Sunday, June 29, 2014

BC Estuaries under threat

I started following Sam Andrews on Google+ when she popped up in my feed because her photo shows her grinning from a sit on top kayak. She's a self-described hobo scientist and ecologist who writes short essays about current papers, usually open access. Her latest post is about a paper by Carolyn Robb from Royal Roads, on "Assessing the Impact of Human Activities on British Columbia’s Estuaries":

Saturday, June 28, 2014

DIY Kayak on the Danube

A new reader to Kayak Yak, Anita Tanita, passed on this video she made of her brother and the home made kayak he built using mostly recycled materials. He takes out from a test run on the Danube in Serbia. Check out the embedded video:

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Record-Setter Russell Henry Does Some Interviews

Having just demolished the Vancouver Island Kayak Circumnavigation speed record, Russell Henry has rested up a bit and given some interviews. Here's a nice interview with him from Canoe and Kayak published last week and an interview with a local newspaper from a couple of days ago.

Kayaker In Trouble Pulled From Local Waters

A kayaker in trouble was rescued from the waters south of Trial Island by a whale-watching boat on Monday. Although the unidentified male kayaker was descibed as being in "a very serious situation" at the time, he is rportedly doing well now. He was only in the water for 15 minutes, but was already showing signs of being hypothermic, a serious reminder of how cold the waters can be in these parts.
The whale-watching boat was from Five Star Whale Watching, a local whale watching company that Louise and I have gone out on tour with previously. Good job, Five Star!

1954 Kayak Championship

Embedded below is a British Pathé clip of a 1954 kayak championship in France. Can't tell you much more, other than Monsieur and Madame Gavinet win the title for "Kayak for Two."

Canoe Racing...Without Paddles

Yes, it's as goofy as it sounds. Check out the video below:

Friday, June 20, 2014

Rule #1: Hold on to Your Paddle

Rule #1 -- when whitewater kayaking through a narrow channel, always remember to hold on to your paddle.
Rule #2 -- when kayaking behind a kayaker going through a narrow channel, always be on the lookout for flying paddles.
Check out the video below:

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Orcas Like to Play In the Waves Too, You Know

Here's a clip I spotted over at Paddling HQ last week. As some kayakers were playing in the waves at Surge Narrows, a pair of orcas came by to check out the waves with them.
And you can check out the video embedded below:

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Get Up, Stand Up

Louise and I decided to head to the dark side today and try our hand at stand-up paddle boarding. It's something we've always wanted to try as The Gorge near where we live would be a great place to SUP. We could carry the boards down the hill easily and launch into its flat and calm waters.
We hooked up with Jason from Epic Surf Co. for a lesson.

We met early on this cloudy and drizzly morning at Gonzales Bay, a small but sheltered bay on the southern shore of Victoria.
Gonzales Bay

The first thing we liked about paddle boarding? These boards are light!
IMGP0387 copy

But then the hard part began, getting on the board and standing up.
IMGP0392 copy
It's not as easy as it looks. First you have to get on your knees, then try and move to your feet, then stand up. It sounds simple, but it takes some getting used to. And it didn't always go well.
IMGP0391 copy
But finally, she's up!

Louise was really good at it, and really got the hang of it. Although she had a few falls, she was really good about getting back on the horse and trying again, and managed to stand up quite a few times and went for a couple of long paddles. I was able to get up on my knees, but really found myself having a hard time balancing on my feet. I did manage to stand up a few times, but I didn't stay up for long. :)
There's something about not being on solid ground that my feet don't like. I have the same feeling if I'm in skates or rollerblades -- my feet total rebel, they want to be on the ground, ground that preferably isn't moving. It's odd...while on the paddle board on my knees, I had no problems. (Although you can't edge really well on a paddle board. As I found out.)

Most of the time, my view was this:
I was starting to refer to it as "fall down paddling."

But Louise was a whiz at it.
IMGP0396 copy
IMGP0398 copy

Will we do it again? Not sure. No question we had fun, but I am not sure we were convinced enough to try it again. We'll sleep on it and see. And you will see it here, if we try it again.

Trip length: .5 km
YTD: 26.08 km
More pictures are here.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Russell Henry Sets New Vancouver Island Kayak Circumnavigation Speed Record

Russell Henry has absolutely demolished the speed record for kayaking around Vancouver Island. He completed the journey in an unofficial time of 12 days 23hrs and 45 minutes after a short final leg this morning, knocking a whopping three and a half days off the old kayaking recording.
The previous record for quickest circumnavigation of Vancouver Island by a kayak was held by Joe O'Blenis who completed the 1,100 km trip in 16 days, 12 hours, 14 minutes. The previous record for fastest circumnavigation was held by Colin Angus who completed the trip in a rowboat in 15 days, 11 hours, and 47 minutes.
Joe posted on his Facebook page, "I'd like to extend my sincere congratulations to Russell for pulling off an absolutely, insanely... fast trip around the island! I am stoked for him. I know how hard this trip must be and the toll it takes on the body. Way to go Russell Henry, you are the man!!"
Colin posted his own congratulatory remarks on his Facebook page, "The fortitude required to pull of what he did is unbelievable. There were days when he was pulling off the beach at 3:00 am and finishing at 9:00 pm. On his first day he was passing Brooks Peninsula with 80 km/hr winds and 15 foot waves. Unstoppable! Congratulations Russell!!"
Sean Morely, another former record holder, also took to Facebook to offer this comment, "Absolutely fantastic. Well done Russell Henry! That is going to take some beating!"
Russell easily eclipsed both marks despite running into trouble on the eleventh day when he had to deal with what he described as a "back hatch full of water, foot and a half crack in the hull." Making an "iffy" fix, he was able to carry on and finish his record-setting adventure.
In an interview published yesterday, Russell said he was holding up "...[b]etter than I thought it would be for sure. Obviously my shoulders, delts, and whole core are tired after each day. My bum gets sore, my hands are full of blisters and peeling."
Last night, he posted that he was "sun fried and totally exhausted, but STOKED about where I'm at and looking forward to tomorrow because I get to stop paddling."
Well done, Russell! Take the weekend off! :)

You can follow Russell on his website, or his Facebook page.

Addendum From The Future: And here's a nice interview with Russell from Canoe and Kayak published a week after he finished and an interview with a local newspaper ten days after.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

1952 Kayak Race

Here's a British Pathé clip of a 1952 canoe and/or kayak race. Check out the embedded video below:

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Car vs. Kayak

The ultimate question finally answered! Which is faster... car or kayak?
Street kayak

Yeah, it's car. That's what I figured.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Looking For Baby Swans


A warm sunny morning greeted Louise and I as we rolled our kayaks down the hill for a paddle. The object of today's paddle was our annual pilgrimage up The Gorge to look for baby swans. There's two local swan couples, one in The Gorge that have lived there for a couple of years, and another couple in Portage Inlet that have been there for at least six or seven years. So be warned; there's possibly lots of cute feathered goodness ahead in this post.

First, we noticed a heron preening in the morning sun near our launch point.
IMG_2176 copy

We kayaked by the first swan nest. Mom was sitting on the nest, and there was no sign of baby swans. Or dad for that matter. We'd thought we might have seen mom and some babies a few days ago from a distance when we were on a walk, but we really weren't sure. And with the the high grasses, mom could be hiding almost anything in there. But if she had any baby swans in there, we saw no sign of them today.
A few minutes later we spotted dad out for his Sunday morning walk, er, swim.
IMG_2198 copy

Soon, we paddled by some geese and clearly they had had some luck on the baby front.
IMG_2203 copy
IMG_2209 copy
IMG_2207 copy

Another heron was fishing for breakfast.

Then we headed for our first trip under the new Craigflower Bridge after its official opening a few weeks ago.
IMG_2220 copy
IMGP0367 copy
This fancy new bridge replaces an 80 year-old bridge that looked like this:
IMGP0073 copy

Going under the bridge moves you from The Gorge to Portage Inlet and we headed for the nest of the the other swan couple. But disappointingly, there was no sign of them. The beach area where they've nest for years looked undisturbed, so we wonder if they are still around. Perhaps they've moved on.
So, no swan babies. But as we looked in vain for them, we saw a pair of youngish looking herons.
IMG_2274 copy
IMG_2238 copy

It was high noon, but low tide and we were getting stuck in the mud and silt botton of the Inlet. Time to head back.
IMGP0377 copy

Trip length: 6.83 km
YTD: 25.58 km
More pictures are here.
2014-06-08 The Gorge

World Oceans Day

Ah. A bright and beautiful June weekend. The kind of weather where about half the people in Victoria suddenly snap to wide-eyed attention and say, "...I've GOT TO go to the water!" And they do. As I was moving about at the beaches, at the lakes, at the bays, the Gorge, and looking over to the little islands, I could see there are ever so many people paddling and dabbling along the shorelines.
There are some great blog posts we've written about summer days -- check out a few of them here. The photos John took of eagles and Discovery & the Chathams are great!
Messing about in boats is a terrific way to spend World Oceans Day. And when you come indoors in the evening, to check e-mail and Kayak Yak, you can read about World Oceans Day at David Suzuki's blog.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Russell Henry Still Gunning for The Vancouver Island Circumnavigation Speed Record

Russell Henry is well into Day Eight of his attempt to set the record for fastest kayak circumnavigation of Vancouver Island, and he's over half-way. Thursday evening, he passed by Victoria, where Ben Garrett snapped this picture of Russell passing Trial Island which is the southern-most point of his trip. This evening, he's closing in on Parksville on the east coast of the island.
Currently, the record for fastest circumnavigation is held by Colin Angus who completed the 1,100 km trip in a rowboat in 15 days, 11 hours, and 47 minutes. The quickest circumnavigation by a kayak was by Joe O'Blenis in 16 days, 12 hours, 14 minutes.
You can follow Russell's progress on his website, or his Facebook page.

On the other hand, there is something to be said for taking your time. Tara Mullvany is taking a more leisurely pace around Vancouver Island as we speak. Russell's probably going to catch up to her at some point. Check out her blog here.

Pacific Paddle Symposium Coverage Roundup

Louise and I were unable to attend this year's Pacific Paddle Symposium which was held last weekend just outside of Victoria, but here's a roundup of coverage from the from the web:
- Ken Campbell of the Ikkatsu Project presented his film Secrets of Augustine on the symposium's Saturday night. He wrote a brief report with pictures here;
- The Dash Pointe Pirate also presented a film at the symposium, The Last Baidarka of Prince William Sound. He also wrote a report with pictures here;
- David Johnstone at Paddling HQ didn't present a movie, but he was one of the instructors at the symposium. You can read his report here;
- and the Pacific Paddling Symposium Facebook page continues to add photos and videos from the event.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Vancouver Island Circumnavigation Speed Record Attempt - Update

Russell Henry is continuing his charge to break the speed record for paddling around Vancouver Island. He had intended to start last Friday in Victoria on the southern part of the island, but he changed plans at the last minute to take advantage of a few days of north westerlies and after a long day of travel started at Winter Harbour near the north of the island. Right now, he's just passed Port Renfrew, which suggests that he will make it to Victoria certainly by Friday, if not tomorrow. That also means that he's setting a pace that gives him a good shot of breaking the record.
Currently, the record for fastest circumnavigation is held by Colin Angus who completed the 1,100 km trip in a rowboat in 15 days, 11 hours, and 47 minutes. The quickest circumnavigation by a kayak was by Joe O'Blenis in 16 days, 12 hours, 14 minutes.
You can follow Russell's progress on his website, or his Facebook page.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Jet-Propelled Stand-Up Paddling

Why is it that as soon as a new paddling idea comes along someone has to stick a jet engine on it? We've reported on jet-propelled kayaks before, but are you ready for a jet-propelled Stand-Up Paddleboard? Adam Contoret was, and he spent two years developing an electric-powered jet engine for paddleboarders. He says that the handheld electric jet engine may be used in snowboarding, skateboarding and paragliding. Check out the video below: