Nigel Foster

Something of a legend in the kayak world, Nigel Foster is my guest in the next Podcast at Sea Kayak Routes.com
We spoke on Armadale beach during the Scottish Sea Kayak symposium. Nigel only just made it in time, having had to dash across Scandinavia to a different airport, then drive up the UK through the night.
If you's like the magic internet pixies to automatically drag the Podcast onto your computer, then you can subscribe free here. You can also listen on-line at that location, or you can manually download the file from the Podcast Library. It now contains 36 interviews.
If you just want your RSS reader to let you know what's new, then this is the place to subscribe.
The Podcast will go live on Monday, provided we make it back from our weekend paddle. The forecast is looking good!

You thought it was Scotch Myth?

Yesterday's newspapers screamed "Fat Nation".

New research showed Scottish people were, on average, the second most obese in the world. Only Americans were, on average, chubbier.

Today I spotted this in Edinburgh. Incidentaly, it's not only Mars Bars which are deep fried here. That's also how pizzas are cooked in some chip shops.

Just looking, you can feel your arteries harden.

Rusty's Replacement

Just arrived from Valley, not one but two replacement skeg sliders and aluminium sheaths.

Inside that back thing is the threaded widget that ought to be stainless steel but, in my boat, is mild steel.

It's a problem which affects quite a few others too if the thread on the UK Forum is anything to go by.

The replacement arrived within twenty four hours, which I reckon is good service on Valley's behalf. OK, it was a mistake, but mistakes happen, and I judge companies on how they subsequently put things right.

It will take me longer to install it. I possess more thumbs than fingers when it comes to this sort of thing.

And with a decent forecast this coming weekend, I'll be paddling my boat not fixing it. The Crowlin Islands and Applecross look likely.

Rusty

If you've bought a new boat from Valley Canoe Products recently, you ought to know this.

I store my boats upside-down, outside. Within two weeks of taking delivery of my new Nordkapp a rust stain appeared on the deck, clearly coming from the skeg slider.

After getting no joy from the dealer, I rang Valley and spoke to Pete Orton. It seems they had a bad batch of skeg sliders.

The threaded component in the plastic handle has been made of MILD steel, not stainless, so it rusts. Pete's not sure how many boats are affected, and other manufacturers might have a similar problem.

I'm being sent a new slider and cable sheath which I'll attempt to instal. If I can't, then I'll be picking up the phone again.

Bumpy Ride

We were trying to paddle from Arisaig to Mallaig on Saturday.

The tide was with us, the wind was about F4-5 creating a following sea. Boy were we moving!
But the wind was building and we didn't fancy the landing-less few kilometers before Mallaig.
So we headed into Morar. It's a big, shallow, sandy bay. I should have worked out what would happen.

As we neared the shore, the waves (obviously) rose high off the sand and started to break, well above our heads. One of us (no names) capsized.

An x-rescue later we were on a beach. Then we had to get across the bay to an exit from where I could hitch back to Arisaig.

More shallow sand, more rearing, breaking waves, and another capsize. It was shallow enough to stand, inbetween the sets at least. But it was a superb lesson in getting to grips with an incident and I learnt a lot. Perhaps not as much as Wenley in Cornwall, but enough for now.
Sometimes it's better out than in.

Out to sea with just a paddle - The Herald 04.08.07


It’s called a “boomer”, and depending on whether you’re prepared it can be fun or fatal. A vertical wall of water suddenly rears up in front of your kayak, hangs in space, then crashes down, battering your head, body, boat and paddle.

Fighting through an upright lump of collapsing ocean gives a huge adrenalin rush, and provided you know what you’re doing it’s a wild ride.

If you don’t, you can end up like the solo Dutch kayaker who, earlier this year, was found clinging to a rock surrounded by shattered pieces of his broken boat.

I imagine his first words to the lifeboat crew which plucked him to safety were, “What was that?” Don’t worry, I’ll tell you before the end.  Continues

New Podcast. Vancouver to Alaska - A Family Paddle

New parents often promise themselves that having a child won't change their lives. Sean and Ingrid Hobba lived up to the promise.

They took their six year old daughter Kate with them as they kayaked the Inside Passage, from Vancouver to Alaska. Along the way they snapped some stunning wildlife photographs.

In this Podcast they talk about paddling with a small person, surfing the wave of a whale, and tackling a classic six month paddle.

Listen and subscribe free here or download directly from the Podcast Library.

Paddlefest programme

The programme is taking shape for "PaddleFest", or Paddle '07 as it's known. I e-mailed the organisers last week to find out who'd be there as I was looking for potential Podcast interviewees. A couple of days later I find myself giving one workshop (about Blogging & Podcasting) and a Presentation about making our programmes on The Canoe Boys.

Here's a list of the current Presentations and Workshops lifted from the SCA Website.

Presentations
Saturday
10am ADVENTURES OF AN EXPEDITION PADDLER AND FILMMAKER Justine Curgenven
11am CANOEING AROUND THE CAIRNGORMS Robbie Nicol
12pm JOURNEYING SHARK BAY - WESTERN AUSTRALIA Chris Scott

1pm ABORIGINAL CANOES - THE BRITISH COLUMBIAN COAST Chris Cooper
2pm OPEN CANOEING IN SOUTH AFRICA Nancy Roberts

3pm JUSTINE MEETS THE QUEEN CHARLOTTE ISLANDS(UK PREMIERE !) Justine Curgenven
4pm TITLE TBC Patrick Winterton
5pm SCOTTISH CANOE ASOCIATION AGM

Sunday
11am SEA KAYAKING IN SOUTH GREENLAND Shaun Roberts
1pm THE CANOE BOYS - THEN AND NOW Simon Willis
3pm AN INDIAN ADVENTURE Claire Scott and Dave Girling


Workshops
Saturday
10am AN INTRODUCTION TO WHITEWATER SAFETY Shaun Roberts
11am KAYAK FISHING Andy Winter / Ray Fill
12pm PATHWAY TO PERFORMANCE SCA Performance Director Kevin McHugh
1pm LOOKING AFTER YOUR KIT - TROUBLESHOOTING AND REPAIRS SURGERY Richard Cree
4pm HOW TO USE A VHF RADIO CONFIDENTLY Cailean McCloud

Sunday
10.15am FISHING FROM A KAYAK Andy Winter and Ray Fill
12pm SCOTTISH SEA KAYAKING PHOTO EXTRAVAGANZA Doug Wilcox
2pm KAYAK REPAIRS Richard Cree
3pm WIRED KAYAKING Simon Willis

I also see my fellow Canoe Boy Cailean MacLeod is taking a workshop on using a VHF radio correctly (sorry 'confidently' - see below). I wonder if I can rope him into the Canoe Boys presentation...

Wasted Holiday

It feels like I just wasted two days holiday. I took Friday, Monday and Tuesday off work to give us a long weekend.

We'd hoped to make an early start last Friday and head off to Applecross or Skye, but forecasts of Force 6-7 gusting 8 blew that plan out. We went hill walking here instead and enjoyed great weather. Should have been paddling....

Yesterday, it didn't seem to windy at home so we drove 40mins to Glenuig at the end of Lochailort. It was a little worse there.

If your're going to play the video, turn down the volume on your computer!






New RSS Feed

Now I don't really understand all this, but I'll have a go.
The programme I use to write the Podcast website SeaKayakRoutes.com is called iWeb. It makes the whole process very simple, just the way I like it.

I recently installed a new version, and it seems to have changed the addresses and RSS feeds of some of my pages.

In particular, the front page. Bookmarks shouldn't be a problem, as browswers are automatically forwarded to the new page. But you might have to manually update your RSS feed or re-subscribe.

If you're seeing the front page showing info about the Hydro Skeg podcast, then your feed is working.
Sorry.

New Podcast - Hydro Skeg

This is Geoff Turner, an engineer by training, a kayaker and the man behind the Kari-Tek range of products.

Subscribe free and listen to him here or download the interview with him directly from the Podcast Library.

Skegs hadn't changed very much over the years until Geoff designed the Hydro Skeg. As the name suggests, it works not by cable but by hydraulics.

Not content with that, and pushed forward in part by Nigel Dennis, Geoff combined the attributes of a skeg and a rudder. Here he explains how and why. There's also a video in a previous post.

How accurate is Google Earth & Maps?

According to Reuters, Google Earth has been asked to help look for Steve Fossett whose plane went missing a few days ago. Let's put to one side the privacy issue that Branson could ask for and receive preferential treatment.

I've been using Google Earth to plan a few paddles. Long term schemes. Far off ideas. Dreaming, really. They're remote places, so Google Earth will probably be accurate. Won't it?

I just looked close to home. Over the last three years, the BBC has been building a whacking great glass box on the banks of the River Clyde in Glasgow. It opens officially on 20th September.

Honestly, you can't miss it. But Google Earth does. Or rather Google Maps, which I believe draws its data from the same source.

That piece of wasteland below, seen from space, is where the above building now stands. So if you're planning a trip remember, what you see might not be what you get.



View Larger Map

A pee zip on a woman's dry suit

OK, I admit this video is vaguely disgusting. But when you're a woman, wearing a dry suit with spraydeck and BA ontop, 'spending a penny' can be tricky and time consuming.
So Liz had a men's "relief zip" fitted to her Palm Element dry suit which is used in conjunction with a device called a SheWee. Like this...

5th Sept 2007 - sorry, I had to remove this video. I was weirded out by some comments and thought Liz might not be too happy.