Tuesday, September 29, 2009

beach closed for the triathalon, and then some surfing

On Saturday the beach was closed due to the annual triathalon. There were 900 athletes in all competing in different age groups from the youngest about 9 yrs old to the over 40`s. Each group had a different course beginning with a swim, then a ride and then a run.
How does this affect kayaking you may ask, well apart from closing the access to our beach and thus having no kayaking , we were asked as usual to be out on the water watching out for the swimmers.
This time Hadas and I had the honour and we were out there from 6.45 when the first group took to the water.
Its a fine sight to see all those competitors running , splashing and then swimming the set course, and Hadas had to help one of them who just couldnt make it.
The sea was cooperative with flat water making our jobs easy and the swimmers had an easy time of it too
Yom Kippur followed on Sunday and Monday , again no kayaking, and so by tuesday morning we were rearing to go.
We had a bit of a wave and lots of fun in the surf.Getting good shots takes some effort as you have to be in the face of the breaking wave with the kayaks surfing directly at you, or as I tried today to film while riding a wave. Not so easy unless you have your camera mounted on your helmet [which I did not wear today}.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

let my turtles go

Today was the big day for 4 turtles who had been hospitalised at the Michmoret hospital for sick Turtles.
About a month ago Yoav and Shahar brought a sick and listless turtle back from their paddle. They had found him floating around just outside the fishing village of Jasser A Zarka, north of Ceaserea.
Zohar quickly took charge and delivered him/her, not quite sure.. to the hospital where they nursed it back to health.It was diagnosed as having post traumatic stress syndrome probably after being caught in a fishing net and then released.
Today we were privileged to be the release team and together with 3 others, it was set free in the sea about a mile and a half from the shore.
I carried one of them in a plastic box on the deck of my kayak, and I swear that he knew what was waiting for him. At first he didn't move at all, but as we began to paddle and feel the swell of the sea he became more and more active and tried to climb out of his box.
We were accompanied by a team of kayakers from our Optimist Kayak club who cheered and applauded as the turtles were released one by one.
Eventually we reached the release spot and let them go, they are amazingly fast swimmers and as soon as they were able they just swam away into the deep as quickly as they could.
The photos and video were taken by Vered and Rei, fearless swimmers around the kayaks as the turtles were released.
I have been told that these creatures can give a nasty bite if so inclined so its best to keep fingers and other vital organs out of harms way.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

new years day paddle

The first outing of the new year, was on Saturday, New Years Day, afterwards we had a toast to the new year. The sea was calm and the water was crystal clear

I tried to take some shots of Mickey underwater but my camera wouldnt focus properly and I only got this one shot.

Later on in the day we had a rainshower, this is very rare for us here as the rains usually only begin in about another month. Maybe its a sign that we will have some badly needed rain this year. Hold thumbs.

Today Sunday is a holiday, oh yes , we celebrate the new year with a 2 day holiday, so no work today. The sea has changed with the weather and the waves were about 1.5 to 2m, just perfect for surfing. Again my camera failed to work, this time because the battery had run out and I didnt have a spare.
So to sum up the year so far, it has to be a great when you can go kayaking every day..

Thursday, September 17, 2009

learning to paddle and then learning to surf

There has been a steady stream of newcomers to our club all summer. The first lesson is a brief intro to seakayaking with the emphasis on safety. We go over a wet exit, an assisted rescue and the basics of forward paddling, how to turn and brace and how to stop. Then if they want they can join the group on the regular outings learning as they go. In the summer there are skills sessions once a week. Most people find this a great way to learn as each outing they are accompanied by one or more of the coaches. This allows everyoneto progress at their own speed and level with no peer pressure at all.

Today, with a change in the weather we had some surf for a change.It`s been a long flat summer with almost no surfing.As the seasons change from summer to autumn the sea responds too, becoming much more playful.

There were not too many of us out there, and the waves were perfect for beginners.

The only downside was that it gets dark much earlier these days and so we had to stop much too soon .

Saturday, September 12, 2009

happy new year

Friday night is the official beginning of the Jewish New Year,תש"ע, in English that translates to 5770.
New year is always a time of optimism, hope and joy, in all faiths and religions even for us non religious types.
I guess we all want to believe that the next stage will be better than the last, no matter how good its been up to now.
So I`ll take this opertunity to wish everybody a Happy New Year, lots of safe paddling, good health and contentment.
Be careful what you wish for as it may come true.
All The Best.

Friday, September 11, 2009

finishing the petrel

At long last I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
This weekend I am joining the deck and hull together. That`s number 49 out of the 71 steps listed in Nick shade`s book . So only 22 more things to do and then its launch day.
Because the deck meets the hull at a right angle at the ends I decided to use a sheer clamp here as it`s quite difficult to get the fiberglass tape down this far. A sheer clamp is just a strip of wood clamped and glued onto the inside of the hull making the edge a bit wider at this point and thus giving a larger surface area of contact for the epoxy to stick on to.

Here`s a picture of the sheer clamp being glued to the hull.

Before joining the hull and deck I made loops of nylon to hold the decklines and bungees. This is a nice way to have the decklines attached without having any hard padeyes sticking up from the deck. In the picture you can see the white shock cord which I will change to black when the boat is finished

Next is to tape the boat together and then place fiberglass tape on the inside seams. This is easier said than done and taping the inside seams is a job that requires patience and persistance.
Now that the boat is assembled its nice to see and appreciate the shape and nice lines of the Petrel.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

yes, you should come to our symposium

Optimist Kayak Club has its annual symposium in October. The weather is still pleasant and the water is warm.

The stars of the show this year are Jeff Allen, Ben Lawry and Greg Stammer. all three of them are well known names in the world of seakayaking.

Greg is one of the top Greenland style paddlers with a wealth of experience in rolling and paddling with the famous Greenland stick. Now I know that there are lots of you out there who have made a Greenland paddle, but for some reason don't use them. This is your chance to get some quality coaching and then you can start using the paddle that you made.

Jeff has been to both of our previous symposiums and always leaves us with our tongues hanging out for more. His approach to safety and incident management is unique and enriching.He also makes learning this stuff so much fun that you tend to forget that you are in a learning environment.

Ben, who you can see on Justine's "This Is the Sea" videos is an expert in the ergonomic aspects of forward paddling. Since we spend almost all of our time going forwards, why not make an effort to improve our technique and style.

Then again its a chance to spend 4 full days kayaking , immersing oneself in the sport for days at a time instead of a short paddle now and then. This is a wonderful experience and the social aspect is lots of fun too.

I highly recommend that anyone interested in kayaking in Israel make an effort and attend our symposium,you will have a great time and spend a few days with lots of terrific people

Friday, September 4, 2009

what if??

Say you went out with your group, the sea was calm and there was a nice breeze, nothing you couldn't handle and nothing to be concerned about. After about an hour you suddenly found yourself alone, no one else in sight, believe me it happens.The wind gets a bit stronger and some waves appear. You stop for a rest and a drink and when you turn to get something from your day hatch you simply capsize. Now if you have a roll its not a problem, but if you don't and if you have not practised getting back into your kayak on your own you are in trouble. The wind is against you swimming back to shore, the waves and wind are getting stronger and suddenly you find yourself becoming religious.

Whenever we go out , we always stress, don't go off on your own, paddle with at least one other person, but more often than not we find stragglers or daydreamers way out there all by themselves. When we ask them who they are with they always say "I`m with them" pointing to a couple of kayakers in the far distance. Actually they are not, those in the distance don't know where you are and if you need help they will not be there for you.

Develop and awareness of your group, know who is around you at all times and keep an eye out for people who may need help.You never know when it may be you.

I know that this is the most simple scenario, and you could take it just about anywhere, for example, what if you lost a paddle, etc etc.

Think about it.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

about cameas and water

So Rami showed up on Tuesday morning with his new Canon waterproof camera.

The price has come down quite quickly and now you can get it for about 350$. Thats still quite a bit of money for an untested gizmo. Im talking about the waterproofing, as thats the most imortant aspect for me.

I have ruined about 4 of these waterproof cameras in a short time and am happy to let Rami test it before I make the plunge. The quality of the pictures is a lot better than my Olympus and the video is miles better.

Lets see how it handles the raging seas for a while before we make any comitments.