WELCOME PHOTOGRAPHERS, PADDLERS AND DREAMERS
If there be magic on the planet, the magic is in the water (ANON)
Friday, March 25, 2011
Something got me thinking on this topic and I was surprised how much it brought up for me. We are all familiar with the risk of our sport and, yet, we go out there...often alone. I've come to realize that trust plays a huge roll in making these decisions. At least it does for me.
First, I trust myself to use good judgment and to not push the envelope too much, especially when alone. This involves trusting the lessons of my teachers. When with a group, I am constantly aware of who the others are, what their skill levels are and how much I trust their ability to act should the need arise.
Then there is the equipment. I still paddle Brian Day's old Romany, patches and all. I trust the repairs and Brian's skills. To not would take too much attention away from what I am doing out there. This, in turn, would generate fear. On the same note, I trust my paddles. Still, I carry a spare (trust and verify). I trust all these things and that allows me to take the calculated risks when I push away from the land.
What don't I trust? Just about any weather forecast.
Folks who sail large boats, like kayakers, know how difficult it can be to control their craft when there is a large following sea and the wind is up. Thus driven, most displacement hulls have a tendency to broach. That is, they want to turn back toward the wind which first turns them sideways to the waves. Not a good scenario. For this reason, kayaks have skegs and/or rudders. Sailors have the option of reefing the main and hoping the jib on the forestay keeps the front of the boat headed down wind.
When the waves and wind become even more forceful, the sailor can deploy a drouge/sea anchor off the stern to create a drag that will keep him headed down wind. Lacking such a gizmo, many a sailor has dragged one of his sails in the water to be towed in order to get the same effect.
The Squid is a small, self contained device meant to anchor a fishing kayak to one location. Because it self stores in a small bag, I was wondering if it might work as a drogue and help keep a kayak stern to the wind. This, in turn, brought to mind the problems with having a drogue aboard and the difficulty of setting it out let alone retrieving it. It made me wonder, too, if any paddlers have used such a system to control their kayak in a following sea. And...what if the skeg fails to come down?
Would this make a good back up...or is it just an impractical concept for kayakers?
Derrick is noted for his dark dressing habits, on and off the water
Yet, you will never meet a nicer, more creative or knowledgeable man on the planet. His blog is widely read, and he is known for his innovative teaching techniques. Still, when I posted this picture from Canoecopia last year...
Most reader's immediately knew who it was...sans face (watch out Dubside). Well, at the 2011 edition of 'Copia, try as he might, he could not escape the uncannily fast lens of yours truly...and a whole new Derrick was discovered.
One of the items of interest at Canoecopia was simply dried eggs for camping. Big deal? Well, in a way. Not only did they tast good (there were samples at the booth), they were low in sodium, something that I find rare in dried camp food. (Other meals on the market have sodium levels above 1, 000. ) The equivalent of 5 dozen eggs would add less than 2 lbs. to your gear.
You can check out the many uses of this product at their site.
I usually have Wednesday afternoons free but was scheduled to attend a board meeting yesterday afternoon. As you may know, the winter has been hard on me and I have not been feeling much joy lately. So, I wrote myself a doctor's excuse and took the Cetus out for a solo paddle in 60 F Temperatures.
I set my own pace and occasionally stopped to photograph some of the last ice hanging on the rocks of the break wall. There was a nice little roll running through the water and, as time passed I suddenly realized that I was singing. The fact is that I usually sing when I am paddling and/or just plain happy, but I haven't for some time. It was then I knew that my soul would emerge intact from the deep freeze of dreary winter days. I smiled to myself.
Took time to paddle yesterday. Today, it's back to school, and exams and lectures have to be made ready. I will still be getting to Canoecopia and all the things I saw there that you must have and things you may wish to pass on.
Canoecopia 2011 is over and, as I saw it, was another success. Attendance was down a bit, probably due to the economy and gas prices. Nevertheless, Rutabaga, and especially Nancy "the boss" did an amazing job of organizing and taking care of the visitors. A good deal of this was handled by an army of red shirts who carried, moved, announced, recorded and did everything else necessary to help with demonstrations and lectures.
I will be posting on some of the activities and some of the products I thought are worth a second look. But for now, I am off to treat my addiction. Which way to the lake?
Friday, around noon, I checked into my hotel in Indiana, put on a sweater and took a walk outside...without long underwear, a hat or gloves. The warm air was like a magic elixir and lifted my spirits tremendously. Upon my return Sunday, I enjoyed lunch with JB and then an afternoon paddle with Sherri (pics to follow).
There were confused 3-4 foot, occasionally breaking, waves on the outside and, I must admit, I had to focus more than usual to stay upright. At least for a while. That's what happens when I don't get out for a long period of time, and this winter has been one of the hardest for me.
I have to write some lectures and exams and will be working Canoecopia this weekend, so no paddling until sometime next week. The extra good news is that we are expected to have a warming trend over the next 10 or more days. Life is good.
I've had it before, and it is not to be ignored. It begins as a restlessness and a faint sense that something needs to happen. It comes, at first, as a whisper, and I believe it comes from my soul. It tells me that it needs something. It tells me that it needs me to do something. One time it led to me leaving medical practice. Another time it led me to teaching. Now it is saying, "There is more in you, and there is more for you to do."
This calling often involves serendipity. It was an emergency surgery that let me slow down enough to hear the whispers to change my life. This time the whispers have come alone...until now. Political and financial goings on here in Wisconsin suggest there may be no adjunct teaching jobs at the universities after this semester. It could mean that I would have no teaching appointment and....well....and I would need/want to find other things to do. This time, however, the whispers have not (yet) given me a clue as to what it is I am destined to do. Not even an idea in which arenas that might be.
This is a scary and, at the same time, a delicious situation because it tells me that in spite of my age I am still in the game and have more to contribute. I wonder what it will turn out to be.
So far, I have been a father, a husband, a father, a grandfather, a physician, jazz musician, an adjunct professor at a university, taught judo for 3+ decades, fine-arts black and white photographer, mediator, ham radio operator, SCUBA diver, great lakes sailor, ACA level 4 coastal open water kayak instructor. In these pages I hope to share some of what I've learned doing those things.If, on occaision, you feel your leg being pulled, so much the better.
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