Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Stuff Happens

A busy week for kayaking.. my third time out in 5 days, if you count the pool session.

It was raining Sunday morning so I didn't bring the camera. We crossed to the New York side for the first time in several months. Took a lunch break near Split Rock and headed south along the shore.
A south wind came up with the potential to shove miles of ice between us and Vermont, so there was a quick change of course back to our side of the lake.

THere was some sloshing going on in back; for the last couple of miles I could hear the rear carry toggle continuously dragging in the water, and the paddling got noticeably harder. At the end I pulled the rear hatch and the compartment was filled to the brim (which comes to about 150 extra pounds of water). A leak! I'd guess something around the skeg box. Dave says "Call Bob," former owner of the local shop and his regular repair guy. It says something that Dave HAS a regular repair guy. When I was a kid I had a regular orthopedist.

Back at home I take a look and the skeg cable housing has torn loose, leaving a hole in the skeg box. I did some googling that hit on the BBS of a paddle club in Boston where someone had the same problem. The advise to her was "Take it to Bob in Burlington VT" OK OK, I can take a hint!

Bob is trying to retire, and is in the middle of moving, but he said he could at least take a look. I took the kayak over. We pulled out the skeg and cable, and epoxied the cable housing back in place. He'll put on some sealing goop today, and by the weekend everything should be cured and hard enough to use. Yay!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

15 seconds of fame

A local TV news reporter somehow hooked up with Dave and wanted to do a piece on winter kayaking. By the time everyone's schedule could mesh it's spring, oh well.

So we got interviewed, and I got to paddle for a while with a camcorder taped to my deck and a wireless microphone clipped on my PFD while the "big gun" shot from shore:

(Note to self: Don't roll and try not to splash the camera!)

Hopefully we conveyed both a sense of the safety precautions and reasons we do it.
We'll see what's left after editing.

It should be on tomorrow's (3/26) evening news (WCAX) then on their web site a couple of days later.

The piece is on their web site under "Destination Recreation".

It looks good. Some of the points we thought were important got lost
to editing, but that's generally the case with the media.

The critical eye will see I had bad paddling form, bent elbows, not doing torso rotation. I was avoiding
full strokes because of the camcorder taped to the kayak.

In the story on Nordic skating they skated out to the Palisades. In
middle of the video a huge chunk of ice falls off the cliff sending a
wave through the ice under their feet. A new sport for when the lake is too solid to paddle!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Signs of Spring

One is sugaring. From the news it appears the local maple producers are busy as bees. My single tree isn't producing much sap though. Ideally we would have frost every night and above freezing every day. The sap then runs up and down the tree with every transition, and a portion flows out the tap. What we've had since I tapped is several days where it was above freezing day and night followed by several days where it didn't get above freezing at all.

Another is the Joe's Pond iceout contest. You buy a ticket and guess the date and time when Joe's Pond will thaw. Winning time is determined by a concrete block out on the ice. A rope runs from the block to shore and when the block falls through the melting ice the rope pulls the plug on a clock, which will stop, displaying the official winning time. It's nowhere near time for the block to fall, but ticket sales stop on April 1.

On our paddle yesterday we had a couple of people I haven't seen since fall. Sam is up and able for a good winter paddle, but the snow for back country skiing has been too good and that's always his first choice.

Some of the shore front camps had signs of life. People hanging out on shore at some, others it was just hired help sprucing the place up for the season.

While many bays are still iced up, we didn't see any free floating bergs suitable for landing. This ice roll was on the edge of Converse Bay:
Ice roll

Not sure if it is a particular sign of spring, but I was driving in "the big city" (Burlington) on Saturday to drop off my kid and see if the harbor was open (no) and an eagle flew across the road in front of me at about phone pole height.

Right now, snowing.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


The clear cove we launched from last time is iced up. This one was iced up last time and not now.. so here we are, still at Shelburne Farm, but by the inn instead of the Coach Barn.

We found a bunch of that thin ice I was rolling in last time.. did that again. But there was also an area where it was all broken up by the wind and waves then pushed together so it stacked like shingles to make a layer an inch or 2 thick. If these froze together it would be pretty solid.

There are still bigger sheets floating around to run up on and take a stretch. Once I'd landed I could see that this one was indeed a product of that shingle stacking process. Solid, but all the outlines still visible. This was at least a foot thick.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Wet exit and ice boat (but not one from the other)

4 and sunny this morning. I figured I wouldn't want to pull off my mitts so I didn't bring the camera. The starting point was Shelburne farms. We're still in the mode of a spotter driving around early AM looking for a clear launch, then phoning around.

Dave's kayak decided to start the seal launch before he was quite ready. He ended up flipping without his tuliq attached to the cockpit and did a wet exit. Isn't that why we wear drysuits?

We headed north, skirting some ice packs and threading through others, keeping an eye on the wind which could blow the ice to inconvenient places between us and our cars.

There was also a lot of skim ice, 1 or 2 mm thick, that you can still paddle through, the kayak making a zipper sound. Water displaced by your boat shoots up like little geysers through holes in the ice.
For some extra wake-up effect, try rolling in that; kinda neat feeling your face crash through as you come up.

On the way to the farm, I noticed a car at Shelburne Bay with an iceboat on the roof, so I stopped on the way back. He was just sailing in, don't know if he was done for the day or just swapping passengers. There was also an ice windsurfer, but not close enough for a good view.