One man's rush to jump on the kayaking bandwagon

Attack of the Killer Coast Guard

Heath decided it would be cool to get little Christmas trees for our kayaks. Ok, I'll admit it, it is kind of cool. All the boats were coming in for the Floatilla and we got a lot of comments. A few people even took our picture.
My kayak got its first war wound today. While we were coming back under the draw bridge, a boat came by and its wake spun the nose of my boat right into the barnacle covered concrete wall. Ironically, the boat that was significantly violating the no wake zone was a Coast Guard boat. The boat is fine. It just has a bit of a plastic 5 o'clock shadow now.
Floatilla fireworks
Floatilla fireworks
tags: coastal

November 25, 2006

Morning Outing

This morning's trip was an example of why maps are important. I got lost. Not too lost, but enough to be irritating. To make it worse, had I know who close I was to there I wanted to be, I would not have turned around when I did.
I wanted to paddle over to Masonborro island and go for a walk. I thought the sand bar was on the intercoastal side, but it obviously wasn't. Had I had a map, I would have know that I was fairly close to the cut-through. Instead, I turned around and headed back up the intercoastal against the current.
While it didn't go as planned, I still had a great time. Luckily I didn't have anyone else with me to share in my lack of poor planning.
tags: coastal

November 25, 2006

Quick Sprint

I only had a couple of hours, but I just had to get in a quick paddle. I headed right into a 10-15kt wind and into the outgoing tide for the first 20 minutes or so. It wasn't easy, but it was a good workout. Since I was alone, I was able to keep the pace up for the entire trip. Even when the wind and current was going my way, I kept paddling.
My new MantaRay paddle is great. I went with a 240 and it may be too long.
Today might have been a good day to have a rudder. According to what I've read, since my boat is prone to weathercocking, it would have helped me stay out of the main channel. Who knows. I still think rudders are just dead weight. Maybe a skeg would work for me.
Evening rec kayak
Evening rec kayak
tags: coastal

November 24, 2006

New Paddle

I picked up an Aqua-Bound MantaRay today from REI. Why this one? It was something completely different.
tags: gear

November 20, 2006

Paddling off Wrightsville Beach

We left around 10:00 AM and began with a photo shoot. Heath and I donned our Santa hats and posed for a few photos. If they turn out, we'll use them for our Christmas cards. Jean then joined us and we headed out.
Its official. I need a new paddle. My paddle just doesn't work for me. Its heavy, flutters, and wants to torque unless I hold it tightly. I'm not sure what I'll get, but it will likely be carbon with a more symmetrical blade.
The plan was to go out again this morning, but we woke up to 25-35mph winds. If we had gone out, it would have been a short trip. Both Heath and I were fairly sore from yesterday's paddle. Its a lot harder to wind through the marsh than go in a straight line on the lake.
Sunset over the channel
Sunset over the channel
tags: coastal

November 11, 2006

Paddling on Falls Lake

Boat ramps scare me. I could describe a scene where I dodge drunken rednecks who drag race up the ramp, their bass boats in tow, but that's not really how it is. Most people at the boat ramp just seem nervous and embarrassed. You can't exactly practice pulling a bout out of water in the privacy of your own home. Most spin their wheels on the oil and fuel soaked ramps and figure it all out while other boat owners watch and wait. When I figure out some way to remember to get all my kayaking gear from my car before I get my boat in the water, I'll think about coming up with some redneck jokes. That said, boat ramps still scare me.
We had no intention of going as far as we did, but it was our first trip up the lake, and we just needed to see what was around the next bend.
Looks like I'll be in the market for a new paddle pretty soon. My Werner Skagit just doesn't feel right to me.
Today was the first day using my new GPS tracking software. After a couple of false starts writing my own, I found Cetus GPS. It doesn't have mapping (or even real time track visualization), but it does the job. Its trivial to convert the track files to GPX format and then upload it to GPS Visualizer.
tags: lake

November 05, 2006