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

Saturday, December 26, 2015

2015: Post 52 – Alcohol Consumption during Christmas

Lately I've had alcohol on my mind.. must be the Christmas Season...  Okay, I really don't drink much - I've had just one one drink so far this Christmas.  I've actually had alcohol stoves on my mind.

There are all sorts of alcohol stoves that you can purchase or make yourself.  I found a very simple one to make out of a pop can and decided to give it a try and picked up some Methyl Hydrate to use for fuel.

I read that these pop can stoves will boil a couple cups of water in five or six minutes, depending on variables like wind, air and water temperature, use of a wind guard, and of course, how well the stove is made.

Okay time to test my pop can stove creation...

I filled my camp stove kettle with tap water.  I think I probably had more like three cups of water but I did not measure it.  I lit the stove and within seconds there was a plume of mostly blue flame and I put my kettle on...

I turned off the light hoping the
flame could be seen better

I had started my stopwatch to time how long it took to boil.  Just before nine minutes was up I had a full rolling boil.  There is just something about watching water boil over an open flame.....

Unlike my MSR Whisperlite stove, an alcohol stove cannot be turned off... you simply let the excess fuel burn off , or snuff out the flame...

... and then pour the unused fuel back into the fuel container.  

I could have let the little bit of fuel left in the stove evaporate, but instead I simply burnt it off...

So there it is; a new stove to try out the next time I go camping... or maybe out in the shed when I want a cup of tea or coffee...

Oh, and I did make another shorter version of this pop can stove, just to experiment...

 ... but I did not bother to see how long it took to boil the water.  It really makes no difference to me if my water takes five minutes or ten minutes to boil... if I am camping I will just busy myself with sitting and taking in the view while I wait.  

I think I will likely get a 'proper' alcohol stove though.  I do have my eye on a titanium one that has me intrigued... 

I do hope you all had, and are having, a very Merry Christmas...

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

2015: Post 51 – Winter Paddling

 A few of us went out to Conception Harbour this morning for our first 'official' winter paddle...

Some pics and short video's to share....

Getting ready in the snow

Brian and John

Tina and Derek



John, and Cathy

Terry and Derek


A wise decision...

Lunch in Bacon Cove

Salmon Cove Point

The slot at Salmon Cove Point


Cathy, Brian, and John

Thanks to those that shared the chilly day on the water.  I will bet that none of them are thinking about cold feet and hands now... I'd say they are thinking about the fantastic day we had... 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

2015: Post 50 – A short paddle today

We were to meet at St. Philips at 9 am sharp.  I slept in. My phone went off at 9:01... it was the guys calling and texting me to see where the heck I was!!  I got dressed, grabbed a couple granola bars, put the kayak on the car and the gear in it, then headed off.  

Tony and Cathy had waited for me in the cove, while Gary and Neville played further down the the shoreline.  I wasn't ribbed too much about my tardiness though.  

Off we paddled in the bit of swell and wind, soon catching up to Neville and Gary.





We got within about two kilometres or so of Topsail Beach but,  as was forecast, the wind had picked up, turning a paddle into a slog.  We could have powered through to the beach, but we decided there was no point to it, and the wind was supposed to increase more, and so we turned back, trying to catch surf rides with the wind and waves behind us. 

When we got back to the cove I asked Cathy to show me her roll.... She recently learned and was beginning to roll, but I've yet to witness one.  Over she went, but she did not come up.  Neville was moving in (as pre-planned) to give his bow, but she came out of her kayak. 

The rescue ensued but during the process her back hatch cover came off and her hatch swamped.  We had Cathy get up on my back deck to keep her out of the water while the guys dealt with getting the water out of the hatch and securing the cover.  This was the first time we've had a hatch cover come off like that during rescue practice, so her failed roll turned into a valuable exercise in dealing with an unexpected event.  You just never know what can happen out there.... that's why it's imperative to keep practicing.  So much to still learn...

Apparently, Cathy told us she has been having difficulty staying in her kayak when working on her roll. When we got back to the slipway we found out she did not have any hip pads and so she is just too loose in the kayak, so she has been given instruction, by Neville, on how to make up some hip pads.  The teacher now has some homework to do before the next paddle.  A snug fitting kayak will make all the difference...

Today was as much of a practice paddling in conditions as it was a paddle, and the unplanned rescue scenario was a good learning experience for all of us.  

It was another good day on the water.

Monday, December 14, 2015

2015: Post 48 – Getting wet in December

Yesterday (Dec 13th) a handful of us decided to go to St. Philips.  There was supposed to be some wind and it was shaping up to possibly be more of a frolic in the cove rather than an actual paddle.  

Well now, I take great comfort in knowing that every kayaker who is paddling with me has the knowledge, skills, and willingness to pluck me out of the water should I find myself dearly departed from the warm cockpit of my beloved North Cape Jenny.  This is even more important in the winter kayaking season.   Yes folks... there is a winter kayaking season; some of us just don`t know when to put the kayak and drysuit away.

With the impending wind, it was suggested that those coming should come with the mindset to get a little wet, and do some colder weather rescue practice.

Well, the wind was less than called for but we stuck to the plan and did a few rescues in the cove...

Brian rescuing Derek

Neville rescuing Cathy

During our rescue practice I was talking to Derek and heard some wooo hoo`s.  When I turned around Cathy had her paddle held high above her head in triumph.  She has been paddling for a while, but only started to learn how to roll the last couple weeks during pool sessions, but had not managed to pull off a roll in the pool... But in the cold water of the cove at St. Philips, in the middle of December, her pool session practices came together for her very first roll.

With all hands nestled safely back in  their kayaks, we decided to paddle down the shore towards Topsail Beach.

I was a little behind, and when I came around a rock there was a rescue occurring.  Brian had capsized near the rocks and Cathy was in the process of doing a rescue.  Derek came in and hooked his towline onto Brian's kayak and he pulled Cathy, Brian, and their kayaks a safe distance from the shore where Cathy finished getting Brian back into his kayak and all straightened away.  Good thing we had done some practice back in the cove!!

Brian was okay, and so we continued paddling down the shore.

Finally we arrived at Topsail Beach.

In keeping with the theme of safety for the day, Brian pulled out his four-person Bothy. Those in the group who were not familiar with this emergency shelter were given a first-hand demonstration while the on-site safety inspector (Neville) checked things over.

We stood around, huddled like penguins on a beach in the coolness of the day, chatted and had a few laughs.

Before we cooled down too much we got back on the water and headed back to St. Philips.

Brian seemed to be having a bit of a hard paddling day, and so Cathy decided it best to hook onto him with her towrope to give him a little bit of help.     

Before we arrived at St. Philips the sun started to come out and a lovely rainbow appeared near Bell island.

The rainbow was the end to a great day on the water... and of course we went for coffee to warm us up and discussed the events of the day, and have a few more laughs.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

2015: Post 47 – St. Philips to Topsail Beach

Today we did a short paddle from St. Philips to Topsail Beach....

Terry and Derek getting ready on the snow covered slipway

Derek in his new Black Pearl... this was his
first salt water sea trial in her



Cathy, Derek, and Brian

Cathy and Derek

Derek's Black Pearl is only 18 1/2 inches
wide... pretty sleek!!

Terry having a little fun at the river where
it enters the ocean at Topsail Beach

Having a snack on Topsail Beach


Doing a little towing practice in the waves

Arriving back at St. Philips

It was a another great morning on the water... thanks to Brian, Terry, Cathy, Derek, and Tony for sharing the experience.

Monday, November 30, 2015

2015: Post 46 – Middle Cove

Four of us met yesterday in Middle Cove for a paddle, with intentions to paddle up to Flatrock.

When we arrived there was some surf dumping on the beach.  

We watched the waves for a while, and had a discussion about whether or not it was reasonably safe to launch/land and how everyone in our little group felt about the risks.  With our discussion completed, all hands decided they were in favour of launching.  One by one, exercising plenty of care and patience between waves, we launched without difficulty.


There was just enough swell to make things interesting once we were away from the beach.

Shane, Cathy, and Brian

We followed the shoreline into, and around, Tor Bay...


... and then carried on along the shoreline towards Flatrock.


As we paddled along the wind picked up a little and the clouds were looking darker.  I believe we were at Church Cove Point when we decided to turn around and follow the shore back to Torbay.  



The wharf in Tor Bay was well protected by the bit of wind and swell and it was easy to take out on the slipway.  We had our lunch and shared a few laughs...

Shane and Cathy

... and then paddled the couple kilometres back to Middle Cove.  The surf was still dumping on the beach but all hands, exercising the same care and patience as when they launched, made it safely back onto the beach.


It was a great day to be on the water.  In the true Newfoundland style of weather, we had a little bit of fog, sun, rain, snow, and wind.