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

Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011: Post 70 – Last Post for 2011

The year 2011 has been a great year in my kayaking life.  I had set some lofty goals at the beginning of the year (see 2011: Post 1).  They were:

-          at least 3 camping trips
-          at least 100 times in my kayaks
-          more day paddles then the previous year totaling at least 750 km in distance

My tally for 2011 is:

44 ocean paddles totaling 802 kilometers
27 pool sessions
27 times at St. Philips (play and practice days)
4 times on the pond
1 New Year’s Day paddle that started off the year
103 times in my kayaks for 2011

Included in the above were four camping trips; Long Island, twice at Pinchgut, and Gulch Pond.  

Although the year had started out poorly, I surpassed all of my set goals.  Just a few days after the New Year’s Day paddle I had picked up a bad flu and did not get on the water any more until Feb 12.  I had a couple more colds and a lot of sinus problems during the spring and then missed a full three weeks of water time in October.  But I had some really good months where I was able to get on the water a lot - I managed 12 times in both months of March and May, and then 16 times in July!

Although not part of my goals, there were a couple kayaking highlights for me this past year.  I did a couple solo paddles, one of which was a crossing to Bell Island.  I made my first kayak; a modern day skin-on-frame replica of a 1931 West Greenland Disko Bay kayak and I made a couple more Greenland paddles.  I helped a couple people learn to roll, had to do a real-situation rescue on my own, capsized about a half-dozen times (no swimming for me though), and did a lot more rock-hopping then the previous year.  I also did a 37 km paddle in one day, which was 7 km longer than my previous daily record.

Some of the people that shared lots of my paddling memories this past year…










A big THANKS to all those I paddled with last year, whether it was just once or seventy times; you all contributed to a lot of good paddling memories for me in 2011.  I hope in 2012 we can paddle together a whole lot more and I also hope to see new faces out there with us too.

Happy New Kayaking Year

Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011: Post 70 – Paddle Card

I checked my e-mail this morning and had one of those 'Free Business Card' offers.  I do not have a business but had a look at the site anyway...  Of course the 'free' part is true if you picked one of their few preset pictures and add some very basic text to.  Then they offer to sell business stamps, car door magnets, pens, t-shirts, etc...  with your business name on them.  All legitimate, mind you... and at reasonable prices too.

I decided to have a little fun and used their site to design a 'Paddle Card' for my blog and saved it off as a bitmap image. This is what I came up with...

The picture is from our Long Island camping trip (see Day 1, Day 2, Day 3)....

Anyway, it was just something to do this windy morning and thought I would share....

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2011: Post 69 – Icy Cliffs

This morning Neville, Tony, and I met at Middle Cove for a 9:30 am put-in.  The intention was to have an easy, relaxed paddle and take in the ice-laden cliffs in the area.  We were not disappointed….

Thanks guys.  It was a great way to spend the  morning.

Monday, December 26, 2011

2011: Post 68 – Boxing Day Paddle

I went to bed a little early last night and then was up early this morning.  I checked the weather.  It said it was -12 C with -20 wind chill, supposed to -4 C by the afternoon, and it was forecasting  southwest 20 km wind.  I looked out the window at the trees across the road and decided the wind was less than 20 km.  Everyone in my house was up late and would sleep in.  So I decided I would take off to St. Philips for an impromptu paddle to Topsail Beach.  I had a big bowl of ‘stick to the ribs’ oatmeal and then loaded up the kayak and gear.  As I was driving to the put-in I could tell the wind was less than 20 km. 

I pulled onto the parking lot and could see the ice pans in front of the slipway – the fresh water coming out of the river will freeze in the brackish water of the marina.  It was cold the last couple of days and in anticipation I had brought my solid spruce GP; the last time I used my laminated GP in ice I dented up the cedar.

As I was getting into my kayak at the bottom of the slipway someone had stopped in their car on the opposite side and was watching me as I forced my way through the ice.  Unless they too were paddlers, I could guess what they were probably thinking... I switched over to my laminated cedar-spruce GP once I got through the ice pans and paddled out of the channel and headed toward Topsail Beach. 

There was some swell but its effects lessened the farther I got toward Topsail Beach.  The shore was full of icicles…

The rocks were all topped with ice too.  They reminded me of miniature mountains…

Once I got to Topsail Beach I looked up the little river that flows from the little freshwater pond there... 

The tide was up and I wondered if I could actually paddle up the river.  I paddled in a little closer and decided to give it a try.  I waited for the little surf to help push me in.  I rubbed the kayak bottom a little but was quickly in the deeper moving water and increased my cadence.  Then I was out of the running water and sitting in the pond. I couldn’t go very far as it was iced over but I was delighted to have been able to do this for the first time… seems whenever I have been here before the tide was always too low…

I waved to some people that were sitting in a truck watching me and turned around to look back down the river…

I let the water carry me back out and decided to continue around the cove to the little headland about a kilometer farther.  Once I go there I decided I had gone far enough and there was nothing more to see except for houses…

When I turned around I caught the reflection of my GP in the water and thought it might make for an interesting picture…

The elusive Greenland paddle water snake!

I headed back the other way.  I took my time looking at the icicles and ice capped rocks all along the shore.  In reverse fashion, the closer I got to St. Philips the more swell there was… 

See the rocks...

... now you don't.

The river at St. Philips was very peaceful and I hung around for a while…

The ice pans were still in front of the slipway and I had switched over to my spruce GP to make my way back through…

After I got my gear put away and my kayak back in the house our cat, Sally, decided to do an inspection.  I think her paws got cold after she had them on the deck for a while…

Perhaps I should get her a drysuit??

Saturday, December 24, 2011

2011: Post 67 – Merry Christmas Eve

A couple years ago we did a St. Philips Christmas Eve frolic.  We had intended to make it a yearly thing on the Eve of Christmas each year… just a way for us paddlers to relax a little for a couple hours before dipping into the Christmas cheer... Last year the weather did not cooperate but today it did.  

Tony had given advance notice to all paddlers via the paddling newsgroup and five of us answered the call….





A few more pics to share....

It was a little on the cold side and things did freeze up a bit…

But we had a bit of fun paddling around the cove, trying to catch a surf ride, and fooling around the shore where the waves were creating a bit of clapotis. 

Thanks guys for coming out this afternoon

... and a very Merry Christmas to all...

Sunday, December 18, 2011

2011: Post 66 – Oh the horror!

After I got home from Tuesday’s pool session last week I noticed there were a couple bumps in the skin at the keel between frames four and five of the Disko Bay.  I hoped there was just some debris that got under the keel, but I knew what was at that location, and I just had a bad feeling.  I walked over to the kayak and pushed against the bottom of the keel.  Yep! My suspicion was confirmed – the keel was broken at the location of the butt join!! 

I removed the floor boards, the backband and the stern flotation bag.  I got my flashlight and had a look.  There was a crack running horizontally in the piece of cedar that was glued on top of the butt ends of the keel pieces.  I have to point out that it was the wood that failed, not the gorilla glue that was used…

Notice in the picture how the grains are running horizontally in the joining piece. A rookie error; if I had turned this piece so that the grains would be running vertical to the keel this might have been sufficient to resist the pressures of the keel flexing when upon the water.  I conjured up a couple options for a fix and decided on one.

I could not get my arm far enough through the hole in the frame in order to reach the join location and so I had to cut away a piece of the frame. 

I filled the crack with gorilla glue and braced a small length of wood against the keel and frame and wedged in a piece of scrap wood to apply enough pressure so as to force the crack to close together.  I let this sit for a full 24 hours.

The next night I removed the length of wood.  As expected, the glue was holding. 

But this would obviously not be sufficient as the same thing would just happen again.  I scraped away the excess dried glue on the sides and sanded the surface on each side as best I could.  Then I cut a couple pieces of leftover 11.5 mm thick Russian birch plywood and sanded the corners.  I buttered up one piece of plywood with marine epoxy and clamped it in place.

Then I buttered up the other piece of plywood with marine epoxy and put that in place.

I had a look at what I had done and figured this should be sufficient to fix the problem, assuming I had a good bond for the full length of the plywood. 

But then this morning I had another look at it and decided to epoxy in a piece of wood into the gap at the back of the plywood with a piece of cedar.  I had another piece of cedar lying about that was just about the right length and its grain was more vertical (actually diagonal) so I decided I would epoxy this on top.  These extra pieces are probably just overkill, but they cannot hurt.  

I’ll stop adding in pieces of wood now.  I realize this whole thing looks like just a conglomeration of wood pieces… Skilled woodworkers and kayak builders looking at this are probably cringing… Oh the horror!!  But I profess that I am neither and I do hope this ‘fix’ holds. 

When I started my Disko project I intended to do as good a job as possible, given my lack of knowledge and skill in the endeavor, and use it as a learning experience in SOF kayak building, and kayak building in general.  I hoped it would turn out decent enough to use in the pool and at St. Philips in the cove, maybe take it on some short paddles.  I think it turned out far better than I had hoped, at least looking at it from the outside… 

But I wonder now about what is under the skin.  Will this fix hold?  Will the other joins hold or will they too suffer the same fate?  Usage and time will tell.