Saturday, February 27, 2010

For All You Ice Lovers...

Berg on the right drifts to the left...

The chance to go kayaking in ice-filled waters intrigues many people, me included. After all, it harkens back to the very roots of our sport and so it's only natural we'd be fascinated with the icy prospects.

... and collides with the glacial snout...

This past week events on the western coast of Antarctica have provided an Olympian challenge for super-kayakers with ice on their minds. A giant berg the size of some small countries has been smashed off the glacier that produced it and is now adrift. 100 kms long and 30 kms wide, its massive cliff faces would present an amazing sight for paddlers, not to mention the vast fields of brash ice and growlers in the area of the break...

... breaking it off and setting it adrift.

Apparently this break is due more to natural events than directly to climate change effects, but predictions are that chunks of ice this large can produce altered weather in parts of the world as they drift around and melt. In some cases this large, the effects can be miles away from the Antarctic itself including the northern hemisphere. As I stew away in the heat of another Canadian winter -it's presently +8°C outdoors - I can only hope it will cool things down by next winter!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

FIMO Kayaks

I've been playing with the art clay called FIMO recently for a geocaching idea I have and came across this interesting boat seen in the photo above. It seems that FIMO, a polymer clay material, comes in transparent colours including clear. Given the seductiveness of having a see-through kayak, a company has jumped into the business of producing just such an item. While not technically a kayak, I suspect if the demand is there, it won't be long in coming to the market.

As for me, I prefer to paddle well covered up. Perhap's it's an age thing...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Cape Breton In Winter

With the 'winter that never was' following the 'summer that never was' I decided to go in search of colder, snowier venues. What better place to look that Nova Scotia's Cape Breton Island? Alas, it was milder, and even less snowy than my own home. However, the trip was well worth the effort for a whole host of reasons! If you've never gone there, don't be turned off by the winter. The place is beautiful - just look at that photo and tell me differently - and the people are warm and friendly.

This photo is looking south towards Cape Smokey and St Ann's Bay on the eastern side of the Cabot Trail. Gorgeous in winter and I'm already looking ahead to paddling along its shores come summer!

Oh, and I found my first Nova Scotian geocache thanks to a friend's sharp eyes!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Bird of Kayaking?

Have you ever noticed that lots of important things have a bird to call their own? Sure you have. There's your 'National Bird' and your 'Provincial Bird' and so on. Birds are always attached to really important stuff.

So where's the Kayaking Bird?

Oh oh... Do we have one? Aren't we important?

Of course we don't and we are. So, I'm herewith proposing a Corvidae as our bird. Everywhere I've paddled from the arctic to the tropics, there have been crows and/or ravens. They're all black - which is big in the kayaking world (just ask a certain female paddler of world fame) and they make really cool sounds like a lot of paddlers I know. In short, they're the perfect Bird of Kayaking!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Getting The Dog Out

Of course living in a northern clime isn't all long nights, hot drinks and hockey. There is lots more to do and here is an example. If you own a dog or two and they're large enough, then hitching them up to something or someone is a natural. I haven't actually tried this myself for fear of wrecking my back and ruining my kayaking career, but ski-joring with your dog is lots of fun.

I highly recommend you begin on a wide open area, say a forty acre pasture or something. That way the dog or dogs can be trained to go straight, and turn in the proper direction without you managing to hit something hard and immobile. The next step to try is shown in the above photo. Follow a deer path in the woods. The dog will usually stay on the path, nose to the ground. Finally, when all is in a controlled state, one can try heading off the path and into the trees. On this particular day, a few centimeters of snow over a hard crust allowed for some pretty exhilarating high speed slalom runs through the trees! Gee! Haw!