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Sunday, November 30, 2008


 Tony you probably got to see your Denver Broncos when we got back and I got to see the the Pittsburgh Steelers but missed the New York Giants. Broncos fared not bad at all today. Was hopin' for a loss for Indy though. Anyways smiling on the water only means one thing........kayaking really does rock, especially on days when ya know you can go home, have a hot shower and watch some Sunday football and dine on wings with hot sauce. Phewwww Sundays....have to prepare for students at work tomorrow though, guess it can't be all play.
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"Chasin'-Tony and A Head Wind"

Today we just paddled for fun and exercise in windy conditions and rough waters. It seems for me no matter how many times we subject ourselves to this, there is always improvements to be had in my strokes and technique and I guess that's what paddling in different conditions is all about. Improving, modifying, changing or tweaking all going on in splits of seconds. The water is definitely getting colder now and with the wind evaporating even faster the water on exposed skin, there is a chill. A few rolls at the end of our paddle though reaffirmed any notion we may have had that the water wasn't getting any colder. Keeping the 1-10-1 theory of hypothermia in mind we submerged ourselves and I think Tony might be growing gills at this There has been discussion on our newsgroup about hypothermia, gasp reflex, testing drysuits etc. I guess if you are gonna paddle in the stuff ya might as well get a feel for what it will be like if dunked......for any length of time!
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"Trough Diving"

 Tony and I did lots of this today in St. Philips as what seems to be a continuation of Sunday paddles well into the season. The winds were about 25kn gusting to 30. Headway was a bit limited but possible and we were just messin' around in the cove at anyrate coming out around the point and surfing back end. Getting close to the end of our session the wind waves and swell created to give us some fun rides. Great paddling again with ya buddy!
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"Year Review"

So many pictures, so little space. Just a super paddling year and next year can only be better.
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Thursday, November 27, 2008

"Canadian Coast Guard, St. John's Newfoundland"

Well what respect you have to have for the Coast Guard that monitor our coastlines and assist in rescues. I shot this vessel leaving St. John's harbour. I just completed my VHF course and now am legally able to operate one. During the course however we were taken on a tour of the Coast Guard command and rescue center which is housed above in the building the course was in. We were treated to a Mayday scenario and saw first hand the station implications and how it would unfold to CG personnel. I must say this was a very interesting tour. They are tracking boats wanting access to Canadian waters around the world not to mention local traffic and such. Monitors, radios, satellites communications, real time everything, weather reports, waiting transmissions and much more going on in such a calm organized fashion. A marine information junkie's dream come true. Well worth the course in itself.

I also learned today from another student of the course, about the extreme toxicity of the waters inside and outside the harbour of St. John's. Himself being involved with sampling, etc. He was asking me if I was afraid of the water. I responded that we practise for some conditions and mostly rely on our awareness of skill levels and kayaking experience to guide us and make appropriate decisions. Not what he was talking about. He was asking if i would be afraid to be in the toxic water. There is a bubble inside the harbour of St. John's where untreated waste has been bubbling for years. They have since built a treatment facility that is not in operation quite yet, so the flow continues unabated. Now this may sound ludicrous in this day and age but Victoria in Beautiful British Columbia had a very similar situation years ago which I think they fixed as well but I am not totally sure on that one. Joe, I will call him as I forget his real name, proceeded to tell me about this huge ball of mercury that exists off one of the Coves on the way to Cape Spear and other foul human waste as well which made me think more about what would be the effects of immersion for any length of time in those waters. Awaiting rescue from the coast guard and hypothermia may well be the last thing to worry about. AT any rate he definitely did not make light of the situation but I guess, even though I knew about the harmful harbour bubble, that somehow the dilution factor of the outside ocean would dissipate .........the toxins....none-da! Those are known toxic waters to most but we as a club rarely if ever make reference to the foul conditions that exist in that vicinity and really do we actually know how far that vicinity actually goes and is it a vicinity or a huge friggin' area? As boaters (kayakers 3 feet above the water) are there things we should know? I know there are things I like to know now. Well the hazards to navigation has just increased in this area for me and to think that so many whales and other fish swim out of there and that I was actually going to participate in the food fishery about less than a mile away yet I know people have. WOW!
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Sunday, November 23, 2008


 There was nothing but confused waters on our paddle in ST. Philips today with a bit of swell. Paddling to Topsail Beach we had a moderate head wind with lots of lop and confused waters as the tide was changing. Coming back we were in following seas and made good time. 40 Min's back from Topsail but an hour and fifteen minutes to get there. On the way there however we had beam and quartering seas, such as this one that well almost caught me off gaurd. The neat thing about it though is that you can see reflections os my yellow boat in parts of the wave about to break. Maybe I'm just reading too much into the wave. lol
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"The Lighthouse House"

 A paddle from St. Philips to Topsail with Tony today took us past this interesting house. Not sure if there is a working light there though. Something I am sure the neighbors may not be interested in, having a light bounce off their windows. I am sure however that the lighthouse turret is probably a sun room with a most amazing view of Conception Bay, Newfoundland. Another short paddle for a bit of exercise and in noticeably colder waters. Had to have pogies on all the way and hands were cold tying up the boats once we landed. Thanks for a great paddle Tony and always good to shoot the $%#@ afterwards.
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Saturday, November 22, 2008

"In 1492, He Sailed The...."

 I just bought a compass from Above and Beyond in Cramlington the UK. It is the Silva Adventure 58 Kayak compass. One I hope to use on my new boat when I get it. I have an older Silva that I added a mini cell foam base to to raise it on my deck so I can see it better. It is big and bulky though but easy to see further down the deck of the kayak, which leaves room for me to attach a deck bag and still make my compass visible. I know, I know, so many hate deck bags and cluttered decks. Well I hate cluttered decks but I've always paddled with a deck bag. This post isn't even about deck bags.

It is about exploration I guess. The stein in the picture is a collage of Christopher Columbus and nautical scenes. I bought it years ago but it always serves to remind of the great adventure there is to be had in ones life. One simply has to have a vehicle sometimes to find that adventure and explore it. My vehicle to most adventure but not all is my kayak. I look at the instruments we have today to guide us and still find it amazing how the most basic piece of equipment for navigation on land, sea and air, is still the compass. It is sometimes tough to encourage your mind in severe conditions to trust your compass, especially when there is zero visibility around you, but it always amazes me of the simplicity and accuracy of how it works. If every piece of gear or equipment that we have or use could be so reliable, consistently! Of course proper use and knowledge of a compass and the various kinds and uses must first be obtained but once you do, there is no where you cannot go........knowledgeably.
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Friday, November 21, 2008

"Paddling In The Rain"

 I guess paddling in the rain is not for everyone. After all you may already be sitting in a pool of water in your kayak seat, hopefully from the water you are paddling in ;).

Kayaking is a water sport and I believe I consider that from above and below. Of course the proper gear keeps one dry and comfortable most times, even in torrential down pours. I find it kind of fun actually knowing that all my gear is water tight and secure. My map case is sealed and secure, no water sneaking in to ruin the maps, my head is dry, and so is the rest of my body. Still some just don't like being out in those kind of elements. I find it actually therapeutic and kind of neat watching it pit the water's surface as it falls from the sky. The only issue I guess is if you stop for a break you can feel the coolness of the rain and its wetness being idle. At any rate paddling to me in the rain is as good as singing in the rain I guess and if you can do both then perhaps you really are in the right place in time.
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Thursday, November 20, 2008

"A Boat Color In A "Round-A-Bout" Way"

Wikipedia States:Color or colour[1] is the visual perceptual property corresponding in humans to the categories called red, yellow, blue and others. Color derives from the spectrum of light (distribution of light energy versus wavelength) interacting in the eye with the spectral sensitivities of the light receptors. Color categories and physical specifications of color are also associated with objects, materials, light sources, etc., based on their physical properties such as light absorption, reflection, or emission spectra.
Typically, only features of the composition of light that are detectable by humans (wavelength spectrum from 380 nm to 740 nm, roughly) are included, thereby objectively relating the psychological phenomenon of color to its physical specification. Because perception of color stems from the varying sensitivity of different types of cone cells in the retina to different parts of the spectrum, colors may be defined and quantified by the degree to which they stimulate these cells. These physical or physiological quantifications of color, however, do not fully explain the psychophysical perception of color appearance.
The science of color is sometimes called chromatics. It includes the perception of color by the human eye and brain, the origin of color in materials, color theory in art, and the physics of electromagnetic radiation in the visible range (that is, what we commonly refer to simply as light).

So this was my experiment, to produce a nice cobalt blue color, using electromagnetic radiation in the non-visible range (xrays) to produce light in the visible range of 420 nm, that would be a nice kayak deck color, using x-rays and a crystal from a gamma camera. What is known is that a crystal from a Gamma Camera in Nuclear Medicine is made of sodium iodide with Thallium as an activator. If radiation interacts in the crystal it produces light. Blue light actually in the 420 nm range. Is it a nice blue? Well I wanted to find out. I took a crystal from a gamma camera that wasn't being used any longer and took it over to xray to get some xrays shot at it and then photograph the light given off with my camera. What we did was take the crystal to xray and position it on the xray table and took sequential pictures with my camera ta various Kvp settings on the xray machine. We used 4 Kvp settings represented by 2 of the pictures above. The xray room was made totally dark. I stood above the crystal as the xrays were fired at the Sodium Iodide crystal (from Nuc Med) and timed the shot using my Olympus Digital camera based on the techs signal to start. Once the xrays hit the sodium iodide crystal they would absorb the xray energy and convert that energy to light energy in the 420 nm range which shows up to the human eye in the visible spectrum as cobalt blue light which I recorded with my digital camera and which images are represented above and voila a nice "cobalt blue" color for the deck of a kayak. I know I like the color.

Monday, November 17, 2008

"Ocean Paddler"

 Malcolm is definitely one of NL's frequent ocean paddlers, in all conditions. A fairly benign day for him no doubt. He also loves the Greenland paddle and he makes it seem that it was made for the Nordkapp where of course some of the Nordkapp's ancestry must lie.
This was a shot from our paddle in South Brigus on Saturday.
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Saturday, November 15, 2008

"Nordkapp Day"

 A beautiful boat, a beautiful day.
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"Making Way"

 Malcolm getting up to speed today as we embark on a sweet paddle in Brigus South, Newfoundland. A couple of Nordkapps and A Locksha 4 and we were off. No rain today but it was threatening. The water is still amazingly not too bad temp wise, about 6 degrees or so.
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"Brigus Head Bound"

 Another Nordkapp adventure and trial today as Tony, Malcolm and I set fourth for a paddle out of Brigus to try out a couple of Nordkapps. Good weather conditions for these boats. We were anxious to get on the water and head out of the harbour to the guts of the ocean outside.
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 There is nothing like paddling a brand new boat. Malcolm involved me in a trail today of his two Nordkapps. The LV is his newest and we put them both thru a battery of tests in what I think were proper conditions for testing a Nordkapp. Lots of swell, wind waves, wind and protected and unprotected waters, quartering seas, following seas and beam seas. Tony and Malcolm and I paddled for about 3 or so hours today outside Brigus South Harbour on the Southern Part of The Avalon Peninsula today. A great paddle with a great bunch of kayakers.
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 The new Nordkapp LV looking fine below water as much as it does above water. I was lucky to get to try Malcolm's Nordkapp LV, the newest of his arsenal, but I found I was not outfitted for the seat properly. Though we compared the Nordkapp and the Nordkapp LV today both on and off the water I believe our conclusion was that a lot of the differences were somewhat subtle. Personally I liked the Nordkapp better because I found that for me it handles much nicer, for some reason I felt more bounced around in the LV but again this was probably the seating. The boat did not come with the seating ordered but with some kind of fabric seat that had no side to it so my hips felt kinda loose. Otherwise still a wicked boat.
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"The Atlantic Ocean, Newfoundland"

 Sometimes ya just raft up for break and to plot the next course.
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 Well was paddling today in 15-25 knot winds not so bad really in the Nordkapp but have you ever tried it with a third hatch full of water? I did. Not purposely I might add. After lunch on the beach we shoved off again for a warmer up paddle out around the headland of Brigus again. I really didn't notice any thing unusual until Tony and Malcolm rafted up next to me on the way in the harbour and alerted me to an open third hatch. Nothing had been in the hatch as it was removed during lunch...but not sealed obviously. The boat however was not unstable as you might expect and as Malcolm suggested is probably because it was full. I don't really recommend this and we did paddle to inside the harbour to rectify the situation, but now I know I can. LOL. Luckily also the hatch cover was tethered. I was paddling in pretty rough waters for about 15-20 minutes while this was open. Another kayaking tale for sure.
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"Nordkapp Attraction"

 I've paddled the Nordkapp again thanks again to Malcolm. I can't say enough about this boat and glad I've made it my choice of a new boat. Nice conditions in Brigus South today,Newfoundland.
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Friday, November 14, 2008


I saw a program last evening on plastic recycling and how it is polluting our oceans and waterways. They calculated that all the boats commercial and fishing, in the world, would not be able to accommodate the waste in the ocean. There are just not enough to make a clean-up feasible. California has an excellent project on the go whereby they filter their waste water and get an amazing amount of recyclable tonnage of plastic a year. One of the major chemical processors in the USA states that the solution is to control it at the source, that is plastic production. I think I agree with this. Make refundable or at least disposable depots available for reclaiming the waste may be one way to capture the plastic. Finding other biodegradable containers may be the other.

At any rate you see lots of plastic on the waters that you kayak in, certainly in Newfoundland you do. Partially from very bad garbage mentality and not recycling and partially by virtue of the fact that we live on an Island and are predisposed to the waste of the oceanic world. Either way plastic is so unnatural when you see it in a paddling perspective.

There are times though when you see the remnants of just a fish, a cod carcass made clean by gulls I'm sure after the food fishery here in Newfoundland. The great thing about seeing this waste is that ya just chuck it back in the water and let nature do it's thing. I just think we need to stop making plastic, it really is out of control.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

"So Long"

 Autumn is definitely one of my most favourite times of the year. The colors are vibrant the sun casts interesting shadows and the air is getting crisp with the soothing chill insulated with bulky sweaters and down vests where watering eyes and reddened cheeks are the scars of an Autumn outing. As I sit in the coolness of my Lear wearing a hoody with the hood up to keep in some warmth, I am reminded of two things, 1. winter is knocking on the door right now here in Newfoundland and 2. the thermostat is right beside it. That time of year again and it is hard to enjoy the dry indoor winter air when you are use to the sweet dampness of the kayak world. OK three things...when I did spell check which I rarely do, I discovered that "hoody" isn't in the spell check dictionary yet. Hmmmmm.....
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"Ya Gotta Love It !"

 If everyone kayaked, you wouldn't need wars, we'd all be too busy jerry-riggin' something or talking about kayaking if we weren't actively doing it. I've ben involved in other sports, basketball, fast-pitch, hockey, football even, of the flag variety, wally ball this is fun, Frisbee, golf, and racket ball but there is something obsessive about kayaking. Kind of like if you enter into the realm of it, you immediately activate a dormant gene or something and all these internal wheels and cogs Begin to align and spin and there ya are........yaked!
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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"Pouch Cove to Bauline, Newfoundland"

 The blue Chart data from an excellent paddle today.
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"Pouch Cove, Newfoundland"

 Tony and I were off for another adventure today. We decided to put-in at Pouch Cove and paddle to Bauline on the opposite side of the Avalon Peninsula today rounding Cape St. Francis in the process. It was very confused waters from Pouch all the way to Cape St. Francis but once we rounded the cape we were treated to some fine paddling into a light head wind that soon picked up intensity with gusts and persistent rain. Just the right conditions for an excellent day on the water. About an 18km paddle. I always like to do something on remembrance day to challenge myself, a bit of an offering of sorts and my way of remembering those who fell and those who did not. When I was a scout I used to lay a wreath for my grandfather but as I got older I settled for the privacy of my own way and my own thoughts.
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"Beating The Surf"

 We had timed when the surf came pounding in at our put-in spot today in Pouch Cove. They came in a pattern of fours huge crashes and the a lull of about 30 seconds, then four more crashes of thunderous surf. It was manageable and we got out unimpeded by the potential for catching a rogue crasher. A neat little seal launch off the dock sent you flying into the opening of the cove.
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"Bicayan Cove Approach"

 Just before you hit Cape St. Francis there is Biscayan Bay which was homesteaded years ago during the fishery I believe but now is an area for small "huts" and little cottages that enjoy the isolation of being tucked away from the mainstream of community life and the solace that comes with walks along the rugged coastline that is most of the landscape on the Avalon Peninsula.
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