Monday, 21 May 2007

Back safe and sound

Sean during the crossing to Michipicoten Island. Click to zoom. Just got back today from our trip on the North Shore of Lake Superior. Over 7 days, we paddled just shy of 220 km from Wawa, ON out to Michipicoten Island and back. I don't have time to get into the details tonight as I'm completely wiped but I will post a more detailed report this week. Probably Thursday if I can get it all together. Here is it in phrases. Basically it was over the top. 220km 2C water (cold) 35 knot headwinds Almost activated the Coast Guard Search and Rescue Techs... 4 hour night paddle through ink Two 18 km crossings First crossing - 1.5 meter following seas (actually 1.5m) Rainforest Caribou tracks Radio dead zones Very remote location Caves 4 am wake-ups Snow All right, off to bed
Thursday, 10 May 2007

Off to Lake Superior

Michipicoten Island, Lake Superior Photo by Dave Wells Things are going to be slow around here for the next week and a bit. On Saturday I'm heading off with Sean from our little city of Toronto and driving north 12 hours to Wawa, Ontario. Where the heck is Wawa you ask? Good question. It is 12 hours north of Toronto. Ok, ok. Wawa is a small town along the north shore of Lake Superior. We are going to be putting in at Dave Well's shop/guiding company/paddling school, Naturally Superior Adventures. The plan is to paddle west along the shoreline, then out and around Michipicoten Island. Here is the route for Google Earth if you want to follow along. I added a couple points of interest so I you could follow along. I will update it later when I get back with more details. The total trip is around 220km and the crossing out to the island is just a speck under 25km. We are hoping to do the whole thing in 7 days. We budgeted a wind day and with the size of Lake Superior, we will probably need it. Sean and I have been working over the winter on lightening our load and trying to implement some of the ideas from lightweight backpacking. We will see how it goes. It if was warmer we would be cutting things out like drysuits, but with 2c water, they will be worn the whole time. We good some inside information of a sauna location out there so we are going to try to get the beast fired up. I will report back when we cruise back to Toronto.
Monday, 19 February 2007

Paddling in India

For those who have been following V.Balaji’s trip along the coast of India might have noticed that he is paddling an Easky 15 by Venture Kayaks (P&H). I recently asked him how he acquired his boat as I don’t know any other paddlers in India. This is his response: Yes, it has been in my dream to make an adventurous journey in the sea, after I saw the program of Justine's kayak expedition in the east coast of Russia in National Geographic Channel (if you know her, say my hello). In 2005, when I went for a mangrove conservation training program, I met Mr. Dominic from International Tree Foundation, UK. After my seminar on coastal conservation he was impressed and we had a few minutes chat - I told him I wish to make a kayak expedition, but i did not know how to ride it, roll it, its cost and I never seen before except in the TV. I was confident that the kayak will surely attract the people here as a tool to talk about the value of protective fragile, coastal ecosystems of tamil nadu (coral reefs, mangroves and sea grasses). When I was in Germany in July 2006, I spend some time to rent a kayak in an enclosed bay at Baltic Sea and paddled it for a km myself - which was like a child walking first time. Then, Dominic took a great effort in UK - he made a car rally with his friends from UK to France to collect money, I selected the sea kayak through websites and started to read the kayak lessons through internet. Dominic (690 UK pounds +300 UK pounds) and I paid nearly 24,000 Indian rupees for Indian customs clearance. October - November 2006 is the training session and December 2006 the expedition start. I am very grateful to Mr. Dominic and his friends, I have to be responsible to teach the children in the village on marine conservation, and paddle the kayak to next village - as a way to prove it. Going to a village school today afternoon...…
Sunday, 18 February 2007

Almost done!

V. Balaji is almost finished his trip. You might remember him as he as been paddling almost 650km along the shoreline of India to raise awareness for shoreline conservation. He wrote me last night and said that he has finished 500km and only has 144km to go. Keep it up, you are doing great! He was recently interviewed and there was an article posted about his trip in The Hindu, India’s national newspaper. You can read a copy of it here. Learn more about his trip here.
Tuesday, 28 November 2006

Night Paddle

As promised, I wanted to write about the night paddle on Sunday night. Sorry it took so long for a report. Working 18 hour days leaves very little for much else.Sean and I met up to do some paddling. Just as we were heading out we met up with two other good friends who were coming back in. It didn’t take much work to convince Jaq and Liz to head back out with us.The game plan was to work on some night navigation. We wanted to practice following bearings and dead reckoning to find the half way point between two unlit buoys.Like any other major city, the Toronto shoreline is quite bright; you might as well be out in the daylight. We decided to circle around the Toronto islands counter-clockwise.On the south side of the islands it was finally starting to get dark. The buoys we were looking for were about 1.5-2 km offshore.I brought along a GPS that we programmed in the half way point to see how accurate we really were. We set off on our bearing towards the other buoy which was just less than 3 km away. It was dark enough that we couldn’t see it. Very long story short, when we figured we were sitting right over the half way point, we were only off by 100 meters off the north. We were quite pleased with that.With hardly any wind it made it a little easier then we wanted but we were all talking and zigging and zagging so we figured it was our artificial wind to knock us off course...
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