Beacon Rock

13 05 2008

We had hoped to go to the coast this last weekend but the weather gods didn’t cooperate.  It was a lazy day on Saturday.  When we explored our options on Sunday we decided to head inland.


We decided to take the SOF for it’s second voyage and Karen would be in my Romany.  We put in around 12:45 at the launch by Beacon Rock.  Weather was in the high 50’s, low 60’s, winds were west about 6-10 mph.  As soon as we launched the current surprised me.  I am not stable, nor comfortable in the SOF.   I’ve decided that until I have a reliable roll in this boat I won’t be comfortable in dynamic water.  I actually had to work to make sure I had a proper ferry angle to get to Pierce Island!  I felt like a newbie in a looksha!

We paddled up the North side of Pierce and Ives Island and found a terrific eddy in which to practice entering & exiting current & eddy turns.  I’d guess the current was moving about 4 knots through this channel.  Karen made fabulous improvements in technique and also in comfort level.  She compared me to Matt Serra, the coach on the UFC ultimate fighting championship series.  I didn’t know how to take it – Was it because I was screaming high-pitched instructions or because I was actually helping??!!  She let me paddle my Romany for a few go-arounds in the eddy since I didn’t feel comfortable in the SOF.  

We made our way back to the put-in and practiced rolls for probably close to an hour.  Karen is looking very solid!  We did c to c, sweep, butterfly, shotgun, attempted forward ending and norsaq rolls, and finally called it a day. 

I managed to roll the SOF twice, though not comfortably.  I fear this may mean skinning, modifying the coaming and re-skinning.  I’m going to have an experienced SOF paddler try it first…



5 05 2008

Small fish in a big pond

We spent yesterday at OOPTIKS, the Oregon Ocean Paddling Traditional Inuit Kayak Symposium in Skomokawa Washington, an event put on by our local paddling club, OOPS.  What a fun event!  I usually carry a greenland stick on my boat as a spare paddle but really haven’t used it too much.  I’ve built a skin on frame boat so I need to figure out how to use the stick since no self respecting SOF paddler would be caught using a hunk of carbon fiber for a paddle!

The weather gods cooperated with highs in the mid 60’s, sunny and a NW wind less than 10 knots The club did a great job putting this event together for 25 or 30 lucky attendee’s.  Some of the top traditional instructors in the NW were there to help us learn how to make these toothpicks work for us.  Tim Mattson, Henry Romer, Marcel Rodriguez, Don Beale, and the list goes on!

We were split up into small groups of similarly skilled  & experienced paddlers based on a short “assessment”  and spent the morning session working on strokes & maneuvers, everything from an efficient forward stroke, to proper bracing.  Just before lunch there was a demonstration of Harpoon throwing as a teaser to an afternoon session where we could try it for ourselves.  Lets just say, all the seals were very safe that day!

After lunch we divided up into groups based on desired activity, anything from rolling to deadfish polo or harpooning.  I chose to spend all afternoon working on rolling.  I have a very effective and consistent C-to-C roll, which is not the most effective roll with the greenland stick.  I managed to improve my ugly sweep roll, consistently do the butterfly roll, and consistently blow the shotgun roll!  Oh well, lots to work on!  I felt like I was much more comfortable in a skulling brace as well.  All-in-all, a fun afternoon of getting wet.

Karen continues to impress me!  She was hitting her sweep, shotgun, and butterfly rolls, and rumor has it, actually did a norsaq roll!  All this after hitting her first roll only a couple months ago.

Fun times were had by all!

Hammersley Inlet

21 04 2008

No, these were not all our group’s boats! A group form the Mountaineers was also putting in at the same time. We put in at Walker County Park at about 10:30. Max ebb was 3.2 kt. at 10:55 so little paddling effort was required to make decent speed.

At Cape Horn I took one inexperienced paddler down the south side past the swirly water then ferried back to the north side. We played in the current for a little while, but it wasn’t too interesting unless a powerboat came flying through.

We continued on to Hope Island & paddled down the east side to a lunch spot at the SE corner. We had a relaxed lunch & took a walk around the campsites & caretaker’s cabin, practiced a few rolls, then headed back to Hammersley.

Max flood was 2.9 kt. at 4:30.  The group didn’t seem too interested in playing in the eddies on the way back, though a few of us played around in each one as we made our way back to the park.  We took out around 4:30 PM.

The weather was fairly cooperative. We had a high of 44f, with 5 – 10kt. west winds, periods of sun, periods of showers, and a couple hail showers thrown in for good measure!

Big lesson learned – I won’t do a trip with this many participants again! We had eleven paddlers in our group. I like to paddle & play, not necessarily herd cats, which is what it felt like at times. It’s one thing to take a large group on a flat water paddle, quite another have to bypass eddylines, or cut play-time short to keep the group together!

Nestucca Bay

14 04 2008

lounging seals

We paddled from the launch at Bob Straub Park down to the the point where Nestucca Bay meets the Pacific. Unfortunately, (though it was cool to see), there were about 50 or 60 seals hauled out at the point.  Despite our best efforts to pass without disturbing them, we couldn’t get by.  If we went any further than this along our shoreline they would begin to get agitated, so alas, we gave up, sat down and had lunch & took a walk on the beach on our side of the mouth.  I need to remember to come at a higher tide next time so those pesky seals won’t be blocking the surf!