Friday, January 29, 2010

The Other (under) Side of Rolling
I've been trying to watch and capture what goes on under water when someone sets up to roll. The set up is the start of it all, and mispositioning here can kill the entire deal.
I am looking to see the position of the paddler, especially their shoulders and how  perpendicular they are to the surface. I also look to see if the paddle is above the surface and, thus, not visible in the image. Eventually, I want to use video mode to follow the path of the blade during the final stage of the roll.

I am sure others have done this and have done it better than I will. but, hey, it's winter and a guy needs something to pass the time.

Paddle safe...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Some body or some group has to do it. If we want water trails and rules and guidelines to get things done in a safe way, we have to have little mini-governments or organizations that are...well,...organized to get these things done. Enter ACA and BCU to organize training and testing for instructors and to establish safe guidelines for all.

As an ACA certified instructor I must maintain my instructor trining reuirements, belong to the SEI (as a safety committee) and be a memeber of the ACA. Well, imagine my surprise when I got a notice saying that my ACA membership had lapsed and would I send in the dues please. This, I was informed, could be done on line. Yeah, right.

Ever try to get something done on their site? After a few days of no joy, I received another notice that my SEI dues were due and, wouldn't you know it, they could be paid on line. So I tried again with a curious success result. I was able to pay, but the site then thanked me for joining the ACA. Argh.

I e mailed and got in contact with a nice human being who looked things up and said there was enough in my account to take care of everything, would she like me to do so? Yes, I answered by e mail; and thank you.

So far, no further response, no cards in the mail. I know the site has been updated and give them all the benefit of the doubt while they work out the bugs. But work them out they must.

Paddle safe...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I Want/Need to Camp

In a few minutes (I have been up since 4:30am) I will leave for a day of teaching at a nursing school. I will finish about 9:00pm. I love teaching or I wouldn't be doing it, but I want to go camping. I want to be off man's schedules and away from freeway noises.

I want to wake and go to sleep with the sun. I want to eat only when I am hungry and not because the clock says it is time. In fact, I don't want to wear a watch.

I want to read a book when I feel like it, paddle when I feel like it and even take naps. I want to notice the light and take my camera for a walk of discovery. I want to sit and stare.

Meanwhile, anyone interested in the adenohypophysis?

Paddle safe...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Getting the Image

Ken showed up for a paddle wearing one of those new cameras (this isn't about the camera, per se). I am anxious to see how his shots turn out.The struggle to get good images on the water is complicated by the wet environment and the need to have both hands on the steering wheel just when some of the best images appear.

The better our cameras the less likely we are to take them out onto the water, especially in conditions. Then, if we do take a good SLR out there, there is the problem of changing lenses, lack of the stability of a tripod and so on; all the things that keep us from getting excellent images (when is the last time you brought a polarizing filter out with you?).

Another challenge is to get an image that really shows what you are experiencing. For instance, I rarely see an image that shows the dynamics of waves. It just never looks like it really was out there. This, in part, may be due to being unable to use the camera in dicey conditions. It's hard to compose a picture while bracing. Another problem is shutter lag, that seemingly infinite time between the pressing of the shutter release and the actual click of the shutter. This is especially true in many of the water proof models.

Still, folks do get magnificent images (Stan McKenzie and others, to mention one) out there and, happily, are willing to share them.

Paddle safe...

Monday, January 25, 2010


Because I was getting comments from folks who wanted my readers to visit their sites...and the sites were smutty...I began screening comments. Some of your comments did not come to me but went to the blogger page and were only recently sent on. I apologies for the delay in getting them posted. We should be up to date as of now.

Paddle Safe...
Heads Up...or not

Remember Rick and his scull from a few posts back? Well, he was back in the pool last night, and his scull is now looking good. Good for Rick.

Now, let's work with Carl.

Paddle Safe...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

At least we got out...

Hard to tell from the pictures, but we paddled into a 15-20 knot wind and were greeted by 6-8 foot rollers when we got to the end of the break wall.

It was damp and dreary, but at least we got out.

Paddle safe...

Friday, January 22, 2010

Coping, Can Cope, Canoecopia

I have a few ways to help me cope with the dreary winter months. One, of course, is to get out paddling whenever the lake will let me. Two other techniques I use are looking back and looking forward. As the next thing to look forward to is the massive trade show, Canoecopia in Madison, I am also looking back at images from the 2007 and 2008 events.

They are images that bring back fond memories.

They are images that remind me of the ambiance of the whole event.

They are images of the wonderful people I have met there.

I look forward to working there again this year. I continue, as well, to look forward to being out there.

Paddle safe...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Just Get Out There

Many, if not most, of the local sea kayakeers put their gear away when the temperature approaches freezing. Some don't have a dry suit or other appropriate clothing and don't want to make the dollar investment. Some have trepidation around the icy water and floating ice. Others simply don't like the cold. A few of these folks will show up at a pool session, but most of the pool goers are the same folks who paddle during the winter.

For us, it is all about the unquenchenchanable desire to just get out there. Once  proplery dressed and on the water, a little exertion supplies all the heat our bodies need.
Sherri checks out an ice flow overhang
More over, we get to see things the land lubbers don't even know exist.

 Rick emerges from behind a flow
This all leads to bonding and trust as someone calls out, "Where's Bob?" And, there he is coming out from behind an ice flow.

 Bob checks out a formation
We explore like little kids. Mature adults suddenly have to paddle under that overhang or into that cave-like formation.

 JB enjoying the outing in his Explorer
Finally, on a subconscious level, we are in the environment that birthed these boats some 7-9000 years ago. We are part of something bigger than ourselves...and we're out there.

Paddle safe...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My Bad

So, after locking the first lady out on the balcony of a cruise ship at sea, I have been on my best behavior. I had no idea why there was plater board on the hallway floor or why there was a hole in the wall.

On closer inspection, there was something poking through from the garage on the other side. I then remembered hearing a thump when I backed into the garage earlier that day.

Seems I dromve the SOF I had made right through the wall. I pointed out to my wife that she should be proud that her husband had built, with his own hands, such a strong boat. She didn't buy it.

Paddle safe...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

More On Sunday's Paddle

Just a few more images from the paddle.

Paddle safe...

Monday, January 18, 2010

A New TV Show?
In the USA there is what appears to be a successful TV show called Desperate Housewives. I've never watched it, but I hear it is a successful program. Well, I propose that we here in Milwaukee produce our own program: Desperate Paddlers.
It's not that it gets so cold here (we can dress for that) but that the shore freezes over with ice shelves that prevent us from launching safely. After a while, the days on shore pile up and we become...well, desperate to get out onto the water. So, yesterday morning Sherri and Bob patrolled our usual launch area in a futile search for open water. Finding none, we decided to drive north and have a look at  Bradford beach before resigning our selves to meeting at a local coffee shop.

 There, Sherri and Rick probed the ice shelf and were rewarded with a small area that allowed us to slide into a few feet of cold water.

As is our practice, we helped one another over the treacherous and slippery ice until all 6 kayaks and their desperate-to-paddle occupants were afloat.

We pushed off into the thankfully calm waters with only the pleasant sound of ice crunching under our hulls to keep us company.

What started out looking like a no-go day was to turn out to be one of the finest winter paddles we ever had.

More tomorrow.

Paddle safe...

Friday, January 15, 2010

The video of me (below) was taken by Sherri Mertz:

The Hand We Are Dealt

When playing poker, one hopes to be dealt a royal flush. It is more likely, however, that you will get nothing better than a pair of twos. What to do? Make the best of it and play the hand you are dealt. As paddlers, we like sunny days with warm water. What we are usually dealt this time of year is something quite different. So, when a gap of 5 feet opened at the shoreline, Sherri and I played the hand.

We managed to put in off a slight ice shelf and launch in 2 feet of water.

We paddled along shore as a westerly off shore breeze held the ice off. We were rewarded with a lazy two hour paddle as we reached an open area.  We had to dodge (not always successfully) sheets of glass-clear ice while Nature provided ice sculptures for our amusement.

It was, in the end, a satisfying day. Hey, we finally got back on the water.

Paddle safe...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Eye of the Beholder
Our recent cruise was relaxing and, at times boring. One of my intentions was to do some reading (which I did) and to do some photography for me. I often click off images for this blog, but I yearn to do images just because they are satisfying to me.

 I caught these 2 chatting when our boats were docked across from one another. I decided to desaturate the pic and tint it as if a sepia print.

 By carefully cropping out the surroundings, the girl on the wall appears to me climbing a massive rock.

In Mexico the sun was shining and there was vibrant color all around. I simply got close to this plant so the red building filled the background. I hit the exposure on the nail (using the camera's histogram) and made a straight "print".

I feel better now.

Paddle safe...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Is it Style
or Form?

Rick has himself what appears to be a reliable scull, as shown above. When I watch him, however, I am uncomfortable with the position of his left arm and hand. That's because when I scull on the right my left hand is up against my chest and I am more on my back (see photo atop this page).

After watching him awhile, I came to realize that my way of sculling is highly influenced by my traditional paddling, use of a skin on frame boat at times and--of course--use of a Greenland stick. Still, I wonder if this is simply a difference in style or good v. bad form.

Paddle safe...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

 Memories of a Trip
On a Big Boat

Clearly, the Independence of the Sea did not have a shallow V-hull. Unlike a kayak, it had fine amenities:

It also had more than a deck compass for navigation:

I must say that the manufacturer did a fine job of finishing the inside of the hull:

Then, there were the little extras we like when we go paddling:

We launched in Florida and, in the company of other crafts (there was little group integrity), and we headed south:

More of this nonsense tomorrow or the next day.

Paddle safe...