Thursday, September 29, 2011

Look what glows on Maelstrom Sea Kayaks

I know that the decklines on our sea kayaks reflect light, and appear to glow for safety reasons, but I didn't know that the logos on the nose of the Maelstrom Vital 166, and Vaag 174 were reflective too. The flash on the camera just revealed that in a dark garage.

In the daylight, the logo text on the nose of the boats is black. 

The big "O" on the tail of Maelstrom Sea Kayaks is blue by day and reflective at night.
An added safety feature by Maelstr√∂mkayak to make us more visible out there when it gets dark.

Look at the difference from my yellow Boreal Baffin on the top rack. It doesn't have any reflective tape at the nose or tail. I think I may just add some. Something to think about.

And yes, fall also means time to clean up and reorganize the gear in the garage so the cars can squeeze back in this winter! The gear keeps taking over!

2012 Update: Maelstromkayak and Boreal Design are no longer manufacturing and distributing the Vital 166 or Vaag 174 sea kayaks. Boreal Design declared bankruptcy in 2012. The company was sold to another manufacturer along with the Vital and Vaag designs, which are no longer manufactured in Quebec or in Canada. Maelstromkayak has two new high-performance kayak models with new design features: the Forvag and Flod.

Happy paddles and discovering the features of your awesome boat!
The BaffinPaddler

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hey! What are you doing on my island!

Looks like the gatekeeper of this little island I stopped at during my fall Paddle to Yoga trails wants to collect a toll?

Or is he a reincarnated yoga instructor that doesn't like the look of some of my poses . . . ?
The weather in September in Canada's National Capital Region (Ottawa, Ontario, Gatineau, Quebec) and the 1000 Islands region on the St. Lawrence River has been exceptional. The fall colours are already in bloom. Let's hope October is even better.

I'm still out there paddling to yoga in destinations near and far and shopping for more good spots to practice, relax, or strike a pose.
Maelstrom Vital 166 on the Ottawa River, Quebec, Canada looking at a bumpy cement block.
Have you paddled to yoga yet?

It's awesome! With proper warm up and qualified instruction of course.
Happy paddle to yoga trails.
I hope you are enjoying a great fall.

The BaffinPaddler
Paddle to Yoga in the 1000 Islands Gananoque

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Stonington Stories: Fog!

Webb Cove fog
 On my recent trip to paddle the Atlantic Ocean from Stonington, Maine's Deer Isle Archipelago, I came back with a large volume of photographs that made me see the trip in a series of stories:
  • Fog
  • Lobster Boats
  • Guls
  • ThingFinders
  • Paddle Bloggers and Buddies
  • Granite
  • The Stonington Cat (This one was published while I was in Stonington and is one of my favorites.)
Here's Fog. It's a big one! 
I mean fog is a big and important topic, especially on the ocean and even more so when you are paddling around Maine with the large lobster industry out there.

The Maine Lobster Council has an excellent website for more information on just how big the lobster industry is, how it operates, when the harvest season is, and much more.

And guess what. You can wait for hours for the fog to clear and when it does, you think it's gone.
Turn your back for 30 minutes, and it has suddenly reappeared. "Say what?! I thought it was gone for the day!"
Maine fog is impressive! And it is no stranger around here. Conditions are ripe for it often enough. It may take you by surprise if you aren't used to paddling in areas known for it.

Fog forecasting is tricky. Fog is a pain. Fog can be beautiful, depending on your perspective. I prefer being on the mainland when it rolls in.
It suddenly made me understand why the dewpoint is important, besides a heavy dewpoint making your tent drip as if it had rained, it can also make fog more likely.

I don't usually pay attention to the dewpoint. I normally look up the air and water temperature of places I paddle and wonder why I should care about the dewpoint.

Fog is likely when the surface air temperature and dewpoint are equal or within a degree and the air becomes saturated. There are other factors too. OK. Now I get it. Now I care, and I'll pay more attention to it.

Here's one of my favorite Web resources

Rod n Reel: Tides, Currents, and Weather Reports for the United States. This site takes NOAA spreadsheet data and illustrates it with easy to read and scan graphics all on one page. I like that! It also includes the air temperature, water temperature (It's in the 60's in Maine in August! That's cold.), and the dewpoint.

But here's the NOAA Tide Predictions for Deer Isle-Stonington if you'd like to compare and see how much harder you'll have to work to gather all the data you need to make decisions on paddling conditions for your day paddle or longer trip!

Maine lobster boats head out in all kinds of weather - good, bad, and windy!
While camping and paddling the Deer Isle-Stonington archipelago in August 2011, we awoke to thick fog one morning.
Correction, we were roused by the usual 4:30 a.m. wake up call of the first lobster boat heading out for work in Webb Cove. The lobster boats always head out at this hour. Trust me. You can count on it, and you can count how many boats head out each day from the comfort of your waterfront tent.

On this particular morning, we only heard four, instead of the usual 19 or more. So we poked our heads out of the overly-damp-with-morning-ocean-dew Eureka Bon Echo Air tent to see what was up. "Uh, oh!"

Other kayakers were waiting for the fog to clear before heading out . . . or see if it would clear.

I decided to sit it out in the Webb Cove outdoor Internet Cafe at Old Quarry Ocean Adventures up on the exposed second floor, unwisely . . . thinking I was enjoying the beautiful misty views.
You'll find out why it was unwise when I publish the Stonington Stories: Gul post. But I'm guessing you've already figured out what's to come on that score!
Old Quarry Ocean Adventures has an awesome boat! The Nigh Duck.

I found it one of the most beautiful boats on the water while there, both in clear and foggy conditions. And it was comforting to know it was nearby. It has state of the art navigation equipment.
Old Quarry Nigh Duck
I hope you file a float plan with them if you paddle out from their well-run and very kayak-friendly facility and make sure to have their contact info handy or a VHF radio to call for help if you need it. Hopefully you know where you are for pick up! Another good reason to learn navigation, carry a map, and I'm thinking - GPS!
Old Quarry Nigh Duck
I did see them bring back a few paddlers and their boats when conditions were too difficult for them to make it home. 

Enjoy fog!
I hope you don't get caught in it.
The BaffinPaddler
Here's what you look like in good weather. Can you find three kayaks . . . easily?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Portaging Adventures in the Adirondacks, NY with the awesome Malestrom Vital 166!

You do need to lift the kayak and well-strapped on cart over the tree! Don't try pulling it over. Everyone already knows that . . . right!? It's easier with two people. Paddle buddies are awesome for this. Another reason not to kayak alone.
Here's proof that the sturdy Yedo Paddleboy kayak cart comes apart easily, and fits into the small back hatch of a Maelstrom Sea Kayak! I had my doubts!
Awesome! The Malestrom Vital 166, and the Yedo Paddleboy kayak cart! They work well together.

And here's the kick.

I didn't test the cart and rear hatch space to see if they fit before the Adirondack trip and lost a night of sleep the day before the portage trip wondering if it would.

Usually I test gear before a trip, but this time my attitude was: "The cart is going into or onto this skinny kayak one way or another. So why bother."

Now you don't have to wonder.

The Maelstrom Kayak back hatches are pretty small, but they did design them large enough to function as awesome day paddle boats. I wouldn't even attempt to kayak camp with one though.
Maelstrom Vital 166 on Yedo Paddleboy kayak cart after a successful canoe trail portage
Both the Yedo Paddleboy kayak cart and the Maelstrom Vital 166 hauled really well on a fairly easy 1/4 mile portage in between lakes and a connecting river. 

Why am I telling you this this?
When it's time to portage in the wilderness, that's not when you want to find out that your kayak cart and sea kayak don't fit well or perform well together!
If your kayak is wide and your kayak cart is too narrow, or collapses on you - this equals NOT GOOD!

Shopping for a good kayak cart is important! It must be easy to assemble and disassemble and pack with ease into one of your kayak hatches. It must help you easily move your kayak well on uneven bumpy trail with some rock and exposed tree roots. Maybe even through a bit of mud! Think larger wheels here.

A good kayak cart will save you and all your paddle buddies time and energy. Test it with your kayak before a wilderness trip so you know how to put it together and how to properly strap down the kayak.

I'd go for a sturdy, reliable kayak cart model, even if it is a little heavier than a lighter weight model.

This lets me spend my time and energy where I'd rather put it! Paddling, eating lunch, taking pics, and doing outdoor yoga.
Paddling Adirondack's lakes and rivers with my new red cedar GP (Greenland Paddle). A gift from PenobscotPaddles during my recent trip to paddle the Atlantic ocean from the Deer Isle-Stonington archipelago, Maine, U.S.A. I'm guessing Mark will want to see where I'm taking his awesome GP.
It's raining here in the Adirondacks for the next couple of days and I'm doing indoor yoga in an old crooked cabin with floors that are not level. But at least I have a protected waterfront view of Blue Mountain Lake with Adirondack mountains in the backdrop.
To let you know just how outback this area is, they only sell beer around here! It's a long drive just to find a bottle of wine. No complaints. I'm just sayin'!

All we need now is the weather to cooperate. Seems rain and storms want to be the boss for a few days!

Even though we're all well-equipped for paddling rain and light wind, exploring the other things the Adirondack region has to offer is way more interesting!
The ducks are happy though!

Rainy days here means more time in an outdoor Internet Cafe - which today is a gas station parking lot with free Internet access and a Porta Pottie for a restroom.

Ahhh! The joys of quasi-wilderness blogging and finding your way around in a new place!

I'm also shopping for a better Internet Cafe!

Happy paddles!
The BaffinPaddler

Friday, September 2, 2011

Greeted with Ginger Brew, maps, and goodwill . . . Paddling Maine's Deer Isle Archipelago with PenobscotPaddles

BaffinPaddler meets up with PenobscotPaddles team in Stongington, Maine, U.S.A.
 Thanks first, stories later
Baffinpaddler paddle partner and PenobscotPaddles in Deer Isle Archipelago. Hey, why is there still one non-convert to the "stick" (Greenland Paddle) amongst us? When will we convert her? She is surrounded by GPs.
I've come home with so many photos, memories, ideas, inspiration, and stories from my paddling and camping trip to the Deer Isle Archipelago, Stonington, Maine to meet up with fellow paddle blogger PenobscotPaddles, that my head is spinning and I don't know where to start.
Or at least I didn't until now.

First things first.

A big thanks to awesome new Maine paddle buddies, the PenobscotPaddles team for spoiling us rotten while we were there with all things good and fun: Maps, Maine Root Ginger Brew, good company, an awesome new red cedar Greenland Paddle, guided tours, and unforgettable memories.
Greeted at the Webb Cove basecamp and kayak launch site by PenobscotPaddles team with Maine Root Ginger Brew, custom maps of the Deer Isle/Stonington Archipelago, and perfect ocean paddling weather!
Paddling to Yoga in the Deer Isle Archipelago from Stonington, Maine with PenobscotPaddles and an awesome new red cedar GP made by Mark
Hey! Whatcha lookin' at!
Across from the noisy and busy Crotch Island granite quarry
I'm so glad you know the way!
PenobscotPaddles awesome bright yellow and blue Maelstrom Vaag 174 always steals the show both on and off the water!
PenobscotPaddles knew I was working on a Paddle to Yoga project in the 1000 Islands Gananoque, in Ontario, Canada, and took me to some great Paddle to Yoga spots ocean front in the Deer Isle Archipelago, from Stonington, Maine that I will never forget, and hope to return to one day.
Gooseberry Island
Russ Island rock
The tree pose is not easy on uneven rock, and you can get a bit dizzy doing this up high. I'm not recommending this and this is not what Paddle to Yoga is about. It's just something I do once in a while . .  . climb up on trees, stumps, and rocks, and strike a yoga pose - or try to. Mostly I do yoga on flat, safe ground in the outdoors, or in a yoga studio like most people! The BaffinPaddler is a bit unconventional though. Both as a paddler, and as a yoga student.
Doing yoga in the great outdoors is awesome.
Gooseberry, Sand, and Russ Islands quickly won my heart as favorites and stole many shots.

In only a couple of days, I had hundreds of shots to happily wade through, share with you later, and revisit this winter to warm my heart!

I really needed PenobscotPaddles to remind me when it was time to leave an island.

I paddle lake and river more than ocean. I kept getting lost in the beauty of the islands and ocean views and forgot about the tides. Especially the low tide. My lingering did make us take a bit of a mucky walk back out to sea at least once.

It is definitely better to wear tall paddle booties here! I kept getting the hard shell beach particles and muck into my only ankle high booties!
An hour later, these boats on Sand Island were fully beached and we had to walk out in a bit of muddy muck.
There are many more Stonington stories to tell. But I'll have to let them trickle out slowly.

Every time I create a big, long, loaded post of text, links, and images, Blogger rewards me by going "Bloop" and all my work suddenly disappears and is lost - and so is my motivation to blog!

Next Paddle to Yoga Trip - Adirondacks, New York, U.S.A.

Now it's off to Paddle to Yoga again next week. This time with a group in the Adirondacks in New York State, U.S.A., only a week after Hurricane Irene chased us off the Maine coast a few days early. I hated to leave. I wanted to stay and paddle more!

And the "new" New York paddle buddies I'll be meeting up with, have no idea I'm Paddling to Yoga.

But they'll soon find out when they see a bright green yoga mat strapped onto the back of my white and blue Maelstrom Vital 166 - a mat in which I never need anyway when striking a pose on uneven ground or rock in the great outdoors. But bringing it along somehow brings me comfort, and I think, makes some kind of statement. Or at least makes people pretty curious . . . "What is that?!"

When they suddenly see me climb up on something and strike a yoga pose and ask, "Hey, will you get a shot of this? I'm working on a Paddle to Yoga project!" They'll find out soon enough . . . how much I love this combination of paddling to yoga. It beats just paddling to lunch! Although I love both - paddling to lunch and yoga!

A funny thing is happening with the Paddle to Yoga in the 1000 Islands Gananoque project I'm working on.

People want me to do all the work, planning, and organizing for them.

Hey! That's not how Paddle to Yoga works guys! You have to boogie and organize a group of 8 paddlers who want to Paddle to Yoga first. Then you're on your way.

Meanwhile, I'm out there Paddling to Yoga all over the place. In places near and far from my home in the National Capital Region of Canada (Ottawa/Ontario-Gatineau/Quebec).

It rocks! It's awesome. It is something I can easily do. I'm equipped for it. I'm trying to make it available and affordable to others who can discover and enjoy it too!

I'm also noticing that Paddle to Yoga is attracting the soft-adventure tourism crowd more so than the studio bound yoga crowd. It will be interesting to see how Paddle to Yoga progresses and where it goes.

Now back to my last bottle of Maine Root Ginger Brew! My temperature is definitely rising! This non-alcoholic beverage really packs a hearty ginger punch! One sip and YOU KNOW THAT YOU ARE ALIVE!
Maine Root Ginger Brew, wild Stonington apples, Reed's Crystalized Ginger
The BaffinPaddler
Happy paddles and paddling to yoga!
Lots of Maine's awesome fish n' chips, cole slaw, and crab stew are starting to put some extra meat on my ribs!