Thursday, 10 May 2007 17:48

Off to Lake Superior

Michipicoten Island 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.

Jackson KayakEric "EJ" Jackson earned a record fourth world title at the Freestyle Kayaking World Championships May 2 - 4 on the world-renowned Bus Eater wave on Canada's Ottawa River. Jackson's prevailed over a field of nearly 70 of the best 20-something boaters from around the globe. His win also marks the first time anyone has ever won two World Championships back to back.
Tuesday, 08 May 2007 18:46

Conference and Festival Wrap-up

Eastern Canadian Sea Kayak Instructors Conference
Eastern Canadian Sea Kayak Instructors Conference.
Click to zoom.
It has been a busy couple of days. This past weekend was two huge events for me. Friday was the 1st Eastern Canadian Sea Kayak Instructor Conference that I organized. It took place at White Squall in Parry Sound, Ontario.

It was very successful with over 30 participants in the one-day event. Add that to the 12 instructors who were also there to help out, and that adds up to a really fun group of people who love getting out there and teaching.

We spent all day talking about various teaching topics including risk management, strokes, rescues and adaptive paddling from the perspective of how to actually teach it.

Special thanks to all the presenters listed below for their hard work.

Scott MacGregor - Rapid Media
Richard Alexander - Newfoundland Kayak Company
Matt Cruchet - Direct Bearing Incorporated
Tim Dyer - White Squall Paddling Center
Pauline Halstead - Paddles and Boots
Marlene Hume
Sean
Graham Ketcheson - White Squall Paddling Center
Conor Mihell - Naturally Superior Adventures
Erik Ogaard - Harbourfront Canoe & Kayak Center
Serge Savard
Rick Wise - Horizons
Ken Whiting - Heliconia Press

Cardboard Canoe Race
cardbCardboard Canoe Race
Cardboard Canoe Race
The second big event took place on the Saturday and Sunday and that was the Georgian Bay Canoe & Kayak Festival. White Squall always hosts a fantastic event and this year was no exception.

For the first time in several years, it didn't rain or lose power leaving some of the diehards disappointed. Oh well, can't please everybody...

There were a ton of sessions including many of the speakers listed above presenting on land clinics as well as skill development sessions out on the water.

There were two highlights for me over the weekend. The first was the annual cardboard kayak race. I think at the end, only two boats surived. Basically, if your boat stays afloat for the first 0.5 seconds of the race, you have a good change of actually finishing. I paddled in the race 5 years ago and lost to an 8 year old girl. I haven't been back since. I have my pride...

The second big highlight was seeing Fred Eaglesmith. He always puts on a fantastic show. If you don't know who I'm talking about, you really need to spend some time getting to know his music. I know you won't be disappointed.
Tuesday, 08 May 2007 18:16

Running the Numbers Project

2.5 Million Plastic Bottles
2.5 Million Plastic Bottles.
Click to zoom.
Artist Chris Jordon is interested in statistics. The only problem with numbers is that they are hard to relate to. What does it mean to you when you read, "2.5 million plastic bottles, the number used in the US every hour?" Not much.

Chris decided to try to put that number into a really cool visual demonstration that puts the whole thing in perspective.

Amazing...

[Link]

KokatatIn June of 2007, Joe O'Blenis will embark on a solo sea kayaking circumnavigation of British Columbia's rugged Vancouver Island, an expedition of roughly 1150 kilometers (just over 700 miles). Joe will attempt to complete the fastest circumnavigation of the Island thus far by solo kayak, breaking the current record of 28 days (held by Leon Sommé). His goal for this expedition will be to complete the journey in a time of 21 days or under, a very ambitious endeavor considering the conditions he will face.

Tuesday, 01 May 2007 17:31

Google Earth - How it's made

Google Earth Found an awesome blog posting by Google on how Google Earth Came to be and how they process the images of our little blue planet.

It is a really fascinating read.

"Most people are surprised to learn that we have more than one source for our imagery. We collect it via airplane and satellite, but also just about any way you can imagine getting a camera above the Earth's surface: hot air balloons, model airplanes - even kites."

Tuesday, 01 May 2007 14:00

Thule acquires Case Logic Inc.

Thule LogoThule AB, the world leader in Sports Utility Transportation, acquires Case Logic, Inc. and all subsidiaries of the US based storage and organization solutions company.
Tuesday, 01 May 2007 11:46

Paddlers do it with a Guide

Guide CoverTALLAHASSEE, Fl., May 1 -- The American Canoe Association (ACA), founded in 1880, has released a free, 26 page guide for novice paddlers, The Beginner's Guide to Canoe & Kayak Paddling. It is available as a free download at http://www.AmericanCanoe.org or http://www.PaddleDogNation.com

"The Beginner's Guide to Canoe & Kayak Paddling is a very appealing, beneficial tool for paddlers and paddlers-to-be," says Pamela Dillon, ACA Executive Director. "It provides solid information in a creative design that makes it both fun and educational. We are very proud that PaddleDogNation has partnered with the ACA on this project allowing free electronic downloads of the Guide."
Tuesday, 01 May 2007 05:48

You have got to be kidding!

Dennis Bohrn and his three other friends were out canoeing over the weekend in Twin Falls, Idaho when they find the worst thing possible, a victim of suicide. They decide that they can't leave the body out there on the lake so they call paramedics and the police and bring the body back to shore.

When they get back, they hand over the victim to the paramedics and corner only to discover that a police officer writing out a ticket for each of them for $85. The reason? No PFD's in their boat.

No, I'm all for PFD laws and making sure that you wear them when you are out paddling but this has got to be one of the most insensitive things that could possibility happen. Imagine, you just found a body, you drag it home thinking you are doing the right thing only to find that it cost your group $340?

They probably would have received a much better response of the office just handed out a warning. The reason for a citation is to evoke a behavioural change next time, but this just brings out a lot of bitter feelings...

What do you think? Post your thoughts below.

Read the full article here.
Sunday, 29 April 2007 19:05

It's coming soon!

Fred Eaglesmith It's less than a week for the best weekend of the year. On Friday is a first of it's kind. The Eastern Canadian Sea Kayak Instructors Conference is taking place in Parry Sound, Ontario.

We have instructors from all over coming to speak at it. Right now we have over 30 participants so it is going to be a lively group indeed. I mean, you get 3 sea kayak instructors together in a group and you can't get a word in edgewise, imagine 30? I'm dead...

 Saturday and Sunday is the Georgian Bay Canoe & Kayak Festival also talking place at White Squall. It is shaping up to be another fantastic weekend. It is a super laidback weekend of seminars and on water sessions. Every year or rains and every year the power seems to go out causing chaos. I have talked to lots of people who have traveled the kayak symposium circuit and they all comment on how friendly and unassuming people are at this one. I have been to other symposiums where it sometimes turns into a pissing contest of gear of skills. I keep trying to start one but for some reason, nobody is interested and they are all there just to have a good time.

The highlight for me will not take place on the water or even in a dry suit. Fred Eaglesmith will be making another appearance on Saturday night. For those who don't know who this guy is, you need to get on board now. Wikipedia describes him as, "Eaglesmith is a prolific and talented songwriter, and is known for writing songs about machines or vehicles, including songs about trains, tractors, trucks, cars, and engines. Rural life, dogs, guns, drinking and farming/ranching are other common themes. Many of his songs are about failing farms and small businesses."

It is fantastic and you can listen to samples of his latest album, "Milly's Café".

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