Archive for June, 2006

A crazy idea

June 28, 2006

A crazy idea, but it might just work!

This is from the blog of a famous sea kayaker (Freya Hoffmeister) – an image she posted in order to sell this kayak. The image is described thus: “Kind ist aus der hinteren Luke leider rausgewachsen“. Now my German is rusty but I think this roughly means – the child is in the rear storage compartment.

Why not?

kind ist auf dem...

I have two very small children, two compartments and a flat, warm sea. They would definately fit in there, would they need a spray skirt? I’ve got access to baby pfds… Hmmm… they do always ask to come with me.


A Scottish invention

June 28, 2006

I was reading about the sport of sea kayaking, its history and heritage and wondering about why Scots weren’t involved. The Scots of the 18th and 19th Centuries were ‘involved’ in almost every developing science, technology, sport, literature and event of the times. (Read this book which cronicles the Scots’ inventive history).

But so far no trace of the Scots. An Inuit or Eskimo invention, perfected in Greenland, observed by some Englishmen and Danes, studied by an Austrian and a few Germans…

Then I stumbled upon John MacGregor in the list of top 10 sea kayak expeditions in Paddler magazine.

“John MacGregor’s Rob Roy Expeditions, 1860s

While John MacGregor is also claimed by the canoe crowd, he was the first to take the traditional form of a native kayak and turn it into a recreation tool. And while MacGregor navigated his famed craft Rob Roy down rivers and open waters alike, the boat’s form influenced modern sea kayaks and their use as a recreational craft.

MacGregor made several journeys in his custom-built, cedar-and-oak kayaks in the 1860s. In 1865 he began by paddling down the Thames, ferrying across the English Channel, and then paddling the rivers and lakes of Europe. In 1868 one of his most famous expeditions took him through the Middle East. Despite several modifications to his boat’s design, such as sail riggings and a canopy that opened to a mosquito net-covered sleeping bay, the Rob Roy bore measurements common to modern-day sea kayaks: 15 feet long, 28 inches wide, nine inches deep, and 80 pounds in weight. MacGregor was a hundred years ahead of his time… were it not for MacGregor and his Rob Roy, it might not have occurred to anyone to pick up traditionally structured boats and paddle them for fun.”

I knew it, there had to be a Scot in there somewhere! And so now I rightfully claim the sport of modern sea kayaking, and canoeing it seems, as A Scottish invention! (Tenuous? You should see our other claims!)

In 1866 his best-selling book ‘A Thousand Miles in the Rob Roy Canoe on Rivers and Lakes of Europe’ popularised the sport. You can read more about him here.

A Japanese legend

June 27, 2006

Here is the website of a Japanese Kayaker (Greenlander?) that seems to be well known (linked to by a lot of blogging kayakers). The animations / drawings of various rolls are particularly good as is the information on building skin kayaks – I want to do this.


This is the website of a group of greenland style kayakers in Japan: ‘qajaq’ as in the word for kayak in Greenlandic and Japan; jpn. There is also a qajaq usa. The good thing about the Japan site is the colourful English (Japanese have a way of sounding very friendly in English) and the animations / viedos done by Eiichi Ito, one of the members. The famous kayaker is from Greenland his name is Maligiaq and he is a champion kayaker and also kayak buildider. Do a search for him.

An amazing thing

June 27, 2006

Monday 26 June 2006

Finished work at 4, rushed home, packed up and was paddling by 4:45 from the beach at Oku Matsushima. The weather forecast was for 12-14knot winds (high for me) but the observed wind at Shiogama was only 2m/s = 4 knots. Today was a very large tidal range, full moon. I arrived just before it peaked and after 2.5 hours paddling left with the tide at the same height – just after it peaked.

tide graph

The sea felt like your bath when it’s overly full, kind of sloshing around at the edges. Read the rest of this entry »

Amazing views

June 26, 2006

This site has some pictures which are indeed amazing.

A flying kayak

June 22, 2006


This is the flyak one of many ‘interesting’ human powered boats from this website. I stumbled over it while searching for a flying fish image for my trip report on father’s day.

the triak in elevation

And while we are on the word plays how about the triak? This is the kind of boat I had in mind when I first imagined myself ‘on the water’ : basically a traditional, polynesian outrigged canoe.

A brilliant use of 5k

June 20, 2006

Here is a website (that only works with IE) that you can use to pick colours for your website. As you may or may not know HTML requires colours to be reprsented in code form; so red = #FF0000, black = #000000, White = #FFFFFF etc. This website allows you to pick your colours. No need to install any software, no hassle, it just works. And it was written using just 5,120 bytes.
It is in my opinion, fantastic.

A strike of lightning

June 20, 2006

What do you do if there is a thunderstorm while you are kayaking?

Thunderstorms can be very dangerous in a kayak because the kayak while small may still be the tallest thing on the sea surface and hence liable to a lightning strike. Read the rest of this entry »

Fathers day

June 19, 2006

Sunday 18 June 2006

Fathers day saw me sent out of the house while the children made me a fathers day card and helped their mum bake me a cake.

This is also the first kayaking trip I've been on since I started this blog so I took more pictures and was a bit more organised than usual.

The weather was overcast, forecast to rain but didn’t, warm (24 degrees C) with very light ENE winds. High tide at 07:24, low tide at 14:34, tidal change of about 1m in total. The water temperature is rising steadily, about 1 degree per week, it’s up to 19 degrees C. Read the rest of this entry »

A rescue in the US

June 16, 2006

An incident on 4th June 2006 near Boston in the US. Here is a synopsis of the incident report from the kayakers themselves:
We launched from Pavilion Beach, between Great Neck and Little Neck in Ipswich prior to 10am on Sunday, June 4. Predicted conditions were for 12-15kt NNE winds and 4-5 ft waves. Water temperature was between 52 and 53 degrees. Tide tables showed high tide at about 6:11am, low tide at 12:17pm. The area we planned to paddle in was not far our the mouth of the Parker River estuary, in the bar area at the SE end of the Plum Island barrier island.

Between 20 to 30 minutes into the paddle and in the bar area we separately got knocked over and rolled. Read the rest of this entry »

A beautiful blog

June 15, 2006

But then you'd expect that he's a blog designer.

Have a quick look then wish you could do that here. 

Test post – image compression

June 15, 2006

Here is my example

19k file

19k file

8k file

8K file

Both these images are 100x100mm x 72 dpi. One is more compressed using photoshop. I don’t understand why they should be sized differently?

A light in the dark

June 15, 2006

Wednesday 14 June 2006

So far my kayaking has been pretty much alone and I don’t just mean solo kayaking. Due to language problems it’s been difficult for me to get advice and help and to know what if any kayaking activity is going on around me here in Japan.

But no more. Yesterday my friend Yamauchi-san introduced me to a whole world of Kayakers. Read the rest of this entry »

A good thing about kayaking

June 14, 2006

I've always been interested in the sea. Since I was a little kid I used to love going to watch the sea especially on stormy days and we often saw such days on holiday at my uncles cottage near Crinan in the North West of Scotland.

Fast forward 20 years and I am 33 living and working in London. I was sent down to the Eden Project in Cornwall for the weekend as we were doing some design work for them. I am reading a series of sailing books starting with the novel The Lodestar by Peter Nichols. I enjoyed that so much I then read two of his non fiction books: Sea Change (about his crossing of the Atlantic) and A Voyage for Madmen (about the 1968 Golden Globe yacht race). Lastly I was on Sailing Alone Around the World by Captain Joshua Slocum on Peter Nichols’ recommendation.

So when I stayed on a very stormy November night Read the rest of this entry »

A marketable sport

June 14, 2006

I have heard to said that we are being 'sold' a lifestyle with adventure sports – that they are more about how we see ourselves than the reality of actually doing the sport. I hate to think this is true but sea kayaking sure is marketable.

Here is an image from the outdoor store Patagonia's website (posted here because it will probably disappear in due course). What do images like this say?

patagonia sea scape

And from the same site here is a quote from a solo paddler which illustrates some of the ‘romance’ that makes sea kayaking such a marketable sport:

“Every few paddles I glance over my shoulder hoping not to see a three-foot-high dorsal fin bearing down on me, mistaking my kayak for a lean elephant seal.”

Not that this is an exaggerated risk. Here is a story about a surf kayak being attacked by a 4m shark.
Patagonia website here