If you just go for a paddle than you can stop thinking about wanting to go for a paddle.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

2014: Post 39 – Carrying on in Stage Two of the paddling year

Tony and I met in Bay Bulls this morning.  Everybody else were either busy or had no desire to paddle today.  No matter.  It was a chilly but beautiful bright morning, and the wind was low.  We drove to Tors Cove and got ready. 

We made a plan to handrail down to La Manche; I haven’t been there since early June, not sure when Tony was there last.  From there we would come back along the shore a little way and would decide later if we would cross over to the islands….

It wasn't long and we came across some otters.  I guess they were sunning on the rock until we disturbed them.

We did a little rock-hopping along the way.


We paddled on, following the shoreline and checking out the coves along the shore.

We arrived in La Manche and took out on the sloping rocks. 

Before eating our lunch we did a little walk around to take in the view.  We had some snow a couple days ago and it has remained cold enough for the snow to hang around.

When we got back to Bauline Head we decided we would cross over to Great Island. 

Initially we headed toward the northern end of the island, but part way over we decided to head to the southern end and paddle on the outside.  There was swell running from the south but we were able to get through the channel at Southern Cove without any real effort.
We paddled along the outside of Great Island but decided to pass on exploring the caves that are there… I wanted to be home by 4 pm and we also wanted to get in our typical after-paddle-coffee too.

We rounded the end of the island, passing Cribby Rocks, and made a bee-line to Southern Head at Ship Island.

We then paddled on the outside of Ship Island and from there we crossed over to Fox Island, still staying on the outside of it and then paddled up through The Gut where we watched a seal… or perhaps more correctly it was watching us since we were the visitors to its natural environment.

 From there it was just a short paddle back to the beach in Tors Cove.

We made fairly short order of loading up the cars and went off to grab a coffee before heading home.

I added in the kilometres from today to my years tally and I find I am 240 kilometres behind of where I was at the end of November last year.  That`s a fairly significant amount; but then last year was a banner year in my kayaking life.  To put it into perspective, this year I already have more kilometres under my bow than for the full year of 2010, 2011, and 2012.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

2014: Post 38 – I thought I was sinking!!!

Last weekend Tony, Brian, and I paddled from St. Philips to Topsail Beach.  It was a lumpy ride with the bit of wind and the swell bouncing off the shoreline.  Long before we reached Topsail Beach I had a good bit of water sloshing back and forth in the cockpit, which caused the kayak to feel tippy in the clapitus water.  When I arrived at Topsail Beach I had at least a couple inches of water in my cockpit. I dumped out the water before we left and by the time I got back to St. Philips I had another couple inches of water again.  At home I put my kayak and gear away with intentions of checking things out before my next paddle to see if something was leaking.  I did have my camera last weekend but just wasn't in a picture taking mood, but Tony has an entry of the paddle if you are interested... just click here

On Friday past Tony e-mailed around to see if there was interest in a paddle for Sunday.  I think we were all quite pleased that seven of us showed up...

During this time of year (until about April) nobody bothers
us regarding fees to use the slipway in St. Philips..

Heading off to Topsail Beach






Da boys...

When we arrived at Topsail Beach I had another couple inches of water in my cockpit again, same as last weekend... 

A gaggle of kayakers at Topsail Beach
When we left Topsail Beach I had a little bit of water that came aboard when launching and so I pumped the water out. I took my time and made sure my spray skirt was on correctly before getting underway...

Before we were half way back I could really feel the water sloshing around my legs and my kayak was getting to be really tippy again with the sloshing water.  I had to start to really pay attention to the waves and at one point I was taking a few pics and was nearly knocked over, but saved myself with some aggressive bracing.  I did contemplate rafting up with someone to pump out the water but I was thinking I had not practiced paddling with water in the cockpit in a while and we were not that far from St. Philips... But the waves were often sprayed or washed over the back deck, off the port quarter, and the cockpit kept taking on water..  

A couple kilometers from St. Philips and my legs felt like they were floating in the cockpit as the water swished side to side and back and forth. I really started to think I had a hole in the hull below the cockpit and I felt like I was sinking!!  All that water sloshing around got the better of me and I found myself on my side, bracing, trying to right my kayak against the waves.  It wasn't working and so I decided I would let myself go over and set up for a proper roll, which worked out nicely, and I kept on paddling...  

Once I turned into the cove at St. Philips I was sheltered from the wind and the waves and I could really notice how much lower my kayak was sitting in the water.  I moved my legs around to try to guestimate how much water was in the cockpit.... four inches?  Six? Before I got to the slipway  I popped the skirt and was surprised by how much water I had taken on...  The cockpit looked to be nearly half full of water... but of course the depth went down once I got out.  I wish I had taken a picture though... 

A couple of the other guys had taken on some water as well, there was a jammed skeg, and one of us busted a back-band that was tied up with a bit or rope before we left Topsail Beach. It was a fun paddle, just the same... We went to the nearly restaurant and Tony paid for coffee and Brian paid for a big plate of fries for everyone to share.  Thanks again, guys...


I put my gear away as soon as I arrived home and, instead of procrastinating like I did last week, I immediately began to check things out.  I popped the hatch covers and, other than a few drops of water, all three hatches were dry.  The bolts on each side of the cockpit were tight so water wasn't getting in there.  I even did a visual inspection of the hull to see if there was a little hole there someplace.  Everything looked good, so I figured it had to be the neoprene spray skirt... 

I went into the house and put the wet skirt in the laundry tub.  I started at the front of the skirt, checking the seams and stretching areas of it, working my way down.  When I got to the back of the skirt I found the problem... looks like my tow belt has been rubbing on the skirt and has just about rubbed a couple holes through the material...


It's probably been leaking for a while but with the waves last weekend, and more-so again today, continually washing water over the spray skirt I just had not been aware of the problem... but it's nothing a smearing of aquaseal can't take care of.

So whats the morale to this story?  I guess it should be to take some time now and then to check kayak gear before problems occur.  But really it's that kayaking season has not ended.  In fact, I've yet to find a calender that marks the day in spring you take your first paddle and the day in the fall that you put your kayak away.  If you have a drysuit, I suggest you buy some thermals to wear under your suit, get some neoprene mitts and hood, and keep on paddling.  You just might come to the conclusion that cooler weather paddling is much more comfortable than hot weather paddling.  Like Tony says, we're just in Stage Two of the paddling year.  And besides, if you keep on kayaking you'll be in paddling shape next spring when the imaginary kayaking season starts again... 

[Here's a link to Tony's entry on today's paddle.]

Monday, November 10, 2014

2014: Post 37 – Another November Paddle

On Saturday past there was a plan to spend a couple hours in St. Philips playing in the wind and waves.  I set my alarm... but didn't hear it go off.  Those who know me won't believe it but I had actually slept through my alarm sounding and had slept in!!  By the time I woke up and got on the go I decided to pass on the day.  So I missed the fun but you can see some of it if you check out Tony's blog.

Yesterday I sent out an e-mail to some retired paddlers to see if anyone was interested in paddling today (I had taken today off work).  But all the retired folk were busy with the other things in life.   However, Julie e-mailed that she had an appointment but could meet after lunch, which suited me just fine.... The last time I had seen or paddled with Julie was September 6...

I arrived earlier then our scheduled meeting time at St. Philips and got ready.  Just before I closed up the car my phone rang.  Julie was running late and so I jumped in Jenny and we headed along the shoreline in the direction of Portugal Cove.

We can usually paddle inside these rocks but things were a little messy today.  I sat and watched for a while and almost went for it once or twice when things seemed to calm down a bit.  But I kept thinking if I ended up swimming, or something worse, then Jenny would be left to the perils of the ocean.  So I just took a couple videos instead... 



I paddled on for another while and kept a watch on the time, turning back toward the cove when I figured I had gone far enough.  Julie was just about ready when I got back to the slipway.  She found herself with a second Greenland paddle and without reservation she removed her old Euro (spare) paddle from the deck...  

We turned toward Topsail Beach and chatted as we paddled along...

Julie had a time constraint this afternoon and so when we figured we had gone far enough we turned and started paddling back... 

In no time at all we spotted Tony coming our way.  He had a class today and knew we were paddling.  He decided to get on the water after his class, expecting to meet us along the way...

I took another couple short video clips as we paddled back to the cove...



When we arrived at St. Philips Tony decided his paddle was just too short and he would carry on up to Portugal Cove... You can see the rest of his paddle on his bog entry if you click here.

Julie and I packed up our gear and headed for home... 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

2014: Post 36 – November Paddle

It's been three weeks since I have paddled... unless I count the times I have been paddling in my mind...

Today Brian, Neville, Hazen, and I meet at St. Philips and paddled up to Portugal Cove for our first paddle of November. We had some wind, rain, swell and clapitus; we even had a flash of lightning and a clap of thunder on the way back.

Pics to share...

Hazen and Neville




When we arrived in Portugal Cove, Brian pulled out a little emergency shelter.  It was a bit of a dreary day so he figured it was a good time to try it.  The four of us were able to fit under it although I think it was meant for two people. In no time at all you could feel the heat building up under it...  


Back at St. Philips the sun peaked out for just a little while as we packed up the kayaks...