Wednesday, March 28, 2012

And now, hopefully, for some magic...

 I can sew the tiniest artery together with stitching that would make Betsy Ross proud; but give me a tool box and I might turn anything into a disaster. Fear aside, I drove up to Superior Kayaks last week to pick up one of Mark's kits (He being one of the finest crafstmen I have ever observed).

It is home and I must now build a working table and find the time to put it all together. I have done one stitch and glue (Arctic Tern) with fairly decent results. Hopefully, my fiberglassing will be better this time around.

Paddle safe...

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Safe at Home...

The trip has ended safely, and I have photos, laundry and photos to sort through. This one will never be in an art gallery, but it will remind me of my first launch on salt water. More to follow as I catch up.

Paddle safe...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Waves 2: Us 0

It is was blowing 20-25 knots we went back to the beach area to play in the short surf. First, I took a spiller on my beam,, about shoulder high, with a low brace and boogie-boarded onto the beach. There, the kind water bashed me a few times as I straightened myself for a surf launch. I never got out of the cockpit. So far, so so. I launched and saw the very same wave coming at me, and it spilled on my fore deck. I was about to tuck to go over in shallow water when my paddle touched bottom. I cheated and pushed up. The next two sets broke in front of me, but e speared through no worse for the experience with a gritty feeling under my clothes. Then Sherri caught a wave.

She rode it and rode it and rode it and Sherri is on the beach. She was not as lucky as she landed in a spot where the waves hunt you down and try to destroy your boat. She got out to get all the sand out; and a  wave tried to break her legs with her boat. She moved down the beach a bit and relaunched.

Now I am sitting with the delicious memory of the experience as lightening strikes around my tent.

Paddle safe...

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Ocean and 
My Mother's Chicken Soup....

It may not  be a big deal to some, but I and my Cetus MV experienced salt water for the first time down here in Alabama. And, as I paddled into the Gulf for the first time, I couldn't help but think of Mom's soup and how it differed from the ocean. You see, Mom's soup always needed salt.

Nevertheless, we are enjoying 80 degree days and bathtub warm water while camping near the inter coastal waterway. Not much else to say except that I am loving it. Nailed my first 3 rolls in salt water, and that can't be bad.

Paddle safe...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A lot harder than med school...

Okay: med school was four long years and just the begining of an arduous task, but I was younger then and more of my brain cells were alive. Now, with old age creeping into every joint of my body and hyaline plaques forming on my brain, I am faced with the most difficult intellectual task I've known. Nothing, to me, is more challenging.

I can work out the blood gasses in cases of mixed acidosis and thread a catheter into a coronary artery with little or no effort. This is different. You see, I have never really trained for what faces me. Oh, I have done it before, but let's just say I got away with a so-so level of performance. In fact it was often the acts of others that made it all work in the end. But this is my fate, my personal challenge; and I am readying myself to do it all on Friday.

That is the day I have to figure out what to take and how to get it into my car for a paddling trip.

Paddle safe...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Alabama bound...
Any of you on the coast down there have any suggestions for launch sites, areas of interest, etc.? Coming down next week.

Paddle safe...

Monday, March 12, 2012

Now we know:
According to a facebook report relayed from the police, the young man who drowned while kayaking had on a pfd but
no immersion clothing
no real history of taking lessons
no float plan

He was no expert. He was unprepared. A senseless death that will probably make impressions on the public who know little of our sport.

Paddle safe,

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Another Tragedy...
I have been at Canoecopia all weekend (posts to follow) and bunked with JB. We woke this morning to the news that a kayaker in his mid 20's had died on Lake Michigan just off Port Washington (15 miles north of Milwaukee). He was described as an "experienced paddler who went out 2-3 times a week". His kayak was never found. There was no information on what he was wearing. Later today, a rumor floated that he was an instructor.

As we learn more, perhaps we will come to understand how this young man lost his love doing the very thing we love so much. Perhaps he had a medical condition. Perhaps he fell in without proper clothing (lake temps are probably < 35F) and succumbed to hypothermia. We just don't know. We do know that he went out alone on a windy day with waves reportedly being up to 5 feet.

Until we get the details, let's remember the inherent danger of our sport and prepare properly. I don't want to lose anyone I know or someone I don't know to the water.

Paddle safe...

Saturday, March 03, 2012

It's different alone....

I'd say I do the majority of my paddling alone. It's how I get my exercise while enjoying a sport I have come to love. Whether going out for an hour or a multi-day trip, I always take the same gear (first aid, radio, etc.). I do so to develop habits so I won't forget something when it really counts. When alone, I tend to take slow, short paddles and practice strokes, braces and the like a lot. This morning Ken joined me for a 32 degree (F) paddle on Lake Michigan. The offshore wind gusted to about 15 when we crossed the bay. Ken was interested in photographing the snowy owl I had captured (see previous blogs) and wanted to paddle over to Lake Shore State Park.

(Ken caught this shot of me today)
Ken is younger and better looking and paddles at a nice clip so, what the heck, I just paddled faster than usual...for two hours. We never saw the owl, but we did see a bob cat on the rocks at the state park. Ken went right up to it before getting out his camera. In fact, he got unbelievably close when his boat thumped against the rocks and the cat decided to walk away. No picture of a bob cat. On the other hand, I did some paddling that was a bit more aggressive than I do alone. I didn't practice strokes, but I got a nice work out. It was a good day on the water.

Paddle safe...