Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Shark vs Kayak

Earlier this month, a kayak with two young women in it was attacked by a great white shark off Plymouth, Massachusetts. The shark rose up underneath the kayak, tossing them into the water. According to a report from KFOR:
The two teen girls were in separate kayaks about 110 yards off shore when they saw the fin of the shark. The next thing they knew, the shark’s teeth were just inches away from them.
“We were just talking and paddling. And I look over to talk to her and it came completely out of the water and got the bottom of the boat and flipped her over and knocked my kayak completely over,” said Ida Parker, kayak attacked by shark.
“I saw at least four feet of its head. Four feet of it came up out of the water,” said Ida.
The shark went after Ida and her friend who were out kayaking.
“It bit through the boat, there are bite marks all the way through the bottom of the kayak,” said Ida.
A neighbour heard screaming and called 911. Fortunately, the girls suffered nothing more than a good scare, while their kayak suffered small scratches and holes. One hole, pictured above by the Massachusetts State Marine Fisheries, suggests an exploratory bite by a great white, according to experts. A great white was widely known to be in the area, and the women had decided to paddle out and check the local seal colony, a decision they now admit probaby wasn't the wisest with a great white prowling around.
Apparently, the shark hung around the area for at least a few more days, and it appears to not have developed a taste for plastic.
More pictures are here, and local media video coverage is embedded below:

Monday, September 15, 2014

Kayak Kaddy

A few years ago, Paula posted about the Kayak Kaboose, a device that is essentially a floating extra cargo hatch for your kayak. Attached to the back of your kayak, the kaboose floats behind in carrying your extra gear.
Now, another company has come up with something similar called The Kayak Kaddy. This looks to be a more compact version, and, as seen in the video below, can be towed easily behind a sit-on-top or even a SUP. If you have to take everything with you when you go kayaking, this piece of gear might be just what you need.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Kayaker Attacked By A....Cougar?

Well, here's a new one. A kayaker was attacked by a cougar on the west coast of Vancouver Island near Kyuquot Sound last week. According to this report from 2Day FM 99.7 radio, the lone kayaker was attacked near Rugged Point Marine Park. He needed assistance from a nearby boat, and was airlifted to hospital and released the next day.
You can listen to some audio reports on the incident here, and here is a CTV news report with an embedded video.

Friday, September 12, 2014

1938 Stockholm Kayak Racing

Embedded below is a short series of clips, courtesy of British Pathé, from a 1938 kayak race in Stockholm, Sweden.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Deer Canoe

Nope, this isn't another post about seeing deer in the water when we're out in our boats. Instead, here's today's question for those unlucky enough to be at a computer instead of on the water: Have you ever wondered what to do with your old, old canoe?
I'm talking a canoe that is unrepairable after years of service during which it has been patched and re-patched until it's plaid instead of red or blue. There's a whole park system in Toronto where worn-out canoes are used for planters to make people smile. With that garden use in mind, here's a canoe photo and note quoted from the Facebook page for CBC Radio One's show North by Northwest:

Thanks to Doreen Ball from Pender Island for sending this! She had been trying to grow a bulb garden in this old canoe, but it became a deer bed instead!

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Happy Grandparents' Day

Last year, Ben Marr set the Internet's pulse racing with his crazy video of himself and some friends kayaking down The Lion's Bay Slide, and hitting speeds of close to 60 kmh.
Now he's made the Internet's heart beat all-a-twitter with a video showing him running some rapids on the Ottawa River. With his grandmother. Did I mention she's 83 years old?
Check out the clip embedded below:

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Orange is the New Yellow

Louise and I had a busy day, so we didn't get down to the annual Fall Ocean River Sports Gear Grab sale until late in the day after the crowds had thinned out.

This year, a pool was set up in the middle of the parking lot. It's not every paddler who can say he's done a successful roll in a parking lot.

We didn't have a lot of time to check things out, but we did discover something we liked at the Delta Kayak display: orange.
Chatting with the Delta rep, we discovered that for 2015 Delta is retiring their yellow colour and replacing it with orange. Wait -- what's that I hear? Is it the sound of next year's tax refund being spent?

Thursday, September 04, 2014

New Use for StraitEdge2

Well, well. There is a purpose to surfing the review forums online for reviews of kayaks and canoes. It's not just that I'm jonesing to get out in one of my boats.

Hello. My name is Paula, and I am a kayaker. It's been three weeks since I last took a boat out on the water. No, wait -- I was on a ferry between Swartz Bay and Tsawassen and that counts because I went out on deck and named all the islands and remembered every place I've paddled as we went past. And I was on a beach with Bernie, relaxing and thinking about the times we'd paddled past that spot.
An old panorama shot by Alison off Cordova Bay showing Pkols/Mount Douglas
Lest anyone think that I've given up paddling or have an injury or lost my boats or am just grumpy, rest assured that I'm travelling and fine and for all but the last handful of days there has been a kayak right at hand. But the accessible water at each of three locations available to me has been icky.
That's the technical term. The Sturgeon River had a thick algae bloom. Lake Beaumaris is posted Do Not Swim or Boat (it's a storm drain runoff lagoon, not a lake). And now False Creek in Vancouver has levels of E. coli bacteria so high that the dragonboaters and kayak rental place have shut down til the weekend. Alas.
But I digress.

Photo is from the Advanced Elements website page for the StraitEdge2!

I was going to say that on a review forum I found a new use for the StraitEdge2, a tandem sit-on-top kayak made by Advanced Elements. You can read about this model of kayak here at their website, where I borrowed the above image showing this fine inflatable kayak in use. The new use I learned for this multi-functional boat is as a bathtub.
Yup, a tub. I'd already figured out that it made a great bed with snug sides. It's really comfortable to lie down inside it, on or off the water. But a tub?
No kidding. One yachter uses his StraitEdge2 as a tender to go to shore, or as a fishing boat. He discovered that if he lets all the air out of the inflated floor, closes the valves, then opens the scuppers, the boat fills with water between the big pontoons. Instant floating bathtub, heavy and low in the water once he gets in. He attaches both bow and stern to his sailboat, then gets in for a relaxing soak. "Grab a cool drink, soak, and watch the sunset," he says in his review which you can click here and scroll down to read. "Very civilized after a hard day of paddling."
I bet that it would also work on land, with warm water. Deflate the floor, close the valves and scuppers, and then fill the boat with warm water for a nice warm soak and a chance to rinse out the sand that can collect in the nooks and crannies.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Equipped on the water

A colourful summer photo of Lila's and Yves's friend Rina kayaking with a pal on Lac Sainte Anne on Saturday of the Labour Day weekend:

Rina and her pal were enjoying a drink to celebrate her friend's first paddle in her brand new kayak (same as the one Rina is in, but red instead of yellow). Getting a kayak the same as a buddy's boat makes sense -- they'll go similar places at similar speeds, and gear for one will fit on the other even if the colours are different.
The weather looks gorgeous after days of smoky haze or sunny heat waves. It's clear that Rina & co. were having a good time! Can anybody spot any ways they might have had a safer (and therefore even better) time on the water?
Paddle on, Rina!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Citizen Science for Paddlers and Beachcombers!

Science is done not only in labs by people with white coats and clipboards, but also in the field. And "in the field" can mean on the water, and on the beach. So paddlers and beach-walkers can keep your eyes open this month for some citizen science opportunities on the Salish Sea!
These opportunities aren't as high-tech as the Neptune and Venus projects off-shore on the continental shelf. I've written about those before on the Sci/Why blog. Nor are they as specialized as the clam gardens research done on Quadra Island that was noted on the Kayak Yak blog, too. Nope, these current opportunities for ordinary citizens to participate in a science project involve picking up cards.
This photo is from the Raincoast Conservation Federation website.
 That doesn't sound very science-y at first. It doesn't sound like it has anything to do with kayaks, either. But hang on. These yellow cards are biodegradable plywood cards with detailed labelling, and they're being released at particular locations on the Salish Sea. If you find one while you're out in a boat or on a beach, pick it up and contact the scientists, who are part of a team involving the City of Vancouver, the Raincoast Conservation Federation, and the Georgia Strait Alliance. You will have helped track the way that floating items drift in real-life, real-time conditions.
There's an article about this drift card release on the CBC website at this link, and another more detailed article on the Vancouver Observer website at this link. You can also go to the website for the Salish Sea Spill Map, where the locations of card releases and recoveries are being tagged on a map. Is your home base on this map? Maybe you're planning a paddling trip and want to look up that location. Maybe you're thinking about what could happen if, instead of cards, there were other things released such as fossil fuels from a tanker? And now, this project makes a little more sense.
A close-up of one of the cards, from the Vancouver Observer article.
 Citizen science is not only about allowing ordinary untrained people to participate in projects by real scientists. It can be about seeing real science in use in the lives of ordinary citizens. We paddlers get to interact with the environment when we're out on the water in our small boats. We can gather data in many more places than a scientist could ever get funding to cover. We get to be part of the community of learning.

Friday, August 29, 2014

A Rescue on the Churchill

The news from the Churchill River tells of a Saskatchewan paddler who has been rescued, eight days after the death of her partner and loss of all their canoeing and camping gear. You can read about the incident here in the National Post.

Bottom line is, anyone -- even these experienced campers -- can have an accident while on a wilderness trip. (Heck, it's possible to have an accident in Oak Bay a hundred yards from The Esplanade, but five dog-walking seniors will see it happen and you will be soooooo embarrassed.) This pair of adventurers had a satellite tracking device and the search began on the day they went missing. It simply took eight days for the survivor to be found.

Memo to self: when camping, there's gotta be a knife, a space blanket, and firestarting kit on me, not just in the boat. Always.
Anyone who doesn't know what a space blanket is, go to this link to read about it, and then get someone to take you to an outdoor sports supply store. There's one in my dunk bag, one in my day pack, another in my purse... one year at Christmas I put little space blanket bundles on presents instead of bows.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Canoe Beaver Dam Ramp Fail

Exactly what the title says. Check out the embedded video below:

Frankly I was expecting the canoe to just snap in half.

Sometimes You're the Windshield....

....sometimes you're the bug.
Might've helped if he'd put his PFD on first, instead of leaving it sitting on the dock.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Small Boat and Lighthouse Keepers

If you're one of the people who believe, like some members of the federal government, that lighthouse keepers are no longer needed in this day and age, you need to look at this story from CHEK-TV on Vancouver Island. There was a small boat sinking off Nanaimo Harbour yesterday. Nine people were rescued by the lighthouse keepers at Entrance Island. The two keepers had only a small open boat, but they got the people out of the cold water and helped get them warm. Can't get a daring rescue out of an automated lighthouse!
We've paddled at Nanaimo, and you can read about those days here on the blog. Here's hoping that there will be lighthouse keepers at Entrance Island in perpetuity!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Close Encounter of the Whale Kind

Last month, a kayaker in Monterey Bay, California was almost hit in the face by the tail of a humpback whale. It's hard to tell from the video if the kayakers were committing the no-no of approaching the whale, or if the whale came up upon them. Let's face it, the whale will go where the whale wants to go.
Check out the video below:

How close is too close when encountering whales?
Fisheries and Environment Canada recommend that vessels (and that includes kayaks) should stay a minimum 100 metres away from whales. Don't approach from in front or behind, only from the sides.

Friday, August 22, 2014


You want an example of the power of nature? Check out the video embedded below.
Tourists on a fishing boat in Alaska discovered a sea lion hiding under their boat from an orca. As the boat pulled away, the seal gave chase to the boat, but the orca gave chase to the seal. And tossed the the 200 to 300 kilogram sea lion ten meters into the air with a single flick of its tail.
The sea lion appeared to survive its flying lesson, but it's not known whether it escaped from the orca.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Kayak Race

Didn't know that Jimmy Fallon or Cameron Diaz were into kayak racing, but here they are on the set of the Tonight Show. Click here for the video!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Canoe Art

Found on Facebook by friend and fellow writer Alyx Dellamonica:

And then, just when you think you have seen it all, canoe sculpture.
— at Albright-Knox Art Gallery.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Kayaker Rescue Caught on Video

Here's a kayak rescue caught on video. The North Berwick Lifeboat in Scotland was called into action earlier this week when two kayakers in sit-on-tops found themselves in trouble.
One kayaker ended up in the drink and they became separated, and the other kayaker tried to paddle back to shore towing the empty kayak. Fortunately, people on shore saw they were in trouble and alerted authorities. Both paddlers were rescued and treated for cold.
A spokesman for the North Berwick Lifeboat said, "When you set out to sea it is important to have a way of contacting the coastguard should you get into difficulties, always check the weather forecast and tell someone ashore about your intentions."
The most amazing thing to me is how the responders spotted the swimmer. Watching the video, I didn't see him until they got very close and even then he was just a black dot. Mind you, they've had more practice than me, but it's still impressive.
Check out the embedded video below: