över Södra stranden. Dricker kaffe och småpratar. Solen värmer skönt. Hjälps åt att lägga ut kajakerna. Styr mot Sandskär. Rundar Såtholmen och paddlar sakta hemåt. Vinden har börjat friska i. Drar nöjd upp kajaken på bryggan.

Tack Carina, Pelle, David och Mats för en härlig lunchpaddling i vårsolen...

by Kenneth Kollberg ( at October 19, 2014 02:35 pm
Kajak, Foto,Friluftsliv

Strängnäs kanotmaraton 2014

Bestämde mig att köra Strängnäs kanotmaraton som gick lördagen den 18/10-2014, Har inte hunnit paddla så mycket så jag är inte i någon vidare form för ett paddling på 4.4 mil men tänkte att det ska väl gå bra bra man kör lite försiktigt.   Tar en timme att åka till Strängnäs så jag fick gå upp vid 5 tiden för komma iväg i tid.

Det var en trevlig startplats även om det saknades toalett som var låst av misstag. Många som anmält sig kom inte till start men det var ändå ca 44 stycken som startade. Det var en salig blandning av kajaker allt från snabba surfskis till vanliga havskajaker.

Starten var bra med lite mulet väder med en svag sydlig vind som gav lätt medvind de första 20 km. Startar i en fart runt 4.4-4.8 knop och efter en mil började jag bli trött och blev orolig hur detta skulle gå!   Fick en svacka runt 25 km då jag tappade fart.

Efter Hjulstabron svänger det tillbaka mot Strängnäs och det blev till en början lätt motvind, Paddlade med en herre inom synhåll annars såg jag inga andra kajaker.  Min strategi var att ta det lugnt men att inte göra några stopp, fick dock gå iland snabbt för att fixa slangen till vätskesystemet som låg i kläm. Strategin var bra för många som var snabbare än mig tog en paus utmed banan  och ett stopp på 5-10 min är jobbigt att ta ingen.

Sen blev det en överraskning !! Efter att ha rundat Aspön norra udde kom en regnfront snabbt och vinden ökade  ordentligt så att det blev motvind i stort sått ända till målgång. Början av Gisselfjärden bjöd på stora krabba vågor för att sedan övergå i mindre men i frisk motvind ( filmade lite när den värsta biten var över).

Sista  sträckan över långsmala Strängnäsfjärden tog krafterna slut och det gick mycket långsamt. Tappade bara en placering trots detta. Det gör ont minst sagt sista biten och man vill bara komma i mål.  Det var här som min otränade kropp sa ifrån men lyckades ände höja farten  lite de sista 2km in mot mål.

Var en trevlig tävling men på gränsen till lite för långt, skulle personligen hellre paddla banan medsols och börja med den något trista  Strängnäsfjärden och överfarten av de större fjärdarna.

Att använda GPS var mycket bra då det inte är helt lätt att navigera om man inte har paddlat här tidigare.

Resultat: plats 23 tid: 06:48:28

En  filmsnutt från tävlingen:

Besök Strägnäs kanotmaraton

by Bengt Larsson at October 19, 2014 12:51 pm
Cycling, sea kayaking and life in the Scottish highlands

One Year With Maggie

When a tiny border terrier came to live with us twelve months ago today I promised this would not become a dog-blog.

This anniversary is an exception.

We don't have kids so we laughingly refer to Maggie as our "fur-baby.  Actually, that's not far from the truth!

I've made a few videos of her in the past year which you can find on her YouTube channel.

I am self-aware enough to know how sad this sounds.  My younger self would scoff and sneer mercilessly.  But she is endlessly entertaining, as you can see below.

by Simon ( at October 19, 2014 11:04 am

. . . WELCOME PHOTOGRAPHERS, PADDLERS AND DREAMERS If there be magic on the planet, the magic is in the water (ANON)

Doug Winter

Still missed by friends

It seems as if it were just yesterday when we messed around in boats.

Doug (far left) was our friend, a kayaker, a fine teacher of children and...above all...a fine decent guy. 
After all this time he is carried in our hearts. His name is spoken often in our circles. 

Paddle safe...

by Silbs ( at October 19, 2014 10:19 am

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

Kayakers' news from CHEK

Two local stories of note for paddlers on Vancouver Island, reported on CHEK news:

-a paddler from Campbell River is missing. His vehicle has been found on Quadra Island, and his kayak and gear have turned up on another island nearby. You can read this story and see the CHEK video here. This case is a reminder for all of us, especially those who paddle alone, to have a ground crew. It's also a good idea when parking your vehicle to leave a brief note on the front seat telling your paddle plans and when you plan to return.

-a cargo vessel loaded with fossil fuels was drifting off Haida Gwai, but is now under tow. It appears disaster may have been averted, for now. You can read this story here.

Update: as of Saturday night, the tow line had broken and the vessel was drifting again towards the rocky shore. Then the vessel was taken under tow again. On Sunday the 19th, the vessel was being towed for repair. Stay tuned to your news services to hear the next stage in not only this particular vessel's story, but the ongoing story of How Fuel Tankers Affect The Coastline. As small boat users, this is our story too and there are many ways we can participate.

by (Paula) at October 19, 2014 12:39 am

October 18, 2014

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.
Greenland Or Bust - Helen Wilson & Mark Tozer

Lumpy Waters

“We want Lumpy, we want Lumpy, we want Lumpy…” This group chant has become very familiar at the Lumpy Waters Symposium, which took place in Pacific City, Oregon last weekend. This was my second year coaching at the event, and I had an absolute blast.

The event started mid-day Friday, and I showed up a couple of hours early. Sea kayaking symposia usually feel like a big family reunion, and it was great to spend some time catching up with old friends and making new ones before classes began.

The Fun-Balance-Games competes in a singing competition.

The Fun-Balance-Games class competes in a singing competition.

Throughout the weekend I ran three sessions of Simplifying the Roll and one session of Fun-Balance-Games. It was great to work with coaches from all over the country, and fantastic to see so many repeat and new participants.

There were races as well.

There were races as well.

Taking balance to another level.

Taking balance to another level.

There were some very creative thinkers in this class.

There were some very creative thinkers in this class.

The social aspect of Lumpy Waters is one of the things that makes it special. Event sponsors, Thule and Kokatat, provided the beer, and Werner provided some REALLY nice stainless steel pint glasses to enjoy the tasty beverages out of. The campfire was always running strong, and evening social activities included presentations by Matt Nelson and Nick Cunliffe, as well as the legendary “Pub Quiz,” which is difficult to describe… guess you’ll have to go next year to experience it for yourself.

Thank you to Paul Kuthe, Suzi Elle and Dave Slover who all do an amazing job of putting this symposium together. You all rock!

by helen at October 18, 2014 02:16 pm

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

Mount Hope Cemetery Animals

 More animal shots gathered off the water, this time from Bangor's Mount Hope Cemetery.    There are entrances off State St and Mount Hope Avenue.  The State Street Gate is open more hours.
"I'm flying"
Mount Hope is the second oldest garden cemetery in the United States.  (The oldest is Mount Auburn, Cambridge, MA.)   It has a stream running through the middle which widens into several ponds and a seperate turtle pond by the main office.  The water, and the banning of dogs, makes this a great place to find animals.
    Groundhogs are especially common, as are squirrels.  Unfortunately, by October, all the groundhogs are hibernating.
     In the spring and summer, uskrats are frequently seen in the ponds, or on nearby banks.  This one is just a baby.
    Less rarely seen are chipmunks.  And just once this summer were we able to spot a fox or mink.
Eastern Bluebird
  A variety of birds show up through the season.  For awhile Merlins were nesting in a tree.
    But this Cooper's Hawk just showed up recently.
There are an abundance of frogs, and tadpoles in season.  Surprisingly, herons and kingfishers are not there every day.
    But there are lots of mallards.  These ducks are hoping for some food.
   I hope you're having some wonderful fall adventures!

by PenobscotPaddles ( at October 18, 2014 01:25 pm

South West Sea Kayaking
The personal blog of Mark Rainsley

Magpie River Diary

Recently came across this article from 2006, about a 115 mile paddle in Quebec; down the West Magpie River, along Lac Magpie and then down the Magpie River to the sea.

Friday 28th July

The alarm went off in our motel room at seven am, and Simon made the phone call right away. No good, the planes are fog bound and nobody is flying today. We went right back to sleep.

We’re in Sept Isles, a small town in the far east of Quebec, Canada. Yesterday we drove nearly six hundred miles here from Montreal. Our final arrival was a bit of a let-down. With grey concrete, grey sea and grey skies, Sept Isles looks suspiciously like Barrow in Furness. The culprit who rounded us up and dragged us all up here is Simon Wiles, an expat Brit. He has convinced us that – given that it possesses 13% of the worlds fresh water – Quebec has to have decent whitewater hidden somewhere out in the woods. So here we are, a dozen Brits and Americans, wondering if we are all victims of an elaborate hoax.

Saturday 29th July

The alarm went off again, Simon phoned again and this time the news was good. Clear skies for our flight inland. Within an hour we were all assembled at the lake which serves as an airport, weighing our creek boats and a mountain of gear; presumably so that our pilot could calculate how fast we’d fall out of the sky. I found myself in the first group, cramming half a dozen boats down one side of the little Otter float plane. Whilst the second group drove the long shuttle, our pilot cranked up the engine and we were airborne in seconds. Labrador Air Safari doesn’t provide air hostesses or in-flight movies; instead a pair of ear plugs was doled out to each of us and entertainment consisted of hanging onto luggage straps whenever the plane banked sharply.

Below us was nothing but trees, lakes, cliffs and rivers. After an hour, the pilot swooped low and yelled over the roar of the engine that he was going to attempt a landing on the river. A succession of things flashed past my window disturbingly closely: tree branches, a cliff, sandbars, rocks…and then the pilot revved the engine and we climbed steeply up again, before landing gently on a lake a few miles away from the river. We offloaded the gear and by the time we’d waded to a beach, the plane had left to collect the rest of the group.

For the first time in many months, none of us had anything much to do. Marvellous! We sunbathed and paddled on the beach, whilst speculating what to do if the second flight didn’t appear. This seemed a distinct possibility, as a thunderstorm was brewing…but by late afternoon, we were all reunited and paddling across Lac Vital in our somewhat low-floating boats. Water levels had been a concern prior to the trip but as we reached the lake outlet, we found a very healthy flow. After several miles of easy rapids, we were deposited in the West Magpie River itself, which was surprisingly large. I’m not sure what we expected, but we didn’t think wed encounter a big volume Grade 5 gorge at the start! Clearly the Magpie deserves respect, but more importantly we have established that it has quality miles after miles of long technical Grade 4 rapids to puzzle your way down.

The silence and solitude out here is simply daunting. The nearest road is about 80 miles away as the Loon flies. The Muskeg landscape is totally alien to us; thick boggy moss with stunted trees. We aren’t alone, we constantly see moose prints on beaches and we are wearing head-nets to keep the blasted evening black-flies from draining our blood.

No one seems to like my cooking. What’s wrong with hot-dog sausages and spaghetti? It’s raining.

Sunday 30th July

I woke at five am and tried some fishing. Despite my total incompetence, a few brook trout were dumb enough to get caught. All too small for breakfast, though. Damon joined me and produced a gigantic fly fishing rod from his kayak, Tardis-style. He taught me how to cast a rod properly, not that it made the big fish bite.

Eventually we were all on the river, trying to loosen up after our first night of bivvying. The rapids fizzled out early on and the following four hours were more or less flat water. Andy Mc noted that it was more flat water than hed paddled in his entire life. We all zoned out into our own headspace. I had time to notice that the trees were slowly getting taller, and the grass greener; really.

In the evening, the whitewater returned and we picked our way down a long series of bedrock ledges, trying with varying degrees of success to dodge the big stoppers they generate. Boofing isn’t much of an option when your boat weighs 40 kilos! The paddling gets better and better, not unlike Norway (but with fewer gorgeous blonde women).

We’re getting to know the Americans better. Shoving an international mix of egos together out in the wild, sounds on paper like the worst plan ever. In reality, its splendid; they are easy to get on with and we’re all having a laugh.

It’s still raining.

Monday 31st July

Mark G had a lousy start to the day, when his sleeping bag blew into the river. What is this changeable Quebec weather all about?

After a slow start waiting for Kevin to pack his boat (usual culprit) we were off with Lac Magpie as our objective for the day. The West Magpie moved up a gear, laying on some of the finest continuous rapids we’ve ever paddled. We’re all paddling carefully; heroics generally aren’t a good idea when you are several days from help. Keeping communication and safety tight with such a large group is pretty awkward, and at one point Eric found himself left behind, pinned across a large boulder choke…oops.

The West Magpie flattened off again, and we assumed that Lac Magpie could not be far. Wrong! A bonus gorge appeared which is not on our maps. At the entrance, the whole river plunged into a slot with enormous tow-back; our first portage. The remainder of the gorge was alternately portaged and paddled, and this took much of the afternoon to deal with. Full marks to John, who carried Andy L’s boat right around the gorge for him after he flaked out. Finally we escaped the gravitational pull of this abyss and emerged into Lac Magpie. The lake is fifty miles long and we have to paddle more than half the length of the bloody thing. With an unexpected gale blowing down the lake, we found ourselves surfing! This was totally exhausting as the creek boats kept slewing off course. After two hours of this unpleasantness, something snapped in me and I rebelled, paddling towards a beach to stop for the day. Thankfully everyone else felt the same and followed.

This evening we are perched atop a slab of rock beside the fire, watching squalls of wind and rain race up and down Lac Magpie. Its a beautiful spot, but everyone’s mind is focused on the distance we have to paddle along the lake tomorrow. A headwind would be all of our worst nightmares come true at once

Tuesday 1st August

In the early hours of this morning, I crawled out of my bivvy bag to pee. There were more stars crammed into the night sky than I ever knew existed. The heavens seemed three-dimensional, with some stars almost close enough to touch. Better still, the wind had dropped.

Breakfast catastrophe! The porridge I cooked was accidentally tipped over and lost. This didn’t bother Eric, who grabbed a spoon and ate it off the rocks. He declared that the mossy bits didn’t taste so nice.

We rather reluctantly launched and headed off along the shore. Nothing is more soul destroying than lagging behind someone all day, so Mark G and I paired up. For the first few hours, my shoulders screamed in protest and my mind wished for my sea kayak. We stopped for lunch under a cliff and Damon (once he’d caught up) declared emphatically that this was the lousiest day of his entire life. We considered the possibility that we were all unwitting victims of some Reality TV show, and that Ant and Dec would appear out of the bushes at any moment. After lunch however, something bizarre happened. My arms seemed to flow, the miles began to fall away easily, and a wave of euphoria washed over me. I was loving it! I told others about this, but they just looked at me funny. It took us eight hours to cover 26.7 miles of the lake (wonderful thing, GPS) to the outflow of the Magpie River. This section began with large multi-channelled Grade 3 rapids. These were pleasant, but we stopped shortly; we were zonked out and it began to rain coldly.

The campsite we’ve selected has quickly become known as Camp Misery on account of the endless rain, wet unburnable wood and nasty claggy sand which works its way into every piece of your gear and every nook and cranny of your body. There is talk of paddling the whole Magpie River (over thirty miles) in one single day tomorrow, instead of two. Whilst the thought of steak and a warm bed tomorrow night is tempting, it’s a long paddle and we’re all pretty run down so it doesn’t seem likely. I expressed my opinion of the plan using a word which rhymes with ‘pollocks’.

Wednesday 2nd August

We did it! I was forced to eat my words, today was The Longest Day.

Strange river, the Magpie. It has friendly easy rapids in the first ten miles, but then it just flattens out into a chain of small lakes linked by large granite ledges which form huge stoppers. We were able to find sneak routes around them all, but Chris attempted to commit euthanasia before reaching his 42nd birthday (tomorrow) when he totally missed his line and boofed straight over an evil pourover onto a thirty foot long towback.

The Magpie dragged on through the day, getting flatter; we thought we’d almost done it when the GPS read five miles to the sea. Never count your chickens, the GPS also told us that we were 500 feet above the sea. The flat water ended abruptly as the river dropped into a monster gorge, losing most of that height in one mile. As we shouldered our boats for the long portage, I emptied my water bottle to save weight. This was about the stupidest thing I could have done, an hour later I was clinging to mossy cliffs high above the river, completely dehydrated. Idiot.

Damon and I were the last two paddlers to climb back to the river. We were above the gorge’s final big grade 5 rapid. Neither of us was enthusiastic about this, given our tiredness. I ran the entrance drop by a chicken chute, and waited in the eddy, savaged mercilessly by blackfly. Damon seal-launched and paddled out to catch the central tongue through the drop…disaster struck! Damon missed and instead plugged the largest stopper. As the inevitable beatdown ensued, I readied myself to chase a swimmer down the gorge. Damon had different ideas; he is a phenomenal playboater, and regained control over his heavy, loaded creekboat. For a full two minutes he tried to cartwheel and loop out, eventually wresting free, purple in the face. I was in awe, this being some of the best paddling I’ve ever witnessed (except for the bit where he dropped into the stopper).

It was nearly over. As dusk began to descend, we portaged around Magpie Falls, 80 feet high and spectacular. Perhaps we were too tired to appreciate it fully, but scenes like this made the price of admission easier to swallow.

A few more rapids, another corner in the river, and we faced the building site of a new hydro plant, quite a jarring sight after days in true wilderness! The dam will flood the last mile of the river to a depth of thirty feet, a sad loss but in truth, only a fraction of what the Magpie River drainage has to offer.

One more murderous portage left, through the trees past the dam site. We crawled up to the cars after eleven hours of paddling and portaging, physically defeated but elated. The beer we left in the cars has disappeared in about five seconds. Steak awaits a hundred miles away and Simon has his foot on the gas pedal…

Mark Rainsley 2006

The following photos show some other nearby rivers which we enjoyed…

Filed under: Camping, Canada, Magazine articles, White water

by MRY at October 18, 2014 11:51 am

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.

A quick sip of "Brandy", waiting for my paddling partner.

It's been quite a while since last posting and there are lots of days in the narrow boats, on the waters around Vancouver Island, still to share. Maybe sometime. It was good to be home for a visit, we knew the Scottish boats would wait patiently for our return. 

Speaking of return, your scribe has been back in Scotland and the locum at St. Margaret's for a couple of weeks, but my paddling partner is still in Canada for another week or so. Joan's UK visa arrived from Her Majesty's Passport Office, the day after I left Vancouver on the big blue KLM jet(s), bound eventually for Edinburgh. There are tremendous advantages to having dual citizenship, not the least of which is the freedom to travel back and forth at will. 

So, since I'm not "allowed" to paddle without my partner, and can't get the Valley Étain onto the MTKTV (Moderate Terrain Kayak Transport Vehicle) racks easily anyway...what to do? Hit the trails, of course. On this day, it was a quick trip up to one of our favourite hill walking destinations, Loch Brandy. It's that marvellous mountain corrie at nearby Glen Clova, a jewel of a lochan. In Canada, we would call it a mountain cirque.

It doesn't seem to matter what the weather is like up there, it's simply lovely. The rain pelted down, the wind blew, and the mist came and went, but the rain gear and the delicious isolation made for a perfect adventure. It was a grand day out.

Taking shelter behind a stone grouse "hide" (I think that's what it was), I lay on the soft heather and marvelled at the landscape, made dynamic by the movement of the liquid air. It was the perfect place for lunch, in the company of only a few sheep. The distant and eerie roaring of a red deer stag, Britain's largest land mammal, was carried by the wind, to this little place of respite.

Even the loch would mysteriously vanish...and reappear before my eyes. There was a "mystical" element to it all. These are, however, the Scottish highlands, the depth of their history and associated legend is palpable.

The plan had been to complete the high circuit, over the top of Brandy, but the visibility was very poor, sometimes non-existent...and there was no one else on the mountain. I would be content to leave it for another day.

It's so easy to be alone in these craggy hills...but not lonely.

It's such a special place... last "sip", and it was time to descend to the trail head.

I miss my paddling partner, but she's enjoying some additional "pal" time back home and I'm really happy about that. Soon, we'll be back on the water together...and undoubtedly sipping the occasional "Brandy" - corrie blend. :)

by Duncan and Joan ( at October 18, 2014 11:57 am

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

Paddlenorth - a book by author and paddler Jennifer Kingsley

Conservationist and paddler Jennifer Kingsley has a new book being launched this fall, called Paddlenorth. Published by Greystone Books with support from the Canada Council for the Arts, this book tells the story of Kingsley's 54-day paddling adventure on the Back River in Canada's north. This is a terrific choice for a gift to give the paddler you love.

“A perilous journey through an unforgiving landscape. A wild adventure that sweeps you up in its wake. Jennifer Kingsley is a wicked paddler and a beautiful writer.”–Andrew Westoll, author of The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary
“In the tradition of great exploration literature, Jennifer Kingsley examines both the wilderness she paddles through and the wilderness within. An engrossing story that illuminates the north and the nature of friendship.”—Don Gillmor, author of Mount Pleasant

 Kingsley will be reading from her book at the following free events in Vancouver and Victoria BC in the next few days:

October 19, Vancouver, B.C.

Afternoon in-store signing at Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC). 130 West Broadway Vancouver, British Columbia V5Y 1P3
Come by to say hello, talk about paddling, check out some muskox fur and meet the author.

October 19, Vancouver, B.C.

Evening presentation at Book Warehouse, 4118 Main Street at 25th Ave.
6:30-8:00 p.m.
Free admission.
Join author and naturalist Jennifer Kingsley for stories and a sample of her new book, Paddlenorth. Meet other people who love travel writing. Say hi to Jenny.

October 20, Vancouver, B.C.

Evening presentation at Mountain Equipment Co-0p (MEC). 130 West Broadway Vancouver, British Columbia V5Y 1P3
6:00-7:00 p.m.
Free admission.
Join author and naturalist Jennifer Kingsley for slides, stories and a sample of her new book, Paddlenorth. Meet other paddlers, talk about adventure, get inspired.

October 22, Victoria, B.C.

Evening presentation at the Victoria Public Library, Central Branch, 735 Broughton Street.
Join Jennifer Kingsley, author and naturalist, on her Arctic voyage as she recounts stories, shows photos, reads select passages and answers questions. Come and say hi!

by (Paula) at October 18, 2014 07:02 am