Saturday, April 25, 2015

Instant karma and a new hip

Dean bought a new Jackson Karma RG.  After taking delivery of it earlier this week, today it was time to take her out for a test run.  Hint, its the blue/white boat.

Hazen got the all clear earlier this month to resume normal daily activities after undergoing a hip replacement in February.  He joined us for his first paddle since the operation.

It was raining and foggy as we put in.

The water was calm so the RG wasn't put through any extensive exercise, just some cruising around rocks.

Poking into notches along the shore and ...

... adding the first scratches gliding over submerged rocks.

It wasn't really the conditions Dean wanted for the RG but it was a comfortable first day back for Hazen.  No need to throw him directly into the fire on the first day back after three months.  You might say he's on ease back!

It might not have been ideal conditions to test the performance of the RG but I think Dean had fun anyway for he got in among the ....

... rocks wherever he could.

He even got a short run in this outflow from the lagoon behind the beach.

It was a relaxing paddle.  I managed to get into 90% of the spots Dean did with my 18 foot Nordkapp but that statistic will change when the water gets rougher.  I'm looking forward to seeing how the RG handles then and maybe, just maybe, I'll be convinced I need one too.

And, Hazen survived too but he'll need to get some reps in to get back into paddling fitness.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Timing, they say, is everything

A bit of swell was running Saturday which made for a little playtime on our paddle to and from Flatrock.  The swell rushes in between the cliff and rock ...

... an then sucks out to create a hole.  That's when a sinking feeling sets in if caught there because the next thing coming is another ...

... large wave and you wonder how big it is as it picks up the stern of the boat and you know you're going for an uncontrolled ride.

But if you stay patient and watch the waves and time your dash at the right moment ...

... you manage without incident.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Clyde's first retirement paddle

Today's (Saturday) paddle was late developing Friday.  By 8:30 pm nothing definitive had been arranged.  Afraid that there'd be no paddling I suggested a paddle from Middle Cove to Flatrock return.  I mailed Clyde, Dean, Hazen, Neville and Terry.

Everyone was in except Clyde who decided to pass on the paddle the day after his retirement, and Hazen.  When I arrived at Middle Cove I was pleased to see Clyde changed his mind and joined us.

There was no wind but a swell was running into the bay crashing into the cliffs at Middle Cove.  It was going to be a bumpy, open ocean paddle.  To put it into perspective, Greenland is the next land encountered north of where we were.

We headed for Torbay to the west.  Half way between Middle Cove and Torbay is an area called Motion.  It comes by its name justifiably.  Swell reared up as the bottom rose, piled up, curled and broke over the rocks.  We stayed outside of the break zone.  To be caught inside of it meant a side surf right up onto the rocks.

We turned the corner into the cove at Torbay.  Yes, it still looks like winter on the shade protected cliffs.

Further along in the cove we heard a woosh where the swell rushed into a hole at sea level and sent spray and water back.

The cliffs dominate the seascape between Torbay and Flatrock with no place to get off the water.

To port cliffs leap from the sea.  To starboard, the open ocean all the way from north on the compass to east.  Once the decision is made to leave Torbay one is committed.

Massive forces of nature are frozen in the rocks as the sedimentary beds curve up at water level and dip steeply upwards.  I think Clyde was happy he change his mind to join us!

Coming around the bend out of Church Cove the land stretched north with the end of the peninsula, and the entrance to Fatrock, in sight.

We reached "The Beemer" at the end of the peninsula at Red Rock Point.  The Beemer is a low shelf running north from the Point and with a bit of swell it is a sight to behold and stay well clear of too.  The larger waves in the set broke at about 2 meters.

We made it around to the other side and got surprised by waves approaching 2 meters with wave faces almost vertical.  We turned perpendicular to the waves and got out of there pronto.  Once back in calmer water I said to Dean it would have been great to get some pictures of that.  He said he hoped I had taken out my camera.  No, they'll only be etched in my memory.

A stop at the slipway in Flatrock and the return paddle to Middle Cove netted us 23 kms.  Felt more than that in the conditions.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Wild and wooly

Thursday evening we normally get together in St Philips for rescue and stroke practice but today it was too wild and wooly.  With northerly winds at 30 knots and gusts to 45 added to a temperature of -4C driven down to -13C with the wind chill, it was decided to take a pass this week.

I went anyway, without the kayak to have a look and captured some short video of the conditions.  It took 10 minutes for my bare hands to come, painfully, back to life.

The video really gets degraded on the upload but the conditions are obvious.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Fearless - A book review

Paddle friend Neville let me borrow the book "Fearless" by Joe Glickman; the story of Freya's solo circumnavigation of Australia in 2009.  Freya was in Newfoundland in 2007 for our spring kayakers Retreat.

A most interesting book not only for the journey but for the look into such an enigmatic person that most serious paddlers know of.

The plot was simple: be the first woman to paddle around Australia and do it in record time, that is, beat the time set by Paul Caffyn.  The following words describe the essence of the trip: challenging seas, long exposed coastlines, long open crossing, crocodiles, sharks, loneliness and an all consuming fixation with time.

On the Freya factor, Glickman does a great job of conveying her incredible mental toughness, grit, skill and supreme confidence.  For all the obstacles that stood in her way her answer was "Vasdaproblum".  Humility apparently is not one of her virtues.

I was inspired and I was saddened.  At one point she stated to Glickman "I'm simply not interested in people anyway."  Funny attitude for someone who is such a great inspiration to so many.  Funny too for someone who appears to seek approval by excelling in everything she gets involved in.

A great read for the adventure and also maybe a bit of introspection of one's own place with family, friends and acquaintances.

As a side note, I'd recommend checking out Google Earth while reading the book for photos of the different stops and coastline she paddled to supplement the 8 pages of pictures in the book.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Its Hammer time

Sunday morning was going to be windy.  A good time for a bounce in St. Philips as Neville took delivery of his new ocean playboat, a P & H Hammer.

Well the forecast was wrong.  No wind but a bit of easy action along the shore made perfect conditions to take the Hammer for a test drive.

We stopped to fool around at the G-Spot.  Again nothing very big, just enough to get a feel for the boat.  Also, easy for Clye, Dean and myself in the fibreglass Nordkapps.

At Sailing Point the channel was calm.  Neville had the skeg down for tracking.

Exiting another channel which we have to name yet.

Just before Wester Point at Portugal Cove we got through another tight spot that's accessible only at high water.

There are numerous rocks at Wester Point and with just a bit of swell running in it was again a chance to play.

After a short break on the beach by the ferry terminal we made our way back along the shore.

Clyde and myself getting through a narrow spot.

I was running late not expecting to spend so much time playing around the rocks so I bid adieu to my paddle mates and raced back to St. Philips to take out and get home just in the nick of time - without being berated that is *lol*

Dean has some pics on his blog from the point after I departed.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Two sunsets for the price of one

Thursday evening was going to be our first practice session for the season.  It was cold.  I arrived early, paddled around in the cove for a while waiting for anyone else to show up and decided just before 6:00 that I'd be on my own.

What to do?  I looked at the time, did a quick calculation and decided I had time for the 5 km crossing to Bel Island and back before the sunset.

The closer I got to Bell Island the taller the cliffs got until I paddled myself into a sunset.  I didn't stay long as the evening was getting on.

Heading back I was in sunlight again as the bay opened up between Bell Island, cloaked in shadow, and the cliffs of the mainland bathed in sunshine as they marched north.

I arrived back at St. Philips with the sunset one sun diameter above the horizon.  I decided to wait the 10 minutes and sat watching the sun sink away for the day.

It got frosty quickly after the sun departed with the watery film on the hull turning to ice as I loaded the kayak and drove for home.  Hopefully warmer next week and a few more people will show up.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A GoPro Mount - Making it stick

So far I've used the GoPro mounted on my helmet.  That was flexible as all I had to do was look at the subject when capturing video.  But, it also had the paddle flashing in and out of the video.

Next, I made up a mount I could reach on the foredeck from the cockpit.  That put a long view of the deck in every video.

I wanted to try a mount further up near the bow.  There the deck doesn't have any flat surface to attach the camera, except the hatch cover.  I put on my thinking cap and came up with a solution.

I made up these two clips by bending and shaping a couple of pieces of sheet metal plus ...

... buying a dual suction cup setup to pull dents out of car body panes and cutting a piece of plexiglass.

The suction cup will accept 3/4 PVC pipe.  The suction cup won't stick to the rubber hatch cover so it is first put on the plexiglass (which I sprayed black).  Put together it looks like ...

... this.  The suction cup, plexiglass base plate and 3/4 PVC mast are secured to the hatch cover by looping a strap through the clips in the first photo and then cinching it down by tightening the strap.

I wasn't sure about the height of the mast so I just used duct tape for the test so I could shorten it later if necessary.

I found it a bit high on the foredeck but fine on the rear deck.  I made up similar arrangement but with a shorter mast for up front an spray painted the works black.

The only problem is the camera can't be manually operated from the cockpit.  I'll either buy a used smartphone with the GoPro app or a remote to solve that issue.

Monday, April 6, 2015

A look along the shore to Topsail

An almost 6 minute edit of the 105 captured of Dean and my paddle on Friday from St. Philips to Topsail Beach.

Seems like some of the width is missing so here's the link to YouTube.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Looking out the back door

After stopping at Topsail Beach I moved the camera mount from the fore hatch cover to the aft hatch cover.  Leaving Topsail Beach I had a look around to see where Dean was.

Ah, there he is.  I was wondering if I'd just be capturing only myself but this looks like we were a threesome out for a paddle and the third in the group got a picture of myself and Dean.

Not quite knowing what video I was capturing, I edged to port thinking I'd get Dean in the shot, and I did.  The world tilted.

More of Tony's back with Dean paddling near the cliffs.  The wind dropped as we made our way back to St. Philips.

Among the rocks the bottom was bright under the sun.  I was amazed reviewing the video how much detail the GoPro captured of the bottom.

Ya never know what goes on behind your back until its videoed.

Taking a bead on a passage between rocks.

And, one last shot of the two of us before the battery died.

I was pleased with the rear mounted camera.  On the way up I found with the taller mount it was disorienting as it swayed back and forth in the I had the camera 40 cms (16 inches).

I have one more idea for a rear mounted camera that I'll try the next surfing opportunity.

Friday, April 3, 2015

A paddle on Best Friday

Today is called "Good Friday" in the Christian world.  In Tony's world its called "Best Friday".  Every Friday, the end of the work week for most, is always good but when its a holiday it deserves to be called "Best".

We were going to have west winds in the 15 - 20 knot range so Dean and I opted for a bouncy paddle to Topsail Beach.  I was interested in a bounce because I wanted to try a new GoPro camera mount.  The mount is 40 cms (16 inches +/-) high and mounted on the fore hatch cover.  More details another day.

Right away we were into it as a wave breaks over Dean's kayak.

Dean going uphill.

I hoped to avoid water drops on the lens but to no avail, at least, not in the conditions we had today.

I quickly identified one issue.  With the mount directly in my field of view, I found watching it sway back and forth was giving me a bit of vertigo with some discomfort.  Gradually I learned to ignore it and felt more at ease.

My intention for the day was to capture video constantly and select some shots that was more representative of the day.  At 30 frames per second I knew I stood a better chance than with the single shot Olympus.

As the kayak swayed it of course tilted the horizon.

Dean tried out his new Euro blade that he bought to use with his soon to be delivered Jackson Karma RG.  He had his GP as a spare.

The benefit of taking stills from the video is no camera to hold in one hand and the paddle in the other when ...

... this comes at ya and ...

... is going to give you a cold shower ...

... but at least an upright one!

We got out at Topsail Beach for a stretch and I moved the mount to the back hatch pointing forward.

Overall I was happy with the mount but I think I'll make another about 15 cm (6 inches) shorter and leave the longer one for the back deck.

Incidentally, I got 105 minutes and 21 seconds of recording time out of the Hero4 battery in near 0C temperatures.