Thursday, September 28, 2017

Looking for my mojo

2017 has been a slow year for paddling.  Not only for me but it seems for all of my paddle buddies.  I'm wondering if I've lost my mojo.  I've seen it before.  People like Tony, Neil and Derrick have effectively stopped kayaking after years being avid paddlers.

In 2016 I had a good excuse when I didn't paddle much because of time I spent working on house projects.  But this year it seems as though a general malaise has crept in.  Previously weather didn't matter.  I didn't care if there was wind and rain, in fact, I welcomed it.  Not so much this year.

What I found most disappointing was it seemed like most of my paddle mates weren't as gung-ho either.  Sometimes it takes someone with some enthusiasm to get the ball rolling.  That is to say, if I'm apathetic about getting out then I usually get energized by feeding off of the go-for-it vibe of someone else.  I didn't get that feeling very often.

Finally, after what seemed like forever I got out for a paddle last evening.  It was a small turnout, just four of us.  The evenings are getting shorter and it was especially short last evening because there was no sunlight to keep things bright.  Cathy, Sharon, Terry and I left in daylight for a short paddle and returned in darkness finding our way back by the lights shimmering on the water.

It felt great back in the boat.  I think its time to get my mojo working again.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Food for thought

My usual fare on kayak camp trips is store bought food ready to heat.  Its getting a bit old.  In addition to that, I'm going to start doing a bit of backpacking.  There, weight is a more pertinent issue.  

A couple of years go I bought a food dehydrator (I've been thinking about backpacking for a while *lol*).  It sat in the box since then until today when I got it out to try drying some food.  Nothing too adventurous to start; just two packs of Uncle Ben's Bistro Express and some mixed frozen vegetables.

I was going to put the rice packs on some parchment paper and just spread the vegetables on the tray.  Well, the frozen vegetables went through the tray.  So, remembering I got some old window screens from a neighbour, I cut three liners to put the food on.  Ca-ching!

I didn't know what to expect so I was surprised to see what the end of the process was.  Trays that were covered with food looked like some spirit had consumed a good part of it while I wasn't looking.  I don't have a weigh scale yet so I can't quantify the reduction but a rough guess is it was reduced by about 2/3.

The conclusion I came to was this has some promise.  Not only for backpacking but also for kayak camping.  Saving weight is not so much the bonus n that case but the saving in space is, especially for longer trips.

Next I need to see what rehydration involves, that is to say, the most efficient time-wise.  I mean, I don't want to wait for long before being able to eat after getting out of the kayak or reaching camp for the night at the end of a hike.  If I'm happy with that I'll purchase a weigh scale and a vacuum sealer.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Let it rain

The forecast for Saturday was no wind but it would be raining cats and dogs.  I checked the precipitation forecast which showed the heaviest rain would come in around 2:00 pm.  So, I suggested a paddle in the rain for that time.

When we arrived it was wet but no downpour.

We got on the water and the rain stopped.

In fact it was the most pleasant of conditions which ...

... I found disappointing.  I was hoping for sheets of rain so hard that the drops bounce off of the water.

It turns out we missed the heaviest rain that came down in the morning.  No matter; we still enjoyed a leisurely paddle.

Clyde and I hugged the shore for the most part while Dave, Hazen and Paul spent some time further offshore but ...

... not all the time.

When we got back to the take-out Paul said he wanted to do a self rescue with the paddle float.  I suggested a back deck scramble on but he was adamant.  It was totally calm as he jumped out of the kayak but let go of it.  I suggested he put his leg in the cockpit even though it was calm because in windy conditions the kayak would blow away an he'd never be able to swim fast enough to catch it.  So he did.

The rest of the self-rescue went well after which we got into our street clothes and went for a coffee.  We all agreed that we all enjoyed the paddle.  Though, the rain would have been welcomed.

Friday, September 8, 2017

The young Turk

September 6th and I hadn't had a day paddle since August 2nd when we did a cut-short paddle of 12.3 kms to Great Island.  Its been a strange summer paddle wise.

I checked ships log for the past 7 years and I've averaged 600 kms up to the end of August each year except 2012 when I had a shoulder issue and only paddled 460.  So far this year its been an anemic 390.  Its been a combination of things.  I hope to set it right this fall.

One bright spot is Shane.  As a newer, but accomplished paddler, Shane brings fresh energy and pumps me up when I'm less enthused.

I haven't been as regular at Wednesday evening kayak sessions this year but since early August its the only paddling I've done.

Shane and I paddled ahead of the other six staying close to the rocks trying to take in as much of the wave action as we could.  At one point we looked back and the group was well back having stopped to do some rescue practice.

I looked over at Shane and he was getting out of his boat.  He jumped out, clipped onto the bow of his kayak and started to swim towards the rocks, kayak in tow.

Once he got there he climbed out and pulled the kayak up onto the rocks beside himself.  Assessing that exercise worked out fine he got back in the water, I dumped the water out of the kayak (as pumping is so much fun) and we paddled back to the rest of the group.

Back in the cove at St. Philips, Shane does a bit of instruction leading Craig through an assisted rescue and the right way to dump water out of a kayak.

As the sun went down the small waves died and another Wednesday was in the books.

There are a few regulars and a handful of us pushing the envelope.  Sometimes someone new comes along with the same outlook as Brian, Dean and myself and brings fresh, youthful enthusiasm that I, for one, have fed off of.  Sometimes I need that.  So, thanks Shane, you young Turk.