piranha: red origami crane (Default)
a line of single grass seed heads nodding against the dusky sky

more kayaking on quennell lake. except for one annoying boater who didn't think the speed limit applied to him, it was very quiet, and at least i got a nice little wake ride out of the twit. was out for an hour and 40 minutes. when getting out of the boat, like yesterday, lost my balance and plonked myself right back down -- except into the boat, not the water. yay. can't wait for my arm strength to grow so i can heave myself up and straddle the kayak, which is much more stable than getting out the side (that's how i get in, which almost feels graceful. almost.).

am pondering solutions for the camera. really don't want to buy a pelican case, because a hard case sliding around between my knees does not turn my crank. thought of cutting a hole in the deck right in front of me to put a hatch cover in and a drybag, which'll then dangle down between my lower legs. don't like cutting holes, and the deck is far enough away that reaching down into a bag would also not be the easiest. maybe i can rig up an under-the-deck bag. looked at on-top-of-deck bags, most of which are at best water-resistant, and found a waterproof one that has a small hatch facing the paddler -- great, except 10cm diameter isn't quite enough for my good camera to fit. wonder how hard it would be to build a waterproof bag myself; the top-of-the-line stuff is very expensive.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
low sun, conifers, view down another arm of the lake, mountain in the background, reflections in ripples

i did it. i took my camera with me in the kayak. i have a generic dry bag, but it's a hassle; i'll have to think up something better. i don't feel comfortable enough yet to just leave the camera hanging around my neck. but there are so many opportunities for fresh photos, i couldn't resist taking it with me.

quennell lake is probably the most interesting lake near us, and even though it's relatively close, it's a lake we have never been at, because there are no trails, and only private property all around it. i never realized how large and beautiful it is until i saw it on google earth, since one can only see a small piece of it from the road. the new cartop boat launch helps; by all accounts the old make-shift one was rutted, steep, and muddy, and i probably wouldn't have braved it. the lake is quite large for the area at 122 hectares, and what's even better is that it is shaped kinda like a "yH" with the two letter connected around an island, so it has a lot of shoreline, and if you run into some noisy people, you can paddle away into another arm. it is mostly forested though google earth shows that there might be some farmland along the western shore, and because of the placement of the arms, it even has mountain views. judging from the ripples when the fish started feeding, it probably has some large bass in it. there are houses on it, but not many, and they don't intrude. human-propelled and electric motors only, and a speed limit -- the right way to handle public use of a lake. kinda amazing, considering how much things have been getting built-up out here. what an extraordinary place to live.

now that i have the kayak, i am sorta tempted to kayak every possible lake around here and take pictures.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)

since the big boat is still not in the water (don't ask), this year's unending [1] heatwave finally had me do the thing i should have done years ago -- bought a small boat for playing.

when i lived in new jersey, i bought a 12 ft old town canoe by the nonsensical name of "pack" (they still build them!)-- which was wonderful. it was made from ABS, weighed only 33 lbs, i always carried it on top of my car, and whenever i had an hour or so, i tossed it in whatever water was handy -- it was great on the small, winding rivers in the pine barrens, and it was fun along the shore waves in spring lake, but it could handle the delaware river as well. i treated it like a whitewater/flatwater hybrid, kneeled in it for a lower centre of gravity, and carried flotation bags when the dog wasn't with me. i loved that canoe. i sold it years later during a serious money shortage and worse depression to a guy in bend, oregon who was raising alpacas, and who liked me (but i was oblivious at the time); i hope he had fun with it.

at first i was thinking i'd get another small canoe, surprisingly, this is not canoe country; finding nice canoes is actually difficult -- i don't understand why. also, my knees are not in the best of shape, and so i changed my mind to consider kayaks. we went and rented a couple down in ladysmith; seward chinooks, 17 ft long fibreglass touring boats.

lovely boats, but not really what i was looking for. for one, they're expensive. for another, primarily i want to go back to puttering on small water, not take multi-day trips. if i ever want that (i might, some time), i can rent a touring kayak for a song. lots of people seem to just think ocean here, but we have quiet bays along the shore, lots of lakes and the nanaimo river with its amazing estuary. and even with a recreational kayak, we can reach several islands close to the coast, and take the kayak along on the ferry to others.

so this is what i settled on: 10'11" necky manitou sport. with a moderate amount of rocker, but also an extended keel so it can actually manage to track a little. ideally i wanted something a little longer, but couldn't find anything available locally that fit me as well all around. it behaves very differently from my canoe; it's rather more squirrelly down- and cross-wind, but it tracks like a charm into a headwind. it's much more maneuverable, and even though it was new to me, it felt like it would soon sort of become part of my lower body. i like that. it's much easier to paddle (i did use a kayak paddle for solo canoeing; i am no purist -- but a canoe presents much more windage than a kayak).

we dropped it in westwood lake an hour before dusk, and the paramour gave it a try as well, and was -- happily -- not terrified but found it relaxing, if a bit willful when pursuing a straight line course. if we buy him one too, it'll probably be a different model, a couple of feet longer, i think, and maybe with a rudder. i am not missing the rudder, i just need to learn to paddle better.

the hardest part is getting out of the boat. i felt like a beached whale because i have no upper arm strength anymore, and can't push my fat ass back up out of the seat. so i kinda rolled myself out. *sigh*. maybe i can work up enough strength through paddling for the exit conditions to improve.

it'll be fun.

[1] wouldn't you know it, on the day i pick up my kayak it is suddenly cool, overcast, and rainy, for the first time in 6 weeks. yeah, i launched the boat anyway. i am NOT complaining about the change in weather, but the forecast says it's gonna get hot again. this year is more hideous than last, and it makes me want to move further north. haida gwaii looks good.


piranha: red origami crane (Default)
renaissance poisson

July 2015

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