Saturday, November 28, 2009

festival of paddles

The 2009 festival of paddles was a great success, thanks to all who took part and to Hadas who took all the pictures and kept us in laughter all day.

9 people took part and everyone went home with a Greenland paddle.

We started at 10am Israeli time and finished in the dark. During the day we played on the balance board,

ate good food and laughed all day as well as made paddles. Everyone had a great time as you can see from the pictures, a video will follow in the next few days .

Friday, November 27, 2009

the week that was

This week was characterised by strong easterly, [off shore] winds. For us kayakers this means the danger of being swept out to sea is a reality and so we tend to stick close to the shore. Rock hopping in these conditions is a lot of fun but because the reef is very shallow it is easy to get stuck on the rocks or at least to get a new scratch or two on the bottom of your boat. I find myself breathing in and trying to lift myself up when rocks attack me.
The weather is changing, mornings are colder and the water temp is dropping, nothing like our friends in the USA, so I guess we shouldn`t complain.
Tomorrow after the morning paddle I am holding another Greenland paddle carving day, if you are in the neighbourhood you are welcome to pop in for a visit.

Friday, November 20, 2009

did someone say sushi?

What a morning, about 70 kayak fishermen had a competition on our beach today.

They went out at 5am , so we didnt see them set off when we went out for our morning paddle, but the sea was littered with sit on tops with fishing rods sticking out at all angles. They all seem to have at least 3 rods trawling behind them, but the amount of fish they catch is not very impressive. I suspect the waters have been fished out over the years.

They did manage to get some Tunny which Ido and friends filleted and sprinkled with soy sauce and gave it to us to eat.

Wow, it tasted fantastic, fresh raw fish eaten with fingers on the beach, what a treat.The winning catch was only 3.5kg with almost no difference between the first 3.There were also some interesting kayaks around, all sit on tops,a couple of surfskis modified for fishing and one 3 piece kayak

which can be made into a one man kayak or a double by adding the insert. Ehud , the owner of our Optimist Kayak club,[ also sells fishing kayaks],
was the sponsor and gave away generous prizes to the winners.
Maybe I should take up fishing.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

beach rescue

So there we were, Zohar and myself in seakayaks and Israel in a short surf kayak, braving the stormy seas and strong winds.

As we played in the surf we were drifting southwards due to the strong northerly wind.
We ended up opposite the events hall at Nofshonit beach. I had already bailed out once, got tumbled by a strong wave, had my spray skirt ripped open and didn`t manage to keep myself in the kayak in the wave. I think my thigh braces are too slippery and dont have enough support to hold on to in these conditions. This is the second time that its happened, so I guess I will have to modify the braces and add some extra support and make the surface a little more abrasive for good grip.

Zohar managed to get a good ride or two in the waves but no photos as I was swimming to shore at the time. She also had to bail and swim to shore a couple of times . Luckily for her she managed to hitch a ride with Itay and Yochai back to the club

while I had to fight my way back against a 20kn wind. All in all a great day on the water.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

lessons learned

Today we were smarter than yesterday.
The sea was still rough and had large waves, the group was more selective and more disciplined too. Yesterdays events were on all of our minds as we headed into the surf. We had more towropes as well.
Going out was an adventure in itself with at least 3 capsizes.

The group stayed together and when it was time to return all behaved very well.

One by one we came home until one of us capsized, rescue was quick and effective and the capsizee was helped back into his boat and at the same time was towed into safer waters.
Once safely out of the danger zone he was released and allowed to paddle to shore . His kayak had a lot of water in it but he managed to maintain control very well and get ashore without mishap.
It can happen that you get swamped and do not have time or opportunity to empty your kayak immediately, then you have to paddle an unwieldly kayak until you beach or bail the water out. I remember one exercise we did with Jeff Allen, we all capsized, all had to do a self rescue, close sprayskirts and continue to paddle with swamped kayaks. It was a good eyeopener and learning experience. Yes you can continue to paddle a waterlogged kayak albeit with some difficulty and more skill. I guess you should practice this for when it will be needed
When we were all back on shore it was time to go and play in the waves

Friday, November 13, 2009

look what they did when I wasnt there

This morning I had to miss the 7am outing, but planned to go out a bit later. I arrived at the beach at around 8 and went to have a look at the sea.
Ehud told me that the group was coming back as the sea had risen and they decided to shorten the outing.

I went to watch and saw the kayaks coming in. In rough weather there is a safe passage through the reef where the waves don`t break and we usually come back through this gap. From my vantage point I saw Hadas signing the way and the group begin to land. Then I saw one kayak capsize, but didn`t take much notice because it happens to newcomers quite a bit, and if they are past the reef they usually get rescued or washed to shore.So I went back to the club and found Ehud on the phone to Rami. Now Rami lives on the frontline of the beach and has a great view of the sea. He was watching and told Ehud that there were a few in the water including Hadas.
It sounded out of the usual and so I got changed and ran down to the water with my kayak thinking that I may go our and help with the rescues if needed.

By the time I got there they had all beached and were discussing what had gone wrong.

One of the kayaks capsized and was rescued, but another in a homemadekayak also capsized and because his kayak doesn`t have bulkheads it flooded and was impossible to right. He was being swept into the rocks and 3 others tried to rescue him. Hadas had given her towrope someone else and none of the other rescuers had one. Not good. A huge wave then lifted them all up and threw them onto the reef causing various injuries to kayaks and kayakers. All are ok now and one kayak has minor damage to its prow.
Lessons have been learnt and advice given, and the next outing will be a lot safer.
We all went back to the clubhouse to celebrate Zohars birthday with cake and alcohol and then I went out to play in the surf.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

same movie, different producer

Heres my version of the surfing, but as I dont have any videos from Rami, I don`t appear in the show

perfect waves for surfing

Tuesday was a fantastic day for surfing, calm seas and well formed waves gave us a fantastic time in the surf. both Rami and I had our cameras with us but as you can see it takes a lot of skill to make a surf video from on the water. sometimes you just put your camera in your pocket and have fun in the waves, but then its hard to describe to your friends.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

greg`s rolling lesson through vered`s lens

Ok so i`m still going on about our symposium, forgive me but seeing that we dont have too many of them round here they make a big impression on me. There were lots of us with cameras and everyone has a different point of view. This shows up strongly in each ones pictures or videos.
So here`s a great video of Greg giving a rolling lesson and demo to a group of aspiring Greenland rollers.

Monday, November 2, 2009

eat .sleep .paddle........last day

I confess, I stole the headline from the back of Bens head.

But it does seem appropriate as thats what we have been doing for the last 3 days.

This last day was divided into BCU assesment by Jeff, Greenland rolls with Greg and fun and games with Ben in the wind.
[the right place for a short nap before the afternoon session]
It was a very windy day with gusts of 20plus Kn.
Perfect for a lesson of how to manage in the wind, direction control, using the wind to help turn you kayak and managing to stay on course without being blown into foreign waters by the winds.
For Jeff the sea conditions were way above 3 star levels, and everyone managed to do the recommended tasks, staying upright, towing with and against the wind and rescues.
Greg spent the day in the water again, teaching rolling, and it looked like everyone managed to learn something.

Ben managed to get his message across and at the end of the lesson we were all so good we managed to have an olympic race across the wind with a 360 degree loop going and coming , both forward, and believe it or not, backwards too.
I am sure that after this great symposium everyone who attended came away with a better understanding of the art of seakayaking and some improved skills in a number of areas.
Many thanks to the organisers, the coaches and especially to Ehud, Hadas and Yossele for a fantastic experience.
Remember Eat.Sleep.Paddle.

to the sea of gallilee ... or not

rescue practice in rough water

According to our most accurate forecasters, the sea should have risen up to 3m overnight. This would make Saturday a no no on the water and so the decision was made to move to the Sea of Gallilee for the next day. All were notified of the change and travel arrangements taken care of. Next morning frantic calls went out to cancel the change as the sea was a bit more user friendly than expected and we were able to continue on site as planned originally.

I spent the day with Jeff Allen, the topic was incident management and group leadership in the morning and navigation in the afternoon.

Whatever happens in Jeffs lessons, you cant help having a lot of fun, learning by doing and going home with lots to think about.

We spent the morning in a wildish sea causing incidents and then making the rescues go wrong, just as a demo of what could happen in real life if you don`t know what to do.

Later on we learnt how to read maps and tide tables and plan a journey accordingly.This is a relatively easy task in Israel as we don`t have any currents nor any meaningful tides, but if for some reason any of us finds our way to a foreign country with kayaking possibilities then we would know just what to do. Thanks to you Jeff.