If you just go for a paddle than you can stop thinking about wanting to go for a paddle.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Post 20 – A late year kayak camp trip

Kayak camp trips this year have been few.   So Shane and I decided to get in one last trip, despite the wind that was forecast.  We managed to entice Terry to come along.

We drove out to Admirals Beach on Saturday morning for the put-in...

Shane has been taking every opportunity to seal launch lately...

... he has ordered a new fiberglass kayak and figures his seal launching days will be over when it arrives next year.

From the put-in we paddled over to Great Colinet Island.  We had the southerly wind in our face, which required a little bit of slogging as we followed the shoreline down the bay. 

The hope during the planning was to camp at Wild Cove if the conditions would allow.  But before we got to Mosquito Cove we decided that with the increasing south wind the landing at Wild Cove could be dicey, and the wind was forecasted to increase during the evening and even more overnight.  

Wild Cove is open to the South, with virtually unlimited fetch.  We are not paddling fools and so we opted for the safer Mosquito Cove as our destination for the night.  When we arrived we pulled up on the beach and got out to look around for a campsite. 

With our site selected, we got back in our kayaks and moved further down the cove.  We pulled up on the beach and contemplated going for a little paddle down the shore after we set up camp.  It was close to 1 pm by then and we decided by the time we had camp set up, paddled, then came back and collected firewood we would be eating in the dark.  And we had not had lunch either.

We peeled off the drysuits and proceeded to set up camp.

We all pitched in and made quick work of gathering up some firewood.  The first order of business was to get a cooking fire on the go.  Sweet potatoes went on the grille first...

We cut up moose sausage links, 

grilled them,

and then ate them as a pre-supper snack... we figured we needed sustenance to be able to consume our forthcoming supper. 

When our salmon steaks were cooked we ate our supper...

and then boiled the kettle for tea and had pumpkin cake to top off our meal.  It was getting near dark by then and so we moved our evening fire further down the beach and settled in for a chilly evening.

The evenings are long now and so by 10:30 pm Shane and I were in our hammocks and Terry was in his tent.  Minutes later I heard Shane declare "there's something running around under my hammock... I think it's a #$@^ rat!."   I laughed to myself... thinking it was more likely a rabbit as there were runs around.   

As was forecast, the wind picked up during the night and I slept very little.  When I crawled out of my hammock in the morning I walked around a little and then went down to check on the kayaks and gear on the beach.  Terry was up and cooking scrambled eggs and toast for everybody.  I ate mine and then rousted Shane out of his hammock to get his.  Then we had oatmeal to chase the eggs and toast down.

We broke camp after we straightened away breakfast dishes...

... and packed up the kayaks.

I think it was about 9:15 am when we launched.

We decided to paddle a little way south down the island before crossing over.  I didn't take any pictures during the crossing.  It was windy and bumpy and about halfway over I discovered just how out of paddling shape I have become this year. I was getting tired and my shoulder was bothering me.  I decided to turn on the autopilot, letting the wind and waves push me north as I completed the crossing... 

I was happy to reach the other side where we had protection from the southeast wind.  I took a little video of Shane trying to get a good picture of the waves crashing against the shore.

We only had about a kilometer or so to paddle to reach Admirals Beach.  When we arrived I headed for the beach and pulled my kayak up to the car. I could see Terry and Shane playing in the bit of waves to the left of the take-out.  I had some of my gear unloaded as they came in.  

This is the latest in the year that I've kayak camped.  This time of year the days are short and the evenings are long, and the nights are chilly.  It just might be the last camping trip of any kind for this year... but we shall see.

Monday, November 13, 2017

2017: Post 19 – Catching up

My last post was two months ago, on September 11!!!  I was on vacation the latter half of September.  On Oct 7th and 8th I helped out Shane on his fourth Level 1 Sea Kayaking course but I neglected to post on that weekend.  

The next time I paddled after Shane's course was on Oct 21 when Shane, Tony, and I went out to St. Philips to play in the wind one morning... I only took one pic, preferring to keep my hands on my paddle... but click here to see Tony's pics of the morning.  


Between paddles I've been hitting the trails to get in more hiking, and got in a couple rides on my new bike.  I bought a Fat Bike 2.0 from Moose Bicycles... it was on sale (and still is until the end of November) and seemed like a good product at a good price... click here if you want to see the spec's.  I think I'm gonna have a bit of fun on this bike.

Shane and I did an overnight car-camping trip a couple weekends ago while the rest of the guys paddled in Cape Broyle..  Shane couldn't get away to do the paddle and my shoulder was bothering me so I passed on the paddle.  So we drove out to Turk's Gut later in the afternoon and set up our tents.  Shane nominated himself as camp cook, or maybe I did the nominating... but either way I told Shane that if he cooked it I would eat it... 



Today is the November 11th holiday so those of us who work were off.  The forecast called for low wind and so Tony got on the ball and organized a paddle in Bay Bulls.  I checked my log book and the last time I paddled there was in May of last year!  Can't believe it's been that long; it's a great place for a close to home paddle.  Anyway, here's some pics from the day....

It was a grand day.  It was chilly but sunny, and there was just enough swell to keep things interesting.  It was good to paddle with some of my 'ol paddling buddies.  But most especially it was good to get back on the water with North Cape Jenny.  I think she missed me as much as I missed her.

Monday, September 11, 2017

2017: Post 18 – If it's not raining, it's not training

This weekend past would be the last one in September that Shane would be available to do another Sea Kayaking Level 1 course.   Like his first course, he only had three students, (Shane, Emily, and Mark) and he asked me to come help out once again.  

Unlike Shane's other courses, I decided I would attend the theory portion of the course on Saturday morning.  It was an information refresher for myself, and I added a few pennies worth of comments here and there.  What I found was that it gave me a chance to meet the students and for us to get to know each other a little before getting on the pond in the afternoon. If Shane asks me to help him out on future courses I plan to attend the theory session portion again... I think it has a positive effect on the group dynamic rather then if I just show up at the pond in the afternoon.   

At the pond the first order of business was to show people how to properly carry their kayaks and then to get kayaks and gear ready.

All three students had wetsuits as is generally the case with newer paddlers, and Shane and I were a little concerned about them getting chilled in the forecasted afternoon rain.  But we tried to keep them moving between learning things to stay warm.

Wet-exits and basic T-rescues were taught near the shore, and then we moved out into deep water to do them all over again...

... and again, and again...

... until they could both be the rescuer and the rescuee to Shane's satisfaction.  They also did the paddle float self-rescue as well.  Just when I thought Shane was done with the rescues  he had them all do it one more time, and then we headed to shore for a stretch and a break from sitting in the kayaks.  But it wasn't a rest from learning.  I sat on the shore with my string and shovel handle and explained and demonstrated the forward stroke..   I prefer to sit on land to demonstrate and break down the forward stroke, and then get into the kayaks to learn it on the water... 

The afternoon went quickly.  Although all of the intended strokes had not been covered, Shane was thinking maybe it was time to call it a day so the students could get into some dry clothes and get warmed up, but they all said they were okay to go another while.  So Shane continued on with his instruction, and I think it was 5:30 when we finally called it a day.  At one point Student Shane commented that "if it's not raining, it's not training..."  i thought that was a great attitude, which all three students seemed to share.

The forecast called for more rain on Sunday and the wind was to be at the high end of Level 1 from the Northeast; this would be perfect for the day.  We  drove to the put-in at Conception Harbour, had a little discussion, and then got on the water...

We paddled down to the shipwreck, had a little on-water discussion about what to do in the event of a salt water capsize, and the importance of sticking together and watching out for each other.

Using our best forward stroke, we paddled over to Middle Cove where Shane went over low and high bracing, and then he had me demonstrate and explain sweep strokes and edging...

We handrailed the shore, stopping here and there to continue to work on things taught, and learning new things like contact tows, stopping, and stern rudders... 

In Gasters Bay there was a following sea going to Broad Cove and the students had to use paddle stern rudders to keep their kayaks going straight.

Before we arrived at Broad Cove one of the students unintentionally capsized and we watched the other two students spring into action... Emily was the first person to reach Mark and put her training to work.  Student Shane was on standby to help out and I think he misplaced a paddle stroke and he unintentionally capsized as well.  So Instructor Shane went into rescue mode while I sat on standby for whomever may need me, snapping a couple pics and a short video.... 

I like when these things happen unintentionally on the ocean during courses; it emphasizes to students that something like a double capsize really does happen, and how important it is to have sufficient knowledge and competent paddling partners.  It really nails home why we need to learn and practice what you have been taught so you are prepared to deal with a situation like this. 

Before we got on the beach I went over on-water communication using paddle, hand/arm, and whistle signals. 

On the beach Shane got out his tarp to put up so we could have lunch out of the rain.  Water was boiled for a cup of tea to have after our lunch.  

We didn't hang around too long after lunch before getting back on the water... 

We handrailed back along the shore...

... until we arrived at the little cove just before Ballyhack Point where the students could have a little rest and Shane gave a little more on-water instruction.  

Once we rounded Ballyhack point we were in full protection from the Northeast wind.  The rain had stopped and it was a rather pleasant afternoon.  We paddled our way down the shore a little and then made the small crossing over to and around Middle point  where Shane had everyone line up, stern to the shore.  The instruction was to use good forward stroke and paddle as fast as they could over to the shipwreck to see who could get there first... it's always a fun way to end the day.

Back at the cars I took the class photo and Shane had a little chat with his students to get feedback.  Student feedback (both good and bad) helps on future courses.  We got into dry clothes and then went over boat design... Shane would normally do this after lunch but we figured it best not to be standing on the shore in the wind and he decided to wait until we got back to the cars.

The students....




And the photo of Shane's third Level 1 class...

Instructor Shane       Mark        Emily      Student Shane    
Emily, Student Shane, and Mark... you guys rock!  You guys really embraced the suck factor over the weekend with the poor weather Mother Nature gave us.  With the weather we had, and the amount of time you guys spent in the water I would rate the course as more like Type 2 fun... kind of sucks to be doing it but you will reflect back on it and decide it was well worth it... I know at times you guys had to be chilly but you were all smiling and seemed to be having a good time.  

This is likely the last Level 1 course Shane will teach this year as he is tied up with his non-kayak life for the rest of September and in October the ponds are cooling off and the air temperature is getting colder.  Most students taking this course have wetsuits and in the colder months it is much better to have a drysuit if you are going to spend any amount of time in and out of the water.  However, Shane did say if someone comes to him to do an October course he would consider it if they have a drysuit.

I had more fun than I thought I would helping out on the courses Shane offered this year since he become a Certified Level 1 Kayak Instructor.  I feel that twelve kayakers in this province received high quality instruction from Shane.  I picked up on some little things that will help make me a better kayaker than I was before... there are always things to learn no matter how long you have been kayaking.  Good job to all of Shane's students he had this year, you all progressed and I think you are better kayakers for taking the Level 1 course.  I hope everybody stays safe out there....

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

2017: Post 17 – Shane's second Level 1 Course

Shane would be free this past weekend and there was some talk of doing some paddling or maybe a little trip as it was a three day weekend.  Instead he decided he would offer another Level 1 Sea Kayaking course if there was enough interest... he ended up with six students; twice as many as he had for his first course. I offered my assistance once again as six people are a handful for just one person to keep an eye on.

He decided to do rescues on the pond Friday evening since with a larger group it would take more time.  There was no discussion of paddle strokes or boat control, but we watched  as the students paddled between rescues to see at what skill levels people were. 

The next morning Shane met his group and went over the paddling theory portion of the course.  I didn't attend but in retrospect I should have... there's always little things to learn and it's a good idea to get re-introduced to basic information now and then.  

During the afternoon we were back on the pond learning about paddle strokes and skills.   I sat on the grass and showed them what I have learned about the forward stroke from previous instructors, and added things I have figured out on my own or learned from books and Youtube... Perhaps it was too much information at Level 1 but I think it's best for people to try to start off right rather then develop bad paddling form and then have to try to correct it later to be a more efficient paddler.  Shane followed up by demonstrating the forward stroke when we got on the water...

Sunday was the day on the ocean.  The weather was perfect for Level 1.  Some of the students had not paddled on the salt water before and I asked a couple of them what their comfort level was... closer to the end of the day I asked the same question and the number had risen... the more time you spend on the ocean the more your comfort level will increase.

We geared up and had a discussion about the the plan for the day and had a look at the Chart and Topo map for the area...

Then it was time to launch... I think this is the part of the course that students look forward to the most...

We made our way across the bottom of the bay and handrailed the shoreline, using the skills Shane had taught the days before.....

As we paddled along there were reminders about torso rotation and using paddle strokes to control the kayak.  We discussed on-water communication, and the importance of sticking together and keeping an eye on each other.  We had a salt water rescue practice or two on the way.  Finally it was time to pull up on a beach and have lunch....

After lunch Shane talked about paddles and boat design...

Then it was time to get back on the water and make our way back to the take-out, on the way practicing things that had been learned... 






And of course the class photo had to be taken before people headed for home...

Shane     Jeff     Peter     Robert     Heather     Sharon     Paul

Congratulations once again to Shane for putting off another Level 1 Sea Kayaking course, and to Jeff, Heather, Peter, Sharon, Robert, and Paul for your successful completion of the course.  

I enjoyed watching you guys progress from start to finish over the weekend.  I hope you all keep getting out there and practicing the things you learned, and decide to take it farther and learn things beyond what is taught at Level 1 in preparation of continuing on to take the Level 2 course later on.  Stay safe in your future kayaking endevours while you are having fun.