I remember when we were kids on a family vacation in Nova Scotia once we found ourselves wandering the harbour docks at night (to this day I don't know why since it seems like a really sketchy activity). Well, we were walking by a large freighter that were loading provisions on board and I have no idea how, but we were invited by one of the crew members onboard for a tour of the ship. I wouldn't be surprised if my father started yelling from the deck asking for one as he was that kind of guy.
So next thing you know we are getting the full tour. We visited the galley, bridge and even got to meet the captain who was really excited to meet us and show us around. For us it was easily the best part of our vacation meanwhile my mother was terrified the whole time and was convinced that we were going to get kidnapped.
Anyways, ever since that day I have loved big ships. I love everything about them and fascinated by their mysterious inner workings. I mean, who really knows where all the pipes that you see actually go? Nobody knows, that's who.
So you can imagine my excitement when Google announced that they have rolled out a Google Streetview tour of the Schmidt Ocean Institute's new 272-foot research vessel, Falkor.
The tour is awesome. You can wander through all nine levels starting with the engine room and all the way up to the crow's nest (do they call it that on a research vessel?).
You might be wondering why this boat in particular has received the full Google tour treatment. Well, the Schmidt Ocean Institute was founded by Dr. Erik Schmidt who is both the Chief Executive at Google and quite the philanthropist. gcaptain.com has the full backstory.
SOI bought the vessel from the German government in 2009 and recently completed an extensive three year, $94 million conversion of the ship from a fishery protection vessel to the high-tech research vessel it is today.
"Falkor's biggest goal is to help change the public conversation about ocean health," said Ms. Schmidt at the Exploratorium, "We're living on a planet where we really don't even know most of what's here. So, we would like to say it's time that we did understand."
Following her San Francisco debut, Falkor left the City by the Bay for British Columbia on two expeditions in Canadian and U.S. waters, before making her way southwest for several months conducting oceanographic research in the Central and Western Pacific.
Check out this crazy footage from the Discovery television show, North America which features footage of two sea kayakers who got the the thrill of their life when several Humpback whales broke the surface about 20 feet away to feed (not on the paddlers luckily). All this footage is shot somewhere in Alaska.
I can confidently say that I would freak out in this situation. How do I know you ask? I get scared startled seeing a floating stick on the water and think it's a giant snake going for my throat.
Click through for the video below:
This is easily the craziest story I've read so far this September.
A young New Zealander who the press is only identifying as Ryan got trapped on Governor Island in the north end of Western Australia for two (yes two) full weeks because a six-meter (20 feet) salt water crocodile would stalk him every time he tried to make a break from the island. Yes, two weeks…
Luckily when he was originally dropped off he had lots of water and food since his original plans were to explore the island for a short while then paddle back to the mainland. Once he discovered the giant monster stalking him the situation changed.
He was finally rescued by Don McLeod who was passing the island on a fishing trip and found Ryan with no food and only 1 liter of water left.
Mr. McLeod told ABC Radio yesterday: "I saw a flash in the scrub. I went across and Ryan came out looking a bit distraught. He came down the beach. He said he'd been there a fortnight and he came to the conclusion very quickly that he couldn't get off there without attracting this crocodile.
"He was relieved and shocked, and thankful someone had come along."
Mr. McLeod went on: "He said every time he got in his little kayak, this crocodile – who has lived there for many years and is a monster – has chased him.
"That croc is a very, very big crocodile. One of the biggest I know of around here and it followed him around for a while. So Ryan headed back to get under cover and left his kayak up on the rocks about two kilometres from where his camp was.
"I've seen that crocodile come past me quite fast a few times," Mr. McLeod said. "My boat's 20-foot long, so I know he's well up towards the 20ft mark."
More info: scotsman.com
Flickr Creative Commons photo credit: BMaco
With a new school year underway Kelly and I thought it was about time that we get off our butts and record a new episode of our sea kayaking podcast, Kayak Mainline.
In episode 11 of Kayak Mainline we learn about:
We also explore (hypothetically) what it would be like to watch a stripper take on Gordon Lightfoot's, Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.
As a break for hearing us blab on and on, we get on the phone and talk to Marty Perry and Kate Hives of the Hurricane Riders and catch up on they are up to these days.
I hope you enjoy this one as much as we did putting it together.
There are several different ways to get our sweet voices directly into your ears:
You can stream it live in your browser here:
You can directly download the mp3 (Right click and select, "Save target as..." or "Save link as...".
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Simon Osborne from Sea Kayaking Cornwall in the UK got a hold of the P&H's new Hammer sea kayak and took put it through the wringer recently out in the surf.
The new P&H Hammer is a new rough water play boat that takes heavy inspiration from the P&H Delphin and the Pyranha Fusion with a dash of white-water kayak design thrown in for good measure. What you end up (as you can see in the video) is a boat that is extremely comfortable in both surf and rough water.
It looks like a whole lot of fun. Click through for the full video below:
I'm really excited to let you know about an upcoming Paddle Canada Level-3 kayaking course being offered at the end of September here in Ontario.
Running September 25-29, the course is being organized by myself and Ray Boucher in partnership with White Squall Paddling Centre and will take place in Georgian Bay (just north of Toronto).
Paddle Canada Level-3 further develops your skills for undertaking multi-day trips in open water conditions. Some of the topics we will be covering include trip planning, rescues, towing, inaccessible shoreline launching, advanced navigation, weather mysteries revealed, risk management, decision making, leadership among peers and other nerdy stuff.
This course is going to be unique in that we are planning to work our way out to a very small set of islands in southern Georgian Bay collectively called The Westerns. They lie about 12 kilometers offshore. To accomplish our goal (and if the weather cooperates), we will work through the planning and the decision making process of undertaking a major crossing like that.
Speaking of the Westerns, they are easily the most remote group of islands on Georgian Bay and very few boaters and even less kayakers ever make it out to.
The price of the 5-day course is $595+taxes. We need at least 4 people to make it run so our cut-off go/no go date for the course is September 15th. If you are looking for a challenge, contact the White Squall office and they can get you signed up.
We hope to see you there!
You might think you are cute when out paddling your SUP but I can pretty much guarantee that you don't look as cute as Kiara Goold does while learning to paddle an SUP in the video below. She is two.
New England Patriots football player guy, Tom Brady went out kayaking in Boston over the weekend with his wife and son.
The excursion turned out better than it did back in 2009 when he went for an afternoon paddle and ended up swimming in the Charles River. He had to be rescued by one of the rental staff
"He had to be rescued," an unidentified spectator told the Boston Herald. "The launch guy went out and got him and got him back in the kayak. He's been bragging about it ever since. He's telling everyone he rescued Tom Brady."
"It was more embarrassment than real danger," the spectator said.
More info: aolnews.com
I got an email from my buddy, Bryan Hansel who runs North Shore Expeditions out of Grand Marais, Minnesota. A couple weeks ago singer and songwriter, Jerry Vandiver joined Bryan on one of his day tours of Lake Superior.
You might be thinking to yourself who is Jerry Vandiver is and that's ok. While you might not have heard Jerry's voice in your ears before, if you are a country music fan you have most likely heard a song that he wrote. His music have been recorded by a huge number of country music legends including Tim McGraw, The Oak Ridge Boys and Barbara Mandrell to name a few. In fact his two most popular songs, "It Doesn't Get Any Countrier Than This" and "For a Little While" which were both recorded by Tim McGraw are among the gold and platinum records on display at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee.
It's no surprise that Jerry decided to go kayaking whole on his vacation. He is a big fan of canoeing and even wrote an entire album of songs dedicated to paddling.
Keen Footwear has just rolled out a brand new program called "Build Your Own Keen" where you can order a completely customized pair of their classic Newport Sandals.
The new app on their website allows you to customize pretty much every single component of the shoe from the webbing pattern right down to the colour of the lace or the sole itself.
I did a quick count and there 14 different parts of the sandals that can be adjusted and some quick grade 2 math at my end tells me that there at least 62 billion and three combinations to choose from. With so with that many colour choices; you can pretty much guarantee that nobody will have your exact pair of shoes.
Keen says that they can get them made and on your feet in about 2-3 weeks which is pretty amazing. I haven’t confirmed it yet but my guess is that they are able to offer this service via the new manufacturing facility they recently opened up in Portland, Oregon. I just found out that that the Keen Custom shoes are manufactured for you in one of their factories in Asia.
The price for the shoes is $130 (US) which is only $30 more than regular Newports so it isn’t an exorbitant price to pay for custom footwear.
Ok kids, get designing. Just don’t walk up and shoe me the pair that you ordered with every option as black. That would be waste and you would feel my sarcasm. This is what I’m expecting next time I see you:
More info: Keen Footwear