Sunday, January 31, 2010

So...how did you get into kayaking?

First day in my kayak...three lessons: jeans are not proper paddling attire..do not step in kayak like a speedboat....may water is cold. =0)

Every time I paddle with someone new it's one of the first questions that usually come up; in camp that night or during a lunch break. And a interesting topic it is; heck it's one of the things that connects us all. People who have such differing views on the world, from political party preferences, religion, income, and cultural background.

Heck one paddle I went on during this summer I ended up going with a guy who was born in Bermuda and raised in South America and another who was born in L.A with quite a impressive pedigree. And there's me from the far east...of Canada. Here's how I started paddling.

I was really big into running. Plus 100km per week...even on a bad week. And due to my working environment I broke my fibula and fractured my tibula. In the mess I tore all the tendons in my ankle.It was june 2006. (later broke it again in a unrelated case in 2009 =0) )

Running now a distant thing and living in Fredericton NB I spent a lot of time doing circuit training and slowly putting weight on. My caloric engine slowed down and the lbs packed on.
Elliptical training was boring and multiple attempts at running ended in re injury. Land bound NB kayaking wasnt really a big thing in freddytown and it hadn't dawned on me.

My work sent me back to Ottawa Ontario in September and I slowly improved and got back to running. However it was painful and I stopped due to being sore 24/7.

I was sitting around May 07 trying to think of a exercise I could do that would get me back outside in solitude and be low impact on my lower body. One of my friends suggested just using the concept rower at my gym. Lightbulb. Instead of rowing in place looking at myself in a mirror, I was gonna buy a kayak.

So that's how I got into kayaking. A debilitating injury.


Few safety things are missing.....


I have improved so much these past few years. Honestly the first year I wasn't too "hooked". I began to get hooked by exploring. Then I fell in love with all things kayak. Safety wasn't too much of a concern when I started either, once I fell in love with it I began searching the internet for kayak stuff and learned all the things I was doing totally wrong. And then improved, learned all the rescues I could and started a tool box of rescues I could use. From hand rolls down to the paddle float.

I am a self taught paddler, from rolling to all my skills. And the above pic is just how I started off... and learned by trial and error...and a bit of luck. Just a guy in a kayak messing about.

And now I am hooked on everything kayak.From their history to building them and Greenland paddles, and striving to become a better kayaker every day. In 10 more years when I am retired in Newfoundland this is gonna be my next career. Building kayaks and paddles to sell to supplement my retirement...and doing a lot of kayak tripping.



I've come a long way in a few years! So have patience with the new kayakers you encounter! Offer suggestions but don't be like the dick I met who wanted to sound like my mother. I didn't listen to a word he said and fucked him off real quick. He was also the reason I didn't seek clubs those first two years...who wants to hang out with assholes! Although the guy was totally right on all the safety aspects...he had the personal skills of a plank. Starting a sentence with "Hi I'm a member of club X and I gotta stop you." Aint a great way to approach someone on safety matters who is as bullheaded as myself. He was taken back when I used vulgar language at him as I kept on paddling.

So basically due to my injury I came from the PDF-less, skirtless, un safe paddler to a uber addicted safety orientated paddler who is constantly trying to learn more.

The injury which took away one of my addictions (I'm started back again into running!) gave me the largest addiction,hobby,lifestyle I have ever discovered or ever will. Kayaking is a huge part of my life.

I'm glad I broke my leg!




(Love to hear how you guys got into kayaking. Feel free to leave your story in the comments below. )

Friday, January 29, 2010

Wolf moon, redfox and shitbird.


Tonight we are blessed with a Wolf moon. The native tribes kept track of the changing seasons by naming the full moon's, as they are 29.5 days apart. A very accurate calendar!

(Note every full moon has a name each month... I had no idea! )


The nice thing about the wolf moon is it appears 14 % larger and 30 % brighter as tonight as the moon travels on it's ellipse orbit (not a perfect round orbit like you made in grade school with paper mache and clothes hangers) it is 50,000km closer than normal.


Once or twice a year the moon reaching it's closest point to earth and it being "full"creates a beautiful moon like tonight.

(taken through my telescope.)

Moon's are something I have never really paid attention to. Much like sunsets. I rediscovered sunsets this summer, and will keep a eye on the moon now as well. Something of such beauty that I rarely even look at twice.




Another beautiful creature was taking cover from the high winds in the bushes behind the barn. So I took the camera and walked up to check him out. I never heard a fox vocalize until today. Kinda like a whiny high pitched beagle. The poor bugger was curled up much like arctic fox's do up north. He was a little startled by me however quickly adjusted and went back to take cover.




If your ever at sand lake gate in Algonquin park there is a fox there that just comes right up to yah like a puppy dog. I have even seen people hand feeding two fox's there as well.....wasn't impressed. Wost thing is these wild animals are gonna bite someone and end up getting put down from human stupidity. Or gets run over as people feed them from cars. They ran out into the road when my wife picked me up from squirrel rapids one night. Not cool.



Stretching after I awoke him.

Anyway I left him to take cover in the bushes. Secretly hoping he would eat the shit bird of a dog when it went to pee. At least it would prove a good lesson on nature for my 3 year old anyway. (Don't worry he's much like me...he would have thought it was cool...not sad).






This is Shitbird: (note: Before the black helicopters with PETA written on then encircle my house throwing tofu pies, shitbird is well looked after..and not my dog. No dogs were eaten during this blog entry).

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Other Dangers of kayaking in Canada


I covered Hypo in a previous post. I had planned on a black bear post, however there is something much more dangerous while kayaking Newfoundland shores.





Rockets. ( <-----Story on link)
Remember to paddle in dispersed groups. It will lessen the amount of people hit with a single rocket. Tourniquets work well to control arterial bleeding from missing limbs. Quick clot is also great to have in your medical kit. The international symbol for "help my kayak has been hit with a rocket" is waving both arms around frantically and screaming like a girl. If arms are missing do a waving motion with your head.
Towing a spare pungo behind your kayak not only offers a great workout and practice towing; it also may act as a decoy to incoming missles.
Happy paddling.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Great lakes google earth update NOAA

So searching for wave records for the great lakes (random question entered my head) I stumbled on the NOAA ( National Oceanic and atmospheric Administration) website that has developed awesome KMZ files for google earth.

I have been using google earth to plan a lot of trips over the years. It made planning VIA email with friends at home easy. Send them a KMZ file with "what about camping here?" or "is that a reflection or huge surf?" etc.

Not having any trips to plan out of my geographical location this year, I really havnt been using it much at all. However this his new development is really gonna come in handy!


Called "Nowcasts" things like wave heights, current data, water temp etc are updated 0030, 0630,1230, and 1830. Make for great planning if your living inland and are wondering what the coast conditions are.

Of course you need google earth downloaded then just click on the data you want and your done! Really neat little program. Would be great to see other area's along the coastline updated as well.


Looking for surf? Looking to see if the conditions meet your ability? Here's a great kayaking tool for the great lakes region.

Oh and the waves?
Great lakes: Waves recorded up to 30 feet (9m)
Gordon Lightfood didnt make up that story!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Ordering a "venti" is just weird.


Last night I was ordering a Roobis tea at starbucks. I love their teas and a huge green tea latte fan, yet I always feel really weird ordering a "Venti". I have ordered in German in Germany French in France yet in Ottawa Canada calling something Venti just feels wrong. So I ordered a "grande" (pronouncing it grand) which seemed a little less weird. The cute barrista gave me a smile and a venti! Score me!

Maybe she thought I was Irish...which I tend to get a lot around Ontario and ALL the time in the US. I almost got phone numbers by two ticket checkers. Me and my quick wit of course. They asked me if I was "lucky" as my shamrock shirt said. "Of course I am" I said " I'm here talking to two beautiful ladies in a airport."Giggly hot chick laughter. I was asked if I was coming back through Philly anytime soon! If yah look like me yah gotta have wit. LOL.
Chicks dig foreign guys.

Back to star bucks!
I browsed sea kayaker magazine and listened to the debate over prorogued government at the table next to me....poli sci students I'm guessing. They were all dressed to impress, girls in leather boots men wearing ascots and scarfs (Note: I believe if you wear a ascot you must be over 50 and own a yacht). I was dressed like a paddle bum. They discussed The house of commons, I thought of my future house on the beach.

Here's me above 12 hours later... that's mud. Guess that's why I feel weird ordering a Venti. =0)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A great day of kayaks/ Thule and native culture

So being in the Ottawa region I decided to take the day and head over to see my good buddy John. Where as I have a interest in kayaking,kayaks,northern culture...he researches it. Being a archaeologist at the Museum of civilization he spends a few months every summer in the north digging.
Above: umaiq

He did a quick walk through the other day and send me a message that yep tons of Thule stuff...and KAYAKS!!! Game on!


Above: Beautiful pic of Sedna

So anyway I got a grand tour of the museum with someone who knew what the hell he was talking about. People pay good money for that! (Then some just pretend they know what their talking about....we encountered that! lol)
Above: Thule wood carving of a man circa 1250-1300 Baffin Island.


Having a reading addiction I was familiar with some of the northern explorers displayed, and different groups of aboriginals which gave me a wide (but thin in my opinion) knowledge of what I was seeing. Having John there to direct my misguided thoughts was great. Here we are; two bearded Newfies standing around discussing northern culture in a museum in Ottawa!


Who would have thunk two "bay wops" from NFLD would take such different career paths and have so much in common interest.
Left: Newfoundland map

Above: Seal float. Makes for a great soccer ball at a PETA rally.

Some of the pics are low quality due to no flash allowed. Quite understandable as some of these artifacts are the real deal and would degrade due to the light over time.



The museum is far too large to take in during a afternoon. If I lived in the area I would take a full 9-5 day and do one section at a time. It's well laid out and there is a TON of great info to fill the brain with.
Left: Thule baleen toboggan.
Used for hauling meat.
Above: Northern display. And KAYAK!! The kayak had a circular cockpit unlike the Labrador variant. Made of caribou skin in Northern Quebec.

Anyway after the museum and a dining experience at "Chez Mcdonalds" I ended up drinking nice strong coffee and looking at Johns photos from Red bay, Hebron, Baffin Island etc. It was great to see the Moravian Church's and buildings at Hebron, the red tiles and boats of the Basque in red bay from the view of his camera. So much stuff I have read in books and reports, and it was GREAT to see and hear his personal accounts of all the things that I am so interested in.

Above: Kayak model with Aleut paddle.

I slightly hated him as well (and I told him!) of the great spots he gets to live in while digging. Absolutely awe inspiring.It was the first time I can actually say I enjoyed sitting and looking at someones trip pictures. It was a far cry from "Aunt Bessies" trip to Florida trip that I'm sure most of us have been forced to see.

Here are some Pic's John sent me. It is seriously making me reconsider my Newfoundland trip to head further north. Not only does it boast great Fjords, the asshole per km ratio is much smaller than its southern Neighbour. =0)
...wow....



Above: Nachvak 2005

Above: Nachvak fjord 2004




Above: Kongu 2005






Above Hebron 2004 note the morvarian church and buildings.




Above: "After supper shot" Kongu 2005



Above: kayak rib on mountain 2005

All these photo's above are property of John of course.
Other random interest shots.
HBC Canoe

Voyageur paddle.
Salish:
One of my good buddies is Salish. Here's a Salish warrior dressed for killing.
Can you imagine that coming at you in the woods!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

50 odd roll's





So I had my first ever pool session tonight. What a pleasure it is to roll in bathtub warm water!

Not without drama of course!

So the drive out, the hood on my SUV decided to pop open...like fully open at 120km/hr, as I was passing a transport truck. And when I got to the pool as soon as I went to get in I slipped and bailed into the pool....came to the surface with everyone looking at me....this dude with a 16 foot boat swimming.

Embarrassing...like junior high school embarrassing.

Once that stuff was all done and over with I rocked the rolling. 50 something rolls and I only blew one. Not to shabby! I also blew a hand roll, but I'm just learning how to do that. One roll I almost blew but went back to set up and pulled it off (as I saw other boats coming in for a T rescue), I was very happy! I still got my mojo!

I hooked up with the white water club in my town a few days ago and they were more than welcoming. I pictured a bunch of guys paddling around saying "EXTREME!!!" and doing back flips through walls. But honestly they were some great down to earth people. However I was very impressed when one young guy flipped his boat out of the pool onto the pool side! Very neat. I figure if the pool was 30 feet deep I'd give it a try lol.

Something I noticed Compared to my last rolling day (oct 10th IIRC sans le wet/drysuit) was in warm water I can hang out upside down for quite some time before I need air. Guess the cold does play havoc on our oxygen requirement.

I was somewhat of a curiosity, and most people who I talked to were complimenting my rolling or my boat. Some couldn't get over my narrow paddle. Really truly nice people. I plan on trying a white water boat next time I got out, just to see which one I like before I buy. I'm planning on getting one for the huge swells of New Melbourne back near my home in NFLD.



So I didn't take too many videos as I didn't want to come across vain the first time I met these people but here are two.


video

video



So for 10 bucks I got 1 1/2 hrs of rolls and bracing in. Practiced my sculling draw when I got tired of rolling. A really great night!

Kudo's to the River rats for letting me come out. Felt real nice to get back in my baby.


Soooooo cold.


Really there are 5 deer there whole bunch ran across the road on my street coming home.
(I could sell it as bigfoot photos I guess)

The no Bullshit Zone.

As I wrote in a previous blog entry I have stopped reading,watching, listening to mainstream media. To tell you the truth I find it so much more relaxing. I was watching CNN or one of those news stations and a show came on called "the panic room" or something to that effect. Why the hell am I going to watch something called the panic room? Doesn't sound like the news I remember as a kid.

Swine flu pandemic, global warming, and just dirty stories of murderers/rapist who should be shot on site rather than given lenient sentences. It finally boiled over one afternoon and I decided enough was enough.

And so far it's been great. I use to watch stuff on "man was sentenced for killing baby" and get absolutely pissed that he got 5 years. I then use to walk around the house telling whoever was here what I would do to him, that Canada should have the death penalty and on and on.

Hell Simon and Garfunkel had it right all those years ago " I get all the news I need off the weather report"



As for global warming; if I had not been fire hosed the topic for the past year (Copenhagen,fake emails, etc) I would really never tell the difference...and really wouldn't waste valuable brain computing time on it. Every time I seen something on global warming I referred to the Thule migration during the last global warming; usually causing an argument with someone who believes we are causing it and they drive home in their SUV upset with me. =0)

See one argument that would never have had to happen! I blame the media! LOL

So anyway being a Swine flu "survivor" (it sucked...but not the Ebola the mainstream media was pumping out) I have stuck to watching older films, reading books and put myself on a no bullshit censor. (Note: I was vaccinated before everyone else in Ontario. I just did it "old school"!)


I read peoples blogs to see their idea's, and if a really good show comes on television I PVR it. Then I can skip through the " did the children survive the fire on George street? Find out at ten" bullshit from the news announcer.

Anyway I have been watching a few old NFB movies that are just fantastic. I remember that Iconic eye/man symbol quite a bit from my childhood. We us to watch our family's favorite channel"TFC" (my dads joke for Two Fucking Channels)...and actually only one channel on rainy days. Television wasn't watched very much growing up however the NFB movies use to come on CBC some Saturday nights as a kid, and I loved em.

I can't quite remember ever watching the late Bill Mason. And to be truthful I hadn't heard of him really until moving back to Ontario a few years ago. Anyway here is one of his movies I just finished watching. It's 45 minutes long, but if you skip the news today you now have time to watch something positive. Maybe it will give you incentive to take the kids out on a trek or a paddle after break up.



I wonder why our generation doesn't have a Bill Mason working for the NFB. If you would like to see that write the NFB and suggest they pay me to kayak around with my family and get paid for a 20 year contract. No one else but me!!

With out the news I had time to day dream as well!

Hope you enjoyed.

Edit to add: I just got asked "what about impending natural disaster warnings". Well if there are tornado's ripping up my street and I have to find out about it on the news there's a huge disconnect with nature isn't it! And really is that living anyway?

And besides I get all the news I need on the weather report =0)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Dan Friendly vol.2

So I mentioned the great paddle shop" get outdoors" in my last post and finally got in contact with Will from the store today.

The Dan Friendly saga continues.


Above: Get outdoors van shuttling Dan from Greensboro to Deep River.

Last we heard of Dan he was in Coinjock with the goal of heading to Urbanna. Dan showed up back at the Greensboro paddle shop back in early December, and told them all about his travel's. His Canoe journey ended in Coinjock where he stored his canoe and bike and apparently headed down south to Mexico.

Will says: "Then he continued his story with somewhat lengthy details on his trip to South America and back; along with his plight with the Mexican government and getting deported back to the US from Mexico. He then proceeded to explain that he had hitchhiked/walked (but a running baby stroller loaded with his belongings) back to the South East and to Greensboro, NC. Where he would slowly meander back to the coast over the course of the winter. "

They wished him safe travels and happy holidays.

Will and the guys thought he would stick around for a bit however they figure he went to see friends he always talked about in Raleigh NC. And of course head back to Coinjock to continue on is expedition...to where? Who knows!

Above:Dan Packing on the deep river. A much neater canoe! The guys from Greensboro showed him how to pack

"Some of his story was believable ,while other portions were a bit outrageous and far fetched." Will says. "but who am I to dispute the word of a Jobian Flair Librarian."

Will promised to keep me informed if he hears anything on the travels of Dan Friendly.

Kudo's to Will at Get outdoors for sending me the pics, and the update. Although I have never met these guys they seem very kind hearted and down to earth. These are the shops that deserve business, check em out if your ever in the area.



You may be asking yourself why I bother to post about Dan. Well fact is if I wasn't attached to my family so much I think my life would be very similar. The thought of not having a schedule,not having to know what day it was is very appealing to me. Instead here I am with a SUV and a 3000$ kayak and a strict routine that allows me to paddle between time x-to time y.



Stay tuned!

Monday, January 18, 2010

lake wobegon effect strikes again!


For those who have been following along the blog I have mentioned lake wobegon effect before. I'm actually not a shrink, or a doctor (or play one on television for that matter). I was reading "The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment " (which is by far one of the funniest books I have ever read) and he mentions this human brain error.

Tonight I had a great conversation with another kayaker who was talking about his group planning what to bring to treat hypothermia while kayaking. Sounded pretty neat! Great thinking! Then as the conversation went on the plan they had to me was very faulty.

I have spent time in the North of Canada working with the Inuit. Am I an expert? HELL NO! I have been trained in exposure/hypothermia treatment. However if someone is going to give safety briefs prior to people paddling they should speak of what they know. And if they don't know anything don't speak! (HUGE pet peeve of mine)

Hypothermia is a great topic of discussion, and should be planned as part of your paddling here in the North. Know the signs, Know the treatment, Know the different levels of hypothermia.

Little story sideline from the rant!:

One man I remember from up north was Sam, and he told me the story of how he had fell through a open spot in the ice trying to get across. Being only 5km or so from his house he managed to survive the cardiac arrest of the cold shock (being more fit than older fatter Canadians who may just die) and booked it towards home. His whole point of his story to me was about 2km from his house he saw what looked like his family on the ice waving at him to come down. There was his family standing on the ice with a huge fire going. Sam had enough wit's about him to know he was hallucinating and made it home to tell me the tale 20 years later.


Anyway I'll post a little something here. I don't claim to be an expert but I suggest anyone giving briefs on this take a course. These are from my personal notes.Things may have changed as this was taken in 2002 IIRC (What happened to that decade!)



Levels of hypo:

Impending Hypothermia: You start getting cold. Activity eliminates the shivering.Skin may become pale/waxy.Starting to feel winded/ tired.

Treatment: Seek shelter out of the wind and wet.(tarp on the side of a boulder etc). Start a fire or stove to provide warmth. Give a warm drink not tea coffee alcohol etc. What was recommended to me was put warm gatoraide in a thermos before leaving.Give them extra warm clothing (read dry bag with extra dry clothes and heavier clothing like snugpack jacket etc)

They should be fine in no time. No need for rescue. A good idea in this case is if someone has a larger 6 person tent break it up among the kayaking group and erect it for lunch on really cold paddle days.Or use tarps and fire.

Mild Hypothermia:
uncontrolled shivering, still alert but may have loss of coordination.pain or discomfort from cold may be present.

Treatment:Same as above however limited exercise can help (running on the spot) however give high calorie foods and keep in mind the exercise will cause more calories to be burned.Keep head and neck covered (dry balaclava).

Moderate Hypothermia:
Following uncontrolled shivering they now stop shivering at moderate.mental confusion,slurred speech/slow,shallow breathing.Complains that they are tired and can act unusual.

Treatment:
same as previous treatment except use hot water bottles on the neck, groin,chest, armpits and head.this may take some time at this point to get the person to come around. If they do give em warm liquids again. They need to go to the hospital and get checked out. Here's your judgment call telling you to call for rescue on VHF if your away from civilization.Or get him to a road and into an ambulance.

Severe Hypothermia: Blue/grey skin.Dilated pupils. May act drunk or look dead and rigid.Wants to sleep.

Treatment:Get into a sleeping bag with the person in the shelter. Apply your body heat to the victims chest. Your trying to keep him warm not rewarm him at this point.
Try to keep them awake.Talk and demand a response. Simple tings like "how are you feeling" wheres your wife/husband/life partner/37 cats today? etc.
If they lose coincidence be careful moving them as their heart is very sensitive.Check for pulse. Even if there is a weak one do not move to CPR until the pulse and breathing is totally absent.

So after looking at those note's this is what I would recommend for a paddle group.

-A tent to set up on cold days as I think everyone has been at "Impending" before. Warm up enjoy a long lunch and stories head out again. Anyone who has stopped on a beach to eat on a cold day after paddling hard I think knows the urge to get back into the boats and paddle to warm up. That's Impending! I have a 6-8 man tent that is about 20 lbs. between the group divided that is nothing. Provides a nice place to sit around and have lunch anyway.

-Everyone carry a thermos of hot gatoraide mixed strong to add calories.

-A couple bring stoves to warm the tent. And redundant lighters matches flint.

-Pot set for heating up water to put in...

-plastic water bottles (enough to cover the points mentioned for warming.)

-2 sleeping bags that can be put together to sandwich a guy if needed.

-Everyone in the paddle group bring complete set of layered clothing plus a jacket in a dry bag.

-extra High calorie snacks like chocolate covered nuts.

-Tarp to put over large tent.

Take a course!!! What I list here is a simple opinion from maybe out of date information. However this is what I was taught according to a powerpoint (gross!!!)print out I have here.

Knowledge could save a life. Pretending you know; can kill one.

And I hope this helps someone, or makes others realize the lack of knowledge/plan and hopefully they head towards learning about this through first aid or proper channels.

(If anyone has any good links in refernce to paddling and hypo drop me a line and I'll post it here.)



Edit to add/end on a light note: I have the perfect solution for hypothermia and that is to move to Cyprus. The water was soooo warm there in March!Was snorkeling in a wet suit ALL day!

This was pretty warm too.


And here's me absolutely hammered...I though we were going to just one winery...drank a lot at the first one.This one is winery number 3 =0) (pretending to know what leg's and smell means)

Hope you enjoyed the post!