30 May 2006

Moonlight Paddle

I didn't go on the moonlight paddle at the symposium this year. I have only paddled in the dark once before, and I got a little bit of an anxiety attack from it. It seems with all of those little lights bobbing around me, and no steady horizon to focus on, I start to feel really tippy. I'm not sure exactly what my relation to the water is. Am I vertical or about to get wet? So this year I stuck around on the dock and took a bunch of pictures as everyone was getting ready to leave for a loop around the lake. This picture is a little dark and fuzzy, because I wasn't using a tripod or a flash. The symposium is a real fun time and there are plenty of characters around. Rob "Rooster" Taylor is here displaying a new battery powered, suction cup, running light system, that he won as a door prize.

29 May 2006

Back from WMCKA Symposium

I have lots of news.

The weather was fantastic. Sunny, with air temps in the high 80's and humid, but it made getting into the water a lot easier, than years past.

I was able to sucessfully roll several times this morning. Doug Van Doren was able to talk me over the hump and I was able to perform about a half dozen extended paddle rolls without any help.

I took two classes with my new Greenland paddle which made using it much more productive.

I also got a chance to take a class with Alex Pak, and talk with Derrick Mayoleth.

Here are some pictures of Derrick working on his blog.

Just because we don't get to see how hard he works on his blog.

I'll post more pictures from the symposium in the coming days.

24 May 2006

OK, Here's Some Pictures

Here is a picture of an old dilapidated bridge crossing the channel not far from my house. I took this picture on Saturday morning, the first real sunny day after almost two straight weeks of rain. Just a picture of the much needed sunshine.
Some daisies in the back yard.
Here is a wonderful photo of my lovely wife, practicing to be a mommy with her new 8 week old niece Emma.

Tomorrow night after work I will have to pack all my gear for the WMCKA symposium.

Now it's my turn to say: "Gone Paddling" =8-}

Dead is Forever.

WOW, Hillary is right.

I sometimes see people while out paddling and wonder about their apparent disregard for others. The ones I wonder about are usually the ones on Jet-skis or powerboats, going way too fast. I have wondered if anyone would ever notice or help if I needed it.

I wonder how those climbers can look themselves in the mirror?

I read a statistic yesterday that said 49% of Americans said they would not seek evacuation assistace in the face or wake of a hurricane if it meant they would have to abandon their pet.

I can't believe anyone would just leave a person to die.

Sorry no picture today either, maybe next time.

19 May 2006

May Showers

Last night was cold, gray, windy, and rainy.....Perfect kayaking weather. After work, I rushed home and played with the dog for a little bit, and read through the mail quick, then changed into my paddling clothes. My wife was at work still, so I postponed dinner, and carried my kayak out of the garage and placed it on the ground. The spray skirt and PFD, both hung from their drying nails, were retrieved and stuffed into the cockpit along with my ONNO paddle. I strapped my home-made take-apart kayak dolly to the kayak and locked up the house. A short 300 yard portage to the put-in, take-apart and stow the dolly, and simply slip away from land with the help of the wind. I stretched my legs, torso, and arms while drifting with the wind, and contemplating my route. I chose to try and stay out of the wind as much as possible at first, knowing that I would have a slogfest on the way home. Better to just unwind from work first, then punish myself with physical labor after my mind has drifted off.

I had the entire lake to myself for the duration of the paddle. It was quiet, except for the wind, and almost lonely feeling....Calming. Only a few birds were out today, mostly waterfowl, but the weather was classic duck weather. I suspect that the other birds were near by, but hunkered down waiting for the wind to subside.

I continued down wind through the channel to the bigger Wolf lake and could see a slight chop out in the middle of the lake, so I stayed close to shore and fiddled with the skeg. I finally chose to put the skeg up and forget about it. It does help in a following sea, but allows me to get slack in my technique, and I need the practice with wind and waves quartering my stern. I focused my attention on the task at hand and made good progress with the wind down as far as the yacht club and then took a break in the lee of several pontoon boats. Sadly I counted five sail boats docked so far, ready for the summer season, but counted six power boats as well. I guess that more people would rather take advantage of the brainless solution on their day off, than think and work at the romantic version.

I was right, the ride home, back into the wind was a slogfest, but it was feeling good as well. A real workout. I realized that I have not been paddling enough, and I need to get out more often. The wind and rain were picking up, and my hands, especially my thumbs, got cold, but I really enjoyed that paddle, on the lake all by myself.

My next post will have a picture. I promise.

Only one week till the WMCKA symposium, always a good time, looking forward to meeting Derrick and Alex and Matt and Keith.

My Pentax Optio WP is Fixed!

I just got my Pentax Optio WP back from service. The best advice that I can give to anyone who owns a Pentax camera, is to save the receipt. All of the repairs done to my camera were covered under the warranty, but if I would not have had the receipt, it would have cost me $127. So far it works great again, so I will keep taking it with me when I go kayaking, and I will keep posting its performance in the future.

17 May 2006

Mother's Day Mushrooms

A picture of my father, on Mother's Day, with some nice mushrooms. It's been so rainy here, for more than a week now, that the mushrooms were popping up all over.

07 May 2006

Too Dry or Too Cold

Sorry, I've been out of town lately. Not much paddling going on in Tucson, AZ. Every river that I saw was dry. The only water that I was in, was a swimming pool (no kayaks allowed). Beautiful scenery though. Flowers were in bloom everywhere.
I did get out and paddle today, here at home. Three hours on my usual lake. Past the yacht club, with their little sailboats slowly starting to appear around their dock, and then on down to the county park beach to practice some bracing and edging control. I did see some teen-agers out swimming on the lake today, no fancy cold water clothing, just swim suits. I still think it is too cold, but maybe I can try a solo roll sometime soon, if the weather keeps warming. First practicing hip-snaps off a dock, then with a paddle float, and most likely with a wet-exit following shortly there after, but I think it may be the only way I will get my roll. Just have to keep trying. Its good to be home, with a whole summer in front of me.