Sunday, May 30, 2010

Rolling Over Is Easy. Rolling Back Up Takes A Little More Effort.

So the last time I took a rolling lesson, the instructor kept reminding us to be careful in our technique lest we dislocate our shoulders. Less than 24 hours later, I did all that and more to my left shoulder after taking a tumble on my bike.
Broke the arm in three places, broke a bone in the shoulder, assorted muscle and tendon damage, and, oh yes, dislocated the shoulder as well. Four hours of surgery.
To answer your question, it did hurt as bad as sounds.
But that was some time ago now, and I really should learn to roll one of these days.
And yesterday was that day, as I headed down to Crystal Pool for a rolling lesson from the fine folks at Ocean River Sports.
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Louise was manning the camera as my three classmates and I hit the water. Unfortunately we'd all forgotten to bring kayaks. So instead we practiced some paddle fu.
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Well, no, I'm kidding we did bring kayaks. Our instructor began by demonstrating a couple of rolls, then we practiced some paddle strokes and grips that we would need for the roll. Then we finally entered our kayaks and practiced our hip flicks on the side of the pool.
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The roll we were being taught was the Pawlata Roll also known as the Extended Roll, and I found this to be an interesting choice. There certainly doesn't seem to be any consistency in terms of what roll a newbie roller should learn first. The first rolling DVD I watched taught the sweep roll, the aforementioned lesson I previously took taught the C and C. (And now I can quite confidently say that I can do them all equally badly. Which is to say, hardly at all.)
Being upside can makes things very confusing. Here I confirm with the instructor which way is up.
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This attempt didn't go so well...
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...but this one got me out of the water. (Although the pictured roll attempt was not one of my best efforts, it was one of the best pictures. And yes, I noticed a lot of flex in that blade when I saw the picture, and that certainly isn't what should be happening.)
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After numerous attempts, I'd say that I only landed a couple of rolls, and I know I didn't score any style points. But I did gain some experience with another type of roll, and I certainly got a sense of the technique involved. I was certainly able to tell during the course of a roll attempt when it was going well, and when it was going badly, and I was surprised how early on in an attempt that that distinction could be made. Clearly, it is a precise maneuver and that, as opposed to brute strength, is what will get you and your kayak upside right when you've both gone upside wrong. More practice is needed. Thetis Lake, anyone?

Local Paddling Article

Local weekly news mag Monday magazine has just posted a little article about kayaking in the local area around Victoria, featuring interviews with Dave Ostapovich from the South Island Sea Kayaking Association (who took this photo to the left), and Kathleen Burton of Ocean River Sports.
Check out the article here.

The Neighbours

This is an interesting neighbourhood for kayaking and small boats in general. The Cadboro Bay area has some houses over a hundred years old, and there are several places where roads give access to small coves or the big beach. That's in addition to all the waterfront property.
(At this point, I simply must observe that it just doesn't seem like a practical expense, paying the premium price for a piece of land on the waterfront. Especially when there are other properties next door and across the street, for example, which may have a lower price. Maybe if one had the only access to a particular lake, or the only access to a private beach or bit of shoreline, or a unique viewpoint... but most of the waterfront properties I paddle past in a kayak look to me like the "waterfront" nature is really not used and enjoyed by the owners. My feeling is that around Victoria, we're lucky enough to have plenty of public access to beaches and many lakes. It's not necessary to own the shoreline in order to access it.)
That access to shorelines is part of what makes this area an interesting one for kayaking. While my partner likes the idea of pulling away from shore and getting out into the Wide Open Waters when he can, I've been enjoying the places where one can get a boat to water.
There were three of us launching at Telegraph Bay last weekend -- four, if you count Bernie who pulled my kayak on its wheels over the hump of the peninsula. That's a cool, pleasant stony beach looking out across the San Juans toward Vancouver. That day's outing was a very different trip from a launch at Gyro Park. Don't look for a solitary experience if you launch at Gyro Park... at every hour of the day or night, there's usually at least one person keeping an eye on the weather and the water. And the parking lot has a steady stream of car traffic, foot traffic, and bike traffic in daylight hours. Contrast that with Smuggler's Cove out at the end of the point, where the only traffic is a few local dog-walkers and maybe some necking teenagers.
From the bus and shoreline, I can see at least eight launch sites meant for public access around Ten Mile Point, Cadboro Bay, and the Uplands. It can take a little scrambling over rocks to get down where the otters play, but people are doing it. At least, they leave footprints behind. And at least one access path has two rowboat/dinghies stashed in the brushy trees above the high tide line. Along the Cadboro Bay shore below the bluff, another rowboat is tied up, and there the only security is a sailor's knot and a small hand-lettered sign reading "don't fuck with the boat" -- it seems to work so far.
I like these public access points. There's one on Portage Inlet that a developer wanted to minimize, but Saanich council maintained the public access to water at that point. Good for them! Not everyone can afford to own waterfront property. And people can get pretty possessive about what they own. It's good for all of us to remind ourselves and each other about having access to this wide world, making use of resources that are best defined as ours to share and maintain. I like that launching my kayak and paddling it is a lower-impact form of recreational use than, say, a sailboat with a motor and a big trailer that gets pulled around by a big truck. I like that the otters and seals come up, have a look at me, and take their time about ducking down calmly as I go by.
Not everyone likes having otters and raccoons for neighbours. I'm reminded that at a meeting of the Gorge Waterway Restoration Society, there were two questions for the biologists studying river otters in this area. How can I make my waterfront property attractive to support river otters? was one, followed immediately by its corollary: And how can I get the river otters out of my house's crawl space? Nobody wanted to trap or kill the pretty beasts, they just wanted the smelly den to be under a shed or garage or thicket instead of the house.
...There's another annoyance here on the Bay this weekend. Gyro Park was full of a display of vehicles and the attendant gawking crowds. This in itself is not cause for alarm, but the resulting departure of the parking lot full of people brings home a sad statistic. Among all the neighbourly community of people driving to and from Gyro Park are several ratbastard maniacs howling out of the parking lot at insanely noisy speeds, only to stop at the end of the block for the four-way red light. I have to go now and arm myself with a long stick, and shake it at the ratbastards as they roar past.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

S.U.P. the Great Bear Rainforest

Family Camping and Canoeroots Magazine is reporting that Norm Hann of Squamish, BC, has just completed a 385 kilometre trip on his stand up paddleboard along the coast of the Great Bear Rainforest. To quote:
"Norm’s unique mission was to help bring awareness to the environmental threat the proposed Enbridge oil pipeline and tanker traffic will have on the rainforest, its people and wildlife. The expedition explored vital food harvesting areas along the tanker route and documented the importance of these areas to First Nations and the Great Bear Rainforest." Hann blogged about his trip here.
Hann was the recipient of a grant from the “Be First” sponsorship program by First Ascent for his 385km Stand Up Paddleboard (S.U.P.) expedition.

Dam, That's Big!

Wood Buffalo National Park of Canada is the largest park in Canada's system of National Parks and the 2nd largest protected area in the world, at 44, 807 square kilometres. It is also home to the world's largest.....beaver dam. Seriously.

The dam is, apparently, about one and a half CN Towers in length, ~850 metres or 2,800 feet long. The product of several generations of beavers, the dam blows past the old record of a dam 652 metres long in Three Forks, Montana.
Beaver dams are unusual in that they can be seen from space--like the Great Wall or the Pyramids at Giza. Canadian ecologist Jean Thie said Wednesday he used satellite imagery and Google Earth software to locate the dam, which is about 850 meters (2,800 feet) long on the southern edge of Wood Buffalo National Park.

Beaver can cut down as many as 200 trees a year, and generally build dams between 10 and 100 metres long. When such dams are near human development, the dams are usually destroyed and the beavers caught and transported to little beaver penal colonies new areas away from humans. These beaver, well away from people, have been free to reshape the environment as they see fit.
The dam wasn't begun until after 1975, it was determined after comparisons between aerial photographs. But they've been *ahem* beavering away on the dam for decades. Currently, there are two new dams going up that look like they will eventually be connected to this dam, making a dam almost a full kilometre long. 
Here's a Parks Canada video of the dam from the air:

There's a number of links, so I'll just include a link cluster here.
Parks Canada
Discovery News

The Truth Revealed

Forget all that stuff you've read about how kayaks were originally developed by indigenous Arctic peoples. According to the June 1934 issue of Modern Mechanix, the kayak can trace its ancestry back to pre-war German motorcycle side cars.
I just hope they detached the motorcycle before they tried doing a roll.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Green. Not Necessarily With Envy.

Look, if you don't like pictures of fuzzy little baby geese, you might as well stop now. If your cuteness absorption system is over saturated, just turn off the computer and walk away.
Don't say I didn't warn you.

On this fine and lovely Victoria Day, Louise, Paula and I put in for a jaunt around Telegraph Bay. Although skies looking somewhat threatening to the east, the weather forecasters were assuring all that there would be no rain to spoil the parade (when you live in a city called Victoria, there has to be a parade on Victoria Day), and weather that's good enough for parade watchers is good enough for kayakers as well.
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We checked out the geese on the beach as we loaded up...
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...and headed out.
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Almost immediately, Louise began to complain about the seat in her Delta. She'd wanted to make some adjustments to it before we launched but had forgotten, and she was having trouble making any adjustments now that we were underway. But she gamely pressed on.
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We were being pushed along by a flood tide and a slight breeze, nothing crazy or severe but we were noticing that the water was getting a little squirrelly here, as if it didn't know which way to go. We have encountered odd wave action along this shore before. We surmise that as the current comes around Ten Mile Point behind us on a flood, it must bounce off the rocks and reflect back on itself somehow, just enough to sometimes not feel quite right.
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Just ahead of me, Louise and Paula were heading for a small beach nestled in a rocky cove. I thought that Louise had finally had enough of her misbehaving seat and was going to put in and make some quick repairs or adjustments, but as I beached beside her I saw that see was a slight shade of jade, while Paula was positively emerald.
Louise said she was more or less okay, but Paula was not doing as well. And so while Louise and I futzed with her seat, Paula quietly excused herself and yakked into the surf. (We don't call the blog Kayak Yak for nothing, folks.)
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After a few moments for recovery, we tried to figure out what was going on. Paula's inner ear had gone wonky (a chronic condition) in the oddly churning water. Louise had also felt unsure in the conditions, and said she'd been shaking by the time she hit the beach. To be sure, it was confused water, but it certainly wasn't very rough. We've paddled rougher water in this very spot. But somehow the conditions, a seemingly innocuous following tide with a slight swell and a breeze, were just right to hit the sweet spot in Paula's and Louise's nausea controls. (Or the un-sweet spot, I guess.) "Chittering," was the word Paula used to describe it, "the water was chittering about, just sort of vibrating and not sure where it wanted to go."
We carefully headed out, and the water seemed a little calmer as we made the return trip.
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But as we returned to slowly to the beach we had launched from...
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...came the part you were warned about: baby geese!
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Three families of geese were all over our exit point, so we happily drifted for a few minutes, cameras snapping away.
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Finally, the geese started giving us the evil eye. That means it's time to go!
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2010-05-24 Telegraph Bay

Trip Length: 6.75 km
YTD: 79.86 km
More pictures are here.
The Google Earth kmz is here.

The Kayak Yak Quiz!
One of These Birds Doesn't Belong!
Can You Guess Which One?
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Friday, May 21, 2010

VIP 2010

Ladysmith was, as usual a pretty good time. Paula and I headed up-Island on the E&N about 8:00am with two inflatable kayaks and a couple of backpacks, and got off the train just after 10:00am to find John, Louise, Marlene, and Tracy just getting the lay of the land.
The trip up was uneventful; the usual drinking tea and relaxing in big seats while the train rocked its way over the Malahat. As usual, the engineer stopped the train in the middle of each of the two trestles in order to let us all get a good look at the stunning views. The only excitement was provided by the three idiots walking across the second trestle as the train came upon them. But there are refuges provided and, thankfully, the three young men (I've a guy, and even I'm disappointed in these young men who seem to take the laws of self-preservation less seriously) were smart enough to actually get out of the way on the tracks.
The train pulled in to Ladysmith on time, and it took us only moments to hop off—even with the kayaks. We were a bit loaded down because Paula was leading a discussion on inflatable kayaks Saturday afternoon and so we were camping overnight in Transfer Beach Park, along with a couple of dozen other people. From the train stop to the beach was a fairly short walk (had we wished, it was a shorter walk across the highway to a motel we'd scouted out on a previous trip). The organizers allowed us some space to cache the kayaks until the discussion, and a little while later I had the tent set up. Before I could even tell Paula about it, she'd found it and changed into her paddling gear and was off to test out boats.

    I'm still interested in boats, but more from a design standpoint these days. I ended up interviewing John Rogers from 8 Dragon Custom Kayaks (who builds beautiful wooden boats), and then cruising the gear sales and checking out new boat designs. Among the more interesting ones was Delta's new Catfish design: a catamaran hull sit-on-top. It looks like a well-thought-out fishing boat, and was one of the few boats I would ave been interested in trying out. Not because I'm looking for  a catamaran hull sit-on-top, but just to see how well the design translates into function.

The Catfish

After renewing my acquaintance with Insomniac Coffee's coffee wagon,  Marlene and I settled in for a bit of a mid-day nosh, and were joined by a couple who had earlier recognized John and Louise from the blog. We ended up having a great conversation and were slowly joined by the rest of the group, more food, and a couple of bags of fresh-made mini-doughnuts.

Louise and Marlene talking to Mike Jackson

The afternoon passed in usual Paddlefest style, with meeting new people, discussing boats and paddling, and generally spending a sunny afternoon with a couple of hundred un-met friends. John, Louise, and Marlene decided to leave about 3:00pm, but not before Louise won a double kayak rental from Sealegs Kayaking—which apparently means at least one more trip to Ladysmith this year. Paula hosted her discussion on inflatable kayaks which made up for its small attendance with brisk and wide-ranging conversation.

    After the discussion, Paula and I packed up her boats and headed into Ladysmith to find dinner. We ended up at Robert's Street Pizza, where we were delighted with a very good pizza.
Roberts St. Pizza

We had several choices of restaurant, but found ourselves wanting something simple and light instead of some of the more elaborate meals on offer. Although the Greek restaurant, Transfer Beach Grill, received a good review the next morning from the couple with whom we had breakfast.
Eventually we wandered back to Transfer Beach and, after chatting with other campers, we went to bed early and slept late.

If you're interested in the rest of our weekend you could check here.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

8 Dragon

I met John Rogers of 8 Dragon Custom Kayaks this last weekend at the 2010 Paddlefest in Ladysmith. John was good enough to let me do a brief video interview with him. His intarsia-style kayaks are beautiful, and he has an interesting alternative method of holding hatch covers in place.

John builds his kayaks on Gabriola Island and can be reached at rogersj(at)

John was not the only person with a wooden boat at Paddlefest, but his were the best looking. It was great to see the Chathams, and the Pygmy boats, and the baidarka-style homebuilds. There was a certain amount of prejudice against Greenland-style paddles, but, as usual, your mileage may vary on issues like that.

Photoshop of the Week

This is Dr. Richard Kraft of Sitka, Alaska finding himself in the wrong place at the wrong time as a humpback whale surfaced right in front of his kayak. He reports (according to the viral email that I received):
Yep, that is me in the picture. Yep that is a whale that was just around the corner from the ferry terminal. "Paddle really fast" is the only thing I could think of at the time..
Also thinking that I don't look like a herring, don't smell like a herring but with the same herring instinct of "get the hell out of the way of that big mouth!!"
Still living to tell yet another story.
Wow, a helluva picture. But it's a fake.
Still, it's darn fine Photoshopping. Had me fooled for a moment, too.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Paddlefest -- and The Least Lonely Solo Paddle

Good times were had at Paddlefest this year! John already posted about Day One on Saturday. He and Louise gave Marlene a ride up to Ladysmith, and got recognized by a couple from Medicine Hat who read Kayakyak. Nice to meet fellow enthusiasts!
Glad to see Tracey at Paddlefest, too, on her way back from getting her kayak repaired in Comox. I think she left while a number of us were trying out some kayaks on the beach and Bernie was setting up the tent.

The couple from Medicine Hat recognized Bernie too, a couple hours later at a picnic bench. More good conversation! We ended up sharing a couple of bags of those tiny donuts with them and Marlene, John, and Louise, fresh-made donuts from a vendor's booth. Hint: ask the vendor to go easy on the sugar & cinnamon that she shakes into the bag. We were happy with 1/3 the usual amount.

Then it was time to do a workshop discussion on inflatable kayaks. John took this photo of me showing and discussing my Advanced Elements Dragonfly (the older version of their new Lagoon) and a couple of borrowed boats. Ocean River Sports kindly loaned me the Aeris Sport for the workshop, and it got poked & prodded and its design studied. The sales rep from Necky Kayaks and Alberni Outfitters also were kind enough to loan me the Advanced Elements AirFusion for the workshop. This is a sweet design, and very different from most inflatables! I'll post a review of this model in a couple days.

The ultimate thing to say about inflatable kayaks, is that there's no one perfect boat. Each paddler has her or his own goals, place, strength, and interests to consider. For me, portable and light is the most important feature, so I use a small kayak that is also slow and stable. For a fisherman, other choices would work better. Bernie's comments on kayak selection seemed to be more on target for the participants, new to inflatable kayaks.

After the workshop, Bernie and I walked up into town, and walked around. We decided to eat a pizza from a funky artsy place on Roberts Street, just half a block up and across the highway from the exit to Transfer Beach. Good choice! Good pizza made on the spot by friendly youths with good ingredients.

After dinner, we went to sleep. Yeah, yeah, old people. Hey, we'd been up since five am, hauled two big bags of inflatable kayaks and two knapsacks of camping gear onto the train and down to the beach, and been busy all day. But yes, apparently we are old because we slept for ten hours. Pleased to say that neither of us was zoolandered (can't turn left) by any crick in the neck.

We walked up the hill into town for breakfast with a nice couple from Nimbus Kayaks. Then back to get at our plans for the morning! Bernie set off on a four-hour hike, training for his big expedition in June. He went around some trails shown on a sign at Transfer Beach, and came back tired and sore with good photographs.
I set up my Dragonfly and launched it at Transfer Beach. The weather was good -- a high, bright overcast with almost no breeze. The plume from the Crofton mill was rising straight up. Over the next three hours, I did a very enjoyable figure eight in Ladysmith Harbour. First I went around Wood Island (the smaller, southern of the two under this name on the map in John Kimatas's BC Atlas Volume One), then around the Dunsmuir Islands.

At the little Wood Island I was careful to avoid log booms (floating rafts of logs) tied up around it and the bigger Wood Island. It's not that an accident with the logs is all that likely, it's just that when a log rolls on top of a kayaker, he or she is so very thoroughly drowned that it's all over but the inquest. It was great to see the sandstone galleries and lace rock all along this narrow little island. John took this photo last year at this spot.

At the northern tip of this little island is a sign advising that one is now at the 49th parallel of latitude. I clicked the OK button on my SPOT here. You can see the place on a Google map link here, and I recommend zooming in and clicking on the Satellite option to see the islands, which don't show on the street map.
A good spot to pause and think a while about the world, while staying carefully away from the log booms. And while pausing there, I met another white-haired woman kayaker. And Bev recognized me from the Kayakyak blog. aaAAaa! We chatted awhile and plan to meet to paddle together this summer. Then we went on our way, and as Bev had advised me, there were indeed eagles and raccoons to see on and around the Dunsmuir Islands.
These rocky little islands are connected at low tide, and the tide was indeed low that morning. The water is very shallow around Dunsmuir, and I was pleased to see eelgrass growing in the sandy bottom. Many small red crabs were walking sideways through the eelgrass, among a few clamshells and also the egg cases for Moon snails. On the flats exposed to the bright hazy day, from time to time a squirt of water would shoot up, so there must be big clams like geoducks in that sand. There were certainly shell beaches and middens all over that part of the harbour!
I had a blast paddling alone in Ladysmith Harbour, but then, this wasn't the first time I visited and we did explore the little islands of Wood and Dunsmuir pretty thoroughly last summer. I wouldn't recommend someone taking so little a boat as my Dragonfly here alone on their first outing on a windy day, but I've had the Dragonfly out in all kinds of weather and places over the last four years. There was barely any breeze and there was very little powerboat traffic to avoid when crossing from or to Transfer Beach. What with all the kayaks from Paddlefest, the herons I passed going and coming, the powerboats with their carefully genteel wakes, and an abundance of wildlife of many kinds, this was the least lonely solo paddle I've had in ages.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Danger! Danger! Cuteness Quotient Exceeded!

Louise and I wheeled our kayaks down the hill for a quick Sunday paddle up The Gorge this morning.
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Our plan was to go into Portage Inlet and discover if the swans we saw nesting last month have had their eggs hatch yet, and discover if there were any little baby swans swimming around.
But first, only minutes after we put in, this heron posed for us.
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A few minutes later, we saw our first signs that were baby birds around. You can see a the back of a baby goose as it has its head down in the lawn.
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We passed another heron. No, he's not drunk -- he's hunting. Some birds with eyes on either side on their head turn their head to one side if they are intently watching something. In his case, he was intently watching his breakfast-to-be.
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In Portage Inlet, we passed by the nesting swans. Mom was still hunkered down while dad kept watch, so not much change from when we last checked in with them a month ago. It's possible the chicks had hatched and were under mom, but clearly this was something that we were not going to try to find out.
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But we were starting to wonder about the geese. Last year by this time we had seen tons of baby geese but with the exception of our sighting earlier in the paddle, we hadn't seen any at all this year. We've seen the occasional one doing yoga...
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...but so far very babies. We were wondering if the late spring had had some effect on goose birth rates, but we soon realized we had nothing to worry about. We paddled into a small estuary...
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...and found where the baby geese were.
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It looked like lots of baby geese were around, and some baby ducks as well. Better still, we didn't spot any eagles, which sucked for me as an amateur photographer, but was good news for all the feathered families in the estuary.

Then we passed by another heron.
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But was it really a different heron? Heck, for all I know it could have been the same heron following us the whole day!

Finally we discovered this seagull, who clearly wanted to be the captain of his own destiny. Either that or he was tired of flying.
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2010-05-16 The Gorge
Trip length: 9.15 km
YTD: 73.11
More pictures are here.
The Google Earth kmz is here.

Post #750 on the blog!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

2010 Vancouver Island Paddlefest

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A warm sunny day today -- a perfect day to head up to Ladysmith for the first day of the 2010 version of Vancouver Island Paddlefest, an annual celebration of paddling and spending money on gear.
Louise, Marlene and I drove up from Victoria, while Paula and Bernie planned to take the train up. Tracy was up island on other kayak-related business, so she drove down and spent some time at Paddlefest as well. Richard was busy elsewhere this weekend, so it gave us a good chance to talk about him behind his back.

Paddlefest Pano 1
Almost as soon as we arrived, however, the day turned surreal and amazing. As we stepped out of the car and began walking towards the beach, the couple in the next car stopped us. "Excuse me, are you John?" they asked. When I replied that I was, they said that they recognized my voice from the videos posted here on the blog! Holy smokes -- our first encounter with fans! And me without my stack of 8x10 autographed glossies! As it turns out they were from Medicine Hat but they used to live in Victoria (in fact, not far from where Louise and I live now) and they like to read the blog to keep up on kayaking activities in their old home town. (They also follow Richard's blog but they noted that he seems to disappear for weeks at a time. See? I told you we were talking Richard behind his back.)
We bid them adieu and began our initial reconnoiter of the beach. The first thing we saw were these amazing wooden kayaks....
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...built by 8 Dragon kayaks on Gabriola Island. Gorgeous boats. My pictures do not do them justice.

Next we checked out Delta Kayak's new rotomolded twin-hulled sit-on-top, the Catfish.
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By this time Paula, Bernie and Tracy had arrived. We told them about the couple from Medicine Hat as everyone gave the Catfish a good grope.
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After that, it was time to hit the water and try boats!
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Paula, as usual, was first in the water.
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At first, Louise and I took out some Current Design boats, trying various permutations of the Solstice family, the GTS, the GT and the GT Titan. (I made a big list of about 20 boats I was hoping to try -- the Solstice was the only one on my list on the beach.)
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They didn't make any really impression on us. Not to say they were bad boats -- they're clearly not, they're well made and kitted out -- but they just weren't the boats for us. Louise found that they seemed to hit her in a tender spot in her hips and that made them uncomfortable for her to sit in. I found them acceptable but uninspiring. But that's just us. Your mileage may vary.

Next, she tried a Current Design Storm, while Paula took out a new Advanced Elements model, the Airfushion.
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Louise had wanted to try a Storm for a while now, as she has admired the look of them for many years, but again she found something in the way her hips connected with the boat to very uncomfortable.
Paula on the other hand found the Airfushion quick and sporty, for an inflatable anyway.

Then Louise tried a Valley Aquanaut.
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She liked it, but it was probably too large a model for her to really get a feel on it. I'd wanted to try some Valley kayaks as well but there was a dearth of them on the beach. Next year, more Valley, please!

Then Paula took out an Old Town Vapor, or she jokingly referred to it, The Deathtrap.
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See how dangerous it is? People were falling over just to get out of her way!
Why Paula calls this a "deathtrap" is that the kayak is just sea-worthy enough that she can visualize young or inexperienced paddlers having a lot of fun in this boat up to the point that they get into a lot of trouble in it. (She's the mother of twins. She knows all about this sort of thing.) On the plus side, there is a version of the Vapor that is made from 100% recycled post-industrial plastic.

After watching Mike Jackson and his friend do a rolling demonstration, we tried some Wilderness Systems kayaks.
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I went out in a Tempest 180 Pro, while Louise was in a Zephyr 160 Pro. I gotta say these were the best boats we tried all day. We found them to be quick and nimble, and Louise didn't experience any hip issues, and thought it was the best fit of what we tried.

Having had enough paddling, Louise and I moved out of the water and out of the way of the rolling lesson...
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...and changed back into our dry land clothes, where we caught up with Paula and Bernie who were having a late lunch with the couple from Medicine Hat! It seems that Paula and Bernie got recognized, too!

Soon our attention was drawn to a strange-looking craft in the parking lot....
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...a Huki S1-R Surfiski with Gullwing outriggers. I immediately knew that I needed at least three of these. Why I would need them, I had no idea, except that they are awesome cool looking.

And finally the day drew to a close, and the last thing to do was to win a door prize, something we do every year here. No, really. I kid you not. Our luck with these things here is phenomenal. The last four years we've won hats, t-shirts, a dry bag, and a PFD.
And the streak continued as Louise won a free double kayak rental from Sealegs Kayaking in Ladysmith. So it looks like another trip up here is in the future sometime this summer!
2010-05-15 Paddlefest 123

Trip length: 2.5 km
YTD: 63.96
More pictures are here.