Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Just back from an introductory trip to the Apostle Islands. I've done this trip for the last few years as one of the instructors, and the trip always proves to be rewarding to see people get on the big lake for the first time. Lake Superior can be intimidating, but with the right gear, and some good decision making, Superior can be one of the best kayaking destinations around. That's what this weekend was all about. Wind, weather, navigation, making the go-no go decisions, and using that information to get out and see the Superior is all about. The key is starting with small inner island trips with the right people, sticking your nose in the wind and waves a little bit at a time to gain the experience to take on the longer more advanced trips.

This was the last trip up for me until August. This time tomorrow I will be en route to Alaska for the month of July. For a guy that's never been further north than Thunder Bay, this trip is a big one for me. I will be working on planes while I'm there, but the location will give me some good opportunities to get some training myself on the ocean. I'm not a stranger to wind, waves, and cold water, but the tide thing adds another whole dimension. After some searching and asking friends, the Alaska Kayak School in Homer was recommended to me every time. And it looks like they have some classes I can sign up for this July.

Also, soon as I get settled in, I'll introduce you to the bear guy!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

SKOAC Intro 2010

I was up around 5:30 am checking weather for the day ... predicting a high of 70F and a 5o/50 chance of rain showers for the day. A cloud ceiling of only 500ft, and a quick look at the radar showed a large band of rain headed our way, looking like it would arrive the cities around 10am. A quick breakfast, load some boats, pick up Chris, we are at the lake by 8:30 ready for the day. A quick discussion among the instructors and we had our doubts about everyone showing with the predicted weather, we had some extra warm paddling gear if someone needed it. Hopefully everyone would show.
We did the class at Shady Oak Lake this year, on recommendation from Michelle from ISK, and turned out to be a great place teach the class. A nice covered picnic area for the classroom portions, the lake was clean and small, perfect for keeping track of 12 new kayakers.

After a morning of teaching subjects on boats, paddles, and proper gear, and some dry land rescue demos, we are on the water just as the light rain starts. One on one for the initial wet exits and everyone comes through without a hitch, in what can be a tough part of the class. Most people are ok in the water, but put them inside a kayak with a tight fitting spray skirt, tip over, and it becomes an entirely different matter! Doing a few clean wet exits can add a lot to someones confidence when they start working on the rescues and taking time to be sure everyone is really ready, will make the whole day go much better than if this portion of the class is rushed.

We had an intrepid bunch this year. Everyone showed for the class, and held a positive attitude all day, right though the wind, rain, and cold. It never did get above 60F for the entire day. Every time I help teach this class, I end the day feeling like I got as much out of the day as anyone who participated in the class. Feeling the highs as someone completes their first wet exit, or gets the confidence to finally go out on a lake alone knowing that if they go over, they can safely do a self rescue, is as rewarding to me, as it is to them.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Thompson Island

Finally getting a few photos up on SmugMug from the weekend. I'll keep adding to it as I go through them.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Moon Set

4am looking out of the tent on Thompson Island on Lake Superior. Four days just wasn't enough ... gotta go back and spend some more time along the Canadian shores of the lake. Maybe this Fall.