Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Is there bad weather?

This weekend past Dean and I were out for  paddle in -8C weather with the wind chill minus, minus.  We were dressed for it but even so there are small things we did to make it quite comfortable.

A friend recently told me about a conversation he had with a person working here, originally from Norway.  When asked how he felt about the weather he replied "There is no bad weather, only bad clothing."  Very insightful I thought and so true.  Regardless of the weather we can always dress for it, be it cold, wet or whatever.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Cool runnings

On the premise that its better to paddle familiar waters than not at all, Dean and I met for a Sunday morning paddle out of the familiar put-in at St Philips.

The first order of business was getting into open water.

It was -9C with the wind chill at -15.  At those temperatures its always a challenge to start the paddle warm.  Once underway it doesn't take long to warm up but its a while before the hands are toasty warm.  I solved that problem with a thermos of hot water that I poured into our neoprene mitts.  It made such a huge difference.

We paddled this coast a week ago.  It seemed like the extended cold snap added more snow and ice to the cliffs.  Familiar yes but always something different to see if observant enough.

 One of my favourite passages at Sailing Point.

Seawater freezes at a lower temperature than fresh water.  We are thankful for that as it gives us a chance to paddle all year round.  But it will freeze.  The average temperature seawater will freeze is -2C and it did so today.  At Beachy Cove I noticed I couldn't read my compass through the coating of ice.  Good thing we were handrailing.

Back at St. Philips the frozen salt water covered everything ...

... including the skipper of the vessel.

Dean and I washed off in the fresh water of the river as a passer-by stopped to watch.  Refreshing but as I would find out, with consequences.  After I took the boat out I discovered the day hatch was frozen solid to the kayak.  Thanks to Brian, who happened by and got a bucket of hot water at the restaurant, we got the hatch cover off.

Changed into civies, my hands appreciated being wrapped around a mug of hot coffee, as did my insides!  Thanks Dean for the paddle and Brian for the help and coffee.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Time travel, the easy way

We have agreed to do a presentation of our six day Merasheen trip last August and I'm putting the picture part of it together.

Each of the five of us took pictures.  If all of our cameras were synchronized for date and time, all I'd have to do is watch out for duplicate file names but otherwise just combine the pictures in one file and sort on date and time.

Simple enough except Hazen modified his pictures and they all have out of sequence dates.  My first attempt at changing the dates was to turn back the computer system clock and save the files with the right date and time.  That worked until I copied the files into the combined file when the system somehow changed the time stamp.

A little research discovered Microsoft Photo Gallery.  It makes it simple to change a picture's date and time.  Now I have Hazen's shots aligned with Dean's and mine.  So far, looking good.

Above, Hazen's picture of Clyde on a beautiful day at Merasheen.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sean finishes another project

Sean built a stitch and glue Point Bennett a couple of years ago.  Last fall he decided he didn't like the back deck so he tore it off and installed a new, lower one, strip built.  He just finished it in time to join Dean and myself for a paddle on Sunday morning for its second inaugural relaunch.

Here's a link to his blog for details on the rework.

One impossible thing is to see yourself in the boat so Sean, here you are in action.

When we got back to St. Philips he wanted a shot sitting still to get an idea as to trim.  Not quite flat water so ...

... I took another in the harbour where the water was calmer.  Looks good to me with a nice green colour for the deck.  I think Sean might be finished building kayaks for a while.  Maybe I'll put in an order for some lawn furniture *lol* to keep him busy woodworking.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Paddling with Jack Frost

We arrived at St. Philips this morning with the snow of two days ago on the slipway, ice pans in the harbour and -8C.  The trick to paddling in cold like this is to come to the put-in with the drysuit already on and spend minimal time getting on the water so as not to cool off.

Usually getting out of the harbour is not an issue.  Today the ice pans floating in the harbour made it more challenging where there was very little open water.

Our first stop and look-see were these impressive icicles draped over the entrance to this cave.

There was a bit of a breeze in our faces that made the wind chill feel like -12C.  Water started to freeze onto everything, including my paddle shaft, which was a bit disconcerting, and ...

Dean, and ...


The camera got coated in ice making it a handfull to handle with neoprene mittens on.  All the while we paddled along side of the snow and ice encrusted cliffs oblivious the the cold.

We decided to go as far as Portugal Cove where we'd turn around but not before ...

... stopping in the cove for a chat.  What northerly wind there was on the way up started to drop off making it a most pleasant day.

We returned to St. Philips.  Sean decided against coffee but Dean and I had our java which capped off a fine winter day paddle with Jack Frost.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Dropping in on West Aquarius

Today there was no wind and the temperature was 6C.  When I got home from the gym I decided I'd go pay the semi-submersible drill rig West Aquarius a visit.

The semi-submersible Henry Goodridge was in Conception Bay for about four months from September on.  It was joined by the West Aquarius about a month ago.  The Goodridge has gone back to drilling and the West Aquarius will soon also so I wanted to get out an get some close up shots.

It was sunny and calm.  There was just a little movement in the water that caused the reflection of the rig to dance on the water.

As I came up on the rig a voice through the PA system said "For your own safety, please keep away from the rig".  I waved my paddle to signify I received the message.  She's a monster and I guess she could do me some harm if she rolled on me but the chances of that happening are none, and none.

So I moved off a bit.  No need to cause a fuss I thought.  Interesting looking through the space between the caissons.  She's riding low at near drilling depth and would have been a thrill to paddle through.

This rig is able to drill exploration wells in 10,000 feet of water.  She's going to be drilling a well or two(?) in the Orphan Basin off of our coast.  I hope they know what they're doing because a blowout in that depth of water, we know form experience, can cause catastrophic environmental damage.  What the hey, all in the pursuit of big oil.

The rig is about 2/3 the distance to Bell Island so I decided I my as well go over there too.  I got out to stretch my legs and in this perspective seakayak "Stardust" looks the match of West Aquarius.

Again, on the way back I stayed well clear.

I left in full sunshine but there was a line of clouds coming in as seen in the first shot.  The forerunners of a low pressure system I think.  An hour later the front had marched on and the day got to looking grey.

I find these huge drill rigs are interesting things, at least something out of the ordinary.  I was happy to get the chance to drop by before she too had to go back to work.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Keeping it watertight

Hazen sent me this photo.  It was the last picture he took before the camera died.  Its pretty interesting what the camera has done breaking up the picture.

The watertight seal failed and the camera is toast.  I had the same thing happen to my first waterproof camera that lasted just under two years.

My current camera, an Olympus Stylus Tough 6020, is just over two years old and functioning fine.  I think the main reason for that is because I leave the battery compartment door open when I'm not on the water.  Keeping the door closed I think keeps the gasket compressed and then it looses its elasticity allowing water into the internal workings.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Hunkered down in a blizzard

What to do in a howling blizzard with 70 cm of snow being blown around by 120 kms wind gusts?

Research potential kayak trips for this coming summer, that's what.  Hazen (above) has proposed a trip around Bonavista Bay.  Luckily there is a trip report of the area by Tim & Co. on the Kayak Newfoundland and Labrador website which serves a a good reference point.  Not that I'd want to retrace their steps but there's useful info such as campsites and possible water availability in the area.

So, I reading that trip report, checking Google Earth for possible campsites, checking distances on Garmin MapSource and generally dreaming about summer trips ahead.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


Recently I've had to turn on comment moderation because of unsavory comments being left on my blog.  I would like to think that visitors to my blog are interested in paddling and maybe seeing scenery that may be different from where they live.  I don't think they come to look for links to "the hottest porn stars in the world".  Jeesh!

I wonder how these trolls target a kayak related blog and think that people who visit my blog would be interested in that stuff?  Even if they were, there's a more direct way to such sites than through a kayak blog.

Funny thing is that even with moderation "on" these trolls still leave comments.  Talk about spitting into the wind!

Comment moderation may be on but I still welcome kayak related comments.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

 It was supposed to be windy today.  It wasn't.

I awoke to gently falling snow.  Flurries were forecasted.  By the time Dean and I arrived, they had stopped and it was a bright sunny day but cool.

It was bright paddling into the sun, occasionally I had to squint.  Most pictures were washouts but not this one when the sun was under the hill.

We had a gentle breeze in our faces that made the -3 C feel like -9.  But not in the engine room where calories were being consumed to make it toasty warm inside the drysuit.

Icicles clung to the cliffs and the earlier flurries had dusted the trees like icing sugar on the most delectable of pastries.  It began to snow again.  Yay!

The flurries were big landing on my foredeck.  Occasional lop washed them away.

The wind picked up and it began to snow more heavily.  An eagle soared overhead.  I thought, could it get any better?

Yes it could and did as the snow really started to come down.  It was idyllic ... steel grey seas building behind us pushing us along, snow racing ahead of us driven by increasing wind and the gentle bite of Mr. Freeze.  Its was what kayaking is meant to be.

Back on land, we changed out of our paddling gear as snow continued to fly.  Minutes later we were in the warm, hands clasped around a mug of hot coffee.  It came with a couple of Hershey kisses, compliments of the staff who have become accustomed to seeing Dean and myself, no matter the weather.

My first paddle of 2013, and Dean's also.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Taking inventory

I keep a calendar that I use to keep track of my paddles and kayak adventures.  I like to keep score.  It measures the success I have avoiding duties.

In 2012 I was in my kayak 74 times.  That's the lowest number in the last four years, partly due to injury and partly due to finally owning up to tasks I've let slide.

I attended only 6 pool sessions.  A shoulder impingement meant roll practice was limited to offside rolls.  Therefore, I was there only half the time.

I was true to Thursday evening practices and only missed one.  Those play/training/social sessions accounted for 30 ass in boat opportunities.

I managed 38 day paddles.  Not bad.  Those 38 day paddles totaled 636 kms.  A significant decrease from the previous year but then again I passed on a number just to spare the shoulder.

I am content.  I am also aware that I was forced to add a bit more balance into my life.  Last year's total of 126 ass in boat days was probably a bit much.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A new day, a new year

Its been a tradition of many years to start the year with a paddle in the quaint fishing village of Quidi Vidi on the edge of St John's.

I intended to go but lost the enthusiasm this morning.  I was curious how the turnout was so I watched for a while on a NTV webcam overlooking the harbour.  I made out these five and another two later.  They hadn't stuck around long, something less than 30 minutes but good for them.

The tradition is alive.  I don't regret not going.  There will be lots of other opportunities, in fact there will be 364 more this year.

Happy New Year an safe paddling this year.