Paddling Planet

December 16, 2018

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

Where Dreams Go To Die.

Just spreading the word about a documentary I just saw and loved. No, it's no Free Solo - which I saw and loved, it's amazing, check it out! - but this one about the Barkley Marathons. Here is the trailer.

If you don't know the Barkley Marathons, they are a really extreme trail based ultra-marathon. It is listed to 40 people per year, and the registration process is a secret. It starts when the race organizer lights a cigarette - somewhere in a 12 hour time span. You have 60 hours to complete 5 loops which are listed as 20 miles each but vary and are usually 25 or so. They call completing 3 loops the "fun run" and only 16 people have completed the 5 loop version.

It is insanity on two legs.

by paddlingOTAKU ( at December 16, 2018 09:36 am

The Ikkatsu Project
In the Service of the Ocean


When I was a kid, I didn’t read a lot of comics. A few here and there, and I knew who the characters were, but the whole graphic reading thing was not my cup of chowder, it seems.

But there is always one superhero that resonates in our subconscious… everyone has a favorite. I don’t know why some people favor Superman over Spiderman, or Wonder Woman over the Black Panther, but there seems to be some kind of characteristic that is embedded in each of the two-dimensional actors that finds a parallel in our own minds, something that we each identify with. And I am saying this as someone who was never that committed to any of them.

Except Aquaman. I always thought he was cool. It figures, I guess, seeing as how much time I’ve spent on the water and how much the ocean has had a hold on my life to this point. The idea that you could breathe underwater, talk to whales and mermaids and cause or calm the ocean storms… it all appealed to me.

When I heard that they were coming out with an Aquaman movie – I’m not going to lie – I got pretty excited. An opportunity to focus people’s attention on the ocean again while putting all those formidable superpowers on display, seemed like a winner to me.

I don’t get into pop culture on this site much and I know that DC films have typically been less entertaining and more disconnected than their Marvel kin. I know a lot more about these things now than I did when I was a kid because I have an in-house, 12 year-old critic living under the same roof who has a point of view about almost everything. He tells me it’s not going to be a good movie, compared to Ironman or Ragnarok or Dr. Strange. He goes into long explanations why, with talk of excessive cgi and poor back story development.

Like he knows anything. I’m excited to see it.

by Ken Campbell at December 16, 2018 12:24 am

December 15, 2018


Coaching in Greece for a week: amazing experience!

I'm always happy to coach with other coaches: this is the best way foro me to improve my coaching skills together with my personal, relational and social interaction skills.
It's even better when I also have the chance to go abroad and meet some special people, like George Gazetas, a passionate sea kayaker and a competent coach, owner of Odysea sea kayak center in Greece, and Peter Jones, an experienced and well-know coach based in Anglesey - UK.
Thanks to them I get even more deep into the coaching experience and I've learnt a mass of new things: last week was a very priceless week and I've realized one more time that you never stop learning!
George invited me for the third time to Greece to run a Coastal navigation and Tidal Planning course at his new center based in Palea Fokaia, just 60 km South of Athens, and a Moderate Water Sea Kayak Leader training for five incredibly determined students, some of them also involved as mock students in the following assessment.
For the first time in Greece, in fact, George organized a MW Leader assessment, directed by Peter Jones, with me as second assessor and George himself as observer. Unfortunately none of the five candidates passed the assessment but I'm pretty sure that they all will come back next time with much more confidence and experience. By my side, it has been interesting to travel through the Provider Process again (both for CNTP and MW Leader award) and support George the same way I was supported by other coaches... This is a sort of emotional and constructive approch to pass your knowledge and expertise to others, and at the same time to receive back something really special: a peculiar mix of ideas, suggestions, top handy tips, discussions, different viewpoints & insights, an incredibly exchange of fieldwork patiently built in order to get better yourself, step by step, as coach and human being as well...
George and Peter were the perfect partners for this amazing coaching adventure in Greece!

The first group of enthusiastic paddler down the Poseidon Temple at Cape Sounion... 
Dimitris and Xaris practising a spectacular and efficient roll & assisted rescue...
Moving water at Vouliagmeni lake close to the Corinth canal...
Assisted an unconscious paddler going back into his kayak...
In-line double-towing of a rafted kayaks...
Second day around Sounion Cape exploring the rocky coast-line...
Rock landing and launching under the Poseidon temple with a big audience from the top of the cliffs!
Many water activities around the temple dedicated to the god of the sea... 
One of the various de-briefing we have had during the three days' training
George was surely the happiest paddler of the group!
The students working hard to use the diamonds' informations to plan a daily trip...
The best place ever to organize the final de-briefing on the last training day!
New adventure is starting: the first MW Sea Kayak Leader assessment in Greece!
Perfect conditions: rough waters and windy days provide us a good remit...
Variety of rocky coast-line where to practise leadership skills...
How many people are involved in an assisted rescue of a capsized paddler?!
Is that a towing of an Easter egg?
One of the briefing moments during the leadership sessions...
Peter and George (and myself too!) organizing the final assessment de-briefing...
Two more jolly days spent in Greece to visit the amazing, rich and windy inland

Sono sempre molto contenta di insegnare insieme ad altri insegnanti: credo sia la maniera migliore per migliorare le mie competenze didattiche, oltre alle mie capacità di approfondire le relazione personale e di sviluppare le interazione sociali.
E' ancora più stimolante quando ho l'occasione di andare all'estero e di incontrare alcune persone speciali, come George Gazetas, un kayaker appassionato ed un insegnante preparato, titolare della scuola di kayak greca Odysea, e Peter Jones, uno dei più esperti e conosciuti insegnanti originario di Anglesey, la Mecca del kayak da mare a livello mondiale.
Grazie a loro mi sono addentrata ancor più in profondità nei meandri dell'insegnamento del kayak da mare e ho imparato un'infinità di cose interessanti: la scorsa settimana è stata ineguagliabile e ho capito una volta di più che ogni giorno è buone per imparare qualcosa di nuovo!
George mi ha invitata per la terza volta a tenere in Grecia sia un corso di navigazione costiera presso il suo nuovo centro di kayak a Palea Fokaia, appena 60 km a sud di Atene, che un corso per diventare capo gruppo secondo gli standard della British Canoeing, quel Moderate Water Sea kayak Leader training un tempo denominato "4 stelle": i cinque allievi coinvolti si sono dimostrati talmente determinati da voler prendere parte come cavie anche al successivo esame.
George ha infatti organizzato per la prima volta in Grecia anche un esame di MW Leader, diretto da Peter Jones, assistito da me come secondo esaminatore, e seguito dallo stesso George come osservatore nel suo percorso per diventare a sua volta provider. Sfortunatamente nessuno dei cinque candidati ha superato l'esame finale ma sono sicura che tutti si presenteranno al prossimo appuntamento con molta più esperienza e sicurezza.
Dal mio punto di vista, inoltre, il corso e l'esame hanno rappresentato anche uno stimolante "ripasso" del percorso per diventare provider ed è stato molto bello poter aiutare George nello stesso modo in cui io sono stata aiutata da altri insegnanti quando seguivo lo stesso tirocinio (sia per il CNTP che per il MW Leader)... E' una sorta di passaggio del testimone, una maniera intelligente di trasferire ad altri le tue conoscenze e allo stesso tempo un modo intrigante di ricevere qualcosa di speciale come contropartita: un peculiare intreccio di idee, suggerimenti, aiuti e stratagemmi, confronti, diverse prospettive e punti di vista, un'incredibile scambio di esperienze pratiche di insegnamento (e non solo!) creato con l'intento precipuo di continuare sempre a migliorare se stessi, passo dopo passo, come insegnanti e come persone...
George e Peter sono stati i colleghi (di più: alleati, sostenitori, amici!) perfetti per questa fantastica esperienza di corsi ed esami in Grecia!

by Tatiana Cappucci ( at December 15, 2018 09:54 pm

Il primo corso del 2019!

Sono molto contenta di iniziare il nuovo anno con un corso di kayak da mare!
E' la prima volta che mi capita di insegnare senza sosta durante i mesi invernali: significa forse che la percezione di doversi dedicare nei mesi freddi ad attività diverse dal pagaiare sembra ormai superata. Il kayak invernale è senza dubbio più impegnativo per via delle basse temperature dell'acqua e dell'aria, che richiedono un'attrezzatura personale adeguata alle più rigide condizioni climatiche, ma è anche fonte di inesauribile soddisfazione perché regala momenti di profonda connessione con l'ambiente marino che nella bella stagione ci è talvolta preclusa (se non altro dalla presenza di molte altre persone...), per non dire della luca particolare, del cielo cinerino, delle folate gelide, del sole timido ma confortante, delle giornate corte ma intense... Senza contare poi il toccasana finale di una cioccolata calda con la panna che rende l'uscita in kayak ancora più gratificante!

Il primo dell'anno è un corso 3 stelle fissato a Anzio (Roma) nelle giornate di giovedì 3, venerdì 4 e sabato 5 gennaio 2019, ospiti presso il locale Circolo delle Vela Anzio Tirrena.
Il corso avrà un nome diverso perché la British Canoeing ha avviato un pluriennale lavoro di aggiornamento di tutti i suoi corsi, richiedendo a tutti i suoi insegnanti un aggiornamento on-line per mantenersi al passo coi tempi, ma il programma ed il contenuto del corso è quasi del tutto inalterato: sulla pagina del sito di Tatiyak dedicato alle attività didattica trovate tutte le informazioni utili sul corso, compreso il syllabus, le note per il corso e quelle per l'esame tradotte in italiano.
Dopo il trasloco definitivo da Legnano a Latina saremo in grado di aggiornare il calendario delle attività per il 2019 e nel frattempo salutiamo l'anno che sta finendo con un ultimo corso di navigazione costiera (pre-requisito per accedere al training di Moderate Water Sea Kayak Leader, il vecchio 4 stelle!) fissato per il 28 dicembre 2018 a Genova Nervi, dove i ragazzi che qualche settimana fa hanno seguito il 3 stelle sono già pronti per andare avanti... a presto in acqua!

by Tatiana Cappucci ( at December 15, 2018 09:53 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!)

And I say to myself...

what a wonderful

As usual on Blogger, click any photo for a better view. 

This one's for Laura over at Coast of Illinois who got me going on one odd reason why I'm especially fond of these guys when she commented that her sad train commute needs buskers. 

Yes, a good busker is a blessing to a commute. Bad ones can be another story but I love these guys.

They play at my stop in Soho pretty regularly (sometimes together, sometimes trombone guy on his own). Funny thing is that they really won me over by their habit of sticking to their regular jazz standards right through the holiday season - NYC loves doing Christmas, and although I do love singing and hearing traditional carols, the incessant aural bombardment of pop Christmas songs in every store sometimes gets to me, especially if I'm feeling a little blue or stressed anyways which sometimes happens to me. I get nipped at by mild depression from time to time and when that happens at Christmas all the be-of-good-cheer stuff can get overwhelming and I get to  where I'd just like to crawl under the covers and stay there until December 26th if not January 2nd. Call it "Holidazed". Can't imagine what it's like for people with deeper depression - if anyone's reading this who goes through that, you have my respect and sympathy.

These guys are good and and if they wanted to, they could go with the holiday theme and do some wonderful brass arrangements of Christmas songs. I would like them and I would give them money, but there's something so refreshing about coming out of the office and walking past all the Soho shop window decked to the holiday nines and then getting to the subway stairs and then hearing the strains of "Mac the Knife" drifting up to greet you. The first time I heard them was one of those times when my holiday spirits were wearing thin and I was just delighted to find these guys playing their tunes. Just the break I'd needed. I could just feel myself unwinding while I listened.

I was delighted to find them at 14th street yesterday, I'd gone to the main post office at 34th street (open all night) to put a couple of items in the mail (there some candy and there was some hair, I sure hope I got the mailing labels right! 🤣) and was switching from the C to the D here to get back to Brooklyn. I was down on the other end of the platform when I realized I was hearing "Hello Dolly". Went down to investigate 'cause the performing style sounded really familiar, and sure enough, there they were. Nice surprise, made the sort of long wait for a D train way better.

And as long as I'm posting about running errands in NYC - the Empire State Building (also on 34th St.) looked neat with its head in the clouds last night. I'm glad I had a camera along. 

by (bonnie) at December 15, 2018 08:08 pm

Pouls kajakblog
Jeg hedder Poul, og jeg er kajakoholiker! Denne blog - der mest er min egen dagbog over mit "kajakliv" - handler om mine kajakture og det udstyr jeg benytter mig af.

Tur i flot decembervejr

Jeg havde aftalt at ro en tur med Jan fra Karrebæksminde. Det passede fint at køre til enø, da jeg havde haft min Tiderace hjemme til en gang tiltrængt kærlighed. Efter vask, rens og polering så den næsten ny ud - den havde også fået lidt gelcoat i de værste ridser på bunden.

Vi lagde ud ved DUI hytten, og da vandstanden var meget høj kunne vi ro direkte mod gennemsejlingen mellem Enø og Gavnø. Vejret var lidt trist med grå og mørk himmel, men heldigvis med meget lidt vind. Efter et par km's roning kom der lidt varme i fingrene og jeg kunne tage et billede af Jan.
Og en selfie af mig selv. som det kan ses på vesten kom der lidt sne ud af de grå skyer.
 Et svagt lys på himlen over Svinø gav håb om lidt bedre vejr.
Og ganske rigtigt - solen prøvede at titte gennem skyerne og badede snart Jan i et flot lys. De små krusninger på vandet så helt Johannes Larsens'k ud
Et kvarters tid senere tog Jan dette billede af undertegnede ved Gavnø - nu sneede det. Stadig fint og roligt vejr og med mange fugle på og over vandet.
Vi snakkede om at gå i land ved shelterne ved kanalen, men da vi nærmede lå pynten ved sejlklubben badet i sollys.
Så vi blev enige om at det ville være et fint sted at holde en lille pause.
Der er en lille sandstrand ved siden af pynten, så det gik let med at komme i land. Vi nød lidt suppe, en mad og et par dadler, inden turen igen gik imod Karrebæksminde i stille medvind.
Det blev til 15 km i flot, flot decembervejr

by Pouls kajakblog ( at December 15, 2018 07:00 pm

Den 13. december er det Luciadag, og selv en inkarneret hedning som mig pynter sin kajak og ror en tur. Manger tager til København og ror sammen med rigtig mange andre, men i NKC holder vi fanen højt og ror fra klubhuset ind i den fritlagte å midt i Næstved og retur.
I år var vejret rigtig fint og hele 15 kajakker tog turen ind i åen. På bredden stod formand jesper og bød på en lille en. Fin tradition.
Årets flottest pyntede kajak blev i år kåret til at være den toerkajak Kolbe og Maria havde pyntet - og roede i udklædt som Rudolf og Luciabruden - gæt selv hvem der var hvem.
Tilbage i klubhuset stod den på fællesspisning. Jeg kom for sent med tilmeldingen til at kunne nyde Michaels forlorne hare. Men færdigretten med pasta fra Lidl smagte de også godt...
Efter maden fik vi gløgg og æbleskiver - og så gik årets begivenhed i NKC i gang for alvor - GAVESPILLET.
Her blev der i første omgang kæmpet om at skrabe gaver til sig ved at slå en 6'er - og det var der rigtignok da også nogle der gjorde.  Da alle de af deltagerne medbragte gaver var vundet, gik anden omgang i gang. Her måtte man snuppe en pakke fra en anden og beholde den - slog man en 1'ter måtte man igen snuppe en pakke, men skulle give den til en anden. det gav en underholdene omgang, hvor det til slut viste sig medmenneskelighed trods alt har en plads i den klassiske benhårde egoisme.
Det viste sig nemlig at da uret ringede og tilkendegav at runden var slut, havde næste alle en pakke. Jeg vandt en gør-det-selv-lav-karameller-pakke.

Vi roede 5 km

Se alle billederne her

by Pouls kajakblog ( at December 15, 2018 07:00 pm

Flot novemberdag på fjorden

Jeg roede en tur med Jan. Vi snakkede om at ro til Svinø, men en skarp sidevind fik os til at ro rundt om Gavnø i stedet.
I rygvind nærmede vi os Karlsgab og kunne sidde og nyde en havørn der fløj rundt over træerne på Gavnø. Inde på Fladstrand var der en del vadefugle - bla en lille flok viber der endnu ikke var taget sydpå.
Mellem Gavnø og Ydernæs lå der store flokke af blishøns og ænder og nød det rolige vand. Jan og jeg nød også vores frokost i læ på shelterpladsen ved kanalen.
Da jeg havde glemt kameraet er dagens eneste billede taget med telefonen.
Turen tilbage til Karrebæksminde var præget af modvind. Det var ok at skulle knokle lidt, og jeg nød at se hvor godt mon perle skærer sog gennem bølgerne. Jan griner af mig og siger st kajakken minder om er undervandsbåd. Pyt, jeg er da ikke dykket endnu.
Det blev til 16 km

by Pouls kajakblog ( at December 15, 2018 07:00 pm

December 14, 2018

Mountain and Sea Scotland
Hillwalking and Sea Kayaking in Scotland

Old friends above the valley of the deer

This is the first of two "catch-up" posts from the end of October.  A bright and breezy day looked good for a hillwalk, and looking at the map I realised that it had been a while since I'd been over the hill to Speyside. I decided to climb Corryhabbie Hill, but not via the usual route.

My route from Donside to Speyside climbs up through high farmland and across the Cabrach, an area of moorland studded with mostly abandoned buildings.  It wasn't always so and there's a good history of the Cabrach on "Lenathehyena's" blog.  The play of light was marvellous on this October morning, rainbows appearing and disappearing as showers passed through.

I started my walk at Bridgehaugh where there's space to park a couple of cars clear of the estate road and entrance.  A steep slope covered with bracken was virtually glowing against a blue sky.

A look at the map in the link above will show that the track leading southwest from Bridgehaugh goes upstream alongside a river which is by no means large, but has a name known throughout the world.  This is the River Fiddich, and this view looks along part of Glen Fiddich.  Downstream the river runs through Speyside's "whisky capital", the village of Dufftown.  Along the banks of the river are some of the best known of Scotland's distilleries; Mortlach, Balvenie and, of course, Glenfiddich among them. Nowhere else in Scotland (or indeed the world) has a higher concentration of distilleries than this corner of Speyside.

I walked alongside the river past the now delapidated Glenfiddich Lodge, a former shooting lodge, and took a track climbing above a bend in the river up into a landscape of rounded hills covered in wind-clipped heather.  the track made for fast walking and I was soon swinging around between two hills and beginning the climb to the broad ridge which forms Corryhabbie Hill's summit.

From the higher ground the views open up to be really expansive.  To the north west, the most distinctive hill in the area, Ben Rinnes, is prominent.  It's a hill which has given some great days.  The "normal" route to climb Corryhabbie Hill from Glen Rinnes comes up the track in this image - my route would only coincide with that one on the summit ridge itself.

To the north, the slopes of the wonderfully named Thunderslap Hill fall to the Dullan water, and rising beyond is the Dufftown "double" of Meikle and Little Conval.  Looking to familiar hills - old friends-  is one of the small joys of hillwalking, and the more hills one climbs, the more joy there is to be had!

On the upper ridge of Corryhabbie Hill I was exposed to a biting north wind - to the north there's no higher ground between these hills and the north pole....and today it felt like it.  I stopped to put on another layer, gloves and a hat. 

Crouching down to sort out my kit I noticed the stunning colour on tufts of Deer Grass (Trichophorum cespitosum).  The name is misleading, it's neither a grass (actually a member of the sedge family) or particularly favoured by grazing deer.  The name derives from the wonderful shade of the plant in autumn, reminiscent of the coats of Red Deer.  There was a theme here too, because "Glenfiddich" is valley of the deer in Gaelic. 

Wrapped up against the chill of the wind, I walked on along the ridge.

by Ian Johnston ( at December 14, 2018 09:04 pm
Lightweight canoe and kayak travel

Combat Wipe Review

combat wipes

In the backcountry, you get dirty by the end of a long day of paddling and sweating in your drysuit or under your life vest. Before clawing your way into a sleeping bag, it’s nice to feel clean. While we are around water when paddling, sometimes the water is too cold to swim in or too salty or dirty. In cases like that, I like to take a sponge bath or use a wet wipe. I recently had an opportunity to review Combat Wipes, a type of wet wipes designed for the outdoors.

Combat Wipes are a 100% bio-degradable wet wipes. They measure approximately 7 by 8 inches. The samples that I reviewed had 10 wipes in a package and each package weighed 2.2 to 2.3 ounces. The package they come in has a resealable opening so they wipes don’t dry out after you open it. They come in three scents: Active, Commando and Gaia. All three are alcohol-free. The Active and Commando contain aloe and vitamin E as well as an antibacterial formula. The Gaia is alcohol and SLS free and bio-mimetic and pH balanced to protect a woman’s intimate parts. The company claims that when buried in soil the wipe will go back to nature within three months.

Each Combat Wipe has a slightly different scent. The Active and Commando scents smells like a mix between baby powder and deodorant — they sort of smell the same and neither I or my wife could figure out if they were the same or smelled slightly different and we couldn’t put our finger on what exactly the smell was.The Gaia has a slight, sweet perfume smell. All are okay as long as you’re okay with scents. The scent doesn’t seem to stick around long after you dry. Personally, I like the Commando scent the best.

And, speaking of the Commando scent, while the fabric of the other two scents are white in color, the Commando is black. I’d assume this was for camouflage when in combat where a white wipe might be more visible. They market the Commando scent with military pictures and graphics.

Over the years, I’ve used a bunch of different makes of wet wipes, including a bunch made for babies as well as several marketed in the outdoor industry. Each leaves a slightly different feel on your skin. The Combat Wipes felt clean and refreshing. The 7- by 8-inch size of the Combat Wipes does mean that you will likely end up using two for each shower, so plan accordingly. I didn’t test the biodegradability of these wipes, because I’m a strong believer in Leave No Trace, so I always pack out wet wipes instead of burying them.

If you’re looking for something to help keep you clean on your trips (or if you want to give your paddling partner a subtle hint), you should give Combat Wipes a chance.

Combat Wipes sell their products through Amazon. You can get them here:

Disclosure: I received this product in exchange for my honest review.

The post Combat Wipe Review appeared first on You can leave a comment by clicking here: Combat Wipe Review.

by Bryan Hansel at December 14, 2018 08:32 pm
ute räknas. Ute med kajak räknas minst dubbelt :)

November 2018

Hoppsan! Ännu en månad smet förbi. I vanlig ordning blev det ingen ordning (= under tio paddeldagar) på paddlandet men några rundor fick vi till. Passade på i finfina solnedgångsljuset på Skälderviken några kvällar och paddlade lite på Rönneå med. Skrev lite om Kokatat Bib Pants vilket ganska många ville läsa om samt om serien ... Läs mer...

Inlägget November 2018 dök först upp på

by Erik Sjöstedt at December 14, 2018 04:46 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!)

Keepers of the Game - a documentary

Just a quick post tonight to share the trailer of an documentary I got to see last night at Sebago, courtesy of Steve the Paddling Chef -- long may he paddle and cook!

He's the organizer of the movie night series we enjoy at Sebago over the winter. It's a nice way to gather as a club in the off-season, when not everybody has the gear or the skills to be getting out on the water. Steve brings a crockpot full of some hearty home-made soup and gets a fire going in the woodstove, others bring other treats or drinks, we catch up for a while and then watch a movie.

Usually it's boating-themed but for this first one of the winter of 2018-2019, he had a special treat for us - a good friend and neighbor of his, Judd Ehrlich, is a director and producer of documentaries, and Steve thought we would enjoy Keepers of the Game, his film following a courageously groundbreaking girls' lacrosse team through their first season together. Here's the description from the Flatbush Pictures website (link):

Lacrosse was born in Akwesasne Mohawk Territory as a sacred game, traditionally reserved for men. Just off the reservation at Salmon River High in Fort Covington, NY an all-Native girls lacrosse team comes together, seeking to be the first Native women’s team to bring home a Section Championship. But first, they will have to overcome their crosstown rivals, Massena High. As the season comes to a head, the team is faced with increasing ambivalence in their own community and the girls must prove that the game of lacrosse is their rightful inheritance. With more than just the championship on the line, the girls fight to blaze a new path for the next generation of Native women, while still honoring their people’s tradition in a changing world.

One aspect of the story that made this film particularly resonant for me was that there's a lot of focus on how the Mohawk tribe has been reclaiming a culture that was nearly driven out of existence - so similar to the inspiring story of the Hawaiian cultural renaissance that was just beginning when I was a kid growing up in the islands and is in full flower today, and I was remembering stories I heard during Hokule'a's visit as I watched. But anyone whose heart is moved by stories of young people with the spirit and drive to excel even when an awful lot of the world (sadly, the part most of us live in) is doing everything it can to tell them that girls like them can't shine is going to love this.

I'd especially recommend it to friends with young athletes in their lives - at first I was thinking of girls and young women, but I think any sports kid will appreciate this story.

It's available on Netflix, iTunes, and on YouTube Movies. 

by (bonnie) at December 14, 2018 04:55 am

December 13, 2018

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

The Missing Glaciers of Prince William Sound - Episode 2

Well, we got to Alaska, but still had to paddle quite a ways to get to the glaciers. In this episode, a lot of paddling, and a lot of eating.

by paddlingOTAKU ( at December 13, 2018 05:25 pm


Moderate Water Sea Kayak Leader Training (il vecchio 4*!): Minorca again!

Con la carica delle Jornadas de Menorca en kayak appena concluse, ho affrontato un doppio training 4*, che dal 2017 è stato più propriamente rinominato dalla British Canoeing non più con i numeri delle stelle ma con il riferimento diretto alle condizioni marine: il training di Moderate Water Sea Kayak Leader è rivolto al kayaker interessato a diventare capo gruppo in acque moderate.
Prima ancora di iniziare i due training, nella giornata di lunedì 22 ottobre 2018, abbiamo dedicato un’intera giornata al corso teorico sulla navigazione costiera, uno dei pre-requisiti richiesti dalla British Caneoing: il Coastal Navigation and Tidal Planning ha suscitato la curiosità di due-tre studenti che per varie ragioni non potevano o non volevano seguire il successivo corso in mare, ed è stata per me una piacevolissima sorpresa vedere con quanta curiosità si sono avvicinati allo studio delle carte nautiche e delle correnti marine, e anche con quanta attenzione si sono cimentati nella programmazione di una escursione in ambiente marino con corrente fino a due nodi, con mare fino allo stato 3 e con venti fino a Forza 4 Beaufort (alcuni dei riferimenti del cosiddetto Moderate Water Endorsement). Tutti hanno mostrato di apprezzare i miei segnalamenti marittimi tridimensionali fatti a mano, di cui vado molto fiera e che non manco mai di portare in viaggio con me :-)

CNTP in spagnolo a Minorca!
Kissing the rock, uno dei primi esercizi di destrezza del training...
Pagaiare nel vento e in gruppo nei pressi della torre di Es Grau...
Rock gardening lungo le scogliere rocciose di Es Grau...
Appunti alla fine della prima giornata di corso....

Il primo training, da martedì 23 al giovedì 25 ottobre, è stato alquanto impegnativo per le condizioni meteo-marine, con forti venti da nord-ovest che lasciavano protetta la piccola baia di Es Grau ma che imperlavano di bianche onde frangenti la vicina Illa d’en Colom, dove ci siamo diretti per cercare i luoghi adatti alle prove di competenza tecnica nella conduzione dell’imbarcazione. L’isola è stata il teatro ideale anche per le due successive giornate dedicate alle varie strategie di conduzione del gruppo, perché offre molti ridossi naturali ma anche diversi capi esposti al vento e alle correnti, oltre ad alcune spiagge di sabbia lambite da bassi fondali che generano interessanti zone di surf. Sembra che i ragazzi abbiano apprezzato il piano di lavoro, a giudicare dai commenti di Ramon sul suo blog!

Rock landing con kayak in polietilene ed in fibra di vetro...
Pausa pranzo sulle rocce discutendo di kit di primo soccorso...
Riparazione del kayak in alto mare, riuscita con successo!
Babbo Natale "in incognito" al training di Minorca!
La conclusione del primo e l'inizio del secondo training...

Il secondo training, dal venerdì 26 alla domenica 28 ottobre, è iniziato sotto la pioggia, con lampi e tuoni che si facevano sempre più vicini e minacciosi. Abbiamo così scelto di dedicare l’intera giornata prima alla pianificazione di più escursioni in zone sconosciute (dove cioè gli aspiranti leader non avevano mai pagaiato prima), usando le tabelle di marea per scoprire in quale momento della giornata fosse più indicato prendere il mare, e poi alla programmazione di un viaggio che gli istruttori di “Menorca en kayak” avevano scelto di fare insieme per chiudere la lunga stagione estiva: un modo come un altro per festeggiare senza smettere di pagaiare!

Programmazione del viaggio di una settimana ad Ibiza... 
Rock landing in autonomia con kayak in polietilene...
Sostituzione di fortuna di un tappo perduto (simulazione!) del gavone di prua...
Un'ultimo sbarco sulle rocce...
Il secondo gruppo alla sede di Menorca en kayak!

In entrambi i corsi ho avuto modo di apprezzare una volta di più la grande determinazione che spinge ragazzi di ogni età, ventenni e cinquantenni, a pagaiare in mare mosso per il solo gusto di farlo, per giocare tra le onde come se si trovassero al luna park, per trascorrere ore ed ore a manovrare la pagaia tra gli scogli, ad issare con cura i kayak sulla scogliera, ad imbarcarsi nelle maniere più impensate… e a scendere a terra con la salsedine sulla pelle, sulle palpebre e sulle labbra.
Trovo sempre un modo per rinnovare il mio amore per il mare e per il kayak, e di questo (e di tanto altro ancora!) devo ringraziare i vari allievi che riempiono le mie lezioni e che sempre più spesso si rivelano dei gran bravi maestri: mi insegnano ad insegnare e mi confermano che c’è sempre qualcosa di nuovo di imparare!

by Tatiana Cappucci ( at December 13, 2018 02:24 pm

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

Historic Paddle Illustrations at has a gallery page of artworks by Edwin Tappan Adney, the famed amateur ethnographer and canoe historian whose work eventually was published as The Bark Canoes and Skin Boats of North America. Many of Adney's illustrations are there, including this artistic rendering of fur trade canoe ornamentation and a painted woodland paddle.

Another great bark canoe and paddle sketch features Maliseet hunters calling a moose. It was featured in the St. Nicholas Vol XXIII - March 1896 - NO. 5 in an article entitled, "Their First Moose Hunt".

Lastly is a one of Adney notes featuring the carving details and decoration of a Penobscot paddle etched with a family of moose on the blade and floral designs at the throat and grip face. His scribbled notes mention that the paddle was found at the Sportman's Exhibition, Maine Exhibit, New York in 1897 and was possibly made by a St. John Indian living at Old Town, ME.

by Murat ( at December 13, 2018 09:33 am

December 12, 2018


Moderate Water Leader all'Argentario...

Lo scorso fine settimana, dal venerdì al lunedì compresi, ci siamo ritrovati all'Argentario per un'altro training di Moderate Water Sea Kayak Leader, il vecchio 4 stelle della British Canoeing.
L'estate di San Martino anticipata, le giornate di sole e di vento, il mare mosso striato di frangenti, le onde al largo e sotto le scogliere rocciose, le condizioni meteo ideali per la pratica in "moderate water": sono stati questi gli ingredienti principali per la buona riuscita del corso.
La generosa ospitalità dell'amica canoista Barbara, che ci ha messo a disposizione la sua bella casa di Porto Ercole, e la lodevole determinazione dei due partecipanti, Duilio da Roma e Paolo da Genova, hanno creato un connubio perfetto: le quattro giornate di corso hanno anche preso un tono internazionale per la presenza di George Gazetas, il mio amico e collega greco interessato a completare il percorso da provider (e quindi tenuto ad osservare i corsi tenuti da altri insegnanti!).

Paolo, Duilio, Tatiana e George: una giornata indimenticabile per tutti (per diverse ragioni!)
Prove pratiche di risoluzione degli incidenti: messa in sicurezza dei tappi!
Paolo e Duilio pronti al varo sulla spiaggia del Tombolo della Feniglia...
Salvataggi "circensi" praticati con la giusta dose di perizia e di goliardia!
Paolo, George e Duilio al briefing del mattino per pianificare l'escursione giornaliera...
Lo studio preliminare delle previsioni meteo e delle correnti di marea... 
... per programmare un'escursione guidata intorno alla famosa isola di Anglesey...
Esercizi nella zona di surf (photo credits: George Gazetas)
Sbarchi sulle rocce ai piedi dell'isolotto di Porto Ercole...
Coasteering per tornare a recuperare le auto: meglio mezz'ora a piedi che controvento!

Come sempre, il primo giorno di corso teorico sulla navigazione costiera ci ha permesso di affrontare lo studio delle correnti di marea e di pianificare con la dovuta precisione e la necessaria consapevolezza varie escursioni dentro e fuori dal Mediterraneo, dove più forti sono le cosiddette tidal race.
L'Argentario poi ci ha offerto un'ampia varietà di condizioni in cui lavorare con profitto: imbarchi e sbarchi su spiagge di sabbia e su scogli inospitali, pratica nelle zone di surf, navigazione guidata lungo la costa rocciosa, salvataggi assistiti e traini, controllo del kayak nei giardini di roccia, conduzione del gruppo in sicurezza, gestione degli imprevisti o degli incidenti di percorso, persino l'uso pratico del kit di riparazione dello scafo quando abbiamo dovuto legare i tappi dei gavoni per evitare di perderli in mare... un corso davvero completo, che ha ripagato i due allievi presenti con l'occasione preziosa di testare le proprie capacità in condizioni tante differenti.
"Practise make permanent", secondo il bel motto della British Canoeing!

by Tatiana Cappucci ( at December 12, 2018 11:16 pm

mark tozer's blog
embracing the elements on the water and in the mountains

The Camas Centre, Ross of Mull

In the summer of 1989 I took my  first steps down the track to Camas Tuath, they were not my last either, and part of me has never left. Being at the Camas Centre, and on Iona, that summer transformed my view of the world as a young man and those initial experiences continue to shape my approach to outdoor learning, even now.

It was in these places I discovered the joy of working in remote settings, and real community living. I was able to reflect upon ways my faith could grow and was equipped with the means to understand my own spirituality as I progressed in life. These experiences and subsequent times spent at Camas inspired my career choices to become an outdoor educator.

The Camas Centre plays a crucial role in the lives of the young people and adults that visit the centre, by offering them the opportunity to see core-values being lived out on a daily basis via the resident team, thus enabling them to manage any future tides of change in a positive way, by modelling what they experience at the centre.

And regardless of how we use it to promote aspects of social learning, being at Camas also helps us all embrace good environmental stewardship to preserve what there is to enjoy by simply being there. The sense of connection with nature that is achieved by working on the land, exploring on the water and the shared enjoyment of Camas is both powerful and transformative.

I firmly believe that participating in a week of community living at Camas can act as a catalyst for change within an individual by creating a sense of connection with and an awareness of others as well as the environment in which we live together.

by Mark Tozer ( at December 12, 2018 07:16 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!)

McCourtie Park, Somerset Township, Michigan (Summer 2017)

Backtracking to August 2017 tonight, when I made another trip to Michigan (and Indiana) for a really fantastic family event, my cousin once removed (that's your cousin's kid, right?) Shea's wedding to lovely Emily, which was held at the Potawatomie Inn in Pokagon State Park, Indiana. I'd never been to Indiana before that I know of and my first impression was really good, but I ended up having kind of a lot of fun stuff going in September and I never got around to sharing pictures.

I was reminded of visiting McCourtie Park in Somerset Township on that trip by this pretty little rustic bridge in the park where we went for the 2018 edition of Escape from Black Friday.  

It looks like branches but it's actually concrete (a variety of "faux bois", making something that's not wood look like wood for an artistic effect) and I found myself wondering if it might be by the same concrete artists who made the amazing structures in McCourtie Park. The story behind that park is that it was the grounds of the estate owned by William H.L. McCourtie, a local who was very successful in the cement business. He wanted to showcase the product that had made him rich on the estate, so he hired two craftsmen from Mexico, George Cardosa and Ralph Carona, to come to Michigan to build 17 concrete bridges across a little stream that runs through the property (plus some little benches here and there, and two chimneys (masquerading as tree trunks) for a rathskeller and garage complex that was also on the property.

Carona and Cardosa must have been incredibly creative guys and very skilled at what they did - when I went through my photos of the park tonight I decided the bridge above probably wasn't by them because although it was nice enough, next to the McCourtie Park bridges, it's pretty darned ho-hum! This bridge was, in fact, what I was picturing when my folks and my aunt Kathy were describing it when we were discussing a visit, but what's really there is SO much more fun. Definitely worth a visit if you ever find yourself in that part of Michigan. You can read more about it at the Atlas Obscura entry on the park, and here are my photos from last summer - no more writing, click on any photo for a slideshow view. The Scottie at the end was just there with a volunteer who was doing some work there, he was very friendly and too cute to leave out. Enjoy! 

by (bonnie) at December 12, 2018 07:22 am

December 11, 2018

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

Vintertur fra Kaljord til Sandøya og Vedøya

Et klubbmedlem lurte på om det kunne være en ide med padling sist helg, så da satte vi så klart opp en vinterpadleintro. Vi ble tre stykk på tur, det er også tre ganger så mange som på nokså samme dato i fjor. Her er medpadlerne Eirik og Alexia.

Men først til start. Egentlig litt tidlig til søndag å være, men som vi ser så må vi starte tidlig for å få utnytta lyset på denne tiden av året. Vi skulle egentlig sette ut ved hurtigbåtkaia, men fant det fint her ved båthavna. Ulempen var at her var det is, Eirik er her i gang med isbryting.

Vi kunne satt ut fra stranda på andre siden av moloen, men talte for døve ører når han var i gang. Så Alexia med bredest kajakk måtte ispigge seg utover. Nuvel, da har jeg jo fått dem i bruk om ikke annet. Så langt har de bare vært med, så det var jo kjekt å få testa at de funka til det de skulle.

Planen var å følge holmene bortover til Vedøya, som er en 10 på skjæret-post i år.

Her passerer vi Sandøya, dere ser kanskje hvorfor den heter det.

Fargen er faktisk ganske så riktig – det er mye sand også rundt Sandøya, havet blir dermed ganske grønt og skjønt. Veldig god sikt i vannet nå egentlig, hadde det vært sol ville vi sett kjempegodt.

Vedøya i sikte! Raftsundet akkurat til høyre for bildet.

På Vedøya er det strand på begge sider. Denne ligger vendt mot Kaljord, det er ikke her vi pleier å gå i land.

Her derimot. Nuvel, vi gikk faktisk ikke i land på stranda. Jeg ville ha le for vinddraget så vi satte oss i knausen. Anyhow, her er altså posten dokumentert. Vi ser kaia som jeg pleier å telte på, når jeg vil ha king size brygge ned ved vannet.

Det var for øvrig nokså kjølig, så det var bra at jeg hadde vært lur og kjørt i god tid, sånn at folk som kom lenger bak kjørende kunne svinge innom hjemme hos meg og hente alt jeg hadde glemt. Sånt som fjellduk og liggeunderlag… Sikkerhetsutstyr for vinterpadling, rett og slett. Enda lurere hadde kanskje vært å husket det sjøl i første omgang, vurderes for neste gang.

På menyen sto real turmat (ikke for meg nei), kyllingsuppegrytish, brødskive og – appelsinris! Jeg hadde laget til fugle(forening)julebordet dagen før, og hadde til overs. Det funka på tur også, selv om den var litt småpussig så kald som den var. Ups, det minner meg på at jeg bør tømme og vaske boksen nå etter et par dager…

Greit med lys på returen, eller hele turen for såvidt, men spesielt på returen når det har begynt å bli merkbart mørkere.

Kameraet begynner å slite med lyset nå, men det klarer såvidt å fotografere. (Men goproen slet faktisk hele turen.)

Sånn ble bildet, synes egentlig det ble litt stilig?

Enda et stille oppdrettsanlegg! Kudos, det går an – og noen gjør det! I dette tilfellet er det Nordlaks som kan få skryt. Takk for at dere holdt fred og lot oss få padle i stillhet!

Men hvor hen har vi bilene hen... Ok, vi tror vi ser det. Men det var ingen selvfølge i dette lyset. Jeg må dessuten komme meg til optiker har jeg fått bekreftet.

Joda, det ble jo en ok tur dette?

Jo, det var det. Alle fikk samlet Vedøya-skjæret, og det var jo i grunnen en nokså eksotisk tur med snøkledte omgivelser hele veien.

Eirik og Alexia så forresten elg da de kjørte til Kaljord, den gikk jeg glipp av. Men det var antagelig den samme som ville over veien da jeg kjørte hjem… Som sagt – eksotisk tur. :)

by Miamaria Padlemia ( at December 11, 2018 07:27 pm

The Ikkatsu Project
In the Service of the Ocean

Bag This State

Expectations are high for 2019. Governor Inslee is holding forth on some serious carbon reduction legislation he wants to see and there is an emphasis on environmental issues all up and down the spectrum, from orca to electric cars, and it all seems to be synchronized. The latest climate change report has drawn a clear line that people everywhere, even the folks who have been in long, blind denial, are starting to notice. 2019 seems like it will be the year when you will have to choose sides.

One of the upcoming state-wide measures that will be introduced is a reusable bag initiative that includes a ban on single-use plastic bags. Those of us who live in the 22 Washington communities that already have similar initiatives in place are of the opinion that it’s about time and that it’s a logical thing to do. Easy. Completely painless. A step that, while it won’t solve all of our plastic problems, will most definitely solve the plastic bag problem, amirite?

Expect pushback. The plastics industry, faced by the American Chemistry Council, is going to bite, scratch and kick against the truth of the issue the whole way. It strikes me as ironic, that an organization so focused on the “future,” should argue so pointedly to hold on to the past. You can buy a lot of irony for $31 million.

I think this is going to be fun. I’m looking forward to 2019.

by Ken Campbell at December 11, 2018 06:03 pm

December 10, 2018
Wild swimming, cycling, sea kayaking, swimming and life in the Scottish Highlands

Road Cycling in Morocco - Suggestions, Advice and Video

photo: Andy Withey
I spent seven days cycling a circuit of the Toubkal Massif in November 2018.

The date is important as road conditions change frequently.

I travelled with an organised group run by KE Adventure Travel and Hausser, who subcontracted the whole trip to Aventure Berbere and guide Hamid Outglaout.

If you need first-hand advice, I'd suggest checking with the locals and perhaps booking their services for a couple of days.

Despite having everything sorted for me, I learnt a lot about road cycling in Morocco that might be useful to independent travellers, or those going for the annual sportive, The Atlas Etape, and planning to stay a few days longer to travel around.  At the start of each day I've provided a distance and elevation gain, plus a link to a page on Ride With GPS where you can see the day's ride in detail and download the GPS tack in a variety of file types.

This is a long post!  But if you want the entire trip in one minute, watch the video I made for KE Adventure Travel.  Oh, and if you can add to the advice and information please do so in the comments.

Cycling conditions
Roads varied from smooth tarmac to cratered mud to broken pavement that threatened to dislodge the fillings from my teeth.

Weird colour, shot through minibus window
Other roads are being improved, but the roadworks created such devastation I wouldn't take my car on them, let alone attempt them on a bike.  I'm no chicken on a bike, but some road conditions were simply horrid.

Being a minibus passenger was bad enough.  It's the closest I've come to the Karakoram Highway since 1994.

For this trip I took my old, battered carbon Specialised Roubaix and fitted aluminium rim wheels with tough, new 25mm tyres.

If I'd had my ultralight bike with Enve wheels (carbon rims, bladed spokes and recessed nipples) I'd have wept at their unavoidable mistreatment.

Most of our group rented bikes.  I was pleased to have my own.  If renting, at least take pedals and saddle.  If you're touring independently then spare spokes and a tyre boot, plus the knowledge of how to use them, would be essential.

I was healthy throughout but got sick at the end once we returned to Marrakech, as did some other members of our group.  Bottles of clean water are available to buy in towns along the way and I always decanted mine into a Water-To-Go filter bottle.  It doesn't fit a normal bike cage, but it does fit this one.

Due to Islamic extremists, tourism has largely shifted to Morocco from Egypt and especially Tunisia.

A huge number of them take coach, taxi and private group trips from Marrakech to the desert, adding great volumes of traffic to an already busy RN9 across the High Atlas.

This is one road which is rapidly being improved, but at the moment, sections of it are hideously difficult to drive (see above).

I frequently saw a car trying to overtake a truck while it was passing a bus, often heading into a blind mountain bend.  To add to the fun, conditions through the roadworks were akin to driving through a muddy quarry.  I saw one vehicle on its roof and watched another being winched from a ravine.

I was delighted we were driven out of Marrakech to our starting point, a town below the main pass of Tizi n Tchka.  If I were touring and absolutely had to cover this part of the RN9 out of Marrakech, I'd arrange to be driven to the start point we used.  Oh, and I wouldn't start on a busy weekend.

I made this Google Map from my GPS tracks.  The ones provided by KE were fine but huge sections of road have changed (been improved) mainly on the RN9.

The yellow loop is the route of the Atlas Etape Sportive so you can compare it with our larger track.  Our ride went clockwise and, after descending to the most southerly point, we drove back to the previous point and continued the ride west.

Day 1 - Argane Tichka to Ouarzazate via Tizi n Tichka - GPS    64.8ml  +3285ft

Hotel Mogador Gueliz (Gueliz is the area in Marrakech) is on the south west side of the city, handy for a fast getaway and it will store bike boxes.

Ask for a room NOT on the main road or you will not sleep.  Traffic builds steadily until 3am and there are hooting trains coming into the station.  Otherwise it's a decent hotel where French is spoken more than English.  That's true across Morocco.

The breakfast buffet, where everyone handles the bread, is suspect health-wise.  The 6am Buffet Battle against an entire regiment of German tourists, trying to cram down food before their 7am desert coach departure, is highly entertaining so long as you're not in the middle of the carnage.

I've already described some of the road conditions heading toward the Col, which would be utterly vile to cycle.

However, from where we began our ride the improved road was superb.  We climbed easily to the Col du Tichka, dropped into a saddle, then climbed again to a minor col before a long descent.  Sadly, this sweeping descent turned sour as the road surface degenerated into a cross between crazy paving and cobbles.  It was rattlingly unpleasant.  The rain didn't help.  But it was over quickly.

First of many (many, many) tagines for lunch and one of the best, a Berber Tagine of meatballs and baked eggs.  Normally I don't eat meat but faced with a probable alternative of endless omelettes I immediately relented.

The next bit should have been an easy descent, but the traffic was busy and... insane.  Bicycles were of no consequence.  Cars heading in the opposite direction would simply pull out to overtake directly into our path speeding towards us and inevitable collision.  They expected us cyclists avoid them by steering off the road.  One such manoeuvre resulted in one of our group hitting a speed bump, flying over the handles, and suffering some nasty road rash down one side of his body.  He used quite a lot of the first-aid kit.

Ouazazatte is the centre of the film industry, the location for movies as diverse as Lawrence of Arabia and Star Wars.  It's now a major stopping point for tourists on one of several well-driven circuits into the desert.

Consequently we had a big, tourist hotel - Hotel Ouazazate Le Zat.  Warm and comfortable, with another looming Battle of the Buffet.  So we breakfasted after they had departed.

Day 2 - Ouarzazate to Agdz - GPS 45ml  +3599ft
This day was one long, gradual climb.  Gradually the warm kit was stripped off, down to just jersey and shorts.  Now that's what I came here for.

Far too long spent touring the Kasbah (Kasbah = castle, pretty much).  A great guide but out of the sun, whether in shade or indoors, it was very cold until around lunch-time.  Contrast that with the 50C July/August temperature here.  Still, for us it was arm and leg warmers plus a decent jacket every morning.

Still on the previously busy RN9, but far less traffic on Monday, which made cycling much nicer.  Hotel Rose du Sable is a small boutique place with great rooms and decent food.

The heating is in the form of an air-conditioning unit which meant I could wash and dry my jersey and shorts.  The GPS track should take you to the door.

Day 3 - Agdz to Zagora - GPS 60.5ml  +1978ft
I'll remember this as a day of chain-gangs.  Either in larger groups or in sets of three we worked together and whizzed down this valley at a fair clip.  The tarmac was good, the sun was out and it was a great day.

Lunch was always something cooked - usually a type of soup or salad, followed by a tagine or couscous, sometimes with the addition of skewers of chicken.  In fact, that's the sum total of our culinary experience in Morocco.  I thought it would be rich and varied but it all tasted rather plain.  Except the Berber Tagines, everyone's favourite.

A tour of palm trees occupied lunchtime.  A local guide Hassan shinned up a three hundred year old palm to fetch some dates.

The afternoon flashed past in conditions like you see in this video.  Having shot and edited this on my old iPhone 6 I had the idea to start making video blogs about each day which I posted to Facebook.  That means there'll be less writing and more video in the coming days.

Overnight at the Hotel Kasbah Sirocco was probably the best on the trip, with a Hammam (steam room) and reasonably priced massage which I'm told was excellent.

Day 4 - Agdz to Tazenakht - GPS 54.0ml  +3801ft
All aboard the mini-bus for the drive back up to Agdz then a long climb to one pass, a drop past an ugly cobalt mine, then a steeper climb at the end of the day.

This is the point where the riding changed.  We left the popular tourist route to the desert and headed cross country.  The roads were much quieter, the tarmac rougher and draggy (but still vastly improved on previous years I hear), and the towns few and far between.  Few tourists venture this way.  Consequently, the standard of hotels fell somewhat over the next couple of nights due to their being no alternative.

Please bear in mind these videos were shot and edited on an old iPhone 6 each night after cycling.  I've tidied them up a little, but not much.

We stayed in the Hotel Bab Sahara in Tazenakht (there are different spellings of the town name) and I couldn't find it on Trip Advisor, only Facebook.  It's not the Bab Sahara in Ouazazate.  The swimming pool was drained and there was no heating in the rooms, just a pile of old blankets.

I had anticipated this and brought warm running tights, fleece top and a hat to sleep in.  I'm sure I got a couple of bites during the night too.  It was not a problem, just part of the adventure.  There seemed to be little alternative accommodation.

Day 5 - Tazenakht - Aoulouz - GPS 75.9ml  +3206ft
Still in the back of beyond, still well off the tourist trail.  It was the longest day in terms of distance, so we rode as a group and the miles flew past.   

This will forever be remembered as the day I saw goats grazing up a tree.  Seriously.  Watch the video.  It cost me 20 dihram and a Mule Bar to the goat herder to take these shots (so about £3) but worth it.  Agree?

Apparently, the only tourist hotel in town closed due to lack of tourists.  Google suggests other places to stay in the town, but we didn't use them.

We were accommodated at an Auberge, like a large private house, where the people were super friendly and went out of their way to help.  I can't find a name for it anywhere.  Unfortunately, a sudden rain storm messed up their drains and there was no water, warm or otherwise, to shower.  Yet our group seemed more concerned about the wifi (OK I'm guilty).

Day 6 - Aoulouz - Ijjoukak - GPS 68ml  +6124ft 
This was always going to be the hardest day.  A 19 mile warm-up, dropping to the low point of the ride, then a 24 mile climb of over 6000 feet to the second highest point of the ride, the pass called the Tizi n Test.  Only the Tizi n Tickha on Day-1 is higher, and we drove most of the way up that.

It stands comparisons to long climbs I've done in riding La Marmotte in the Alps and especially the Raid Pyrenean (still my favourite week).  However, road conditions were utterly different.  At times it again felt like being back in parts of rural Pakistan, with cars and trucks hurtling past.  Watch the video and you'll get an idea.

Overnight was at the Gite Auberge Tigmmi N'Tmazirt which you can also find on Air B&B.  Another one with no heating and, since we'd just had rain and hailstone, it was chilly.  We met two French-Canadian cycle tourists heading up the pass on titanium bikes and enjoyed chatting about each others experiences.

Day 7 - Ijjoukak - Marrakech Outskirts - GPS 53.7ml  +2745ft
Mornings on this ride were always cold because it took time for the sun to warm the desert air.  Today was colder than normal, partly due to the overnight rain, and partly due to the steep sides of the surrounding mountains which left the road in deep, chilly shade.

We started the day surrounded by high mountains and ended in the Marrakech suburbs, with only one climb of note.  Along the way we visited the utterly authentic Asni market where two of our group risked Hep A, Hep B, Hep C and HIV just to get a shave.  Utterly crazy.

By early evening we were back in the Hotel Mogador Gueliz where I stayed an extra couple of days to explore Marrakech.  There's a video of that here.

I hope this has been helpful to other cyclists thinking of heading to Morocco.  If you have experience of riding in the country, I'd appreciate you sharing it in the comments below.  I'm quite happy for you to correct me if you think I've made some mistakes - no-one has a monopoly on wisdom.

by Simon Willis ( at December 10, 2018 02:52 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!)

December Ducky Doodle - The Famous Fancy Duck of Central Park (with review of the Harry Potter History of Magic exhibit)

So, hooray, last week I broke out the colored pencils and crayons again and produced another ducky doodle. When I shared this one on Facebook I called it the "Ardith Bondi Duckydoodle Challenge"; the inspiration for it was twofold, with the original prompt being the stunning photo below of the increasingly famous "Hot Duck" of Central Park. Seriously, I've been thinking of him as the "Fancy Duck" -- because isn't he just the fanciest duck you've ever seen? -- but apparently "Hot Duck" is getting to be his accepted nickname as his likeness spreads across media both social and traditional, to the point that if you google "Hot Duck" it will most likely auto-suggest Central Park.

He's not really supposed to be here, the best guess is that he's a pet somebody released, but he seems to have settled in just fine and posts about him are all the rage among the NYC social media set. I will most likely try to go see him at some point, I don't really have a zoom lens that will do him justice but I'll take my camera and just plan a picture-taking day in the park, and if I get to see the duck, yay. If I get to take a picture, double yay, but with so many great photos of him out there, getting the shot is not really that important (kind of like I don't worry so much about getting whale shots on the American Princess because I know Artie Raslich will almost certainly share something spectacular from the same trip).  

Ardith Bondi, the photographer who got this lovely shot of the fancy duck, is another friend I've met through Gotham Whale, the local citizen science group that researches our local marine mammals from seals on up to the humpbacks who have returned to our area with increasing frequency as our waterways (which have grown cleaner and cleaner since the Clean Water Act was enacted) support larger and larger schools of menhaden (the small oil-rich fish that is a favorite summertime food for whales). I'm not sure I've ever met Ardith in person but we're Facebook friends, I love her photos and always look forward to her postings. Click here to see more of her photography.

She'd gone to Central Park to see if she could get some fancy duck photos back at the beginning of November; she said there was a mob of people there and it was hard to get a clear shot, but her patience was rewarded with this lovely photo of the mandarin in a perfect showboat moment, fluffing out his feathers at some pesky mallards. I'd seen a few shots of him at this point but this was the one that made me think "Oh, wow, I gotta draw that duck!"

That ended up not happening until Inspiration Part 2, which was (of all the unexpected sources of inspiration ever) this year's Scholastic Trade holiday party.

Ordinarily, "inspirational" is the last adjective I would apply to a company holiday party. I'm an introvert, not an extreme one but enough so that the small talk just feels awkward. I like Scholastic's more since the company's been doing them in house for the last few years, it really helps to NOT have music blasting the way they do at the catering spaces you can rent for your company's holiday shindigs (I hate that, I'm bad enough at small talk without having it be impossible to hear what anyone says back to you), plus the food service company that runs our company cafeteria and coffee bar actually does a really good job with the food and decor, but I still just consider myself bad at company parties.

This year, though, the Trade division got an extra special treat - somebody on high decided we were going to have our party at the Harry Potter: A History of Magic exhibit at the New-York Historical society. I'd already been to see this as a fun warm-up for seeing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Halloween, but I was delighted to have more time to go back and look over the exhibit again. The Harry Potter series is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, and the exhibit was curated by the British Library in honor of that milestone. They did a wonderful job of putting together examples of real-life historical artifacts and tying them in with the world that J.K. Rowling created, and the art is plentiful and luscious -- there are Harry Potter drawings and paintings by Mary Grand Pre (the illustrator of the American editions), Kazu Kibuishi (my favorite of all the Scholastic Graphix imprint artists, who did a lovely set of covers for a 15th anniversary paperback box set), Brian Selznick (Hugo Cabret illustrator who did covers for the 20th anniversary box set), Jim Kay (illustrator of the magnificent illustrated editions that are the latest offering in the Harry Potter re-issues, just glorious stuff so far) and J.K. Rowling herself - she's quite talented on the art side too and you get to see a lot of these charming little drawings she did to help herself envision Harry's world. So those are scattered all through, and then many of the historical artifacts are also beautiful, with illuminated manuscripts and scrolls and globes and, oh, all sorts of lovely things to look at.

This did actually end up being the first time I've ever gone home from a company party hungry. Food and drinks were not allowed in the gallery, just in the lobby area. I had one drink and a couple of hor's d'oeuvres and then dove into the exhibit. By the time I came back out it was five minutes before time for us to get out and all the food was gone - but I didn't care and if I were to go back and do it again I would do the same thing. Sometimes you feed the mouth, this time I feasted my eyes and went home going "MUST ART! MUST ART!" - fixed myself a super-quick dinner (because I was ravenous, lunch had been a long time ago) and then set myself a challenge of drawing Ardith's duck in half an hour. Nothing to do with the exhibit, just been thinking of drawing him for a while so being in a drawing mood, I picked him as my subject. And the 30-minute challenge was just because with no art training, I can be really slow figuring out how to show something, but I needed to get some sleep and it was already late. I dispensed with my usual obsessing over the reflections in the water (seriously, I think I spend twice as long on the background as on the subject when I do these drawings) and pulled it off it 45 minutes and was pretty happy with it too!

So there is both a review of the Harry Potter History of Magic AND my NYC social media participant mandatory #hotduck entry! 

by (bonnie) at December 10, 2018 05:17 am

December 09, 2018


Pepparkaksbygget 2018

Inför årets pepparkaksbygge kände vi för ett projekt med något färre cylindrar och dubbelkrökta ytor.  De orsakar liksom lätt lite dålig stämning i köket. Kluriga som attan att få till och går ju lätt sönder – förstås!

Efter lite funderande så blev det plötsligt alldeles självklart. Spårö Båk – förstås! Ståtlig, vacker och välkänd. Och framför allt nyrenoverad. Kändes helt rätt att lyfta fram detta efterlängtade faktum.

Bifogar nedan en samling av tidigare pepparkaksbyggen.

God Jul! 🙂

Spårö Båk är ett av de vackraste sjömärkena på ostkusten. Kanske till och med det vackraste nu när Sjöfartsverket under hösten 2018 renoverat båken och den dessutom fått status som byggnadsminne. Med sina 25 meter står den på Spåröberget och syns långt, långt över skärgården. Den stod färdig 1777. Genom luckor i takets östra sida stack man vid nattetid och otjänligt väder ut järnkorgar med brinnande tjärved. På detta sätt användes Spårö båk fram till 1884

Bilden på båken  är några år gammal och lånad från Västerviks Tidning, och som synes är båken i uselt skick. På de andra bilderna ser ni Spårö båk från havet. Tänk vad den skulle glänsa och stråla om den fick lite färg och omtanke. Det är den värd! (Skrev jag 2016).

Jodå – så här grann och ståtlig blev hon efter höstens renovering. (Bild från Walters Foto)

2017 Storkläppen, Tjust skärgård, nordost Västervik

2015 Hallands Väderö, Skåne, väster Torekov

2012 Östra Bokö, Blekinge, öster Karlshamn

2010 Lilla Bergö, Misterhult, norr Oskarshamn

by Christian Cronberg at December 09, 2018 09:58 pm

Northwest Explorer

Sea Lions of Benjamin Island 2018

We frequently encounter the Steller SeaLion (Eumetopias jubatus) during our sea kayak outings along the Northwest coast. The kayak’s exceptional mobility and stealth provides an excellent opportunity to observe and study their behavior, both in the waters around us, and occasionally when they hall out to rest on ancient slabs of rock at water’s edge.

From a secluded harbor we paddled for several hours, first along a rocky forested coastline, then around the sandy fringes of an expansive delta, and after a short offshore crossing arrived at the southeastern end of Benjamin Island.

The much older Tlingit name for the island Taan X'aat'I (Sea Lion House) seemed more to the point for us, as we made our camp just inside the tree line. From here our plans included hiking around to the other side of the island and observing the Sea Lions from the cliffs above.

It was early spring and the rainforest undergrowth was just wakening up from winter’s slumber when we arrived. Luckily steady cold breezes from the ocean worked in our favor and carried our sent away from the shoreline. Moving quietly we followed game trails along the parameter of the island that slowly rose in elevation to overhanging cliffs and rocks on the western side.  

We moved forward to the edge of the rocks slowly in order to not alert the Sea Lions to our presence or otherwise change their behavior. From our concealment we were able to photograph and video the colony below undetected. We sat on our perch and observed their interactions, looking to capture with our cameras moments of social relationships between individual Sea lions.

When it came to who’s who on the hall out the biggest bulls had the best situated slabs of rock and plenty of room to lounge about, they also enjoyed their pick of the females. All other potential suitors or interlopers will have to fight for the privilege. This battle hardened champion’s face and neck bore the scars of many such encounters.    

Steller Sea Lions together are a gregarious and rowdy bunch, and their shoving and bellowing created a near constant ruckus as returning individuals arrived in search of family members and a spot to relax. Hard to believe that any of them gets much rest, but all this jostling about no doubt reinforces social bonds and hierarchy within the group.   

For us it was a privilege to visit the house of the Sea Lion and to observe first hand their remarkable lives on the island’s rocky shore. Before we left we circled the island in our kayaks making sure to stay well clear of the hall out (100 yards). At that distance we did not seem to affect their behavior so we stopped to admire them from a water level view.

 Continuing on around the island we stopped for snacks on a nearby smaller Island and gazed back towards Benjamin Island and surrounding coastline. Standing there on the pebbly beach we contemplated how fortunate we were that these natural treasures had been wisely protected for all of us to enjoy, Sea Lions included. 

“What speaks to the soul, escapes our measurements.” ― Alexander von Humboldt

by Art in Alaska ( at December 09, 2018 11:56 am

December 08, 2018
Wild swimming, cycling, sea kayaking, swimming and life in the Scottish Highlands

November Challenge #3: Explore Morocco

When I drew up my list of Challenges at the start of my 60th year, visiting Morocco was near the top.

I'm not sure why, but it's a place I've always fancied going.  I've been to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait but not this much more accessible and adventurous Kingdom.

As with my visit to Andalucia, the location came first, then I looked around for something to do.

Road cycling seemed the best way to avoid the crowds of tourists on the usual trekking routes, and I was drawn to the 'Tour of Toubkal' itinerary offered by KE Adventure Travel.

I have a history with the company, having done some work with them in the 1990s.  After speaking to the teamI decided this was the ride for me.  I was not disappointed.

I posted to Facebook a series of on-the-road videos, all shot and edited on my old iPhone 6 and I'll work them into a longer post about our cycling route.

Hopefully that will help anyone who fancies road cycling in Morocco.  That's still to come.  For now, here's the last video shot and edited in Marrakech at the end of the trip earlier this week before I flew home.

by Simon Willis ( at December 08, 2018 10:00 pm

paddling with a camera
pictures, video, stories, reviews, tips & gear for paddling photography

Do you need a hot tea for your winter paddling?

Perhaps you don’t need a hot tea for winter paddling, but if you make a longer photo session in the middle of your work, it’s a different story. Landscape photography requires standing in one place and waiting for light. Of […]

by Marek at December 08, 2018 09:22 pm

Fotos,videos y relatos de mi navegaciones en kayak de mar


Navegando en kayak con un Point 65 Crunch Rocker por el Garraf una comarca muy chula de barcelona leer mas

December 08, 2018 07:23 pm

December 07, 2018

The Ikkatsu Project
In the Service of the Ocean

On the Other Hand

I’m working on the Annual Report, and can’t help but reflect on the great year this was for the Ikkatsu Project, with active programs in Washington and Alaska continuing on into 2019, as well as gearing up for the State-wide bag ban… more on that real soon.

But then – and I didn’t mean to do this – I thought about the significant ways that 2018 was not a good year for the environment in general, and the oceans in particular. I thought about this article from a few days ago, detailing the destruction that society is willing to accept in order to get more oil. And more. Until it’s all gone.

At least it’s Friday.

by Ken Campbell at December 07, 2018 05:20 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!)

A Pearl Harbor post for December 7th

I was going to post about the fancy duck of Central Park today, but it is December 7th today and I've decided to re-share one of my Pearl Harbor photo posts instead. 

Photos taken during a visit to my folks in 2007. That turned out to be their last year living in the islands - TQ came along on this one and I'm so glad he had this chance to see where I'm from. 

My dad being retired Navy, we got to go on a Navy tour, which runs in much closer along the shore of Ford Island than the public trips go (this is still a working base). That's how I have the picture of the Utah Memorial, which I wanted to share along with the more familiar Arizona Memorial. Click on any photo for a better view. 
Utah Memorial (on Ford Island)

Ford Island

Arizona Memorial

Inside the memorial

Battleship Row, with the USS Missouri. The concrete platforms to which the ships were moored are marked with the names of the ships that were there that day. Click here to read more about Battleship Row on that day

Closing with a peaceful picture - outrigger practice on Pu'uloa (Hawaiian name of Pearl Harbor). 

by (bonnie) at December 07, 2018 04:44 pm
ute räknas. Ute med kajak räknas minst dubbelt :)

Skistar aktieägarrabatt 2018/2019

Det börjar dra ihop sig till fjälldräll så idag shoppade vi liftkort. Blev, som de senaste åren, Skistar All. Alltså säsongskort som gäller på alla Skistars anläggningar. Nu kommer vi åka det allra mesta i Trysil men det kan vara gott att ta nån sväng i Trysil och man vet aldrig, kan bli nån runda ... Läs mer...

Inlägget Skistar aktieägarrabatt 2018/2019 dök först upp på

by Erik Sjöstedt at December 07, 2018 02:08 pm

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

1794 Mi'kmaq Rennes de Robien Canoe Model

First posted back in 2017 (here), the Museum of Fine Arts of Rennes has a model birchbark canoe with an accompanying paddle dating to at least 1794. The souvenir is constructed in the Mi'kmaq style with its distinctive hump amidships. It was assumed to be collected by Christophe-Paul de Robien (1698-1756), a French ethnographer and historian. After the French Revolution, his personal collection inherited by his descendants was seized by the state and distributed to what became the Museum of Fine Arts of Rennes. During the inventory process, it was inscribed with a date of 1794 although the original construction date is likely older.

Modèle de canot avec rame
Inv 794.1.782
Museum of Fine Arts     RENNES

Accompanying the canoe is a single paddle with a pole grip and a decorated blade. Although faded, it appears that half the blade was painted with a red pigment creating a simple "yin/yang" effect. The canoe and paddle as well as other curiosities collected by Robien are now on display in a special gallery at the museum. One particular visitor has captured the model and paddle in the following photo:

Additional posts on this model are found here and here

by Murat ( at December 07, 2018 07:55 am

December 06, 2018

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!)

Flushing Meadows Corona Park to Central Park:

"I'll see your fancy duck and raise you a national emblem!"

Photo by TQ

Note: If you are not a New Yorker and/or a follower of celebrity waterfowl news, I'll explain tomorrow. If you can't wait, google "central park fancy duck". 

:D  />

teeny tiny kayak smiley, patent pending

by (bonnie) at December 06, 2018 06:24 pm

Kayaking – René Seindal
Dane living in Venice - photography, history, kayaking, rowing in Venice, Italy

Venice Kayak

Kayaking in Venice is a unique experience. Venice Kayak offers guided kayak tours in the city of Venice and in the lagoon.

The post Venice Kayak appeared first on René Seindal.

by René Seindal at December 06, 2018 04:34 pm

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

Vinjesjøen i fargeshow

Sist søndag var det aldeles nydelige farger. Jeg var bestemt på å padle, men kom seint i gang om morran. Da jeg hadde bestemt meg for at det måtte bli i Bø, la jeg ut melding på siden til klubben der, i tilfelle noen ville være med. Jeg satte ut rundt når lyset var på det meste, og ville minke. Det var 6–7 grader, men også en del vind, så det var kjølig.

Gaukværøy, hit padlet jeg på denne tiden et år tidligere. Men i dag var det for mye vind til det.

Som vi ser, en del plussgrader, men med den vinden så ble det faktisk ganske kjølig likevel.

Det var så pass med vind at det var mer liv i havet enn det pleier å være når jeg padler her, og jeg holdt meg innenfor det meste av holmer. Jeg ville rett og slett havne litt i hurtigste laget i brottene dersom noe uheldig skulle skje.

Det var ingen krise, for jeg kikket mest på himmelen i alle fall. Etter hvert kom det melding fra Eirik i Bø at han skulle komme etter. Hurra! Jeg hadde utfordret han spesielt, han har nemlig ny kajakk så jeg hadde litt forhåpninger om at det skulle gå an å lure han med, he he.

Da han kom var det blitt så mørkt at kamera hadde gitt fullstendig opp å ta gode bilder, men han kom i hvert fall og dette er bevis. Han trivdes mye bedre i denne Cetusen enn i den han hadde forrige gang, som allerede er solgt, det synes jeg vistes godt. Artig når folk ser sånn ut til å trives i en kajakk, at man har truffet godt med kjøpet. Denne kommer han til å få det mye skøy i, er jeg overbevist om.

Fantastisk flotte farger, men nå begynte det å bli sørgelig lite lys. Men artige bølger når vi padlet litt utover – når vi var to så ble jo det straks mer aktuelt enn det var for meg alene.

Etter hvert tok vi fatt på retur til Vinjesjøen. Underveis tok jeg rulla fint på vrangsiden, men ikke søren om det gikk på godsiden. Det kom nok av vind og bølger, jeg hadde nok kommet fint opp om jeg hadde byttet side – men det var jo godsiden jeg manglet så jeg prøvde heller gjentatte ganger på den. Niks mulig, men desemberrulla var jo i boks på den ene siden så da er jeg i mål for i år. Da trenger jeg ikke rulle før til neste år.

Takk for turen, kjekt med selskap på vinterpadling!

by Miamaria Padlemia ( at December 06, 2018 10:30 am

December 05, 2018
ute räknas. Ute med kajak räknas minst dubbelt :)

Onsdagsmys i solnedgången

Äntligen blev det liten decemberpaddling. Eftersom det såg ut att bli lite klart kring solnegången så paddlade vi då. Alltid extra fint i solnedgångsljuset. Blev en kortis från ÄSSS ut i Skälderviken. Lite små vågor ute i Skälderviken, från gårdagens vind. Hade en tanke på att gå iland för bad men det var minsann lite ... Läs mer...

Inlägget Onsdagsmys i solnedgången dök först upp på

by Erik Sjöstedt at December 05, 2018 09:21 pm

The Ikkatsu Project
In the Service of the Ocean

Playing Catch-Up

You know that thing that happens when you turn the garden hose on full blast and it starts writhing around on the lawn, occasionally rising up and spewing water out in a huge arc before coming back down and spraying all over your shorts? That’s the figurative equivalent of the Ikkatsu Project at the moment, except that instead of one hose, there are at least a half-dozen. Here’s a partial list – in no particular order – of what’s going on as this year winds down and the next one begins:

Giving Tuesday – This 2018 fundraising effort went well, and thanks to the generosity of all who contributed, planning for next year’s programs is well underway. Funding is not complete and there are still needs that have not been met, but the response was encouraging and, quite honestly, downright empowering. (If you’d like to contribute, just click on the “Donate” button on the Home Page. Thanks!)

Film Production – This is the focus of activity at the moment, not just securing the funds to get the film done, but crafting the message and the accompanying images in a way that will inform as well as entertain. “Decision” is scheduled for a May release and a celebration is anticipated. Stay tuned.

Tacoma Shoreline Survey 2.0 – The 2018 TSS was a great example of people and organizations working together to do something awesome. The entire city shoreline was surveyed for debris, observations on what and how much is out there were recorded and almost 700 pounds of trash was collected and removed by 78 volunteers. That’s a good day. The next one, on the calendar for April 27, 2019, figures to be even better.

South Kuiu Cleanup – After an enlightening and successful trip to southeast Alaska last July, we’re going back in 2019. The focus will be on completing cleanup on several beaches we hit this year, as well as on debris deposition studies and mapping types and quantities of flotsam that come ashore over a range of remote Alaskan beaches. Can’t wait.

Seventy48 – Yes, it’s back on again for 2019 and Team Basura is once again taking to the waters of Puget Sound in a long-distance paddle race to raise awareness about marine plastics. Using a real sea kayak this year instead of the literal pile of trash from 2018 and setting up to tell some great new stories, with events planned before, during and after the race.

Fresh Water Sampling – This is the 4th year of sampling for microplastics with Lakeridge Middle School students and 2019 is going to see an expansion of that program to include testing on the Carbon River and the White River, as well as new sites on the Puyallup. In terms of getting the plastics issue home to where students live, this program absolutely brings it. More to come as the year develops.

So, that’s a start. There’s more. There always is.


by Ken Campbell at December 05, 2018 05:15 pm

December 04, 2018


Adventspaddling 2018

Nya tider och nya traditioner.

Den här adventspaddlingen testade vi det lilla pensionatet Gullkråkan i Hällaryds skärgård. Pensionatet ligger på ön Joggesö halvägs ut mot Tärnö.

Vi var ett litet tappert gäng på sju som hade bokat in oss på lördagen med middag och övernattning.  Tanken var att tälta på Östra Bokö på fredagen, ha 5-6 minusgrader, ett stilla snöfall på eftermiddagen, gnistrande stjärnhimmel på kvällen. Givetvis en mysig brasa. Nu blev det 10-15 sekundmeter sydlig vind och ösregn. Tja… ni fattar…  Det blev alltså direktpaddling till Joggesö på lördag em. 

Jesper, Challan, Marja, Leif, Katarina, Helene och jag på väg mot Gullkråkan.  Challan gillar att komma fram! 🙂 Gullkråkans lilla pensionat håller till i den här fina kåken. Huset byggdes 2012 och man har använt en del material från det gamla kåken som fanns där tidigare.
Bord – duka dig!
Jodå – Katarina lyckades kravla sig ner på golvet – utan hjälp. 🙂
Och just precis DÄR halkade gänget in på att lösa ett riktigt allvarligt I-landsproblem. Tack och lov inte det enda ämnet på kvällens agenda! 🙂 
Glad och nöjd.

Katarina utanför sitt krypin.
Inredningen på Gullkråkan är fylld av små klurigheter. Den här lilla luckan sitter på väggen i en av stugorna.  Genom röret kikar man in i en fågelholk som hänger på husets utsida. Med rätt timing kan man följa de små fågelungarna växa.
Gullkråkans värdinna samlar drivved och snickrar små piffiga skåp. På väggen hänger också spant i svartek från ett vrak utanför ön.
Obligatorisk ö-promenad på söndagen.
Gänget som gjorde’t! Tack för en himla trevlig helg! 🙂

by Christian Cronberg at December 04, 2018 09:07 pm

Björn Thomasson Design
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Frej – Chen Lichao

Frej – Chen Lichao

En Frej i Kina – mycket välbyggd av Chen Lichau i Fuzhou (ungefär mitt emellan Shanghai and Hongkong).

"Finally my Frej project was done! Almost 2 years!

I made her debut on water in a paddling marathon about 63km around the Nan Tai Island in Fuzhou, China in Dec 1, 2018.

I'm pretty satisfied with this build. In my opinion, It's not a efficient kayak for long touring. But It is fast enough... and easy to maneuver and easy to turn 90 degrees using your paddle. When skeg down, it tracks very well. Now I had trouble slipping my lower body into this ocean cockpit, haha. I need more exercises to get accustomed to the type of cockpit. The back deck is low. And without a backrest, I think it is a benefit when rolling. In the marathon, I jam the foam block of the lifejacket into between my lower back and back of cockpit rim so I feel comfortable in my lumbar. I'm planing to add a detachable backrest to it in case for a long trip.

It's not my first attemp in building kayak. Actually I had lots of experiences from previous builds. So this time I decided to make it different. I prototype many parts of the kayak, including seat, hatch cover, hatch gasket, cockpit rim and made moulds for them, yes, they were one-off mold... I used a lot of carbon in final product and I think that was cool. Oh, I mold my own buttom to make the seat mold, haha. In order to make it look awesome, I made a spray booth in my homeshop. I paint it automotive polyurethane acrylic paint, I looks gorgeous but in her debut, she got lots of scratch. Luckily it's not made out of steel."

Frej – Chen Lichao

Frej – Chen Lichao

Frej – Chen Lichao

Frej – Chen Lichao

by Björn Thomasson at December 04, 2018 09:31 am

Piragüismo San Fernando


Paz Bey García, estrena en forma de oro el medallero del Club PIRAGÜISMO SAN FERNANDO.
Ha sido el pasado sábado día 1 de diciembre de 2018 en el CEAR de la Cartuja de Sevilla. En el Campeonato de Andalucía de Larga Distancia. Primera prueba oficial de la federación Andaluza de Piragüismo. 

Un total de 7 palistas participaron por el club. Todos ellos llegando a terminar la carrera obteniendo diversos puestos:
El primero en participar fue Juan Cardoso Macias en veteranos de 45-49 que hizo un tiempo de 56:38 en 9000m quedando en el puesto 19. 

Paz Bey Garcia hizo un tiempo de 1:03:10 en 9000m participando en veteranas 60-64 entrando en primera posición que partieron en linea de meta....

.... juntamente con Lola Lado Gomez que entro en 8ª posición con un tiempo de 1:06:56 en una distancia de 9000m en la categoría veteranas de 45-49.

El seguidamente Adolfo Rodriguez Guerrero en juveniles hizo un tiempo de 1:08:44 en 9000 m. quedando en el puesto 40.
Ya por la tarde, Maria Rodriguez Guerrero en Infantiles Neofitos (primera participacion federada durnte la temporada) finalizo con un tiempo de 25:35 en la distancia de 3000m quedando en 6ª posición 

Luego Sukeina Archilla Sarr también termino  6ª en Infantiles también Neofitos con un tiempo de 6:05:34 en una distancia de 750m

Sukeina recogiendo su merecida medalla de participación (primera a la derecha)
El ultimo en participar y cerrando el campeonato  fue Sidy Archilla Sarr en pre-benjamines con un tiempo de 7: 28:97 quedando el 6º puesto haciendo un recorrido de 750m

Sidy en podium de participación (primero a la derecha)

En definitiva primera experiencia en un campeonato federado donde hay mucho que mejorar pues estamos a mucha distancia todavía del nivel tan alto que existe en piragüismo.


Mas fotos:

by Andres Barba ( at December 04, 2018 06:56 am

December 03, 2018

Mike Jackson's Paddling Journal
A journal of my sea kayak trips.

December 3rd - Cadboro Bay (#69)

I took the surf ski out for a quick afternoon paddle. There was a brisk northerly wind, but the sky was clear and the visibility was great. I could see Mt Baker as well as Mt Rainier (the latter was spectacular at sunset!). I ran into several harbour seals as well as a typical assortment of a dozen birds: .
click to enlarge
7 km, YTD 548 km

by Mike J ( at December 03, 2018 06:29 pm

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

Krazy Kayakers – A Komedy of Errors on the High Seas

Editor’s note: Every year about this time we like to post something light-hearted in honor of the holidays and to brighten the darkness of year’s end. This article was written by Hilary Atherton, a friend of the Rangers and a very funny writer. It’s a madcap tale of three women and their misadventures on the […]

by Nancy Soares at December 03, 2018 07:45 am

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

Holiday Sales on all Books.

Getting ready for the holiday season? With that in mind I decided to run a sale for the month of December on all the books I have written. 

At the iBook store, Enlightened Kayaking is now $3.99 (originally $5.99) and GO! Planning weekend trips to month long adventures is $7.99 (originally $10.99) Finally, Forward, the short book that just focuses on the forward kayak stroke is Free. All of these books are digital only and can be read on the iPad, iPhone or your Mac. 

At Amazon, GO! is also $7.99 and the Paperback version is $12.99 (originally $15.99). 

This sale is going to run through the month of December. January first they will go back to full price. On either platform you can send these books as a gift in either digital form or paperback. 

I like the thought of giving the gift of experiences for Christmas, and these books can help give people the skills to create their own experiences. 

If you have already purchased one of my books, thanks for supporting an independent author, and if you enjoyed it, please give the book a review wherever you bought it. If you didn't enjoy it, please send me some feedback. The joy of being independent and publishing digitally, is that I can make changes. 

by paddlingOTAKU ( at December 03, 2018 06:00 am

December 02, 2018

Mountain and Sea Scotland
Hillwalking and Sea Kayaking in Scotland

An autumnal gem

On a crisp and sunny mid November day we drove a short distance to the pretty village of Monymusk for a walk.  Monymusk has an interesting history, the estate has been owned by the Grant family since 1712 and many of the cottages in the village square are estate properties.

Sir Archibald Grant inherited the estate in 1719 and set about transforming the agricultural land surrounding the House of Monymusk.  When the Grants took ownership the land was boggy, poorly drained, had little in the way of crop or stock capacity and was almost bare of trees.

Archie Grant had a colourful life.  He was a speculator, sometime mine owner and was expelled from the House of Commons after a financial scandal.  However, he proved to be one of the great agricultural "improver" lairds.  He ordered the clearing of ground with stones being used to make field enclosures, introduced crop rotation to the estate including the use of clovers and rye grasses to condition the soil, he planted millions of trees on the estate and was one of the early adopters of growing turnips - a humble crop today but a game changer in cattle rearing practice at the time.  Using turnips which could stay in the drill until winter, cattle could be fed through the year rather than having to be sold.  All these improvements meant a change to the old subsistence farming methods which had existed in Aberdeenshire, and many folk had to move but this was not a clearance in the sense of evicting people to make way for sheep or sporting estates.  His legacy and that of his descendants is a rich mixture of productive agricultural ground, woodland and the origins of the village of Monymusk we see today.

The most important building in Monymusk isn't the estate "big house" but the church.  A stone church has stood here since the 12th century, and it's believed that this replaced an even older Celtic church.  The origin tale concerning the building of the church records that the future King Malcolm III prayed here on his way to a battle with Macbeth near Lumphanan in 1057.  He stated that if he was successful he would build a church to replace the already old building in Monymusk. Malcolm defeated Macbeth's army, captured and summarily executed him on the battlefield, then honoured his promise to build a church.

The church seems very large for a small rural community but was originally built to serve a nearby priory.  The tower was originally somewhat higher than the present one but has been lowered twice, firstly to counteract an unsound wall.  A spire was added which in turn became unsound so the whole tower was lowered further.

The church contains an important Pictish symbol stone and two 6th century grave slabs.  Despite living just a few miles away, we've yet to see these - something to rectify!

Our walk took us out of the village and up through a wood containing some huge Douglas Firs, perhaps planted by Archibald Grant.  The path through the wood climbs gently up to Clyan's Dam.....

.......which proved to be a bit of an autumnal gem.  A path goes over the earth dam and around the small lake, which was probably a mill pond.  The last of the autumnal colours were reflected beautifully in the still water, it's a peaceful spot and several benches offer the chance to sit and enjoy the setting.

At the dam a small burn emerges out to wind down through the wood to the River Don below, rushing through mounds of beech leaves had been piled up by the wind.  We headed the same way, back down through the wood and along the minor road to reach a track which heads back towards Monymusk alongside the River Don.

As from so many places in Aberdeenshire, the distinctive shape of Bennachie's Mither Tap is prominent above the farmland and woods.

In mid November when most of the glory of autumn is finished, the Larch trees have their moment.  This image doesn't do justice to the intense yellow and gold strips interspersing the dark greens of  the spruces in Bennachie forest.  Add in a blue sky and you have another autumnal gem.

In the three weeks since the images in this post were taken a series of autumnal gales, sluicing rain and a little snow have stripped the trees of their remaining foliage.  The colours diminished, it's more about form now.

We soon arrived back at Monymusk but took a short diversion to get a view of the House of Monymusk.  Originally built by the Forbes family and developed by the Grants, it's one of the grander examples of a Scottish estate "big house" and is harled in the pink shade often used in the castles and estates of Aberdeenshire.

Our walk around Monymusk had lasted less than two hours, but on a lovely crisp day had been something of an autumnal gem!

by Ian Johnston ( at December 02, 2018 07:57 pm

The Ikkatsu Project
In the Service of the Ocean

The Next Level

Tacoma adopted a “Bring Your Own Bag” ordinance a couple years ago, keeping approximately 90 million single-use bags out of the local retail system. If anyone knows of any great hardship this has caused, any decline in quality-of-life for Tacoma residents, please get in touch. Because it took more than four years of concerted effort from a lot of different people and organizations to make it happen, and throughout the process, we heard constant grousing from the naysayers, shrill jerimiads about how this un-American tack was going to adversely affect the community. If enacted, it would cost any number of jobs and after all, plastic bags are nothing short of a basic human right anyway, deserving of a constitutional amendment, possibly.

So… it turned out that was all bullshit. It seems we’ve moved past plastic bags locally and the doom talk of the process is over. Well, not over, exactly. Actually, you should get ready to hear it all over again. Except it will be louder, more misleading and less civil. Brace yourself.

This past week, at a news conference at the Seattle Aquarium, plans were announced to take the bag initiative state-wide. There are already upwards of twenty communities in Washington that have similar policies in place; this move would standardize the entire state, in terms of single-use plastic bags. Legislation is planned to be introduced by State Senator Kevin Ranker and Representative Strom Peterson that would put in place a program similar to the ones that already exist.

There’s a lot of support. But get ready for some well-funded opposition, financed by fossil fuel, the American Chemistry Council and a supporting cast of the usual hired guns. The idea of eliminating plastic bags is seen by some as a first step toward getting rid of other kinds of single-use plastic items, and to give an inch would signal weakness, and that if they were lose this battle, they might be setting themselves up to lose the next one. Fossil fuel companies and plastic manufacturers are worried about more than just bags.

And they should be.

by Ken Campbell at December 02, 2018 04:15 pm

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

Hellfjorden - høsttur med klubben

Høsttur med klubben i oktober, med eller uten overnatting. Det ble i hvert fall skikkelig høstvær og fabelaktige lysshow underveis. Her et bilde fra returen.

Det var valgfritt med overnatting på Guvåghytta eller ikke, men ingen gadd dra allerede fredag. Så her møtes vi på selve Guvåg hele gjengen, for å ta turen innover Hellfjorden. (Kart kommer lenger ned i innlegget.)
Vedkommende som eier den nærmeste kajakken har her kjørt i møte med maten sin, som kommer med i annen bil. Maten lå nemlig igjen hjemme – og siden det var et samarbeidsprosjekt var det plutselig to stykker som manglet maten… Nuvel, vi skal ikke gni det mer inn enn som så, det ble jo en fin tur.

Vi ble faktisk en liten gjeng på tur i dag.  Eirik, Alexia, Leif Hermann og Berit i tillegg til meg, underveis dukket det opp enda en kar til – per motor faktisk. Her har vi akkurat begynt å padle innover Hellfjorden. Her er det ingen veier, så man har den som regel ganske for seg selv, det er også noen holmer å snirkle imellom innover. En vakker fjord, særlig i høstskrud synes jeg.

Vi fikk særdeles vekslende vær, som jo hører høsten til. Men vind ble vi høvelig skånet for, det var mest små byger med nedbør som traff oss et par ganger. Det tåler vi fint når vi er godt kledd – og når sola kommer fram som her, så er jo nedbøren allerede (nesten i hvert fall) glemt.

Seriøst fint! Vi er for øvrig på jakt etter en 10 på skjæret-post innerst i fjorden. Her har vi Pikstauren som troner høyest, med Bornan til venstre.

Nå nærmer vi oss posten, snart blir det pause inne i fjorden. Det må til på dagstur.

Det var ganske stor flo, så vi kom oss et lite stykke oppover elva, men sjøen hadde såvidt begynt å falle så vi kom oss ikke riktig så langt som jeg hadde håpet. Her var det bare å snu.

Baugene peker nå nedover og utover igjen – på tide å jakte på en pauseplass.

Ikke den aller beste ilandstigningsplassen, men her var det le for det skitsure lille vinddraget, så vi gikk i land her likevel. Motorbåt til høyre, var en kar Alexia hadde med seg. Han fant oss etter hvert.

Ups, en eling – med ekte hagl. Da hadde vi hatt det også, og det var vel rimelig jackpot.

Her er trackinga fra turen.

Leif og Berit holdt varmen i Jervenduken de også. Humøret på topp, tross litt bygevær. Vi har jo klær.

Etter påfyll av mat og varme drikker tok vi fatt på returen igjen. Også nå hadde vi god tid og tok oss tid til litt utforsking – noen øvet også på litt teknikk.

Skyene ble stadig mer dekorative lenger fram.

Rett og slett vakkert! Det er nesten så man må slippe åra, bare ligge her og se.

Guvåghytta er jo også en 10 på skjæret-post, så vi måtte innom der for de som ikke hadde samlet den ennå. Planen var å dra hit etterpå, noen til fots og noen per kajakk, for overnatting til dagen etter og mer padling.

Utsikt fra hytta, mot Hadseløya.

Videre til Guvåg. Alexia tok bilen og føttene fatt til hytta, mens Leif og Berit dro hjem, Eirik og jeg padlet tilbake til hytta. Men der var det så mye haloi og folk at vi padlet i retur og dro hjem vi også. Vi bor så nært at vi kan heller dra tilbake en gang det er mindre folk og roligere der.

Knall tur! Takk for turen, folkens!

by Miamaria Padlemia ( at December 02, 2018 10:37 am
ute räknas. Ute med kajak räknas minst dubbelt :)

Utan filter endast på plats

En del taggar sina bilder med #nofilter,  verkar vara i någon typ av försök att få ögonblicket och stunden att vara lite finare eller bättre eller i alla fall mer ”original” än med filter 🙂 Det är som med mycket annat vi håller på med, lite gulligt 😉 Förr när kamerorna var analoga var det ... Läs mer...

Inlägget Utan filter endast på plats dök först upp på

by Erik Sjöstedt at December 02, 2018 08:04 am

December 01, 2018

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.

Driving Hurricane Ridge

Okay, this might be a slight exaggeration when I compare the Obstruction Point drive to Bolivia’s death road, but not by much. Or at least, not in some sections where you have a drop of hundreds of feet with no room to pass an oncoming car. Just ask my passengers!

The post Driving Hurricane Ridge appeared first on Essex Media & Explorations.

by Steve Weileman at December 01, 2018 09:20 pm

Mike Jackson's Paddling Journal
A journal of my sea kayak trips.

December 1st - cadboro Bay (#69)

I led a SISKA "President's paddle" this morning before the club Christmas party. Eleven of us ventured out on the first of December and faced very gentle conditions for this time of year. Winds were less than 10 knots from the north and we made our way out and around Jemmy Jones Island. Idid not see as many birds out as yesterday ( but we had nice views of buffleheads, hooded mergansers and black turnstones.
click to enlarge
6km, YTD 541 km

by Mike J ( at December 01, 2018 03:57 pm
Wild swimming, cycling, sea kayaking, swimming and life in the Scottish Highlands

November Challenge #2: More Charity Work

Last year I became one of the Trustees of a newly created charity, Highland Openwater Swim.

It's aim is to run small, friendly and challenging wild swimming events that are affordable to everyone while raising money for a nominated charity.

I had been taking photos or swimming at most of the 2016 and 2017 events and I live near two of the other trustees.  We're very much and Ardnamurchan based group.

However, in 2018 we were late in publishing our swims because we were waiting for our charitable status to be approved.  Consequently I was booked for filming work on almost every weekend that a swim was subsequently planned.  I was disappointed not to be at the Falls of Lora swim Saturday just gone.

A few weeks ago I sat down the two other Trustees and worked out which swims we wanted to offer and in what order.  I feel the order is important, because we should be offering a ladder, a series of progressively harder challenges, so people can grow in confidence with the swims they undertake.

Then I pick weekends which are closest to Neap Tides when smaller volumes of water are moving.  At neaps the tidal streams are almost always less powerful so slower swimmers are less affected.

When there are two possible weekends in a month, I go for the one with the best slack water.  Our proposed Corran Narrows swim in January 2019 is a perfect example.  Two Sundays. the 13th and the 20th, are each 3 days off neaps.  The relevant slack water at Corran is 10:10 and 11:20, which are both good times of day around which to base a swim.  However, the 11:20 slack comes before the flood i.e. the water will be pushing north through the narrows, so slower swimmers would be carried towards the Corran Ferry - not good.  Slack water on the 13th is better because it comes before an ebb, so slower swimmers are carried away from the ferry.

It's not confirmed, but I suspect we'll pick 13th January for our first swim.  I've done calculations for ten swims in 2019 all of which will be coming to the website in due course.

by Simon Willis ( at December 01, 2018 10:01 am

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

The Adventure Otaku Stocking Stuffer Guide 2018

Part two of the Adventure Otaku Christmas is the stocking stuffer list. Once again, these are all Items I use. They make my outdoor life better, safer and more fun. Here is hoping they will have the same effect on your loved ones. 

Snow Peak Gigapower Torch $57.95 - I bought this after years of wanting it. It takes a lot for me to buy something I don’t really need, but this thing gets used all the time. I use it to start campfires mostly, which it does quickly and easily, but I have also used it to melt cheese over a bowl of soup. Talk about versatile, and it uses the same fuel I am already carrying for my stove. A little pricey for what it is, but it is beautifully made. 

Big Agnes Ultra Pump Sack -  $34.95 Blowing up an air pad isn’t too bad, but this is just so much better. Essentially a large dry bag with a connector on the bottom that mates to Big Agnes sleeping pads, depending on which pad you are using it will take about two full pump sacks to fill your pad. When not being used as a pump it is a waterproof bag for clothes our whatever you need to carry and keep dry. 

The UV and insect Shield buff - $20ish. The first thing I pack when I am teaching. Whether it is summer or winter. Versatile, lightweight, and inexpensive. It is the perfect accessory. In the summer it is sun and bug protection. In the winter it is warmth. Can’t beat it. 

Sawyer Permethrin - $14-$20  Because I teach in the outdoors, I try to not use too many chemicals on my skin. That is why I usually use permethrin on my clothing instead of bug spray on my skin (or sunscreen for that matter!) Spray your clothes, let it dry and it keeps bugs at bay for 6 weeks or 6 washings. I was skeptical at first, but once you realize others in your group are shooing mosquitoes while you are sitting comfortably you will realize how well it works too.

MSR Mug Mate Coffee and Tea Filter - $16.95 Super simple, super easy, super light way to make great coffee.

Fox 40 Whistle - $6.00 Everyone should have a fox 40 whistle. Ridiculously loud, inexpensive, and the ultimate piece of safety gear. People don't like buying safety gear, so buy it for them. 

Warm Socks - $14 to $40 Whether your choice is smart wool, Darn tough, or farm to feet, a high quality pair of wool socks cannot be beat. Nothing makes for a better stocking stuffer than awesome, warm, cozy, socks. Whether you are wearing them around the house, or inside a sleeping bag after a long day of paddling. Everyone loves warm socks. 

These last three items combine to make a great gift, you could even add the Jetboil Mighty Mo from the previous list, and make it a super Christmas for someone. 

Hot Chocolate Mix -. $14.00 A great thing to have in the backcountry on a cold day. Here is a great recipe you can make yourself, and prepackage as a gift for someone. If You want to buy it pre-made I have tried tons of brands and my favorite is Godiva Dark chocolate hot cocoa. Paired with the Jetboil Mighty Mo, and a vessel for heating water and this is the ultimate cold weather kit for a hot drink. 

Hydro Flask Vacuum Insulated Coffee Cup $24.95 - keeps coffee hot or cold for a long time, and most importantly seals tight when not in use. Love it, and it fits in a cup holder. And yes, it replaced my Yeti. This is better. 

The GSI Halulite Kettle - $24.95 And here is your vessel for heating water. It packs small enough to carry on a day hike, but big enough to carry a Stove and a canister of fuel. 

Here is your bonus gift. Available via the link on the right side of this list is GO! which is available to give as a gift on either amazon for kindle, or paperback. Or on the iBookstore for iPad and Mac. On sale for $7.99 from December first through New Years Eve. Get your friends or family members the gift of the written word, and the skills to plan their own adventures. 

Happy Holidays Everyone. 

by paddlingOTAKU ( at December 01, 2018 08:00 am

November 30, 2018

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!)

Strand Book Binge and Event Review

So just copying a FB post-event blither here to Poor Neglected Blog - little bit off from my usual blog topics but hey, it's my blog and I'll write about a cool bookstore event if I want to! I enjoyed it so much, I went home and decided I had to write stuff down before the buzz wore off, and for some reason started in on Facebook; I think I finally posted a bit before 1 am. If I'd actually planned to write that long it probably would've been here in the first place - think it's worth sharing here, at any rate.

 The Strand Bookstore is my current favorite local independent bookstore these days, ever since the slightly closer Shakespeare & Co at NYU closed. Between working at Scholastic and living in a building that's got enough dead-tree-edition readers that the bookshelves in the laundry room is always worth a look, I get an awful lot of books for free, but every now and then when there's a specific book I want, I'm off to the Strand. I've been there a little more regularly than usual recently and just thought to follow them on Facebook a couple of weeks ago. A co-worker recently "liked" a "Let's Talk YA" event they were having, and for once the FB algorithm worked just right in showing that to me.

I was able to make it, I absolutely loved it, I'm so glad I went, and my only regret is that I didn't find out about it sooner so I could have let more of my YA fan friends know about it. 

 David Levithan's name as the moderator was what first caught my attention, as he's one of our editorial directors at Scholastic and also a great writer himself.  Turns out that this panel was something that David had originally suggested to The Strand without even really knowing which authors he could get, but this ended up being a really excellent group of folks to have sitting down and talking author stuff with each other and the audience.

Three of the authors were familiar (I'd loved Kheryn Callender's younger grade book Hurricane Child, I'd read and also thoroughly enjoyed Katrina Van Dam's Come November -- I don't think I can remember ever being quite as pissed off at a fictional parent as that book made me! -- , and an ARC of Eliot Schrefer's Orphaned, the fourth in his great ape series, is sitting on my desk at work waiting its turn as commute reading) but the other three were new to me.

It was held in the Rare Books Room, which was fun in itself, although a little dangerous. I'd never been in there before and I swear that if they'd had cocktails there to lower the inhibitions, I would've been going home with an absolutely charming (but rather expensive) little book by Ruth Kraus and Maurice Sendak, Open House for Butterflies. Fortunately cocktails and rare books are not a good combination so I was able to put the book down.

The panel was a three-stage affair - first David introduced all of the authors, the 3 already mentioned plus Jay Coles (Tyler Johnson Was Here), Sara Farizan (Here to Stay), and Alex Kahler (Runebreaker). Each author read one page (and one page only, even if it broke a sentence) from their book; Sara sang that "Let's start at the very beginning" bit from The Sound of Music and then started at Page 1, 2 of the authors had each other pick a number at random, and the others just read something that they liked.

2nd part was David asking some questions touching on things like the way each author handled their protagonists' relationships with their parents (that was really intriguing as most of the authors were pretty young and some had drawn in a very direct way on their relationships with their own parents, so it ended up being a kind of personal question that they answered with great honesty and love), and specific approaches they used for writing for a young audience. One interesting point that came up there was that as the YA genre has grown, it's reaching for a wider audience, it started out aimed at teens but the stuff that's coming out now may feature youthful characters but is good enough storytelling to appeal to grownups, too. I can certainly vouch for that, one of my favorite perks of working for Scholastic is access to a ton of free books. I don't necessarily find everything we print for YA interesting, but I've read and really enjoyed an awful lot of the stories that are available on the giveaway shelf. So much more than when I was a kid!

3rd part was the audience's turn to ask questions, and some good questions were asked. I even got over my phobia about standing up and speaking in front of people to ask the final question of the evening - somebody else had asked about authors that influenced the writers who were there tonight, and I followed that up with a question about people in their lives who'd given them the earliest confidence in their own writing abilities and sense that this was maybe something they could do "for real". Seemed like a nice question with which to wrap up the evening, and as someone who's got a creative bent, there's this blog and then I love taking pictures and drawing and painting and stuff like that (enough for the "doodles" label to exist); but never even considered taking it beyond a hobby, I'm always a bit awed by people who actually take similar leanings and grow up to do something real with 'em, and thought it would be fun to hear about who'd steered them that way early on. The stories that question elicited were so much fun, with some very humorous twists to some of them - I guess asking a bunch of storytellers to tell stories about people who helped them become storytellers was not a bad idea at all!

Came away from tonight with 6 new books I really want to read now (the 7th, as I mentioned, I'd already read). They had them all for sale there and I settled on David's Someday (got him to sign it!) and Kheryn Callender's This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story - at one point David had asked a question about dedication, and Kheryn mentioned hers, which finishes "And finally, I'm lucky for all the queer people of color who exist in the world, who inspire me and make me feel a little less alone. We're beautiful, we're magical, and we deserve epic love stories". This made me think of some friends of mine who fit that perfectly, and between that and how much I enjoyed Hurricane Child, I found myself wanting to start with that one. It was a tough call deciding what to get, though. The rest I'll definitely be hunting down around the office or library, because they all sound great!

Got those 2 and then as I was leaving I remembered I've been meaning to read Sebago friend Roger D. Hodge's family history, Texas Blood, pretty much since it came out. You get to the Rare Book Room through a separate entrance, so I left there and walked into the main shop to ask after Roger's book, and there's Michelle Obama smiling irresistably from a display table right in the front of the store.

Subway reading is covered for a while!

by (bonnie) at November 30, 2018 11:30 pm

Mike Jackson's Paddling Journal
A journal of my sea kayak trips.

November 30th - Discovery and Chatham islands (#67

I went for a late morning/luchtime paddle with Dan around the islands. The tide was especially high (high enough to cover the white lichens in some places), so we explored a few places that we usually don't go. We saw harbor seals and a Steller sea lion as well as at least 16 kinds of seabirds. . The prickly pear cacti on "cactus islet" seem do be doing well in spite of some of them being occasionally covered by the tide
While paddling through the northern part of Chatham we found an aluminum flare canister that had been used by the military. It has now been reported to the military so they can clean it up.
click to embiggen!
16 km, YTD 535 km

by Mike J ( at November 30, 2018 04:58 pm

Freya Hoffmeister
Goddess of Love to the Seas

The way home

Now as we were done for this section, it was a pleasure to get off the beach, to sign into a small hostel, and to shower us the same evening, and all our gear the next day. w did laundry, washed our kayaks and tents, and rinsed about everything under the shower. We were asking the hostel owner if they needed extra water money as water is as everywhere here in Baja short, but they were ok. Thanks! The drying in the sunshine went as quick as it could. I oiled my tent zippers and tent pole ends, as otherwise very sure they would be stuck next year.

We got a visit from two local policemen, sent by Victor to our assistance via the office of tourism of Mexico. Thanks for that! But our hostel owner already agreed to store my kayaks and gear, and as we didn’t wanted o offend them, we politely rejected their storing and transporting help. But unfortunately, it turned out that the space the hostel owner envisioned was much too small for the kayaks, so we got back in touch with the police, and the hostel owner agreed to drive us with kayaks and gear to Punta Prieta on Thursday morning.

The kayaks got loaded on Rafaello’s truck, stuck out way too long over the rear end, but tied up securely. Thanks for driving us to Punta Prieta! I volunteered as usual to ride on the open back of the truck to keep a good eye on my babies and gear bags. It was quite a fast and long ride, and I finally jumped off the truck bed quite stiff. But my babies made it safe!

Rigoberto, the local policeman, smiled when he saw us back, but offered a storage place at some house about 10 km down the road. It turned out to be kind of a mixture of a junk yard and a second hand vehicle sale place, but amazingly well organized and clean. But my kayaks were neither for sale nor trash!!!

No, they thought of providing a storage space inside an unused huge 14t truck trailer, safe, out of the sun and dry and under a roof. Quite an unique place for my kayaks for the next 2,5 months! The boys helping us storing the kayaks inside the truck trailer got big eyes when they discovered my own picture on the many stickers on my kayak, and they finally got it what kind of famous “racing horses” they were about to take care of…The owner, Francisco López, was the Delegado Municipal of Punta Prieta, goof friend with Rigoberto, the policeman, and I thanked him for his friendly help. All good, sleep well, my babies, and Merry X-mas! 🙂

Policeman Rigoberto loaded our gear bags and ourselves now on his police car truck, and we drove back to the truck stop aka bus station, to wait for the bus while having some good food. The bus going into the other direction had a long stop at the same place, so we sat there, enjoying good home cooked food while waiting for our direction bus. But that bastard didn’t think of stopping here! Thank goodness, Rigoberto saw it passing by, shouted we had to leave NOW, and we had to leave our half-eaten delicious food on the table with many sorry and jumped into the police car to chase the disappearing bus!

Rigoberto did what policemen do when chasing a vehicle, accelerated to the max, and used flashlight and horn to stop the probably very surprised bus driver…LOL! A few miles down the road after the “official” bus stop, we could conveniently enter the bus a few minutes later. That’s Latin America! THANKS to all our helpers!

The bus turned out to be a very modern long-distance coach with only eight people in there. Nothing what we envisioned, like an overloaded with people, strapped to the top with household items and chicken cages rumbling overland half-falling apart vehicle…LOL! This was a VERY luxurious and convenient way to travel! Ok, maybe 600 pesos is not what everyone would like to afford for the dsiatnce Punta Prieta-Ensenada.

We enjoyed the very soft, nicely reclining seats, and were watching the impressive landscape passing by while I preferred to listen to some spheric music from my phone instead to the noisy film running on many monitors, te only nasty downside of this comfortable ride. They should hand out head sets like in a plane :-). Many sheer beautiful valleys littered with impressive rock formations and 3-4 m high cactus plants were passing by before we reached some agricultural area with obvious water resources and after Rosario, the landscape became more and more villages and cities.

Victor couldn’t pick us himself today, but sent Julián, a kayaking friend with great English and German language (his girl friend is from Flensburg in Germany, very close to my home town in Husum!) knowledge to drive us out to Victor’s house in La Bufadora where we already stayed before two nights. We stopped at the nice “Restaurant La Bufadora”, which was dead empty at 6 pm, as it had really been heavily raining the last day! The first rain since I reached this continent in October! as it goes with rain in mostly dry countries, many deep puddles blocked street traffic and the houses were all not really set for heavy rain but leaking everywhere through the roof. But the food was delicious, we had a Margharita and tequila each, and a lot of good fun talking.Thanks for driving and joining us, Julián!

Victor will pick us up today, drive us to San Diego where we will stay at Jen Kleck’s house again, and I’ll take a plane on Saturday morning back home to my lovingly waiting arms of my partner Peter!

Thanks once more to my paddling partners of this section, Jaime Sharp and Lisa Eick, and to all of our local friends and helpers who made logistics a lot easier for us.

I’ll be back paddling south in mid-February until mid-April. Who likes to join me n that section???

by Freya at November 30, 2018 04:03 pm

Björn Thomasson Design
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Kavat – Anders Ek

Kavat – Anders Ek

En mycket välbyggd Kavat i Vombsjön:

"Hej Björn,

Premiärturen för min Kavat blev i början av september i Vombsjön. Har blivit ett 10-tal turer sedan dess och det blir bara mer och mer njutbart.

Det var mitt första bygge så det tog lite tid, mest pga. ovana med materialen. Träslagen är gran och Western Red Cedar. Skott och skädda gjort i laminerat skummaterial. En markisoleringsskiva och en yogamatta från Stadium blev till en sits. Svankstödet är gjort av några lager tunn plywood som jag laminerade och formade mot ryggstödet på en matrumsstol och sedan klädde med samma yogamatta som sitsen. Sargerna till luckor och

Tack för en utmärkt byggbeskrivning och dina råd på vägen.


Kavat – Anders Ek

Kavat – Anders Ek

by Björn Thomasson at November 30, 2018 08:57 am

November 29, 2018

Piragüismo San Fernando


Campeonato de Andalucia de Larga Distancia
CEAR La Cartuja (01/12/2018)

El próximo 1 de diciembre arranca la 1ª prueba del ránking andaluz y 1ª de las Ligas Andaluzas de piragüismo: Campeonato de Andalucía de Larga Distancia. La competición tendrá lugar en el C.E.A.R. La Cartuja (Sevilla).

El denominado Trofeo de Navidad 'Juan Andrades' de aguas tranquilas comprenderá 72 pruebas entre las modalidades de kayak y canoa.

La competición se inicia a las 9:30 con el K1 Hombre Veterano (35-39, 40-44) y finaliza sobre las 17:10 con las categorías pre-benjamines y alevines.

El recorrido más largo será un circuito de 4,500m al que tendrán que darle dos vueltas pasando por debajo del Puente de la Barqueta y Pasarela de la Cartuja y que lo harán los más mayores a partir de la categoría juvenil, mientras que la infantil neófito (neófito compite por vez primera este temporada), alevin neófito y prebenjamin solo tendrán que dar una sola vuelta a un circuito cerca del CEAR La Cartuja (Centro Especializado de Alto Rendimiento).

El club PIRAGÜISMO SAN FERNANDO espera con mucha ilusión esta competición y sobre todo el primer contacto de los más pequeños con deportistas de su misma categoría y será toda experiencia para ellos.

Horarios participación
HOMBRE Veterano 45-49
MUJER Veterano 45-49
MUJER Veterano 60-64

by Andres Barba ( at November 29, 2018 12:32 pm

November 28, 2018

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

The Missing Glaciers of Prince William Sound

A few years ago we took a voyage to Alaska with a lot of gear and a great team. Our goal was to photograph the glaciers in Alaska's, Prince William Sound. What we saw was both amazing and confusing.

Here is the first video installment from that trip.

More to come, subscribe to the Youtube Channel to see more.

by paddlingOTAKU ( at November 28, 2018 01:10 pm

Mike Jackson's Paddling Journal
A journal of my sea kayak trips.

November 23rd - Golden Gardens Park, Seattle (#66)

I joined Setsuko, David and Marc for a Greenland rolling/paddling session at Golden Gardens Park in Seattle. We did a bunch of rolls and had fun experimenting with a Greenland paddle. The park is right beside Shilshole Bay marina.
click to enlarge
3 km, YTD 519 km

by Mike J ( at November 28, 2018 10:40 am

November 27, 2018

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!)

Escape from Black Friday 2019 - Follow That Floof!

we're coming, floof!

:D / >
kayak smiley not really appropriate but haven't used in so long!

Another Black Friday succesfully escaped. In Michigan this time! We got an absolutely beautiful Friday morning after a cold and gray but great Thanksgiving with the Michigan clan and also some old friends of the family. My sister Karen had come up from Texas and had found this park built around a complex of ponds earlier in her visit. The ponds began with one that was a local effort and expanded to 5 as part of the Depression-era Civil Works Administration. The ponds, which were terraced and interconnected to each other and the creeks that supplied them, were used to raise fish through the 1960's. My uncle Bill referred to the area as "The Rearing Ponds"; my dad, who's been visiting the area since he was a kid (he and my aunt Kathy used to spend their summers with grandparents who lived nearby, that's where the Michigan connection comes in) actually didn't know about it, so this was a fun discovery.

There weren't a lot of people here on Friday, but it must be busy in the summertime. Fish are not officially being grown here anymore but their descendants are still living here and there are brightly-painted little fishing piers all over.

This wasn't the most ambitious Escape from Black Friday ever, there was an aunt and uncle from Detroit who were arriving at noon and we didn't get a particularly early start, but the trails around the ponds made for a very scenic short ramble for me, Dad, sister Karen, Aunt Lovi, family friend Mike B. (very good photographer who kindly loaned me an SD card when I discovered that the one I'd grabbed as I dashed out the door heading for work with my bag on Wednesday morning was a really old one with my digital picture frame slide-show, so had very little room on it) and of course Belle the dog, who was very happy to be included. My dad had originally suggested a 2-part walk, starting here and then continuing on the fairly new Jonesville rail trail, but there was a lot more here than he'd imagined from my sister's description and we decided to leave the rail trail for another walk.

A couple of notes, then it's all pictures, click on one to get to a slideshow view:

1. The rustic bridge that appears to be made out of wood is actually made out of concrete. I don't know for sure but I was wondering if it was by the same folks who built the charming bridges and benches in McCourtie Park in Somerset Center, which I got to visit last summer. I never shared my photos from there, maybe I'll go back and take a look at them one of these weeks when I'm being too boring to post. In the meantime, McCourtie Park is neat enough to have an entry in the Atlas Obscura!

2. In the picture where Mike is taking a picture of something on the ground - that something is a butterfly (or maybe a colorful moth). Not something you expect to see in Michigan in November, but we saw it fly by and land beside the road and Mike got some good pictures of it. Have to ask him if I can share one! 

Aunt Lovey, family friend Mike, my dad Bob, my sister Karen, and of course once again featuring my folks' dog Belle as da Floof. 

by (bonnie) at November 27, 2018 11:12 pm
ute räknas. Ute med kajak räknas minst dubbelt :)

Novembrig solnedgång på Skälderviken

Det har verkligen sin fördel att solen går ner strax innan fyra. Skönt att slippa vara värsta nattugglan för att paddla i solnedgången som på sommaren 🙂 Idag tog vi en runda på Skälderviken i det goa snea solnedgångsljuset. Ett par minusgrader så lite svalt om händerna innan vi kom igång men resten fryser man ... Läs mer...

Inlägget Novembrig solnedgång på Skälderviken dök först upp på

by Erik Sjöstedt at November 27, 2018 07:34 pm