Thursday, August 26, 2010

Paddling Day from Deep Cove

August 22nd I joined the Vancouver kayak Meetup group for a day of paddling out of Deep Cove.
We were a total of 7 boats.  Four hardshells and three inflatable kayaks.

This was my first time out with the Meetup group in a couple of years.  The conditions were excellent, with just a light breeze in the beginning and good breeze on the way back, just enough to provide some fun paddling.

Steven demonstrating how user friendly inflatables are.

All here?

We knew we were safe from pirates.  This battleship acted as our escort.

From Deep Cove we crossed Indian Arm to Racoon Island.


In Indian Arm paddling towards Racoon Island.

Steven. The nice view is the other way!  Steven is on his, aged but still going strong, Innova Sunny.
My Safari is the foreground.  Note the shiny skin.

Loops watches the photographers at work.

Couldn't really get any closer without having to walk.
Janice, the battleship's captain, and her deckhand.

Off we go again towards Twin Islands.
Ted is paddling his own "aged but still going strong" Innova double Helios.  Janice's niece is at the controls.

At Twin Islands we quickly got off our kayaks to take them ashore.
Norm is looking for that fish he thought he caught.

My Safari resting besides Loops' hardshell. 
Loop's kayak, at 9' something, was even shorter than mine.

Birdseye view from above of others kayaker getting ashore.
Twin Islands are connected during low tide.  The north island has camping spot too. ...will have to make a little overnight trip sometime.

Our boats peacefully at rest.

The gang enjoying lunch... with a view.

With the raising tide, the islands are no longer connected.

Jim getting ready to step aboard...

...carefully stepping aboard.

Steven and Norm are ready for the return paddle...

...while I get closer to those rocks... close to the barnacles too.  Just don't step on those things with your bare feet!

Now, where's that carabiner I thought I lost?

All set for the return trip.  But first...

...we decided to circumnavigate the Twin Islands.

Norm greets the locals.

After Twin Islands we headed back to Deep Cove.  We paddled against a headwind and some wave action, but it wasn't too bad.  We all made it safely back to shore.  All in all we paddled at least 6 nautical miles.

Enjoying apres paddle donuts.  What's Steven smoking anyway?

And now just some of the protagonists:
(photo contributors: Jim, Steven and Loons)

Norm, smartly wearing his drysuit.

Loops, smartly with his feet up in the air.

Steven.  Always ready, smartly.

Janice.  Smartly looking confident.

Ted and Chelsey.  Hey, this is fun!

...and me on my Safari.

Monday, August 16, 2010

English Bay Summer Paddle

Saturday was one of those perfect lazy summer days.  Ted posted an idea on the kayak Meetup to paddle English Bay for a few hours of quality water time.  He would be bringing his new Feathercraft Wisper XP.
We meat at Vanier Park's boat launch; then paddled to Jericho beach for a deserved break.  At Jericho I practiced some solo re-entries.  I quite surprised to find the water fairly chilly... good thing I was wearing my wetsuit.  After Jericho we made a b-line towards Second beach in Stanley Park.  The crossing was fun and the paddling easy.  After paddling over 6nm we eventually returned to Vanier Park.  That was good day.

My Safari is almost ready to go while Wilt is putting the finishing touches on his Cooper.

Ted shows up with his brand new yellow Wisper.  Hey, I thought it was supposed to be a folder!

Yes, that upswept Wisper bow makes for a fine water entry.

Wilt and Ted paddling way in near perfect conditions.  A bit later the wind picked up to about 15 knots giving us a fun bumpy ride.  But that didn't last long.  Note those two guys not using a sprayskirt.  Risky!

...towards Jericho for a deserved break... and a few refreshing dips.

Note the inflation pump, and H2O bottle, strapped down at the bow.  When it got rough the inflation pump filled with water, I found later.  Next time said pump will go in a drybag.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Innova Safari Inflatable Kayak First Paddle

Finally, after many delays I managed to take my new inflatable kayak Innova Safari out for a paddle.  A good place to put-in is Vanier Park by the Coast Guard station and the entrance of False Creek in Vancouver.
Putting together the boat was a real snap.  The red hull is first unrolled on the ground; then the skeg is mounted under the stern; after the seat and footrest are to be inflated first, then the bottom chamber and sides last.  All this is done with a foot pump.  Getting myself ready with all the proper paddling clothes, etc. - one needs to be dressed for immersion around here - took longer than preparing the kayak.

But first, an introductory photo

These photos of the Safari being assembled were taken during a paddle at a later date.  This explains the different scenery.

The rig.

Out of the bag.

The seat and footrest are inflated first.  The bottom next; then the two sides.

Finally ready.

Carrying the boat to the water is really easy.  It weighs just little over 10kg.

Getting into the kayak... no problem.  Oops, wide angle lens shot.

So far, so good.  This kayak is so small at 10' LOA compared to the Wisper!

Stability for now feels similar to my FC Wisper.  It tends to weathercock a bit with each paddle stroke. I'm sure that with practice I'll learn to compensate for it.  Boat speed isn't bad either, not as fast as the Wisper though.
It's nice to be in an open boat.  No cramped feeling.

This is really fun.  Look mom, paddling with my eyes closed!!

The Safari "turns on a dine".  Notice the wake.

Then off towards Vancouver's skyline.  BTW, that's the first blue sky in weeks.

A view of the cockpit.  The footrest needs to come closer.

All together I paddled around False Creek for about an hour.  The Safari is really fun; stability is comparable to the Wisper but even with the skeg weathercocking is noticeable.  Like anything new, it will take a bit of getting used to.

Overall the Safari is a pleasure to paddle.  My leg still tried to fall asleep, but being an open boat I was able to stretch and hang the leg out for a while to get the circulation going.  This isn't possible on the Wisper.

For a first paddle I was really impressed with the little Safari.  Next outing I will start practicing self-rescues.  They say there's no need for a paddle float.  One just straddles the kayak and climb back on board.  We'll see... I'll bring it just in case it's needed.