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

Monday, March 30, 2015

2015: Post 11 – A new paddle

I bought a new paddle… a Euro paddle, of all things.  What now!   What’s this?  Why has a die-hard Greenland paddle user and advocate of over five years bought a paddling shovel?  Well the real answer is that I bought another kayak… a plastic one.

Initially I was thinking on a Delphin, but soon decided a crossover kayak would be more to my liking… something shorter and maneuverable, something I could use for those shorter paddles when we aren't going anywhere in particular… something I won't mind banging against, or over, a rock or two... something plastic.

I began my on-line search and short-listed a few crossovers.  As I read reviews and investigated, my number one choice quickly became the Pyranha Fusion with the white-water outfitting.  Then I came across the Jackson Karma RG and started reading up on it. 

One of the reviews I found on the RG was by Bill Vonnegut and Lily Kelsey of Neptune’s Rangers... click here.   One line in particular tipped the scales away from the Fusion.  Mr. Vonnegut says of the Karma RG that it “seems like they took the small things that I did not like about my other boats and made them all go away, leaving the Karma with nothing left to change.”

Well, I am certainly not an expert on kayaks or their design, and I am definitely nowhere near being an expert kayaker, but the RG seemed to me like a fun kayak to have.  I found a very good deal on a new one from The Complete Paddler, placed my order at the end of January, and am anticipating its arrival toward the end of April. 

Initially I had a red one on my mind like above.. but when it came
time to place the order I chose a colour they call Wolverine - it's
a combination of blue, white, and yellow

Okay, so how about that Euro paddle…

Since ordering the RG I have been contemplating the motor.  I use my Greenland paddle for the bit of coastal playing and rock hoping that I do in my Nordkapp;  I have to… it is what I paddle with after all.  But I do not feel that the ‘skinny stick’ is the best choice of paddle for a shorter kayak, or especially in the shallower water closer to shore among the rocks.  I can’t count the number of times I have I bounced my GP off of a rock!

After more on-line reading and searching I finally decided on a paddle; a bent shaft Werner Shuna, a mid-sized blade toted as “the perfect paddle for the coastal play environment.”  I found a very good price on one from The Kayak Exchange and have put in the order for it.  However, it will arrive long before the RG shows up.  

I guess if I want to try out this new paddle before the RG arrives I will just have to ask Jenny if she minds me using the Euro blade for a paddle, or two…  Who knows, she just might like the variety... 

When I came home today I looked at my driveway and thought that perhaps instead of a new kayak and paddle I should have put the money toward new pavement... but then my next thought was that 'Charlie' just might be the one to have to take care of that...

Saturday, March 28, 2015

2015: Post 10 – The same but different

The weather was supposed to be poor this morning (rain and freezing rain), but the winds were to be low.  We decided to go to St. Philips with no plan in place other than to meet at 10 am.

I arrived twenty minutes early but Clyde and Terry were already there.  Before long Tony and Neville showed up.

Terry had thoughts on his mind of a fibreglass kayak and so I let him take Jenny for a little spin while Neville and Tony finished getting ready...

We decided to head up to Portugal Cove, taking our time, poking our way along the shore...

At Portugal Cove we decided to take out for a little stretch and a snack...  

It was such a nice day so we decided to continue up to Brock's Pond Falls...

At the falls we hung around for a bit, had a few laughs, and then headed back to St. Philips....

Tony and I did this paddle last weekend with Gerard (see previous post).  Along the way we discussed how it was the same coastline but how it felt like a different paddle from last week... the temperature was warmer, there was no wind, the water was flat calm, and a lot of the ice and snow had melted away.  Today felt like our first spring paddle.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

2015: Post 9 – Snowshoes, paddling, and damage to Jenny..

We had a good bit of snow last week, so when I came home from work yesterday (Friday) I decided it was time to dig out my shed. I walked along the side of the house sinking into the snow.  Seemed like it was a good time to finally try out the snowshoes I had given myself as a Christmas present...  I beat down a path to the shed and shoveled out the entrance, then walked around the backyard for a while.  The snowshoes worked well, keeping me afloat on the deep snow.

Faber Green Mountain snowshoes (or Elongated
Bear Paws if you prefer) with heavy duty lacing

Looking down on my shed

Okay, so now on to the paddling... 

Tony, Gerard and I meet for the second weekend in a row this morning.  Today we decided to paddle from St. Philips up to Brock's Pond Falls.  With the cold weather we've had we were hoping for interesting landscape features at the falls...

The snow allowed us to drag the kayaks
from the cars to the put-in

There was a bit of slob-ice
along the beach at St. Philips

I jokingly told Tony to try to knock this big icicle
off the cliffs so I could get a good picture... next thing I
knew he took a whack at it with his paddle and knocked
off the pointy tip!!!

The falls weren't as spectacular as I had hoped. All this
snow we had covered over whatever ice there may have been

Looking toward Bell Island

Back at Portugal Cove, after nearly three hours in the kayaks since
leaving St. Philips, we decided it was time for a break  



At some point on the way up to the falls the water sucked out from under me and dropped me a bit hard down on a rock.  I said to Tony if he sees the back of my kayak sinking down we'll know why... Last week I sustained some damage around the skeg as well... Oh the horror!!

The damage from today

The damage from last week

Looks like I have a little bit of repair work to do when the weather warms up later in the spring...

Sunday, March 15, 2015

2015: Post 8 – Ice Paddle

Gerard suggested a paddle in Tors Cove for today... maybe around the islands and on to Lamanche.  The last time I paddled with the G-man was back in October!!!

Its been cold the last few days and during the drive down this morning we could see the bays were caught over with a thin layer of ice.   I began to wonder what ice might be waiting for us at Tors Cove...

Standing on the beach we could see the ice around the islands.  We decided we would put in and see what the paddling would be like.  If nothing else, we would spend a couple hours in the immediate vicinity; time on the water is always well spent, even if you can't get very far.

We paddled around the outside of Fox Island...

And then headed over to Great Island...

The closer we got to Great Island the thicker the ice became, causing us to have to paddle harder to try to get through.  The ice became thick enough that we had to finally concede to "Uncle" and then turned our bows toward Ship Island where the ice thinned out as we paddled farther away from Great Island...

We skirted the southern end of Ship Island and made a bee-line to Pee Pee Island...

From Pee Pee we crossed over to the mainland, then over to Seal Cove....

Green ice hung peculiarly to the cliffs
on this St. Paddy's Day weekend

We paddled to Bauline East before heading back to Pee Pee Island and decided to paddle around it and then headed back over to Ship Island, where we go out for a lunch time snack...

I didn't take any more pictures after we got back on the water, but we decided to paddle around Ship Island, passing our lunch beach again.  From Ship Island we paddle back over to Fox Island and a circumnavigation of the little island before heading back to the cars.

Well we didn't paddle very far as the crow flies.  If you draw a straight line from the put-in to about the point where we turned away from Great Island, then to Bauline East, and back to the take-out it is only a triangle of seven or eight kilometers.  But with the weaving from island to island, and our circumnavigations of the three islands (Pee Pee, Fox and Ship) we covered a respectable distance of sixteen kilometers.

It was a fantastic way to spend a few hours on a chilly morning with good paddling buddies. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

2015: Post 7 – Paddling Issues

The forecast was calling for a sunny cool day with winds 30 km from the west.  Seemed like a good day for a run up to Topsail Beach. 

When I arrived at the slipway there were some ice pans blocking the way.  Tony and Neville were putting in on the beach on the other side of the little marina.  But I decided to put in off the slipway...

At the waters edge I stepped onto the ice pans and they supported my weight.  I straddled North Cape Jenny and began walking along, pushing and pulling her as I went.  Then the pan under me started to sink a little and so I dropped my butt into the cockpit and put my spray skirt on, and tried to push myself along with my paddle.  The pans of ice were pretty smooth and I couldn't get a good push off them to get myself moving well.  The pans opened up and I was sitting in water with the pans all around my kayak.  It took a bit of back and forth effort but after a while I finally managed to get my kayak up onto the ice pans in front of me and slid to the open water.  

I paddled out through the channel and around to the beach where the guys were getting ready.

Last night Tony had conjured up a fore and aft wooden mount for his new GoPro in order to try to get different perceptives then when he had it mounted on top of his helmet last weekend.  I called out to him half-jokingly that it the front one might make him top-heavy.  

With the make-shift mount on the front deck I was thinking to myself that it was going to drive him nuts because I know he likes to have a clean front deck when paddling... 

I took a some video of the guys getting on the water.  Okay I'll admit it...  Seeing Tony getting ready for a little seal launch, I was really wondering if he might topple over with the high front wooden mount when he hit the water.  I figured I would have my video rolling just in case we needed visual evidence to share...

Fortunately without any launching incidents, we were underway to Topsail Beach.

Tony's GoPro mount must have been indeed getting on his nerves.  He rafted up with me a little way up the shore and had me remove the tall vertical portion, keeping the lower section to which to clip his camera onto.  He also said that he found it made things a little unsteady as the kayak swayed from side to side in the waves.

We continued on our way.

A few kilometers before getting to Topsail Beach I began to feel I was doing a lot of paddling but just was't really getting very far for my efforts.  I began to wonder what the heck were we doing out here in the waves and the wind anyway.  I even contemplated suggesting to the guys to turn back and call it done.  But then I figured I was just running out of the meager bit of breakfast I had eaten a few hours earlier and decided to be a buttercup and suck it up.  A little closer and the wind and waves became lesser and I found some new energy for a final push to the beach.

Myself and Neville arrived at Topsail Beach together.  Tony was back a ways and looked to be paddling uncharacteristically slow.  I joked to Neville that we were gonna have to get Tony using a Greenland paddle so he could keep up with us.  But I figured he was having some issues back there.  We hung around on the water waiting for Tony to arrive.  As soon as he did he headed straight for the beach.

Neville's skeg was frozen in the closed position before we had started. When we took out on Topsail Beach he went to work to try to free it up, managing to pull it down but it just would not operate properly so he put it back in the up position.  I am hoping it is only frozen and not actually a kinked cable...

While Neville was attending to his skeg issue on the beach, I looked over and Tony was busy removing the rest of his front wooden camera mount.  He had found it was just in the way and he couldn't paddle sensibly, hence his lagging behind... but I figure it was fraying his nerves pretty bad as well because he just seemed to be poisoned with the whole contraption...

The wind, and therefore the waves, picked up on our paddle back to St. Philips.  While paddling back Tony tried to pull down Neville's skeg by the attached chord but couldn't get it to move.  I tried a little farther along and it just wouldn't budge.  So Neville ended up having to correct his course now and then in the west wind all the way back to St. Philips.  

I didn't bother to take any pictures on the way back.  Tony had secured his Gopro to his back deck mount and had just let it run while he tried to paddle in front of us, so I figured any pictures I took would not do the sea state justice when compared to the video he would get.   But once back at the cars Tony discovered that the camera had not been recording for some reason and he figured he didn't get any footage.... Oh well, he'll figure out his new camera after a while.

Anyway, despite Neville's skeg issue, my insufficient breakfast, and Tony's failed front deck camera mount, we had a another fine paddle today...