Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Kayak Crosses Tasman Sea...Without The Kayaker

In December 2014, Stuart Cleary began his attempt to be the first solo kayaker to successfully cross the Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand. 24 hours after launching and less than 100 km into his journey, he abandoned his quest, and his kayak, following multiple equipment failures and he had to be rescued. Now, 18 months later, it appears his abandoned kayak was intent on completing the crossing without him; this week it was discovered washed up on a New Zealand beach about 50 kms from his intended landing spot.
While it seems doubtful that his old kayak will be seaworthy, Cleary has recently been contemplating another crossing attempt as well as plans for a second kayak.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Barney Builds a Kayak

This video is, in reality, a field test of a new Canon DSLR from DPReview. But the subject matter is the building a Seawolf skin-on-frame kayak. So yes, there's lots of camera blah blah blah...but it's also a nice, if quick, look at the construction of a traditional styled-kayak.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Justine is in Da House!

Well, not in our house, but in Paula and Bernie's house in Sooke. Yesterday, award-winning adventure filmaker/kayaker Justine Curgenven landed in Sooke on Day 26 of her solo circumnavigation of Vancouver Island, taking advantage of Paula's offer of some home cooking and a place other than the ground to sleep on. Louise and I were planning to visit them anyway this holiday Monday, so our visit coincided with Justine's landing at nearby Whiffen Spit. After transporting Justine's gear the 10 minute drive to the house, the conversation almost immediately turned to how one performs certain bodily functions in a kayak. That's always a sure sign that you're in for a fun afternoon. And the ice cream hadn't even come out yet. Justine is a pleasure to visit with, and quick to release her infectious trademark cackle. Check out these grins if you don't believe me.
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You can follow Justine's paddle on Facebook, and check out her award-winning kayak films on her website.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Mario for Kayakers

Looking for a gift for the kayaker in your life who is also a gamer? Look no father than this new Mario Bros. kayaking adventure, as seen in the video below. However, you may want to waterproof your X-Box before playing....

Monday, November 09, 2015

Sarah Outen Around the World!

Kudos to Sarah Outen for completing her circumnavigation of the world! She rowed across oceans and kayaked many waters, and cycled across North America on her four-and-a-half-year journey. Check out her website (where we borrowed this excellent photo) and read about her inspiring trip, which began and ended in London, England.
Celebratory photo by Jim Shannon

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Canoe paintings by Winslow Homer

I've been wanting to do some visual art that connects with what it feels like to go out in small boats and explore the waters around me. Recently I learned of a celebrated watercolour artist called Winslow Homer (1836-1910), whose work was strongly inspired by canoeing.

This painting, from a private collection, is called Canoes in the Rapids, Saguenay River.

Check out the website for Winslow Homer's art, where you'll find over 500 images of his paintings. There are small boats of many kinds to admire here, from sloops to adirondack flat-bottom boats and many canoes..

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Messing About in Boats



"Believe me, my young friend, there is NOTHING—absolutely nothing—half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats…In or out of 'em, it doesn't matter. Nothing seems really to matter, that's the charm of it. Whether you get away, or whether you don't; whether you arrive at your destination or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether you never get anywhere at all, you're always busy, and you never do anything in particular; and when you've done it there's always something else to do, and you can do it if you like, but you'd much better not. Look here! If you've really nothing else on hand this morning, supposing we drop down the river together, and have a long day of it?"
~ from The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, illustration by E.H. Shepard. Click here for a link to Project Gutenberg's free download of the classic book!

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Under the Bridge -- a canoe trip on CBC Radio

Check out this link to the CBC Radio website, to see an article about a terrific piece of radio programming: a documentary on a canoe trip from Reindeer Lake, Saskatchewan to Baker Lake, Manitoba -- and the people who have never forgotten their trip even  28 years later.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Heroic rescues at Tofino whale watching accident

There's more news from Tofino about the accident that saw the sinking of Leviathan II, a 20-metre -long vessel used for whale watching. At least five people have been confirmed dead, and the search continues for a sixth who is presumed dead in the cold waters off Vancouver Island.
The only boat to see a signal flare from the accident site was a fishing boat with Ken Brown and Clarence Smith. These Ahousaht fishermen rushed to the scene and put out the call for help on their radio. CBC has an article here about the rescue.


updated later:


CTV's 11:00pm report on Tuesday pointed out that with the closure of Uclulet's Coast Guard base, the Coast Guard base at Powell River is responsible for the whole west coast. The rock where passengers were clinging is known locally to fishermen as "Bare Rock" but it's not labelled that on official charts. Only someone with local knowledge would know where that little islet actually was. Luckily, some of the Tofino Coast Guard were able to receive the radio call from Clarence Smith, CTV reported.


Or were they? An in-depth article from Ha-Shilth-Sa website has even more to say about the rescue. When Clarence Smith couldn't make himself understood to Tofino Coast Guard on Channel 16, he switched over to the radio frequency used by Ahousaht First Nation. Reception was good, and boats were there in minutes.


This incident is a real reminder to all small boat users to be prepared with your own boat's safety gear. It's easy to feel strong and capable and in control of my boat, but no one controls the weather or a rogue wave. It's been a while since our paddle group did safety practise, towing each other and practising wet re-entries and more. We'll have to at least do knot practise while watching a video, and learn more about search-and-rescue procedure.


The incident is also a reminder for paddlers to write to their newly-elected MPs (no postage stamp needed!) to call for support and restoring of Coast Guard services that have been closed or under-supplied.

Woodstock on the Water -- in Rolling Stone

Apparently there's a paddling race called Paddlequest that's also a live action role-playing game taking place over a couple of days in August for the last 14 years. Check out the article in Rolling Stone's website to understand a little more about this odd water event.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Tofino Whale Watching Accident

The CBC has news from Tofino today (Sunday Oct 25) that a whale watching boat sank off Tofino on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Four people are reported dead, others are in hospital. Click here for a link to the story on CBC's website.
Here's another link to the story on CTV, which reports many people in the community were quick to respond to the tragedy with help as it was needed -- Ahousaht First Nations people in boats, other whale-watching boats, and also local residents opening their homes to shelter those who were hurt or chilled in the cold water.
Global News had a breaking report on the news late Sunday afternoon.

Update on Monday:
The CBC has an update confirming the deaths of five British people during the sinking of MV Leviathan II about four pm on Sunday October 25. The local boat users searched long after darkness fell, because another person is still missing. You can read their article here, including some short video clips and statements from people in Tofino.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Kayaking Helmet

Whitewater kayakers wear helmets to protect their heads from collisions with river rocks. I hadn't realized until recently that Aleut sea kayakers in the Aleutian islands of what is now Alaska would traditionally wear a kind of helmet. Their style of helmet was more for protecting their eyes from glare and spray.


Here's a photo from the British Museum's website of an 18th-century Aleut hunting helmet worn while kayaking. The style was far more practical than it might seem at first glance. The description on the web page explains something of how the materials could have cultural significance as well as usefulness.
I don't like the thought of the cultural imperialism shown by the 'collectors' who brought this helmet and other cultural artifacts around the world to the British Museum... but I do find the online resources are at least making images of these items available for people to see and learn.