Atikamekw paddles at the Université de Montreal

Atikamekw paddles at the Université de Montreal

The Collection ethnographique of the Université de Montreal houses some Atikamekw artefacts which form the basis of an indigenous watercraft display.The birchbark canoe canoe was made by Albert Biroté (1899-1977), an Atikamekw master craftsman from Wemotaci (Haute-Mauricie) in 1974. It was commissioned at the request of Norman Clermont, archaeologist from the anthropology department of the University of Montreal, as part of his investigation into the history of Wemotaci and the material culture of its inhabitants. Clermont’s research was eventually published as a book entitled, La culture matérielle des indiens de Weymontachie. I was able to find a rare copy of this book housed at the Royal Ontario Museum’s library. The publication contains a grainy image of the set of paddles also carved by Albert Biroté to accompany the canoe (see original post here).La culture matérielle des indiens de Weymontachie Norman Clermont (‎1982) A second sketch appears in the book providing a closeup of the decorative element…La culture matérielle des indiens de Weymontachie Norman Clermont (‎1982) New colour photos from the university reveal some more details of the paddle set, including closeup views of the deeply etched leaf patterns on the decorated handle. Curiously, this longer paddle of the two has been labelled as an “Aviron de Femme”, a “Woman’s paddle”. Most other samples of gender specific paddles labelled by other museums and documentation (like Adney’s description of Male / Female Cree paddles) had noted the shorter length of paddles typically utilised by women.Aviron de femmeItem No: 75.5.3Maple, VarnishedDIMENSIONS: L. 143.5 cm x l. 10.2 cmDESCRIPTION: Oar in varnished maple. Handle decorated with flower motifs carved on both sides enhanced by light burning of the backwood.Source LinkThe second paddle, plainly carved in birch features a much smaller bulb grip and is a few centimetres shorter.Aviron d’hommeItem No. 75. 75.5.2Birch DIMENSIONS: 134 cm x  13 cmSource Link

Jersey Kayak Adventures is a British Canoeing Delivery Partner!

Jersey Kayak Adventures is now an approved Gold Standard British Canoeing Delivery Partner. The scheme is a great way to get accreditation from British Canoeing, the national governing body for paddlesport and ensures we operate to the highest standards. Along with the benefit of national recognition, Delivery Partners get; Access to operational support Technical support […]
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PESCADORES EN VALENCIA

PESCADORES EN VALENCIA

Un vídeo muy chulo de Jara y Sedal donde se ven muy bien los pescadores en kayak en Valencia y se resume muy bien esta disciplina leer más
 

Birding By Kayak

Birding By Kayak

Both Jeff and I are nature nerds.  Yes, our passion for wildlife and nature extends into birds and we are both avid birders.  When we are apart, it is not uncommon for us to text each other our bird sightings – who is flying by and who is singing.  Birding is something that anyone can do almost anywhere. Of course one of our favorite places to bird is on the water from the seat of our kayaks.Tips for Birding from a Kayak by Jeff LaxierKayak Birding Tour on Fort Bragg’s Noyo RiverFrom the moment my father and I witnessed a fly being caught and eaten by a bird, I could no longer hide my blindness to the beauty of nature.Three tips to birding by kayak1. Slow it down. The slower you go, the better. Birds and other wildlife will be less alarmed by your curious and courteous behavior.2. Use a spotting scope, binoculars, or a monocular: These are just tools to assist with getting more detail and possibly identifying species. Try not to get to much into the “glassing” and enjoy your surroundings. Top tip on glassing wildlife: Start with the subject just above the top of the device. Next slowly move your device up until the subject is in view from the glasses. Last focus on subject.3. Avoidance: If you hear an alarming sound or action (the action and acting of a bird with a broken wing) stop or re-route. During nesting season be very mindful of coastal cliffs with a high accumulation of white bird guano. On the Mendocino coast we have a number of Pelagic Cormorants nesting in colonies upon cliff faces. Often these nesting locations are just above awesome sea caves, cool sea stacks, and rock garden features. Avoid these areas during nesting season (March – August).Pelagic Cormorants nesting on coastal rocks on the Mendocino Coast.  

A darling destination for early spring kayaking

A darling destination for early spring kayaking

Airy pearls dot the surface of this foothills lakeAsk paddlers what
they remember about Lake Clementine….

…and
chances are good they will answer “bubbles.” Clementine blows bubbles like a
Lawrence…

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Heralds of winter’s end

Heralds of winter’s end

After a long, cold start to the year some glorious days at the end of February have brought a hint of the coming Spring.  Warm sunshine and clear skies seem to have set everything off – remarkably this “winter” barley crop was under almost a metre of snow just ten days previously.Even more remarkably, the Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) on the banks of the River Don were not only under huge volumes of snow, but once that melted they were submerged in a torrent of fast flowing icy water as recently as five days ago when the river couldn’t contain the volume of snowmelt.These welcome heralds of winter’s end seem to flower as soon as they emerge from the snow – delicate in appearance but incredibly hardy.The river banks are carpeted with drifts of Snowdrops.  Although some bulbs were torn out by the surge of water, the flood also left lots of rich silt as it receded – perhaps one reason they are able to not only survive but thrive here.Against a neighbour’s south facing garden wall is another very early flower, the White Butterbur (Petasites albus) with its almost alien flower spike.  Later in the year the leaves of this strange plant can reach over 90cms across – it seems to do really well in the north east of Scotland.A clump of Crocus in a tub against the wall of the house have responded to the warmer weather and simply shot up; in just a couple of days the flower buds emerged and then the flowers opened as soon as the morning sun warmed them.  Within hours, two Honey Bees had visited and taken advantage of this early bonus of pollen.It’s just the first day of March and there will no doubt be more hard weather to come; this month has a reputation as a wintry one in Aberdeenshire.  But for a few days at least it seems that Spring isn’t too far away – and that’s a great thought.

Caves Are People Too

Caves Are People Too

by TR Steve “El Rey” King Editor’s note: This post is a lyrical tribute to sea caves. Included are many photos of sea caves we have known over the years. Each cave has its own personality. We hope you enjoy this post as much as we’ve enjoyed meeting our friends, the caves. Many Tsunami journeys […]

Related Posts:

September Love – A Tsunami Retreat Retrospective
In Memoriam – Eric John Soares, 1953 – 2012
Meet the Rangers – Captain Debrah Volturno!
Cover Blown at Thunder Cove – Tsunami Retreat 2018
Meet the Rangers! – Scott Becklund

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British Canoeing Approved Coastal Navigation & Tidal Planning Courses

Challenges bring new opportunities. Over the last two months, we have developed online British Canoeing approved Coastal Navigation & Tidal Planning courses. The online classes have already brought together Sea Kayakers and Stand up paddleboarders from Jersey, UK, Eire, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and the USA. Find out more about our online Coastal Navigation & Tidal […]
The post British Canoeing Approved Coastal Navigation & Tidal Planning Courses first appeared on Jersey Kayak Adventures.

Antique Woodland Paddle (Nova Scotia)

Antique Woodland Paddle (Nova Scotia)

Here’s another antique paddle showcased by Cisco’s Gallery advertised as a “Native Carved Canoe Paddle” from Nova Scotia.Item Number: M579Native Carved Canoe PaddleSIZE: 74″ Blade 5″PERIOD: First half 19th CenturyORIGIN: Nova Scotia, CanadaSource LinkThe upper portion of the blade features crudely carved initials…For comparison, see the a similarly shape “Northeast Woodlands” paddle  found in the collection of The Museum Volkenkunde (National Museum of Ethnology) in the Netherlands.

Caves Are People Too

by TR Steve “El Rey” King Editor’s note: This post is a lyrical tribute to sea caves. We’ve included many photos of sea caves we have known over the years. We hope you enjoy it as much as we’ve enjoyed meeting our friends, the caves. Many Tsunami journeys (and videos) have shared the magic, danger, […]

Related Posts:

In Memoriam – Eric John Soares, 1953 – 2012
September Love – A Tsunami Retreat Retrospective
Meet the Rangers – Captain Debrah Volturno!
Cover Blown at Thunder Cove – Tsunami Retreat 2018
Meet the Rangers! – Scott Becklund

The post Caves Are People Too appeared first on Extreme Sea Kayaking Adventures.

The Heart of Toba adventure begins

The Heart of Toba adventure begins

  I looked down. Goldfish swam in the clear shallows beneath my kayak. I looked up. A beefy water buffalo, heavy, grey, and sturdy-horned chewed nonchalantly at the foliage at the water’s edge. A few yards beyond began the steep green climb to the caldera rim more than two thousand feet above the lake. Water Buffalo at the lake edge I had not heard of Lake Toba before kayaking guide Priyo Utomo of Legendary Guides tempted me with an invitation to paddle there with him. “We want to discover more about Toba Batak culture,” he explained. “You know they have a paddling culture on the lake?” Dugout canoes, solus, are used for fishing  But where is the lake? Sumatra. In the middle of North Sumatra, Indonesia, south-east Asia. Why focus on this lake?  Home in Seattle I was about to discover how Lake Toba is cradled within the caldera of a super-volcano. There are only six known active super-volcanoes worldwide. One better known here in USA is Yellowstone. But the Toba eruption some 74,000 years ago was 2.8 times more powerful than the last Yellowstone eruption. It covered the whole of the Indian subcontinent with ash, in places up to twenty feet deep. Coming from Seattle on the Pacific edge of USA, where a north-south string of volcanoes includes Mount St Helens I have some idea how powerful an eruption can be. St Helens erupted in spectacular fashion in 1980 in the biggest, costliest, and deadliest eruption in US history. Toba’s was 2,800 times more powerful. The caldera holds lake Toba in its bowl  A lake? Yes, Toba is a lake some sixty miles long and eighteen miles wide. With Samosir Island, the lake looks like an elongated doughnut on the map. Samosir Island is the volcano’s resurgent dome. It grew after the eruption when magma pushed up what had become the lake floor. Known as the Heart of Toba, Samosir was once the home of two hundred small and often warring kingdoms. The tribes became subdued under Dutch colonialism and German Protestantism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but until 1852 no European had set eyes on the lake. You will not see it on any earlier maps. The area was guarded by difficult terrain and forest, and by tribes who preferred to eat strangers alive rather than let them pass. Batak chiefs gained prestige by collected human heads. So kayaking on Lake Toba might be risky? No, although Toba Batak still prepare spicy sambal, those legendary and often mouth-searing chili-hot sauces, they no longer use them to season human flesh.  Spices and sambals brighten flavorsNowadays you are more likely to face the danger of becoming accustomed to the high quality of some of the locally grown arabica coffees, perhaps served as latte with creamy milk from the water buffalo, and something you might struggle to find the equal of elsewhere. Priyo holds crayfish from fisherman’s catch    We began our journey by sea kayak along the lake toward our first destination Sibandang Island, where we hoped to visit local weavers. We wanted to learn how they used back-strap looms to weave ulos, the traditional Batak cloth. Ulos has much symbolism. It can be worn over a shoulder, or over both, or wrapped as a headdress, and it appears in many important Batak ceremonies. Yet if Sibandang was our first destination, I had much to learn along the way. Plastic bottles littered the water, but when I detoured to pick one up, I discovered it was tied securely to a line that dropped into the deep. It was being used as a fishing float for a pot, or a net.  Ahead I could see a man in a small canoe. Could he tell me which?  I will elaborate in my next Toba blog post… but you’ll find much more in my book Heart of Toba. Learn more in Heart of Toba 

In the “white room”

In the “white room”

When the snow here in Aberdeenshire was at its deepest, I set out straight from my house on a ski tour across the fields with no definite destination in mind.  The forecast was for strong winds later in the afternoon but I hoped to be back off any higher ground before that as the unconsolidated snow would be blown around quite a bit. The depth of snow cover was immediately apparent, this large drystone field boundary is 1.5 metres high and 2 metres across and I was able to ski comfortably along it.In the higher fields the wind was a strong breeze which had already been at work on the snow – one of our neighbours had been up this way a day previously and his tracks were clear on the surface.  The raised effect is a result of Les skiing through powder snow and compacting it where his skis passed; the wind has then removed the loose snow from the area leaving the compacted ski tracks raised on the surface.Not just human tracks either; the trace of a Hare was absolutely plain on the surface of the snow – a sort of Strava for beasties!Getting to the top of the fields brought two obstacles, first a barbed wire livestock fence which was mostly buried in snow, then immediately above that a 3 metre high deer fence enclosing a new forest.  I was able to step across the barbed wire, but needed to climb over the deer fence.  This presented a bit of a problem; stepping out of the ski bindings landed me chest deep in the snow!Having climbed the fence, getting back onto ski was a real challenge, more akin to re-entering a sea kayak from the water.  Eventually and with the aid of the deer fence as a climbing frame I managed it, but have since added one of these to my ski touring kit for just such a situation.Heading up into (or rather over) the plantation, I was surprised to see two other skiers appear from the whiteness above.  James and Linda are locals who share most of the same interests as me, and who ski…lots!  They reported that the wind on the Correen ridge was very severe and that they’d modified their planned route to stay below the skyline and out of the worst of it.  This was useful information and informed what my plans might be. I decided on making Manabattock Hill my target; a hill of just 419m/1375ft and less than 3km from my living room.  The ground between the nearby Cranniecat Hill and Manabattock has been planted with small conifers and the preparation has left the ground really difficult to cross on foot.  Not today though, it was mostly a smooth cover of snow.I zigzagged up steadily, finding the best lines to suit my fishscale base XC skis and made good progress.  I was conscious that it was getting windier and mindful of the forecast but things were looking good for a pleasant tour and my thoughts turned to a swift descent.  When the wind really got cold I pulled on goggles and battened down my outer layers….and was glad to have done so.The wind increased quite rapidly and within minutes there was a lot of blowing snow; this vortex leaping off the hill was particularly impressive!Towards the top of the hill it became apparent that the wind was now very strong.  I pushed on up but just at the crown of trees which top the hill found myself in the “white room” – where the groundstorm reduced visibility to almost zero.  I could no longer distinguish the slope aspect and was losing sight of the tips of my skis for minutes at a time.At just 250 metres above and less than 3km from my house, I found myself in a real battle with the conditions.  The trees were straining in the wind, I was being knocked about and had almost no visibility.  Despite the ferocity of the conditions and the strength of the wind, I stayed comfortable inside my shell clothing, but the margins for error were very thin here.  My internal alarm started sounding – this was no place to be in these conditions.All thoughts of that swooping ski descent were literally gone with the wind; as I couldn’t see the slope aspect in the driving snow there was no safe way to turn downhill and let the skis run.  Descent was mostly an inelegant side-slip and I was grateful that my back-country style skis have metal edges which assisted a degree of control.  Back on more level ground I was able to return to a semblance of kick-and glide but right down the fields to home the wind remained strong and the drift quite severe.  A veil should be drawn over my climbing of the two top fences, a lateral distance of 10 metres which involved over 20 minutes of wading/swimming through a deep drift and some salty language…..For all  the effort and the ferocity of the weather, it had been a great outing; I learned some more about ski touring and gained some useful experience XC skiing in the “white room”!

Long Dark Winter

Long Dark Winter

  Back in November there seemed to be little to celebrate with a substantial increase in Covid infections and another lockdown. I’m fortunate to be living in a good community with sociable and kind neighbours. We do well looking after each other. I often find wintertime and Christmas difficult. This time for a few reasons […]

Coney Island Polar Bears Snow Swim!

Coney Island Polar Bears Snow Swim!

 Snow Swim: Brooklyn Offers Winter Magic 2.7.21 from Al Leibman on Vimeo.I haven’t been able to get out to play in the snow we’ve finally been having this winter, but I’ve been vicariously enjoying friends’ photos and videos. Here’s a lovely video from one of the Coney Island Polar bears – enjoy!The Coney Island Polar Bears are a remarkable crew. A lot of people just think of the big New Year’s Day plunge when they see “Polar Bears” but that’s actually an event that the Bears sponsor and oversee for the NYC community. It’s always a fundraiser for some worthwhile group, and the Bears put in a LOT of work to make sure it’s fun and safe for everyone. The club swims every weekend all winter, plus pretty much any time it snows. This winter has been a true test of polar bear fortitude – in normal years the Coney Island Aquarium has made their Education Hall available to the Bears for their regular weekend swims, so there’s a warm place to gather before and after the swims. That’s not happening this year, but the Bears swim on!

Greece Kayaking Trip 2019

Greece Kayaking Trip 2019

 Its taken me way to long to put this out there. But better late than never right?With NL going into another lockdown after an outbreak of COVID-19, I figured I have some time on my hands to finally put this trip report out there. Myself, Rob Scott and Robert Bertolo kayaked the ‘Ionian Ring’ in Greece back in June 8-17 2019.Ionian Islands are in western Greece, about an 8 hr drive from AthensWe rented a car in Athens and did some sight seeing along the way to Vasiliki. The first stop was the site of the Battle of Thermopylae, where Leonidas and the Spartans made their famous last stand.Next it was off to Meteora (about 4 hrs drive from Athens), to visit the famous monasteries high on top of the rocky cliffs. Very cool place.We spent the night in a nearby town, and the next morning made the 4 hour drive to Vasiliki. We rented our boats and gear from Ionian Explorers (www.i-explorers.com). George Kiriakos, the owner and his staff, were very helpful, and help us plan our route for the next 7 days. His shop is right next to the beach, so it was super fast and easy for us to load up and hit the water.But first, we had a nice meal of grilled octopus and some nice cold beer. There are a lot of great restaurants right around the waterfront, a short walk from Georges shop. There is also a grocery shop nearby where we stocked up on last minute items, include a bottle of Ouzo :)Due to our late arrival, and the options for camping along the way, we decided to wait until late afternoon and head to Agiofili Beach, which was only 3kms from Vasiliki. The beach is a very popular spot for swimming, snorkeling and sunbathing. You can even rent beach chairs and buy cold beer from a couple guys that have a hut set up. Once the sun started to go down, the beach cleared out of people. The next morning we were up early for coffee and breakfast and hit the water nice and early to start exploring. Robbie making coffeeOur route for the dayIthaca off in the distance, home of OdysseusOur first break for the morning, for second coffee and some snorkelingHeading into Sivota for lunchIt was quickly becoming apparent that this was going to be a different trip for food consumption. With all these villages and Tavernas around, no need to eat MREs. We were probably gonna gain weight on this trip!After lunch we headed east and were keeping our eye out for the ‘Bat Cave’ George had told us about.You have to duck to get in there. Be very mind of the wake of ferries, which can come from nowhereThe cave is huge inside and expands into several chambers. I really wish I had my headlamp onThe only way to really see anything is from the flash of the cameraHeading north between Lefkada and Maganisi IslandNice beach for expresso/pee breakSo many amazing caves to exploreNice breeze at our backs as we headed to Thilia Island. We planned to camp there for the nightSmall abandoned church on the high point of the islandGeorge told us to camp here, but also said to watch for snakes on the island. He said don’t worry though, only the vipers are poisonous! How do we tell vipers from other snakes??? After walking around the small island, it didn’t seem like the best place to camp, so we crossed back over to Maganisi to look for a better spot. We settled on this courtyard in front of a small church. George told us that was an option as well. One problem, there were goats everywhere!There was a small restaurant nearby, but by the time we got there, they were closed and said ‘come back tomorrow’. So it was looking like MREs for the night. We looked on the map and saw there was another village, on the other side of the island, only 3kms away, so we decided to walk over there instead. We were getting spoiled with all this great restaurant food.We didn’t realize that the 3kms was mostly a switchbacked road that headed over the mountain and across to the other side of the island. We were absolutely beat by the time we got there, but it was worth it!Shot from Google Earth showing the road from the church to SpartochoriA beautiful village (image taken from Google)As much as I hated the walk, it was worth it!On our walk back, we managed to hitch a ride with the only taxi on the island. Only 10 euros and we were back at our tents. Lovely!The usual coffee and oatmeal for breakfastSlightly longer day today, with a 6km crossingAnother flat calm morningThe western side of Maganisi is all cliff and caves. My favourite type of paddling. I was in heaven exploring all the caves and nooks and crannies. The big attraction in this area is Papanikolis Cave. It is so big that during WW2 a submarine used it as a regular hide out.Papanikolis CaveThere is a nice beach insideLarge tour boats come here each day, and it can be very busy from what we heard, but we were there early in the morning, so we had the place to ourselves. Large tour boats come right inside the cave. 6km crossing between Maganisi and Kalamos. Great conditions, and very little boat traffic.Great spot for a break and some snorkelingOld windmill near KefaliApproaching Kalamos VillageWe camped on this beach, just on the other side of the villageAfter pitching our tents, we decided to follow the trail to the village, which is about a 20 minute walk. There is a lovely restaurant that George told us about that is owned by a friend of his, who is also named George. When we told him we were kayakers and that George had sent us, he offered to give us a ride back to our beach by his boat instead of having to walk all the way back. How nice!When we got back to the beach, there was another guy camping on the beach, named Mike. He was an interesting character for sure. We shared a few drinks with him and an interesting chat. I learned from Mike that you can buy 2L of water that is frozen.What a gamechanger! I could put in my cockpit for AC and have ice cold water to drink for the entire dayToday we’d head south to explore Kastos and we planned to return back to Kalamos to camp again that nightThe eastern side of Kastos has some amazing geologyWe stopped on one of the first beaches to do some snorkeling. We really wanted to see an octopusHuge seashellSeal Cave, the longest cave we sawEntering Kastos harbourRoughing it again for lunch!Making our way back. Lots of sailboats in the areaThis is why you always bring spare paddles. Robbie’s broke off just as we were getting to the beachWhat a spot for a paddling breakSpoiled rotten on this trip!On the eastern side of Katmos, the geology changed againWe found a dandy beach to camp on on the eastern most part of the islandOur only night of MREs, but a nice bottle of Ouzo to go with itWhat these trips are all aboutUp early in the morning of June 14 to listen to a live stream of the Toronto Raptors winning the NBA championship. Go Raptors!!!!Today would be our longest day, with a 9 km crossingLeading up to this trip, I was nervous about such a long crossing. Especially if it was windy.Well, it looks like I had nothing to worry aboutNext stop MaganisiWe made it across in a little less than 2 hrsThis side had a lot more ‘fingers’ of land poking out. We were looking for a Taverna, but weren’t having much luck, there was a lot of private land, and a lot of boat trafficIt was interesting, there were signs everywhere like you would see on the road for various services like laundry, showers, etc.. that cater to all the boat traffic here.We finally found one that was pretty darn close to a beachTrying to figure out where to camp over a beerSkorpios Island, once owned by Aristotle Onassis, one of the worlds most famous private islands. We didn’t bother to paddle around itApproaching Spartochori from the water this timeThere are steps that lead up to the village from the marina below. We went up to pick up some more water and some beer.You can see our boats on the beach below, and Skorpios Island in the distanceSuch a cool little villageWe continued along the coast of the island, and looked for a beach to set up. Finally we found one that was directly across from the Bat Cave. The next morning we backtracked along our previous route, heading back towards Agiofili Beach. Along the way we figured We’d explore one of the bays we skipped over previously.Of course we had to stop into the Bat Cave againSecond coffee and a snorkelOur second visit to SivotaWe are a bit more haggard looking than our first visit to this town, hahaPassing by houses in SivotaThats me in the distance. At this point I was feeling a bit delirious with heat stroke, so I was paddling as fast as I could to get to the beach and get in the water water to cool down. Robbie took this pic as I motored away from themBusy beach today, with several tour boats showing upBy sundown we had the place to ourselves againLast morning of our trip. Its only a 30 minute paddle back to Vasiliki. Another one in the books!On the drive back to Athens, we went a different route so we could see the site of Delphi, which was once considered the center of the universeBack in Athens, we stayed at a hotel called “Acropolis View Hotel”. They weren’t kidding. There is a bar on the roof of the hotel, so we went up for a few drinks on our last night before flying home in the morning.2021 is supposed to be the year for another big international paddling trip, but it is looking less and less likely given the pandemic we are in. So maybe it will be a paddling trip in Newfoundland. There could be worse places to paddle thats for sure…..but I don’t think we will be doing much snorkeling. Stay safe everyoneBrian

Huronia Land Conservancy & 2021 PADDLING Film Festival

Huronia Land Conservancy & 2021 PADDLING Film Festival

 The annual Paddling Film Festival showcases the very best paddling films of the year. Now in its 16th year, the festival celebrates the wild and the people who appreciate it through canoeing, kayaking and paddle boarding.For 2021, as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic and current restrictions on public gatherings, they’ve adapted the the typical theatre screenings of their planned 130+ city tour. This year local hosts will offer virtual online streaming programs through the purchase of a digital ticket. For $15 US, one can purchase a digital key for films either in the “Adventure”, “Adrenaline” or “Culture” categories which permit a three day rental of the films in each section. One such local host is the Huronia Land Conservancy, a non-profit, charitable organization committed to the long-term protection of natural and/or cultural heritage in the historic Huronia district of Ontario. Through Land Trust agreements, the HLC works to acquire and protect land and preserve it in its natural state in perpetuity. Here is a message from the Huron Land Conservancy regarding the partnership with the film festival.” In partnership with Paddling magazine, the Festival’s sponsor, HLC is making these films available to you through the purchase of this key. A percentage of the proceeds will accrue to the Conservancy and all those proceeds will go to further its work, which currently is focusing on the acquisition of two properties. Your ticket price will not only welcome you to the world of paddling, it will be of invaluable assistance to the HLC. Thank you for your support.”For those who are looking for something to break the monotony of our current Covid lockdown, this could be a welcome event with a Charitable cause. The digital key ticket can be purchased at the following link:https://paddlingfilmfestival.com/collections/virtual-world-tour-tickets?ref=HURONIALANDConservancyYou are also eligible for an additional 10% off by using the following code:  HURONIALANDCONSERVANCY10

A white world

A white world

Over a week of heavy snow has left much of Scotland under a thick blanket of snow.  Here in Aberdeenshire we’ve measured an even cover of 54cms/21 inches, mostly unconsolidated as the temperatures have been so low.  The drifting has been quite spectacular on higher routes and even at lower levels the quantity is remarkable.  This part of Scotland is one of the snowiest, and February has a reputation as a snowy month but the present amounts are unmatched for ten years.  Mobility has become a challenge…….unless of course you can adapt your mode of mobility! The quality of light in the very low temperatures, particularly around sunset,  has been really special.The night of 10-11 February was exceptionally cold.  Just after daylight we registered -21.4 Celsius on our weather station and nearby Braemar recorded -23C.  This makes it the coldest February temperature since 1965, and the lowest temperature of any night since 1995.  To put it into context, -21C is four degrees colder than the inside a domestic freezer!Stepping outside in the morning was to step into a gripping chill.  Fingers exposed for more than a few seconds became painful and unresponsive.  Many vehicles wouldn’t run because the winter engine coolant which is commonly used here may not be quite extreme enough, or because diesel fuel has become waxy. Image courtesy of Alastair MurrayExtreme as the cold has been, it’s so beautiful.  The frost has been so intense that the crystals are the size of small postage stamps, panes of crystal brilliance.  Trees have become works of art in this white world.Look carefully and there’s beauty everywhere; a strand of barbed wire on a fence has become a twisting string of the most delicate crystals.The frosted stems of last year’s Rosebay Willowherb are now a piece of abstract art.At the edge of the River Don, the white world seemed even more intense, the air completely frigid to the point that any exertion caused the throat to burn as cold air was inhaled.  Here the trees were frosted to a depth I’ve not previously encountered, it was like white fur.Ice floes have formed on the sides of the river and the water itself has partially frozen, a rare sight in Scotland. The fields which in late summer are a golden bounty of ripe barley have become white sheets of deep powder snow; crossed with the evidence of animals which normally would go unnoticed. Many folk here own XC skis and we’ve had more use out of them in the last 20 days than perhaps in the last 20 years! The opportunity to ski right from the front door and make long tours has been most unusual.The build-up of snow may have reached a peak and the extreme temperatures are due to moderate over the coming days.  The conditions are certainly causing difficulty for many, but this white world is certainly dazzlingly beautiful.

Beneath the blaze of Orion

Beneath the blaze of Orion

In one of the best winters for XC skiing in many years, it often hasn’t been possible for me to get out during the day due to work commitments.  Once work was done though, evening skiing was certainly an option!Setting off as the sun is setting might seem counter-intuitive, but really isn’t. Embracing the hours of darkness in a Scottish winter opens lots of options, and offers some fantastic experiences.  The following pictures are a compilation from several different evening ski tours through the forest and onto the hills very close to home, either done solo or with one other person.  Lorna skiing deep powder snow onto the Correen Hills as the sun sets, with crepuscular rays striking up from behind a cloudbank, prelude to a great show of  evening lightA blood red sunset seen through a narrow band of clear air below snow-laden clouds                                                                 On another evening, chillingly cold clear air, fortunately with no wind, and a lovely quality of light.Alone on the ridge – just a set of tracks in the dusk, and realising what a very special experience this wasA winter sunset like a Turner painting, smouldering into the dusk.Allan and I skiing into the darkness of a winter night in a chalky dusk, with a band of the palest colour imaginable in the air above us – perhaps linked to the hard frost that evening. And skiing on into the night until it was fully dark – but in no way black.  Above us, Orion’s blaze, dominating the winter sky.  Later on during this evening we switched our head torches off on the way back through the forest and just stood, absorbing the stars, a swathe of the milky way and the silence of a deep frost in the snow-stilled forest – it was an intense and wonderful experience, and reason enough to be out.This short video clip is a panoramic view just as our route out of the forest arrives on the Correen ridge. 

Full sized Ungava Cree paddle – 1884

Full sized Ungava Cree paddle – 1884

The Smithsonian has a remarkable sample of an Naskapi Cree (Innu) paddle from Ungava collected during Lucien M. Turner’s expedition to the region in 1884. The resulting 1894 publication Ethnology of the Ungava district, Hudson Bay Territory unfortunately didn’t include sketches of this paddle. The grip features a pointed, bulbous tip with the blade featuring the typical decorative elements of bars and dots.Ungava Cree (Naspaki Innu) canoe paddleCollector(s): Turner, L. M.District/County: Ungava Bay, QuebecCatalog Number: E90136-0Accession Date: 9 Jan 1884Accession Number: 013922Source Link

S’équiper pour pratiquer le kayak de mer à Saint-Pierre et Miquelon

Acquérir un bon kayak neuf ou d’occasion sur Terre-Neuve est tout à fait possible. A Saint-Pierre et Miquelon, en revanche, c’est bien difficile. Plusieurs groupes Facebook de Terre-Neuve sont une bonne ressource dans la recherche de matériel : Kayak Newfoundland and Labrador Paddle Newfoundland and Labrador Newfoundland kayak company Approvisionnement en neuf au proche Canada […]

Midwood In The Snow, or, Good Heavens, Hi, I’m Still Here!

Midwood In The Snow, or, Good Heavens, Hi, I’m Still Here!

Hello hello from snowy snowy Brooklyn! Can’t believe I didn’t post ONCE through all of January – I have been planning to do but not actually doing an update post for a while now, January got so strange I guess I just got a little tongue-tied. Blogger’s block? Anyhow, I will try to come back to that pretty soon but today, I got a few nice photos of my neighborhood in snow on my way home from chemo and thought I would share those.  Click on any photo for a full sized view; hope you enjoy!  

Torö Stenstrand

Torö Stenstrand

Ski tour – ski more!

Ski tour – ski more!

Conditions for XC ski touring here in Aberdeenhire have continued to be exceptionally good – so good that I’ve been doing lots of skiing and not much blogging!  Repeated snowfall and overnight temperatures well below freezing have combined to build a really deep and stable snowpack.  In the forests the tracks are skiing really well……..on compacted tracks where there have been lots of traffic.  Off the usual routes the snow has a good crust, and is very pretty, but is just failing to hold my weight on forest skis.Out on the open hills the views are really enhanced by snow cover, Tap o’ Noth’s summit hillfort is standing out particularly well.All the high ground has good snow cover – and since this image was taken in the last week of January there have been further heavy falls to build up the snowpack.It’s a different world up here on the Correen ridge, just five minutes drive and 300m altitude separates the ridge from my house, but up here the wind is stingingly cold and the temperatures are lower by day – it’s quite arctic.Whenever I’ve been up doing short tours I’ve met other skiers – and in the spirit of the latest Covid lockdown almost all have been neighbours, friends and locals.  And really, if you have conditions like this on the doorstep, why travel any distance?!So, skiing has taken centre stage for now while the good conditions last!  Under a blue sky it’s marvellous, but if the touring by day has been good, touring during evenings and nights has been superb….. 

In Memoriam – Eric John Soares, 1953 – 2012

In Memoriam – Eric John Soares, 1953 – 2012

Editors Note: This is our annual tribute to our co-founder Commander Eric John Soares, August 1, 1953 – February 1, 2012. Enjoy! ‘Tis a fearful thing to love what death can touch. A fearful thing to love, to hope, to dream, to be – to be, And oh, to lose. A thing for fools, this, […]

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Full-Sized Hudson Museum c1900 Penobscot Replica

Full-Sized Hudson Museum c1900 Penobscot Replica

 Many years ago, I came across a beautifully sculpted paddle being sold at auction. It was cited as a Penobscot design but was somewhat unique as it was carved from softwood rather than typical Wabanaki paddles. A long one at 77″, the paddle showed signs of usage but also featured a delicately shaped grip complete with floral and geometric etchings. Rather than ending up in an obscure private collection, the paddle was purchased by the Hudson Museum at the University of Maine. Additional photos taken by the museum of the opposite side revealed the grip etchings had remnants of red paint matching the blade. The museum has now added the paddle to their Wabanaki  gallery as seen in this YouTube footage and it looks to be right at home in front of a 19 foot Penobscot bark canoe.Back in 2012, I made a reduced-scaled, shorter version of this from a piece of Sassafras and burned the decoration. I’ve used it on occasion, but decided to make a full sized, 77″ replica from a clear section of of a 2 by 10 spruce board. I started the initial shaping with an axe and have been steadily working on it on thinning out the blade with a crooked knife.Given all the late season distraction work done on the Trapper Canoe restoration, work on this paddle was a little slow. Eventually it was shaped down and scraped smooth ready for the decoration just as the weather turnedThe etching on the handle was replicated with a rotary tool and the cavities filled with opaque, red milk paint. The blade was also painted while the bright spruce was stained with a gel stain in order to mimic the weathered patina of the original. On Christmas Day, we were gifted with 15 cm of fresh snow that made taking photos even more picturesque. At 77″ with a nearly 3 foot long blade this is the longest paddle I’ve attempted. Should be great for some stand-up paddling once paddling season begins again in the spring.