Archive for April, 2010

Photos From a Days Paddle

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

The Eagles nest on Partridge Island.

A close up, note the perched Eagle and yes, that is a white head sticking up out of the nest! I think that nest must be 3 stories tall now. :)

A close up of Larus Island.

Vultures near Partridge. What is a flock of Vultures called? For some reason Wall Street Bankers comes to mind… ūüėČ

Close up of the ten bankers, oh I mean Vultures. :)

A sure sign of spring, Aspen blooming on Partridge Island

A sure sign of spring in the UP. Same Aspen and yes that white stuff is ice!

To see the photos in full resolution, click here to be taken to the first photo in this series.



Tuesday, April 27th, 2010
Pirouette in the surf

A frame captured from a video of a pirouette in the surf

I found an old video and managed to upload part of it. It is of a pirouette I did in the surf from a long time ago. Click here to watch the video, it is about 6 MB.


What a beat boat!

Monday, April 26th, 2010
Click to go to rock hopping video

Scene from rock hopping video

That’s what people say as they question why our boats are all scratched up. Our friend Jukka found out the reason for all the scratches after we ran into him on a paddle around Grand Island. Simple put, Nancy and I paddle in the rocks. Jukka, after 15+ years paddling his boat, hadn’t put a scratch into it. But he scratched his boat that day, many times.

Paddling in the rocks is just plain fun and challenging, especially on those days where the waves aren’t big enough to surf. It forces one to have good boat control, I know I have developed better draws. You also understand waves a lot better, especially what a breaking or reflecting wave is going to do to your course and what can be done to counter act it.

And you do scratch your boat. How many holes you ask? For me there have been 2 or 3 along with several serious gel coat cracks and numerous deep gouges. Fiberglass boats are tougher than many think and easy to repair.

Click here to see a video from paddling a week ago in the rocks. Warning, it is 16 MB in size but does have close to 3 minutes of gel coat crunching goodness set to music. Enjoy!


First Kayak Trip of 2010 Along North Shore

Sunday, April 18th, 2010
Conor Mihell doing an ender at Naturally Superior 2005 Wawa Surf Fest

Well… While we have been dreaming, planning and getting our first paddles in for the season, a friend Conor has been out doing some serious paddling. Click here to read a trip report on what is no doubt the first trip of the season along the Pukaskwa coast from Marathon to Wawa, ONT. Conor also did an overnight trip during the winter from Old Woman Bay to Wawa.

Just who is this person Conor? Click here to check out his website.


Instant Cereal

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

What, you might ask, does instant cereal have to do with a kayak blog?¬† Everything, when you are on an expedition, needing to get an early start for optimal weather / tide conditions and needing a hearty breakfast with minimal time prep.¬† After going gluten free several years ago, quick breakfasts and some carbs at lunch to spread PB and J on or pair up with some cheese have been my biggest challenge.¬† I’ve tried a few things… and am still tweaking and optimizing.

Aunt Nancy's "Oatmeal"

I had a brainstorm this week after reading the ingredient list on the GF instant cereal I recently found.¬† It had rolled oats (for oats to be gluten free they must be specially grown and processed to avoid contamination) and multiple other grains, mostly listed as “flours”.¬† In general, the smaller the grain is cut, the more “instant” it becomes.¬† So..why not take the cereals I enjoy at home, grind them up¬† into smaller pieces and see if they cook up quickly, and are edible (of utmost importance!)¬† An easy task with a coffee grinder or a food processor.¬† I used the former, which never grinds coffee and frequently grinds spices.

Instant Oatmeal - didn't try it yet!

This morning I tried Bob’s Red Mill Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal.¬† By the way, couldn’t they come up with a better name?¬† Several years ago, before gluten free oats were available, my niece dubbed it “Aunt Nancy’s Oatmeal”.¬† May not work for marketing, but that’s what it is called in my sister’s house – and the kids request it frequently.¬† But, I digress…¬† it worked out great!¬† Cooked up in about 1 minute – after boiling the water – versus 10.¬† Add some nuts, dried fruits, spices and a little sweetener and it was mighty tasty.¬† Maybe Bob is onto something.¬† I also put some gluten free oats in the grinder and will try them soon to see how they taste.

April Surf Session

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

On the south shore of Lake Superior, it is the shoulder seasons that produce surf. Often in spring numerous paddles are in 3+’ waves. This season is proving different in two ways. One – we’ve had little surf. Two – it seems we are ahead of the last 5+ springs by about a month. Last week however, we ended up with 3-6″ in town. Snow means north winds and north winds mean surf. With the ice out of Middle Bay, it was time to surf. The first session of the season.

This session I put a VIO POV camcorder on  my deck. Click on the photo to be taken to a video I put together from the session with some surf music. It is about 14MB. Enjoy.


Trail Food

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

Last Summer's Fruits

If you are wondering why I am suddenly posting blogs daily after a nearly 1 1/2 year hiatus, the answer is “spring break”.¬† I have a bit of time to do planning for my Newfoundland trip!¬† And,¬† thought continuing the blog I started in ’08 wouldn’t be all bad.

Trail food is a huge part of the prep for me with a 4 week trip.¬† Especially as I am on a special (gluten free) diet.¬† Makes it harder to buy pre-packaged meals, though it is getting easier all the time!¬† Regardless, I have always made the majority of my own food, using a dehydrator to dry the things I make and eat at home.¬† In recent years, as local food production has increased I’ve tried to buy more and more from the farmer’s market etc.

So… my food prep for this coming 2010 trip began in the summer of ’09 with fresh strawberries from the farmer’s market.¬† Sliced and dried and kept in the freezer to maintain freshness.¬† It continued with blackberries, fruit leathers, green peppers, lentil stew, chili and all sorts of stuff.¬† Essentially, whenever I cooked up a pot of something or other, I would put some in the dehydrator, then into storage.¬† But, I wasn’t keeping track of what I had already prepared!¬† Recently, I took a trip to the Keweenaw and stopped in at the coop.¬† I was excited to find some GF mac and cheese and couscous mixes.¬† Awesome!¬† I also found GF instant hot cereal as well as some other GF hot cereals (that aren’t instant, but can still work).¬† Felt like I hit the jackpot.

Taking Inventory

This week, I got all of the stuff I had prepared and bought in one place and took inventory. I figured I had about 1/2 my dinners or more- and was surprised to learn I had dried nearly 75% of what I needed.¬† With the new stuff I just bought at the coop, I have 25 of 28 meals.¬† In addition to 3 meals, I will need to dry some beans (white beans work best, and reconstitute easiest) and some veggies to add a bit more bulk and variety to the boxed meals, but that’s it.¬† I have lots of dried fruit and fruit leathers – more than enough to have some each day.

All in all, I was pleasantly surprised.¬† I don’t have to worry too much about food at this point – and can do it last minute if needed.¬† One less thing to worry about…


Gearing Up

Friday, April 9th, 2010

Today I bought a new sleeping pad and ordered a new tent from Down Wind Sports!!

Currently I have a Mountain Hardware Viperine 2 tent.  I bought it in 2007, when I was heading over to Ireland to join Sam on his expedition.  It is still in great condition, and held up well in the wind and rain.  However, I can just barely sit up in it, so it is not so pleasant to be holed up in during bad weather.  And when it is warm (which it never was in Ireland, and may not be in Newfoundland!) there is not any cross ventilation.

I figure if I am going to be living in it for 4 weeks, in a place with few trees and lots of exposure to wind, rain and sun, I wanted something a bit more comfortable to sit in if I have to hibernate for a few days.  Not to mention something with a bit of cross ventilation if it gets on the warm and sunny side.  I have decided on a Mountain Hardware Skyledge 2.

It is compact and light, has 2 doors, which provides ventilation and 2 vestibules.¬† It is 39 inches high – and roomier in general than my current tent.¬† Mountain Hardware tents come with an internal guy system to help “stormproof” them.¬† I don’t have it yet, and look forward to trying it out.

I have been using the¬† same basic 3/4 length thermarest for over 15 years.¬† Never had a hole or a problem.¬† But, my body has had some issues.¬† I am susceptible to nerve problems in my hands as well as a few other things here and there.¬† I find I sleep much better and have fewer symptoms with good padding under me.¬† So, it was time to look for something new.¬† There is a new style of ultralight air mattresses – which aren’t self inflating, but pack up super light.¬† I tried one at Down Wind today and decided to buy it.

The Thermarest NeoAir is a  luxurious 2 1/2 inches thick Рand lots smaller than my current mattress.  I look forward to trying that out as well.


Back on Track…

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

It has been a long time since I blogged Рwell over a year!  I confess I am, at times, a reluctant tech person and have been called a techno grouch.   Mostly, I would rather be doing something outside Рor reading a book or hanging  out with friends and some good food.  But, I do enjoy writing, when I find the time to do so.  As I am getting into full swing for my Newfie planning  I decided to write some things down.  Newfie 2008 was canceled and is being replaced by Newfie 2010 РYeah!

Carl Mather and I have been planning for several months now.  We go in bursts of planning, then hibernate for awhile.  As the weeks go by and July gets ever closer the planning becomes more earnest.

There are many times in the past months I have realized that canceling in 2008 was the best thing to happen to our trip.  We were not as well planned as we would have liked Рboth of us had too many things  going on in our personal lives.  We had 3 weeks planned, and realized 4 weeks would be better.  So, this time around we have 4 weeks allotted.  If the weather is OK, it will give us plenty of time to paddle from Port Aux Basques to Argentia.  Ferry to ferry.  It the weather is not so good, we have back up shuttle plans to get us to Argentia.  It is the Atlantic, after all, and who knows what storms could brew.  It is open ocean south to South America.  Parts of the coast have many islands for protection.  Other parts are unprotected.  We will be at the mercy of the weather.

That’s one of the things I love about paddling –¬† following the natural rhythms of the world – light and dark, tides and currents, wind and waves.¬† It is also one of the things that worries me about this trip… it is very exposed. Though, Carl has done equally exposed paddling in the Queen Charlotte Islands, as have I in Ireland.¬† We will prepare ourselves as best we can and carry on, with backup plans as needed!¬† It can’t storm every day.

The plan is to ferry from Sydney, Nova Scotia to Port Aux Basques, Newfoundland on July 3rd and begin paddling the 4th.  We will take the ferry back from Argentia to Sydney on the 31st Рwith 4 glorious weeks in between!  Barry Poole will be joining us from Borgeo to Hermitage  (or that general vicinity) which is supposed to be the most scenic Рand remote Рportion of the trip.

I hope to make more entries as the planning goes along.  You can check out previous blogs categorized under Newfoundland to get a wee bit of info on and a couple links to Newfoundland sites


Signs of Spring

Sunday, April 4th, 2010

First launch from the beach on Middle Bay

This weekend saw two significant ice events. First, the ice foot opened up at Middle Bay so one can launch from the beach there. Second, the inland lakes opened up. Warm temps and high winds from the south melted and mashed up any ice that had survived the spring till now.

Up until now the winds have been slight and the weather stable, unusual for the time of year. This week there has been strong winds and this weekend there were very noticeable seiches occurring due to the winds or fast moving pressure systems.

Also noticed that the gulls appear to have started their nesting season. They are not aggressively protecting their nest sites yet, but there are numerous birds laying on the rocks while the majority are standing about.

All good signs of spring and more good paddling weather to come.