For some reason, people assume we’ve hung up our paddles by now. Or trade them for skis (not gonna happen!). In fact, winter is the most magical time to paddle—as gal pal and fellow blogger, Julie, aka Kayak Cowgirl, demonstrates here: Hudson River, near Spuyten Duyvil. (Click for video)
This week’s photo challenge is new horizons. Perhaps wintertime kayaking belongs on yours? 🙂 🙂
Finally! We pulled our new GoPro out of the box and stuck it on Jean’s kayak. (In between those two events, much swearing and fumbling for reading glasses…have you seen how tiny the pieces are??? You need tweezers to install the memory card!) But we did it. TA-DAAAH!! Our first action-y video—5/31 paddle from HHYC in Larchmont to Echo Bay in New Rochelle. 🙂
Oh, yeah—we’re checking the box on our TBD (To Be Done!) Thursday post about getting a GoPro. The next TBD: learn to use it.
Cherry blossoms! Daffodils! Warmer air means mothballing our sweaters and digging out the T-shirts—this week’s TBD (to be done!). But not so fast with those drysuits and Polartec® underlayers…
Kayakers have to dress for the water, not the air. And at the moment our water is 45° F. Brrrrrr!
In Spring, the sun is shining, the air’s balmy…and folks jump the gun, not thinking about the possibility of capsize. Hypothermia is a huge risk if you aren’t dressed properly. Sadly, a tragedy occurs every spring, as predictable as the equinox. This just in from upstate on the Hudson River—no PFD, no cold-water protection. (And as of this writing, no trace of the guy.)
But back to happier thoughts! First, here’s how all this can be avoided, and the geeky science behind it.
To celebrate the arrival of spring, we crossed the Sound from Larchmont to Sands Point, Long Island, in the excellent drysuited company of Jim and Bea. Photos from a couple of weekends ago.
From the point of view of a capsized and helpless/unconscious kayaker, suddenly being flipped right side up is nothing less than a miracle. This week’s TBD “to be done” focuses on the “hand of g-d” rescue (a nod to our upcoming multi-flavored, multi-miraculous holiday weekend). Jean has been working on this move in preparation for her ACA Level 3 instructor certification at the end of April. So far, she can flip someone 25 pounds heavier than she is. Sixty-plus, however…well, we may need a miracle. Click for “Virtual Coach” video:
Oh, to be able to roll as effortlessly as this… Below, our friend Gwen tries out her new Water Field Kayaks Mosquito, a Greenland style qajaq that’s built to roll (just like Gwen). Click for video (NOTE: this soundtrack is entirely at odds with Gwen’s sweet disposition!)
This week’s TBD (“To Be Done”): Ask Gwen to teach us some forward finishing rolls at the lake this summer, where mosquitos actually do want to suck your blood.
Someday soon, we’re going to polish up our French/Algonquin dialects and explore Lake Champlain, the sixth largest body of fresh water in the U.S. (the Great Lakes are Numbers 1 through 5.) Champlain is 120 miles long, contains 70+ impossible-to-pronounce islands, and lies in a valley with Vermont’s Green Mountains to the east and New York’s Adirondacks to the west.
A big thank you to Michael and Julie—our paddling friends in Albany and today’s guest bloggers—for the suggestion. TBD = To Be Done!
Toward the end of 2013 paddle season, weary of beautiful Lake George’s almost unrelenting upscale tenement architecture and rude powerboat operators, we looked for better water to the north and found it.
We were not strangers to Lake Champlain, (we were introduced to Valcour Island by the Lake Champlain Sea Kayak Institute in 2011), but we’d explored very little of its expanse until September 2013. The best part starts about two hours from Albany, an easy drive up the Northway once Saratoga County is left behind. Highlights were a launch from Port Douglas and 450 million-year-old fossils in Bulwagga Bay (an endless refrain of “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles”).
Last year, we stayed for a week just after Labor Day, planning to explore the Otter Creek marshes, circumnavigate Carleton Prize (a small rock with an extraordinary history), lead a club paddle at Valcour Island, and penetrate the Inland Sea via The Gut from Point Au Roche. Unusually obliging weather allowed us to accomplish everything, barely getting a taste of what this lake has to offer.
This lake is bigger than the rest of my paddling life!
Parking lot after a wintertime indoor pool session. We’re like a motorcycle gang, only geeky.
This week, our “TBD” (To Be Done!) task is to buy one of those GoPro action video cameras that all the kids have. Our friend, Luke—aka the multi-talented blogger kayakhipster—has two GoPros, which he mounted ingeniously above- and below-water at the Greenwich YWCA swimming pool a couple of Sunday mornings ago, to document a kayak “pool session.”
A pool session is where one goes to practice rescues and rolling when the waters you normally paddle are #^@#& freezing (or just plain frozen). It’s nice and relaxing—like this video Luke shot with his pair of GoPros, then edited to a mellow track from his band, aver the mono. (Told you he was talented!)
Watching it is like gazing at fish in an aquarium… Jean (white kayak) = angelfish. Felix (green yak and whitewater boat) = the happy guppy. Luke (red kayak) = tigerfish doing storm rolls! John (yellow kayak) = lanky seahorse. Jorge’s the little plastic diver, and Dave’s one of those round snails that are always attaching themselves to things… You’ll see. Click to play 🙂
This week’s TBD (“To Be Done!”) is a maneuver Jean actually tried last summer, under the watchful eye of coach David of Sea Kayak Connecticut. (Un)fortunately, there’s no video of that event…and Dave is wonderfully discreet! So it’s a good thing the folks at Body Boat Blade have created this charming video about how to launch your kayak ASAP. Totally TBD 🙂
You might find this topic less than exciting, but that’s the point: avoiding the excitement of getting your iPhone all wet! Friends recently had a lengthy back-and-forth email discussion about their smartphone “dry” bags (lots of fails), but we think we may have found the holy grail: the Clutch Smartphone Case from Watershed. We plan to buy and try…to be done.
Here’s the product description:
This brand new, versatile case protects all your important stuff from water, moisture, dust, sand and greasy fingers. A clear, usable window encases your smartphone, while an adjacent window allows you to have your ID handy. Pockets for cash and cards allow for quick access when fully open, yet secure once the Clutch is snapped closed. The main zippered compartment protects any documents or other small items you want to keep dry and on hand. The fully waterproof, submersible closure is made in Germany, and is hidden and protected when you fold and snap the Clutch closed.
- Window for your smartphone still enables you to use it
- Main compartment fits standard sized documents 8.5 in X 11 in
- German designed TiZip technology provides submersion up to 16ft or 5m
- Colors: Orange, Blue, Coyote, Black, & Clear
It comes in orange too? Now you’re talking. BTW, if this case proves to be anywhere near as good as the company’s duffels and kayak drybags, our intrepid friends Johna and Vlad (aka, Wind Against Current) will be thrilled. See how their horizontally-closing Watershed bags held up during the 300-mile Everglades Challenge 2014.
We’re not endorsing anything here (remember, we haven’t even bought the thing yet!). Just wanted to show you how this gear made our TBD “to be done” list. The video (below) may inspire you to put it on yours, too.
This week’s TBD (to be done, our new “to-do!” list): Go kayak-camping in Maine. Here are some photos from our previous trip to Penobscot Bay. Enjoy them, as we put this on our 2015 calendar in ink. 🙂
To do: Paddle through fresh breezes while being followed by distant schooners (Michele)
To do: Get a photo of a seal before it disappears…Sploosh!
To do: Relax and enjoy the scenery
To dare: Ask if we can buy a lobster for dinner…as if we had the heart to cook it. OK, not going to happen.
To do: Make camp on softer ground, if we can find it
To do: Wonder, night after night, if the sunset could be any more beautiful