One man's rush to jump on the kayaking bandwagon

While searching for wave and current forecasts, I stumbled While obviously targeting surfers, it's the same water. Even if you don't happen to paddle near a reporting location, the information provided is still useful. For each reporting location, it has surf forecasts, with swell and period animations, wind forecasts, tide data and sunrise and sunset times. The information is detailed and from what I've seen, quite accurate.

December 30, 2007

18 wheeler 1, kayaks 0

Heath's parents were recently in an accident. They are fine, but their car and their kayaks weren't so lucky. The Thule j-hooks were bent beyond recognition.
A Dirigo and a Pungo
A Dirigo and a Pungo
Tie-down rope cutting into the Dirigo
Tie-down rope cutting into the Dirigo

December 30, 2007

It's a nice day?

Heath got me up this morning saying "It's a nice day. Get out of bed and go paddling."
The temperature was above 70 degrees and there was a warm wind blowing from the south. I headed off towards Masonborro inlet and the turned west to the intercoastal. At that point, the wind really picked up. I decided to explore a couple of the man-made inlets. You'd think that kayaks are common enough these days, but I got quite a few odd looks from guys working on their boats. As I was heading east back towards the island, the wind really started blowing. The sound went from being glassy smooth to 2 foot breakers. As I turned south, I had trouble making any forward progress, but I still had a lot of fun.
As I was carrying my boat back to the house, I thought it felt a little heavier than normal. There was about 2 cups of water in the forward hold. I'm hoping I didn't have the hatch on tightly. I'm hoping to get in some pool time over the next couple of weeks. If it's something else, I'll find out then.
tags: coastal

December 29, 2007

Mini tide race

I went out this morning with the intention of heading out into Masonborro Inlet to find some waves. As I rounded the south end of Wrightsville Beach, the wind really picked up. The wind was out of the north and the tide was going out. This resulted in quite a bit of rough water. I played around a while in the chop, practicing turning, surfing, and just getting more comfortable in rough conditions. While I was out, the wind really picked up and I watched the inlet turn into something that was intense.
Location of the standing wave and the eddies
Location of the standing wave and the eddies
When the tide is going out, the current in the inlet runs around 2 knots. There seems to always be a small standing wave right at the south tip of the island. As the wind really picked up, I noticed a fairly large wave moving very slowly up the inlet. I paddled up and over the crest and surfed down the front of the wave. I let the current carry me back up into the wave a few times and then decided to head back out in the inlet. It was then that I noted the whirlpool.
It was around 12 feet across and about 18 inches deep. I watched it move around as the standing wave slowly moved further up the inlet. I then headed back out into the inlet. Coming back in, just as I approached the backside of the standing wave , I unexpectedly hit a strong cross current that shot me sideways across the inlet. I paddled through it and decided to call it a day.
tags: coastal

December 28, 2007

Sanoodi and EveryTrail

Sanoodi is a site for sharing GPS tracks. It's a great idea, but it seems fairly buggy. It relies on Google Maps for everything and therefore has all the limitations of Google Maps (lot's of time spent watching the spinning beach ball). I also just don't understand the need for the obligatory Flickr integration. Why can't I turn this off? Why can't I make my tracks private? It also seems to have some IE specific functionality. Overall, it just doesn't feel finished.
EveryTrail is a more polished version of Sanoodi. Tracks can be made private and I don't have to look at other people's random Flickr photos.
Both sites lack the ability to simplify GPS tracks by limiting the number of points. Adding this as part of the upload process would significantly improve the perceived responsiveness of the sites as the maps would render much faster. I was also not impressed with the search functionality of either site.
Although, I might just be overly critical since I've thought about making a site like this myself. :-) I think I'll stick to using for now.
tags: software

December 27, 2007

North end of the island

I put in at the north end of the island with the intent of paddling around the ocean side of the island and coming back in Masonborro inlet. Many of the put in locations at the north end are not usable at low tide unless you like dragging your kayak across mud flats and oyster beds. Even though it was only an hour after high tide, the "channel" out to the north inlet was still less than 8 inches deep in some areas.
As I rounded the north end of the island and headed out Mason inlet, there didn't appear to be an inlet. I was looking at a solid wall of 6 foot waves breaking over a shallow sand bar. The waves along the beach looked smaller and it looked like if I paddled parallel to the beach for a hundred yards or so and then turn out into the ocean, all I had to deal with were a few 2-3 foot waves. If the water was warmer, I would have gone for it. But, I turned around and headed back towards the intercoastal.
Both inlets open at the same time.  The old inlet is on the left and the new inlet on the right
Both inlets open at the same time. The old inlet is on the left and the new inlet on the right
Later in the afternoon, I walked out the the end of the island to get a better look. At low tide, it's obvious where the bar was. The waves were also much smaller and manageable. I blame myself first and Google second for not looking into this before heading out. I knew that Mason inlet was recently moved, but I had no idea that Google map data was that old.
tags: coastal

December 27, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Woohoo! More kayak porn for Christmas. The third installment is the best so far. Each volume includes more story than the previous volume. If there's one thing I'd like to see in volume four, it's more time spent on the people. I'm interested in hearing how all of these people have the time to go on these expeditions and seemingly travel all of the time.

December 26, 2007

Need a new GPS

I need a new GPS. My current set up of a bluetooth GPS and Cetus GPS running on my Treo is too clunky.
I'm interested in something that's waterproof and can record tracks on a removable memory card. Mapping would be nice, but it's not a requirement. The obvious choice is a Garmin GPSMAP 76, but the large size, questionable GPS sensitivity, and pathetic battery life are significant negatives. My current set up has great battery life and has the added advantage of being able to run TomTom, but I can't really use it while I'm on the water. The buttons are too small and the touch screen just doesn't work with with my gloves on. I could use the stylus, but that requires two hands.
While I don't have any nautical mapping software, my Treo does run GoogleMaps. A satellite image does just as good a job at telling me what's around the corner as a map. The only downside is that I need cell reception, but this hasn't been a problem so far.
Overall, I'm just not impressed with the GPS's available today. If anyone has any suggestions, feel free to send me a note.
tags: gear

December 10, 2007

Get out and stay out!

Heath and I headed down to the beach this weekend for a baby shower. That meant that I had to stay out of the house. Fine with me. I went out early and spent a couple of hours paddling against the wind and current. After crashing the party for some lunch, I headed back out and still managed to fight the wind and current the entire way. Overall, a great day on the water.
tags: coastal

December 02, 2007