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Showing posts from June, 2012

Tangled in fishing line on the Riviere Rouge in Mont Tremblant. This is why I wear a kayak knife!

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Well, it finally happened. I needed to cut myself loose from a tangled mess of fishing line. And I did, when I hobbled over to my Maelstrom Vital 166 sea kayak to fetch my kayak knife out of a hatch!

I had just stopped wearing my kayak knife in my PFD a week earlier. It was a bit bulky when I Cowboy Scrambled up the back deck of my kayaks. And some people kept telling me for years, "You don't need to wear a kayak knife. It's more likely to get in your way. Just stick it in a hatch." So I did.

Then, just before launching from a sandy, rocky shoreline along the Riviere Rouge (Red River) in Mont Tremblant, Quebec (Canada) one fine day, I stepped into my spray skirt and started to pull it up like I usually do. But this time, I felt something wrapped around my ankle and leg and tightening more and more as I pulled my skirt up to my thighs.

I looked down and saw a tangled mess of fishing line all around my ankle and wrapped around my spray skirt.

I was alarmed. How did tha…

A perfect paddle on the Tay Canal from Perth, Ontario!

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Actually, I've had more than one perfect paddle on the Tay Canal and through the beautiful Tay marsh. Why? It makes me relax. It makes me stop and look at stuff, like nature! Especially birds. And it makes me want to paddle! There are too many photo ops along the way. Beware. Bring extra batteries for your camera.
My favourite time of year to kayak the Tay Canal and marsh is late spring when the air is cool, birds are nesting, and the stronger early spring current from the winter melt has usually settled down. But the water is still cold, so it's a good idea to dress for submersion, just in case you go overboard.

Can you see the bird in the nest just left of the yellow kayak? She blends in well with the fallen tree branches.
You'll see people canoeing and kayaking the Tay in spring, summer, and fall, along with a few motor boats that go slow in the boat channel between Beveridges locks, which is part of the Rideau Canal system, and Perth, Ontario.

Paddling the Tay is a fav…

Cowboy Scramble up the awesome Wilderness Systems Tempest 165 Pro

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Here we go again. Cowboy Scrambling!

I plan to Cowboy Scramble up every awesome sea kayak I test. It has become a benchmark manoeuvre for me. I must be able to Cowboy Scramble up a sea kayak's back deck and get back inside the cockpit by myself quickly and easily in calm water and in moderate wind and waves (at the very least), or it's off my list as a kayak I'd buy, rent, or paddle on a trip with an outfitter.

I can't roll a kayak yet, but I'm working on that again this year with myawesome Maelstrom Vital 166, and some awesome people, the ones who help us learn, encourage us to keep trying, and don't give up on us when we aren't brilliant. Trying to learn how to roll has been a real struggle for me for several years.

Even if I get the roll, I'll still need my Cowboy Scramble and other rescue techniques. I'm not a strong paddler. I'm not an instructor. I use simple techniques, take lessons and attend clinics from time-to-time, listen to advice f…

The WildWasser Kayak Deck Bag takes the plunge. Is it waterproof? Pass or Fail?

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Here we go again. Getting stuff wet! We're kayakers. That's what we do! And with Canada's warmer June weather and water in a lake I can just barely stand without a wet suit, it's time to swim with some gear that I have only tested strapped on top of my sea kayak.

It's actually a lot of fun to test gear this way. Get in the water with it and see how it performs. Just don't put anything important inside while you're testing!
This year, I finally decided to take my WildWasser Kayak Deck Bag for a swim to test how waterproof it is and see how well it floats. I purchased this deck bag several years ago for about $80 and have used it numerous times on day paddles and kayak camping.

So here goes. Testing the WildWasser in a lake.

I punished it a bit by trying to force it underwater in numerous ways.

By hand. This was tough. With one hand, I had a lot of trouble forcing it completely underwater. It fought me to stay on top of the water.
I sat on it in the water. It…

Testing the Wilderness Systems Tempest 165 again. Gotta love it!

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Would someone please tell me why the Wilderness Systems Tempest 165 is not in my fleet . . . yet?

I tested it again. I seem to test this kayak every year without fail, and select it on trips with outfitters if they've got one in their fleet and I didn't bring along one of my kayaks. I just like to paddle and play with it.

This time I finally got to try a WS Tempest 165 Pro in fiberglass and in a nice flashy red!

Sweet! This 16'6", 21.5 inch wide, 49 lbs., sea kayak (with a skeg) is so easy to love and a good benchmark kayak to use to compare with other sea kayaks in a similar category.

I'll show you a Cowboy Scramble up this kayak in wind and waves in an upcoming post. Here it is posted June 19: Cowboy Scramble up the awesome Wilderness Systems Tempest 165 Pro

Then, we can start to compare Cowboy Scrambles up different sea kayaks. A hint: It's really easy in the WS Tempest 165 kayak. At least for me. It surprised me.

I hope to have a Wilderness Systems 165 se…

Persistent Perch's babies

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I promise I won't do this to you very often . . . post an image of newborn fish. You might find it dull.

But how often do you meet the mother fish while kayaking and testing your gear in a lake, and a few weeks later in the same spot, meet the babies she was protecting when they were still eggs.

This is pretty cool. It warms the heart.

I just met Persistent Perch's babies. I'm pretty sure. Another wonder of spending time and taking your time with your kayak.

A first for me. Wonders never cease. Simple and grand. That's nature. We should protect it better.

Some discussion ensues on the fish type: Perch, Large Mouth Bass, or Walleye.


Who is Persistent Perch? Here's the story here:

Persistent Perch: Fishing with some pretty strange bait!

Happy paddles!
The BaffinPaddler

Whatcha lookin' at! Testing the Seal Line "Watertight" Seal Pak. Pass or fail?

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When I test waterproof gear, like the Seal Line watertight Seal Pak, I like to take it for a swim, for about an hour. It's more fun that way. Bathtub tests get pretty boring.

But I played safe - I didn't trust my new Seal Pak. I packed my cell phone, car keys, and wallet into something else that has already proven to be waterproof and reliable, a Pelican case or my WX-Tex Waterproof Gear Dry Pouch.
Then I packed it into the Seal Line "watertight" fanny pack - rolling the Seal Pak closure 4 times before securing it tightly with the clips, attached it to my waist and went for a long swim in a lake.

I found that, no matter how tightly I closed the Seal Line Seal Pak, and submerged it, even for a short time, water seeped in. It is not completely watertight or waterproof. I've tested it underwater by swimming in a lake with it attached to my waist 4 times.

In the top photo, and in the underwater shot below, the Seal Line bag is rolled 3 times from the top and clipped.…

Does my spray skirt make me look fat?

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And the first thing I ask the cameraman is, "Does my spray skirt make me look fat?!"

Yes! It does.

"Is my hair a mess?"

Yes! It looks awful. Get over it . . .

"OK."

Smile, you're on Candid Camera!

See how easy that was . . .

What was easy? "The standing yoga tree pose on an uneven little rock in the middle of a lake with wind blowing, and water rippling all around me while standing on a lanyard attached to my kayak to keep it from drifting off, orthe smile?"

Figuring it out is part of paddling and part of yoga. It's a balancing act. Put the two together, and you have a whole new dynamic.

Happy paddles and yoga practice in the outdoors!
The BaffinPaddler

Where time goes . . . with a sea kayak

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Ever stop to think about where time goes with a sea kayak?

The top 25 ways to spend time
Packing kayaking gearPutting away gearHanging paddling gear up to dryShaking sand out of gearWashing chlorine and salt water off gear Hauling gear from place to place Shopping for more gearLooking for gear . . . "Now where did I put the compass?"Organizing gear Putting gear onTaking gear offWishing you had more gearBuying other people paddling gear as gifts  Admiring other people's gear and asking, "Where did you get that?"Loaning people gear, "You forgot your paddle?"Listening to people's comments about your gear: "You have too much paddling gear! What nice gear!"Responding to comments about your awesome paddling gear: "Yeah, half the garage is full of kayaking gear, but there's more gear in my closet, and lots more in the guest room, and still more in the furnace room. Some of it, I can't remember where I put it or who borrowed it. Than…