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

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014: Post 42 – Last post for the year

Another kayaking year has come and gone.  When I started out this year I did not have any set kayaking goals in mind except to paddle when I was able to.  Well, that’s not completely true...  I did start the year with intentions to not paddle as much as I did in the previous year. By the end of 2013 I was feeling I had paddled a bit too much during the year.

I had injured my right forearm in September of 2013 while paddling, and then banged my right elbow a week later when getting out (more like ‘falling’ out) of the kayak.  But I kept paddling.  By the end of 2013 my forearm was not much better but my elbow was.  Then by the time summer of this year came around I began to have rotator cuff issues on my left shoulder and my forearm issue lingered.  I kept on paddling though whenever I was able to.  By August my injuries were bothering me enough that I finally sought medical attention; neither my forearm nor my shoulder is completely better at this point but it seems they are nearly there.   

Despite the usual things intervening (work, regular life activities, a few colds, etc...) I managed a respectable 53 paddle days totalling 921 kilometers during the year.  There were also another eleven times that comprised of St. Philips practices, a few pool sessions, and one day on a pond for a total of 64 times in my kayak(s) for 2014.

I guess compared to last year’s kayaking totals some might say this year is a bit of a bust.  But I do not see it that way.  Any amount of time that I can spend on the water in a kayak only adds to the overall experience of my kayaking life.  It’s about getting out as often as my non-kayaking life allows me to, and getting out with my good buddies with whom to share the kayaking experience with.

I was able to get in four kayak camping trips this year.  The first one for the year was an overnight trip to Colinet Island (click here) near the end of June and the next one was a week-long trip to Fortune Bay in July (click here).  The next two trips were club camping trips; an overnight trip to Pinchgut in late July (click here) and the other was a three day trip to Gulch Pond in end of August (Day 1, Day 2, Day 3).   I had hoped to get in another trip in the fall but it just didn’t happen.

In the spring I finished off the all-cedar Greenland paddle I had started late in the previous year, but I still feel I have too much wood left on it, so I will need to shave it down some more whenever I decide it needs to be refinished.  I had enough wood kicking around to make a couple more all-cedar paddles, so in September I laminated them up…  One of them was too small for me so I found a good home for it.  The other one is only partly carved and likely won’t be finished off until next spring when I can work on it outdoors.

The last day I paddled this year was December 13.  After that paddle I tallied up my kilometers and found I was just 79 kilometers short of hitting a thousand for the year.  I started to think I just might break a thousand two years in succession…. just a few decent day paddles in the rest of the year could put me there.  But my non-kayaking life and a good ‘ol dose of cold/flu over the Christmas season conspired to keep me off the water for the rest of December.  Oh well… good thing I did not set a distance goal for this year.

The last three or four times I paddled my shirt has been wet under my drysuit on both arms and on my chest.  I tried to convince myself it was perspiration, but I finally conceded that the suit must be leaking.  A few days ago I sent it off to California for testing and repair.  This may hinder my kayaking life for a while.  I do have a paddling drytop and paddling pants with integrated socks so I could still paddle, but only if the wind is low so the likelihood of being a swimmer is minimal.  I will just have to wait and see what Mother Nature has in store in the coming weeks. 

Well, there it is… my last post for this year.  Now if I can just get rid of this dang cold (I swear it thinks I’m its mother and it just won’t let go of me), and if the weather will be cooperative while my drysuit is on vacation, then I can get back out on the brine.

Hope you all had a good Christmas and have a Happy New Year.  But especially I hope you all have a great paddling year in 2015.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

2014: Post 41 – Another large day on the water

Today Tony, Neville, Terry, and I paddled from Holyrood to Harbour Main for lunch....  

Putting in

Neville and Tony




A good hideaway for a pit stop



Fine dining in Harbour Main

Fine dining requires a fine view

After lunch we decided to continue up to Salmon Cove Point...  

The swell made things interesting in the slot.  Neville and I sized things up and decided to leave well enough alone, but Terry and Tony both watched for their chance and each made it through... 


Back at Holyrood we washed off the salt water in the river before packing up and heading down the road for coffee...



Taking out

It was indeed a large day.  It was warm and we had rain, sunshine, and some fog.  The day started with no wind and ended in a bit of a slog.  Along the way there was some swell and an air-born kayaker, eliciting some yee-haw'sbut unfortunately no pics.  

I do have to add that today was Terry's first time trying a Greenland paddle.  

Yep... it certainly was a large day...

Saturday, December 6, 2014

2014: Post 40 – Bell Island, the other way...

Today the weather was favorable for a paddle around Bell Island.  I've paddled around Bell Island before, but only counter-clockwise,  so I was pleased when Tony suggested we paddle it in a clockwise direction. 

We met at the slipway in St. Philips, crossed to Dominion Pier, paddled around the island and back to Dominion Pier, then back to the slipway.

Some of my pics to share...

Looking across the tickle at Bell Island

Tony, Terry, and Brian at Dominion Pier



Tony checking out a cove


At The Bell

Tony and Terry


There was some surf dumping on our lunch beach


It was cool in the shade as we ate our lunch

Time to get back on the water

Terry getting a little vertical

Back at Dominion Pier

Heading back across the tickle to St. Philips

Safe and sound at the slipway

By going clockwise around the island today things had a different perspective... it provided the feeling that I have not done this paddle before...

Thanks to Terry, Brian, and Tony for sharing the day.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

2014: Post 39 – Carrying on in Stage Two of the paddling year

Tony and I met in Bay Bulls this morning.  Everybody else were either busy or had no desire to paddle today.  No matter.  It was a chilly but beautiful bright morning, and the wind was low.  We drove to Tors Cove and got ready. 

We made a plan to handrail down to La Manche; I haven’t been there since early June, not sure when Tony was there last.  From there we would come back along the shore a little way and would decide later if we would cross over to the islands….

It wasn't long and we came across some otters.  I guess they were sunning on the rock until we disturbed them.

We did a little rock-hopping along the way.

We paddled on, following the shoreline and checking out the coves along the shore.

We arrived in La Manche and took out on the sloping rocks. 

Before eating our lunch we did a little walk around to take in the view.  We had some snow a couple days ago and it has remained cold enough for the snow to hang around.

When we got back to Bauline Head we decided we would cross over to Great Island. 

Initially we headed toward the northern end of the island, but part way over we decided to head to the southern end and paddle on the outside.  There was swell running from the south but we were able to get through the channel at Southern Cove without any real effort.
We paddled along the outside of Great Island but decided to pass on exploring the caves that are there… I wanted to be home by 4 pm and we also wanted to get in our typical after-paddle-coffee too.

We rounded the end of the island, passing Cribby Rocks, and made a bee-line to Southern Head at Ship Island.

We then paddled on the outside of Ship Island and from there we crossed over to Fox Island, still staying on the outside of it and then paddled up through The Gut where we watched a seal… or perhaps more correctly it was watching us since we were the visitors to its natural environment.

 From there it was just a short paddle back to the beach in Tors Cove.

We made fairly short order of loading up the cars and went off to grab a coffee before heading home.

I added in the kilometres from today to my years tally and I find I am 240 kilometres behind of where I was at the end of November last year.  That`s a fairly significant amount; but then last year was a banner year in my kayaking life.  To put it into perspective, this year I already have more kilometres under my bow than for the full year of 2010, 2011, and 2012.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

2014: Post 38 – I thought I was sinking!!!

Last weekend Tony, Brian, and I paddled from St. Philips to Topsail Beach.  It was a lumpy ride with the bit of wind and the swell bouncing off the shoreline.  Long before we reached Topsail Beach I had a good bit of water sloshing back and forth in the cockpit, which caused the kayak to feel tippy in the clapitus water.  When I arrived at Topsail Beach I had at least a couple inches of water in my cockpit. I dumped out the water before we left and by the time I got back to St. Philips I had another couple inches of water again.  At home I put my kayak and gear away with intentions of checking things out before my next paddle to see if something was leaking.  I did have my camera last weekend but just wasn't in a picture taking mood, but Tony has an entry of the paddle if you are interested... just click here

On Friday past Tony e-mailed around to see if there was interest in a paddle for Sunday.  I think we were all quite pleased that seven of us showed up...

During this time of year (until about April) nobody bothers
us regarding fees to use the slipway in St. Philips..

Heading off to Topsail Beach






Da boys...

When we arrived at Topsail Beach I had another couple inches of water in my cockpit again, same as last weekend... 

A gaggle of kayakers at Topsail Beach
When we left Topsail Beach I had a little bit of water that came aboard when launching and so I pumped the water out. I took my time and made sure my spray skirt was on correctly before getting underway...

Before we were half way back I could really feel the water sloshing around my legs and my kayak was getting to be really tippy again with the sloshing water.  I had to start to really pay attention to the waves and at one point I was taking a few pics and was nearly knocked over, but saved myself with some aggressive bracing.  I did contemplate rafting up with someone to pump out the water but I was thinking I had not practiced paddling with water in the cockpit in a while and we were not that far from St. Philips... But the waves were often sprayed or washed over the back deck, off the port quarter, and the cockpit kept taking on water..  

A couple kilometers from St. Philips and my legs felt like they were floating in the cockpit as the water swished side to side and back and forth. I really started to think I had a hole in the hull below the cockpit and I felt like I was sinking!!  All that water sloshing around got the better of me and I found myself on my side, bracing, trying to right my kayak against the waves.  It wasn't working and so I decided I would let myself go over and set up for a proper roll, which worked out nicely, and I kept on paddling...  

Once I turned into the cove at St. Philips I was sheltered from the wind and the waves and I could really notice how much lower my kayak was sitting in the water.  I moved my legs around to try to guestimate how much water was in the cockpit.... four inches?  Six? Before I got to the slipway  I popped the skirt and was surprised by how much water I had taken on...  The cockpit looked to be nearly half full of water... but of course the depth went down once I got out.  I wish I had taken a picture though... 

A couple of the other guys had taken on some water as well, there was a jammed skeg, and one of us busted a back-band that was tied up with a bit or rope before we left Topsail Beach. It was a fun paddle, just the same... We went to the nearly restaurant and Tony paid for coffee and Brian paid for a big plate of fries for everyone to share.  Thanks again, guys...


I put my gear away as soon as I arrived home and, instead of procrastinating like I did last week, I immediately began to check things out.  I popped the hatch covers and, other than a few drops of water, all three hatches were dry.  The bolts on each side of the cockpit were tight so water wasn't getting in there.  I even did a visual inspection of the hull to see if there was a little hole there someplace.  Everything looked good, so I figured it had to be the neoprene spray skirt... 

I went into the house and put the wet skirt in the laundry tub.  I started at the front of the skirt, checking the seams and stretching areas of it, working my way down.  When I got to the back of the skirt I found the problem... looks like my tow belt has been rubbing on the skirt and has just about rubbed a couple holes through the material...


It's probably been leaking for a while but with the waves last weekend, and more-so again today, continually washing water over the spray skirt I just had not been aware of the problem... but it's nothing a smearing of aquaseal can't take care of.

So whats the morale to this story?  I guess it should be to take some time now and then to check kayak gear before problems occur.  But really it's that kayaking season has not ended.  In fact, I've yet to find a calender that marks the day in spring you take your first paddle and the day in the fall that you put your kayak away.  If you have a drysuit, I suggest you buy some thermals to wear under your suit, get some neoprene mitts and hood, and keep on paddling.  You just might come to the conclusion that cooler weather paddling is much more comfortable than hot weather paddling.  Like Tony says, we're just in Stage Two of the paddling year.  And besides, if you keep on kayaking you'll be in paddling shape next spring when the imaginary kayaking season starts again... 

[Here's a link to Tony's entry on today's paddle.]