Wednesday, April 30, 2008

You Gotta Love Spring in Québec!

I am enjoying my second spring now that I'm back home in Québec. The trees are starting to leaf out, every brook and creek is gushing with melt water and the roads are a mess. The paved roads are cracked and broken, more suitable for off-road vehicles and the dirt roads, well, most of them look like the one in the photo above. Covered in frost heaves and mud holes. You just have to love it here!

I haven't bothered taking the kayak down to the lake yet. The road to the shore is washed out. The other put-in, the one I used all fall, is reachable, but the high water is right up to the bridge and I don't feel like portaging over it to get on the lake.

So, like I said, you just got to love living here. Every season gives us ample material to complain about, and laugh about. Oh, and did I mention the gas prices yet? $1.35 a liter and rising about as fast as the water. Like, I said, you... well, you are probably catching on by now...

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Poetry of Aqqaluk Lynge

Aqqaluk Lynge is a Greenlander well known in circumpolar forums. He has recently published a book of his poetry some of which go back over 35 years of his life.

His press release says, "The poems rely on strong images drawn from traditional life, the people and the geography of the land he loves so dearly. Greenlanders have survived many changes and now not only have their own government but also a thriving modern society which is slowly overcoming the hurts and limitations of colonial times. The revolution is not quite over, but there is no longer any doubt that Greenlanders, the land and the culture they love, will survive. Aqqaluk Lynge has combined poetic imagery with political action to become one of the most influential Greenlanders, both at home and abroad."

If you're interested, Aqqaluk's books can be had by following the links located here.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Dot Com Kayakers

I suppose everyone at some point has fantasies about living off the fruits of their kayaking hobby. I don't seriously dream about that day, but I began thinking of owning the URL ''. It's always smart to plan ahead, to take care of the 'what if's' in life if you can.

The other day I applied for the '' name only to discover it was already taken! Imagine that! It was grabbed in July of 2005, before I began blogging. To make matters worse, the owner of the URL has done nothing with it to speak of. Go see for yourself!

Not to be outdone, I hurriedly bought the rights to ''. After all, I am Canadian and proud of it. So now, if you want to reach my blog, you can use the URL You'll discover an annoying banner ad at the bottom. Some day I may pay to have it removed, but not today. Today I'm buying a new watch to replace my old Casio which has broken after many years of service.

Oddly enough, I'm not the only kayaker who doesn't own their URL name. Looking around, I was surprised to find at least one other regular blogger who's site name is owned by another person. Want to guess who it is? ;-)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Surf a Maelström!

I was sent some sneak preview photos of two of the new Maelström kayaks yesterday. These photos and others will be appearing on the company's web pages next week, but I thought we enthusiasts would also like an advance peek as well.

I'm not sure where the photos were taken, but the water looks fast and lumpy, fun for sure! There is also a video coming on YouTube shortly as well. I noticed that JC Vaillant already has a video of the Vaag in action in the rapids at Chambly.

Thanks François at Maelström Kayak for sending me these photos!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Pogo Jumping To New Heights!

We are absolutely living in 'extreme' times. Yesterday I went to watch my daughter's boy-friend's team of engineering students try out their newly designed pogo stick. Now pogo sticks have been around since forever, but these guys had taken the stick used for the 6 foot Guinness World Record jump and engineered it into an 'extreme' variant. Their new super-charged pogo stick was theoretically capable of doubling the current record and possibly more! In front of judges, press, friends and family, David Barabé pogo jumped himself over an 8 foot high bar, and bounced his way into the record books. I made a video of the jump and am waiting for the boy's permission so I can post it on YouTube. In the meantime, here's a look at the post jump champs posing for the press!

UPDATE! You can now see the record jump on YouTube!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Kiwi Style!

It isn't every day one gets a chance to paddle with a fellow 'klogger', but last weekend KiwiBird and I spent most of the day on the water together. The day was warm and sultry, with a bit of wind now and then to cool us off. Neither of us was dressed for full immersion, but prepared for a quick plunge should it occur.

By lunch we were hot and hungry and also at the end of the lake, a small, tumbling rock-filled stream which blocked any further progress. We ate and then headed back. About half the distance to the putin, thunder rolled in the distance. Dark clouds pushed up to the other side of the lake. Then a bit of lightning and a breeze. Suddenly we were hit by a brisk wind and pelting rain, pushing at our rear quarter. Waves began building rapidly. A lightning bolt struck so close to us it came simultaneously with the thunder! We dug our paddles in hard, trying to control our skittish boats as we raced to the put-in. Sliding into a calm inlet beside the boat ramp, we finally managed to smile again. It was a close call and a bit scary, but an exciting finish to a day on the water. We managed to beat the odds, dodge the lightning, surf the waves and tell the tale.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Georgia Red

What is it about the colour red? It provokes such strong reactions in us. We even have an expression, "To see red!" where we use the colour to show our anger. Then we like to think of red as the colour of love, of passion. What would a night-club be without red?

Here in Georgia, one often paddles between the red banks of rivers and lakes. The red clay is nearly everywhere you go. You even get to take it home once you leave. The fine red clay stains your feet, your clothes, your neoprene, everything! Georgia never leaves you! Like a good lover, she stays close and stays long!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Forgotten Muscles

After a long winter without dipping a paddle into any kind of liquid, it was a great relief to finally go paddling again. It came on this lake in northern Georgia, one of many flooded mountain clad valleys formed to create reservoirs for the Tennessee power grid.

Out on the lake, I realised that no matter how much skiing I had done this past winter, many different muscles are used to paddle, muscles which have been resting on the back burner for these past several months. On the water, I was soon reminded of that when first I eagerly headed out. I quickly reminded myself that it's a good idea to take it easy and not cripple myself with over-enthusiasm. Sadly, I'm not one who likes going to the gym during the winter to stay in overall good shape, preferring to ski and paddle instead to stay reasonably fit. I'll slowly be paddling my forgotten muscles into shape in the coming days until I return to where I can once again paddle comfortably from one end of a day to the other. Tough work, but I've done it before...

Friday, April 11, 2008

Customizing Yourself

With the paddling season about to open any day now in northern lakes and rivers, why not customize yourself? Starting at the top, you can order your new hat from Here some of my cap ideas, but lots of styles are available and you can put whatever text you like on the front as well as a graphic. Can't wait to see you all on the water in your new caps!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Klogging 500

I noticed the other day that I was typing out my 500th entry on this blog. While this number pales in comparison to several other bloggers, it gives me a bit of satisfaction knowing at least it's visible proof that I've done something since I retired from teaching a few years ago. It also makes me think that the word 'blog' may no longer be appropriately descriptive for those of us who blog about the world of kayaking. I am therefore coining a new word: klog, short for 'kayak log'. This word may sound like the activity being enjoyed by the folks in the photo above, but of course the devil's in the spelling.

Those of you who visit René Seindal's Paddling Planet will be aware of how international the klogging world is. I especially enjoy not only reading about the paddling experiences of people around the world, but also have fun trying my foreign language skills on the variety of languages being used to express those adventures. Such a fun planet to live on! Klog on!