Sunday, April 05, 2009


Occasionally, some paddles end up being exercises in frustration. Like today's, for instance. It was a sunny day, but unexpectedly breezy so we decided not to head out to Discovery and just putter around from Cadboro Bay to Cattle Point.

I stole this idea from Paddling With a Camera. By using an upturned monopod attached to a kayak sail base at the rear of my Delta Eighteen5, I hoped to get some shots from a new angle.

And that's when the frustration started. For some reason I couldn't get the camera to work. After a few minutes of pressing buttons and the camera bleeping and blooping, I discovered that the problem was operator error.
So I got the camera figured out and launched. Then my GPS crapped out on me. (I'm hoping it's just the batteries.) The paddle was not off to an auspicious start.

Louise was in her Delta Seventeen, while Paula took her Advanced Element AdvancedEdge that she is testing as she wanted to try it in windy conditions.

We headed out of Cadboro Bay towards Cattle Point.

I didn't get a lot of pictures today because the winds were just blowing us around. Anytime I stopped to take a picture with my big camera, the wind would sweep me away before I could get the shot.

As we explored the rock garden along the coast, Paula moved ahead to scout out whether the tide was high enough to allow us through the small channels. She shouted back that one looked too shallow to pass, but that was exactly what I was looking for at that moment. A heron had alighted and I thought if I grounded in the shallow channel, I would be stable enough to get a few shots. I snuck up to the heron and, as Paula thought, I grounded. Louise was coming behind me, and a sudden violent gust spun her sideways and into my stern. She pushed me over the bump I was on, and we both went sideways down the little channel, Louise trying to gain control of her boat, while I had no control as I quickly tried to stash my camera.
In the end, no harm done, but the wind was rising and we were all feeling a little frustrated. Paula was holding her own in an unfamiliar kayak, but we were all feeling like there wasn't much "fun" going on.
My camera mount was also leaning over precariously, the end result being a lot of pictures that looked like this:
The suction cups were giving way and I'm not sure why. Was it behaving like a sail in the wind? Or did I just raise it too high and make it unstable? The theory of the camera mount worked, it just needs to be refined. But with it leaning off to the side, it was in danger of leaning over too far and dragging in the water and that would have no fun on a calm day, let alone a stormy day like today. My paddle partners re-attached it and we headed back.
And, naturally, as soon as we packed up our boats, the wind died off.
And so it goes.

Trip length: 4km
My pictures are here.


  1. I'm curious, how did the inflatable handle in the windy conditions?

  2. The inflatable Expedition handled better than I expected in wind. The profile above the waterline is pretty high -- heck, with me in the boat at 160 pounds, pretty near everything is above the waterline! So I expected that the rear deck would catch more wind than the rear deck of my Necky Eliza kayak. And it did.
    But the feeling of being a sail or a kite was only noticeable when the breeze blew from the side. It was less noticeable when running with the wind. And it was not at all annoying when headed into the wind, on our return.
    This was an unexpected pleasure! Heading into the wind was no picnic, but the shape of the decks was no particular barrier compared with the hardshell kayaks I've paddled. The Expedition also heads into the wind better than the Dragonfly (the new modified version is named the Lagoon, by the way). That's because that little stubby rec boat has a great big rear deck swelling up behind the paddler, giving it the look of a doorstop. The Expedition is level.
    I was glad to see how well the Expedition handles in the wind, because this is Enough Boat To Get Ya Out Into Real Trouble. Frankly, a floating log can do that for some goofs. But seriously: the Expedition is a Real Kayak, not a pool toy. It's enough boat to go anywhere a hardshell kayak of the same length (13 feet) would go, and like them, once you're there, if the weather changes, you've got to be prepared.

  3. Thanks for the update, I have an AE convertible (15'), and with 1 person I find the wind can push it around a little more than I would like.

    All in all I'm really happy with the boat though.

    I think I'll post this story/link to the AE forums.

  4. I think the monopod might be a good way to photograph underwater subjects (like the bat rays at Drake's Estero). At lower angles, everything under the water was blocked by reflections on the surface.

  5. I never thought of that.... that's a terrific idea!