Archive for June, 2010

Ready to Roll!

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Yep, I am tired of packing – and ready to begin the  journey.  I’ll be leaving in a couple minutes – to drive nearly 1700 miles to Sydney, Nova Scotia, where Carl and I will take the ferry to Channel Port Aux Basques, Newfoundland on Saturday.

I’m hoping the car is trim and the ride is smooth – I have no doubt the paddling will be grand!


The Wait

Monday, June 28th, 2010

Nancy with her car, her kayak and Carl's kayak

There comes a point on every big trip that you just want to get going. You are done with all the preparations, emotionally ready to go and it just boils down to a matter of time before you start paddling. Kinda like studying for a test. That period of time is a killer, filled with questions like: Am I forgetting anything? What are the conditions going to be like? Am I really ready?

The only salve for this burning is paddling – loading the boats and putting that first paddle blade in the water.

To the right you can see Nancy is smiling and looking ready to go.

Well, Nancy is almost ready to drive away. She is doing last minute pick up of items such as a new hydration pack and stopping by a friends to pick up her ipod now loaded with audiobooks. The big items such as reservations, food, maps & charts, gear and packing drybags have been completed.

Now you probably have noted I said almost. Below is a photo that better describes Nancy around 5pm on monday (today).

Nancy packing her car

Nancy Packing her car.

You can see Nancy is packing her car. Not a problem right? Well two sea kayaks along with gear and food for 28 days takes up an impressive amount of space. Put together, it also weighs quite a bit. Fortunately the kayaks go on the roof but that still means there is the issue of packing all that gear and food inside the car.

A concern when packing a kayak is trim. This term refers to how the weight is distributed around the kayak.

I showed up to say goodbye and wish her a good trip. She turned around and said ‘Will you ride with me? I want to take the car out for a test drive now that it is loaded. ‘ Apparently there were some sounds like a tire rubbing earlier. Driving around, nothing – high speed, low speed, turns, bumps all made no sound. Nancy looked more relaxed until we started going uphill and we both heard the sound coming from the left rear. Nancy suddenly didn’t look relaxed.

She didn’t pay attention to my saying ‘Don’t worry about it. We are 600′ above sea level and it is all downhill to the ferry terminal from here.’

Further investigation found all the heavy items were packed in her trunk and more on the left side than the right. Moving stuff around made the car level and caused the sound to go away as well.

The photo is from the repacking. This time Nancy is taking trim into account when packing her car.

Of course there will be concern again in Newfoundland with trim. But then, the wait will be over.


Final Details…

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

Spent the day up at Bay Cliff Health Camp – helping  Sam with the kayak program up there.  It was good to be up at camp, and see some of the kids.  Even better to see the progress some of the kids have made over the years – becoming  more confident in the water – in and out of the kayak, and in the in between stages of a wet exit.  The bravery and determination of some of those kids never ceases to amaze me!  Had one pool session, and one lake session.  Second lake session got canceled due to thunder.  We hung out under a shelter – with most people playing in the rain… until 20 minutes from the last rumble.  Scrambled to get  everyone out on the water for a brief paddle – and then got another rumble, so were  grounded, and out of time.  Too bad – it cleared up within the 1/2 hour.  But, fun was had by all, which is the most important thing!

Carl drove up yesterday from Lake Orion with his  boat and gear.  Finally got to talk in person!   Spent a couple hours chatting about maps and tides and boats and gear and ferries and other details.  Then he turned and drove right back home.

I am doing  last minute chores – will pack my boat one more time tomorrow, then pack the car.  Am organizing things for my house sitters – trying to leave the house in respectable condition so it is in the same condition when I return.

Found another piece of faulty equipment today – my hydration pack is leaking – a slow, insidious leak, but a  leak none-the less.  I guess it’s good to get all this  done now instead of a week from now!

Installed the  under deck bag yesterday, and all went smoothly with the correct glue.  Tried it out today.  No  problem with wet exits or re-entry and roll.  It is noticeable, and I will need to take care with and assisted re-entry, when my  body twists getting in.  But,  I don’t plan to do any wet exits or need a rescue!

Just over 24 hours before the first leg of the journey – the drive to Syndey, Nova Scotia, begins!

Where in the world are Nancy and Carl?

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

Hi there! Mike here. I’m taking the SKS blog for a test drive. I’ll be keeping you updated on the progress of our intrepid paddlers, Nancy Uschold and Carl Mather as they navigate the spectacular waters of the south coast of Newfoundland. Stay tuned.

Getting ready…..

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

I have to say, getting ready for a trip like Carl and I are planning to Newfoundland is as much of an adventure as the trip itself!  With a bit more hair pulling along the way, and, as of  yet, no reward – but that will come soon.

Seems the planning has been frought with unforseen complications.  At least from my side.  Here is a summary of recent weeks..

MAPS and CHARTS: This was a many months frustration.  Poor software for digital maps, so futzed with that a bit.  And, lots of literal (scissors and tape) cutting and pasting.  Carl (who is quite good with computers – compared to my technogrouch tendancies) gave up on the  digital charts he had bought and ordered the data card for his GPS.  I bought paper ones – but had a heck of a time finding an index of Canadian Charts.  Spent many hours researching that.  Finally, all of the charts have arrived and maps are laminated.  Whew!

GEAR:  More of mine needed replacing than anticipated.  Bought a couple dry bags.  Made a couple and repaired a couple.  Ordered a new, slightly bigger tent – not available.  Ordered another – but it was a bigger than I  wanted.  Finally came to like it – but then it leaked.  So, decided to return it and stick with the current one!

Sam gave me a North Water under deck bag – yippee!  More space.  Looks kinda funny in the picture…. like something from another planet.  Glued it in a couple weeks ago.  Found out yesterday it was the wrong glue and it fell out.  Spent a couple hours on the phone and in hardware stores – and had to order it by mail!

FERRIES: Carl called earlier this week to confirm our reservation, and ask questions about loading the kayaks and baggage.  And was told we couldn’t take kayaks – unless they were on top of a car, or crated.  He made several calls, then I made one.  Had found my notes from January when I was told taking the boats would be no problem.  After going up the chain of command, a senior administrator called me back.  We can take the kayaks.  They will provide pallet and straps.  We are responsible for loading and tying down.  And, they assume no responsibility for damage.  We can live with that!

In the process of looking for back up plans using the provincial intracoastal ferry, I  came across this link.  Some controversy as to whether this is the ferry we will be taking.  Sure hope they cancel in such weather.  I will be sick as a dog – and wouldn’t have much hope for the kayaks.  I figure pallets will be rolling.  Click to see  Ferry in Massive Waves.