Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Stuff happens

Getting out and doing

At the conclusion of day 3 of the Wilderness & Remote First Aid course on Monday each of us were asked to sum up the course in one word. I suggested "prevention". I saw enough simulated gore that I thought I'd never want to have to confront the real thing.

Everything carries a certain amount of risk. Even stamp collecting carries the risk of papercuts *lol*. Sea kayaking is one of the more risky adventure activities but the rewards are great. Risk can, however, be managed through the exercise of good judgement. Having made the decision to put-in, risk is further managed by considering the "what ifs". Like what could happen if I miss time my run through this rock garden? What if a rogue wave arrives while I'm in this cave?

Stuff happens and hopefully we are equipped to deal with the consequences. The best rescue and First Aid is not having to go there in the first place. So, think ahead, be careful out there and enjoy.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Call me Doc

I can't get a pulse

Not paddling but off this weekend to do a 3-day Wilderness & Remote First Aid course. So, don't call me Doc yet but I certainly feel better equipped to deal with a wide range of calamities.

It was an eye opening experience to be confronted with the diversity of situations that can arise, some totally unexpected like a peanut allergy and some obvious like a burn scenario. It was all made to look very real by great props and believable actors and actresses.

Some of the other situations involved airway emergencies such as like an asthma attack, respiratory and cardiac events and head, spine, bone, muscle and joint injuries.

I did the course because the last three years I've been on kayak camping trips far removed from civilization and felt I wanted some insurance to cover situations that could arise. I don't expect to act on the same level as a fully trained emergency responder but when you're way out there, all you may have is to rely on Tony. That, I learned, is better than nothing.

Very much recommend taking at least a basic course in First Aid.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Scoop rescue

At the pool

Tuesday evening, pool evening, while talking to Neville he wondered about the scoop rescue. Lets do one he said as he volunteered to be the victim.

The scoop rescue is probably the only option to get an injured paddler back in their kayak. So Nevile got out, I paddle up to the overturned kayak on the side opposite Neville floating in the water, tip the kayak up on its side with the cockpit towards Neville and pull him (floating on his back) into the cockpit. Depending on the injury this may have varying degrees of difficulty. For example, if the injury is a dislocated shoulder, it makes a big difference whether the injured shoulder is the near or far shoulder. If its the far shoulder the swimmer can use their arm to assist in getting floated back into the cockpit.

Once I had Neville sufficiently into the cockpit, I reached over the kayak, grabbed onto his PFD and simultaneously pushed down on the top side of the kayak and pulled on the PFD.

Neville is a big lad and I only got him upright when he lay back onto his back deck.

Interesting exercise and something worth practicing. I'm looking forward to trying this in the open ocean and in conditions.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A cold shower on a winter day

Refreshing (Gerard photo)

There was lots of water falling off of cliffs in Cape Broyle on Saturday. In one place it fell a 100 feet into the sea. I don't know why we have to paddle under these kind of falls. Maybe its the kid in us, harkening back to when we had to jump into every puddle walking to school or the hundreds of other antics we pulled off. For me it doesn't matter why, it matters that I still get a kick out of it. Call it "joie de vivre" if you will.

Thanks Gerard for snapping this and letting me have a copy.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Time for lunch

A small boat on a big sea

Everything is relative. Clyde looks very small on this vast ocean shot looking back into Cape Broyle harbour.

You hungry yet?

Gerard is saying something to Clyde. I don't know what it was. I bet it had something to do with eating *lol*

Not so calm

After hanging out a little while we headed back to Church Cove to have a bite to eat and wait for the wind to finish swinging about to the SE for a push back to the take-out.

Close to the headland the very gentle swell rose up to crash against the rocks. It was just interesting yet safe enough to get close for a little excitement.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Black water, black rocks, white ice

Loading up

Nothing says winter paddling more than ice, either on the sea surface or hanging onto cliff faces, and black water. Stan and Gerard were in Cape Broyle last Saturday and there was ice everywhere. I wanted to check it out for myself. This week Clyde, Gerard and I were in Cape Broyle.

A torrent

Sunday past it rained hard, 70+ mm of rain. Then once more during the week we had another 50 mm and it has been warm. I hoped against hope that there would be ice. The first stop at the falls didn't look good. What was frozen solid a week ago was now a raging torrent of water.

Between a rock and a hard place

Leaving the falls we crossed over to the south side where the cliffs are protected from sunshine. As we made our way along the shore the swell built piling up as it reached shallower water.

White ice

Ah ha, there was some ice left hanging on the north facing cliffs but it wasn't much.


The water turned to froth where it washed up against the cliffs. Gerard and Clyde paddled through the airy fluff going to check out this cave.

A roof over our heads

Clyde leads the way out of the cave. Caves are interesting places with the sounds of water sloshing around, paddle mates hooting and howling and then the odd bang of the kayak against the rocks.

Pass the shampoo

The 120+ mm of rain this past week has to go somewhere. The height of this waterfall and the volume of water fell hard on the head.

Remnant ice

Here, there was also some ice left on the cliffs but had we been here a week ago, what was flowing water today would have been hard frozen ice.

Made it!

We paddled out of Cape Broyle Harbour out into the wide open Atlantic far enough to be able to see up and down the whole coast. It was pretty calm today, just a long open swell.

So, I have to say it was a disappointment having missed the masses of ice that were here a week ago. Nevertheless, there was still lots to see and enjoy. Best of all, being able to share it with a couple of friends.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Cold comfort

Warmer than it looks

Winter paddling has its rewards.

Winter is the only time of the year that dressing for water temperature is the same as dressing for air temperature. Even though the air may be frigid it doesn't take long to warm up once the paddle hits the water.

The land takes on a different look cloaked in snow and icicles. Even familiar coasts look different.

Then, most of all, there's the satisfaction of just getting out there, of taking advantage of every minute and living a bit closer to the edge.

Monday, February 13, 2012

A double seal launch

On Saturday we got to the put-in with snow covering the ground. The slipway, free of snow was iced over. We had to load our boats well above the slipway or we would have slid in. I cautiously dragged my fibreglass Nordkapp to the water and got in. Dean and Clyde in plastic boats got in with the intention of seal launching. I got the camera ready.

Dean slides in first

Clyde got ready and I waved him on when I was ready to film him sliding in.

Clyde enters smoothly

They weren't very steep seal launches but still entertaining. The last time we had a decent seal launch was back on 31 January 2009 when Stan seal launched off of a beach on Bell Island. The beach was steeper and he slid in with some aplomb.

A longer and steeper run-in would make it even more entertaining.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Hiatus over

At the put-in

Its been three weeks of atrocious weather so there's hasn't been any ocean paddling. Today, I put the bad weather behind me and joined Clyde and Dean for a morning paddle.

Both Clyde and Dean seal launched. I have video but Blogger wanted to put the video at the end so I couldn't put it in sequence. I decided to post in a day or so.

Little alcove

The wind had a bite to it in the -5C temperature and the sea had just a little lop. Here in this little alcove there's protection and a rock to paddle around.

Lots of ice

The cliffs were covered in ice and snow.

Comin' thru

The little lop there was made scooting between rocks interesting.

Gotta go around

Some rocks we had to paddle around as we couldn't get through on the inside.

Daggers of ice

Clyde checks out a shallow cave with overhanging icicles.

Wash up

A river flows into the harbour at the put-in. Its so much easier to rinse the salt out of our gear in the fresh water here than in the laundry tub or shower home.

Dean has a few shots of today's paddle on his blog. An enjoyable paddle guys, thanks.

And, guess what? Crappy weather is back tomorrow so I'm happy to get out today. Carpe diem in other words.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Waiting to breathe

Upside down

Rolling takes only seconds, well, a successful roll that is. I think back to when I was first learning to roll and one thought I had was "I got to get up out of this". I don't recall thinking to myself that I have lots of time to get this right. Its taken practice to train my mind and to stay at ease.

One skill that has really brought home how much time I have to set-up and roll is the wet re-entry, reattach skirt under water and roll. Once I learned that skill I felt more at ease because I knew I had more than enough hang time to set-up and roll.

That's opened up more opportunities to practice different scenarios. Like, being knocked over with camera in hand, stash camera in PFD pocket and roll. In between though, in the pool, its fun to catch another person rolling. Maybe I'll have a chance to use this if there are whales about this summer.

Anyway, the thing is practice, practice, practice and have fun.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Incoming weather

Thursday 11:30 pm

We're expecting yet again another winter storm. I thought it would be kinda cool to show progressively how its predicted to pass over us. And, to provide a link to another great weather tool that we have at our disposal.

I regularly refer to SmartBay for wind direction and speed but they also provide a pressure and precipitation forecast. The pressure forecast shown in isobars gives an indication of the strength of the winds. The tighter the isobars the stronger the winds.

The map shows the incoming snow and the isobars. As the low approaches the winds are from a southeasterly direction.

Friday 2:30 am

At 2:30 am Friday the bull's eye passes over. The interesting bit of information I get out of this is how the isobars are tightening up. The wind speed is picking up and now coming from the east as the wind cycles counter clock wise around the center of the low.

Friday 11:30 am

Friday 11:30 am the storm is almost past, the isobars are loosening up and the wind is coming from a northeasterly direction.

These sets of weather maps are great because they present the incoming weather in graphical detail more so than getting an AM and a PM wind forecast.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Paddling in the tropics

Tropical conditions

Its been three weeks since I was in my kayak. That's the longest dry spell in over three years.

I made the pool last night after missing the week before due to the winter storm closure. It felt as if all was well again with the world. It must have felt like that for 18 others too.

I'm not much company when I'm at the pool, socializing is low on my list. I'm all business and I think its fair to say I spend as much time upside down as I do above water.

Goofing around

Some people have all their skills down so they have the luxury of goofing around.

An hour and a half of pool time and its off to the showers before racking the boats again in the cool winter temperatures. Heading home there's not much traffic at 11:00ish and what traffic there is must wonder what a guy is doing with a kayak on his car at that hour and in winter.

I would say its just a guy getting his fix.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Waxing nostalgic

Once upon a summers day

Blizzard here today, the 4th storm in eight days. Its been like that and when its not snowing its blowing a gale. The next opportunity I see to get in the boat will be this Tuesday in the balmy waters of the pool at the Aquarena.

But, never mind, winter is half over. Not that I mind winter mind you, its just paddling opportunities are fewer and further in between. And, when I can't paddle I can always look thru pictures from last summers paddles and take heart that this can't last forever.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


An "OM" moment

Last Thursday a truck backed up into my car and totaled it. $14,000 damage exclusive of mechanical work. Besides cosmetic damage he drove the engine block back against the firewall. Now I'm enjoying the wonderful experience of interacting with their insurance company. Of course they will try to low ball me on the value of the car so I'm in for a fight. Who needs the grief and anguish?

Its times like this that I think about my happy place, my in-the-kayak happy place.

Luckily it wasn't my "kayak mobile" so my paddling won't be interrupted, at least if the weather will cooperate. And, I will prevail over the insurance giant. The bigger they are the harder they fall.