Archive for October, 2006

A one way trip

October 22, 2006


Started out at 6:30 from the river near my house and planned to get picked up at 12 at Tsukihama, my first ever ‘one way’ trip (exciting…)

I like that I can carry my kayak to the put-in rather than have to drive for 20 minutes.

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busy on the house

October 19, 2006

I’m really busy on the house at the moment.

Here is the latest house design.


I’ve not been kayaking for 10 days, also not sure when the next chance will be – my mother is visiting from Scotland starting from tomorrow. Also now its officially okay to announce, my wife is pregnant with number 3 – due on April 1st 2007 – so I am needed at home a lot!


October 11, 2006

There have been three days of storms with gale force winds and heavy (in Scotland we would say lashing) rain.

It started on Thursday night 5th October and took until saturday afternoon for the wind to die down.

On Friday night a cargo ship ran aground on Izushima and this article made the front page of the newspaper.


From what I can gather this ship ran aground in huge seas. All 16 crew members were lost (though only one body has been found so far). A lifeboat was launched by the crew but found empty. Rescue helicopters couldn’t get close due to high wind and waves.

I didn’t think this kind of shipwreck happened anymore. And I can only speculate as to the cause (engine failure?).

It’s a bit of a shock that it happened in an area that I paddle; I’ve been to Izushima, though not round it yet.


If its not wrong to say this so soon after 16 people lost their lives maybe I should go soon and see if the shipwreck is still there.

A windy day

October 9, 2006

Today was a bank holiday in Japan. I had a half day free due to visiting parents-in-law and went kayaking. My idea was to go surfing and I put in at the river end of nobiru beach.

There was very little surf, one single break which was only about 50m long and on whoch three surfers were sitting.

On the other side if the river there were some breakers but also some dangerous looking current as the flooded river broke out to that side. I also didn’t fancy my chances of hanging on to the kayak and paddle in these high(ish) winds should I have to wet exit. So surfing was out.

The water is also suddenly a lot colder. It was reported as 21 degrees but there is no way its that temperature. At best I would say 16-18 degrees. Brrr. Perhaps the recent storms have swept in some cold water or churned up the colder deep water.

The weather was great though. 25 degrees and sunny. The wind was at least 15knots I’d say though again reported as less. 10-12knots at shiogama (maybe amore protected spot?). The sea was calm except for the small waves being created but the wind was off shore so no time for these waves to develop much.


It would have been a perfect day for sailing! God I want a sail. 30,000yen though so need to start saving.


I paddled for an hour downwind – my kayak is definately harder downwind than up (weathercocks into the wind) or across (skeg does it’s job) . Watched some fisherman laying a fishing net to shore and had a look at the dumping surf – too close to shore and too dumping. Then paddled back. It’s a bit windy to be doing anything really and I didn’t even do some rolling practice.

On the beach there was litteraly tons of garbage – flotsam from the recent storms piled up on the beach.


Not a great day but relaxing to be on the water and I like this kind of wind it’s very refreshing.

Here is my short paddling map.


Dark out

October 3, 2006

I went paddling on a Tuesday night. My original plan was to go surfing for an hour or so but I changed my mind and for the first time carried my kayak the 300m to the river.

When I bought the kayak this was my plan, to start at the river and kayak out to sea not using a car. But I never got round to that, the kayak is heavy and the sea near me a bit flat and boring.

But I had a relaxing 2 hour paddle, from 4:20 – 6:20. I walked home (and paddled for the last 20 minutes in the dark) . I also saw the sunset into the mountains and the moon become the largest source of non man made light. It was beautiful. (Sadly my phone / camera is out of action so no images).

I managed a few rolls into the muddy water quite far from land – I’m still nervous when starting rolling in deep water.

I felt surprsingly fit and managed a good pace. Downwind the kayak was difficult to keep running straight and I actually found it easier without the skeg, as my corrective strokes actually worked. Upwind I actually think I was faster as I could just muscle down and paddle and let the boats weather cocking steer me.

There were two amazing sites that I wanted to photograph. The first was the thousands of bamboo poles which are being used to farm seaweed (I photographed them here) but now they looked amazing. The bottom 3 inches of the poles were black from the water, above that the newly cut bamboo is yellow making the poles appear to ‘float’ above the water. When the last rays of the sun came streaming across the water the acres of bamboo poles became like a field of shimmering, floating gold. Reminding me of the Sting song “fields of gold”:

You’ll remember me when the west wind moves
Upon the fields of barley
Youll forget the sun in his jealous sky
As we walk in the fields of gold

From here. (You should listen to it, his voice makes it a really amazing song).

The second was at dusk, the hundreds of crows flocking (like you’d expect sea gulls to flock in a seaside town) over a huge tree on a small island. The thousands of black silouttes in the dark sky and over the bright moon was really an amazing sight.

I got home relaxed and calm despite the fact that I just found out my tax return is being investigated!

My route map:


Repairing leaking bulkheads

October 3, 2006

This is a collection of research on leaking bulkheads which i will update until the job is done!

This question and advice was posted here (a forum in the US).

Question : Can someone guide me to instructions for repairing a leaky bulkhead in my fiberglass/kevlar kayak? A little water gets into the dayhatch (not through the cover, but through the bulkhead behind the seat). What’s the best stuff to buy at the marine store to reseal it? Thanks!

Suggestion 1: I’d suggest first contacting the manufacture to see what they recommend. Failing that I think I’d try to patch it with epoxy if it is a small gap, or epoxy and fiberglass tape if the seam is starting to give way… Woody

Suggestion 2: Go down to your local automotive supply store and buy a small, self applicating tube of two component urethane seam sealer. Clean the area, scuff sand the fiberglass with 100 grit paper and apply a bead of sealer. I recommend a urethane because it is easy to use, cures quickly (about 20 minutes) and is also a structural adhesive and will not come off. Ian

This was for a fibreglass boat, mine is plastic. This was posted here at Eddyline Kayaks about maintenance and repair of leaks:

Remember, the bulkheads are vented with a tiny hole in the center. [Didn’t know this].

Since a leak rarely means a structural problem, simple sealants like clear silicone are quite adequate for stopping them. Once you have identified a leak, press a very small amount of sealant into the area with a finger or rag. Be sure to wipe off the excess, you just want to seal the pore that is allowing water to pass.

Recommended sealants: 3M 5200 Fast Cure or any other marine grade polyurethane sealant. Silicone may be used, however, once you use silicone in an area, nothing else will stick to it in the future. This may cause problems if you need to do further repairs.

And for here this gem (actually about sealing hatches but hey):

Glass fibrer resin will NOT adhere long-term to plastic where there is any flexing… If resin/glass is your only sealant, your hatches will eventually leak. This also applies to Q cells which is a glass fibre filler and various commercially made bonding agents which set HARD when cured. A flexible sealant is needed in CONJUNCTION with glass fibre and resin.

The very best sealant I have seen is Sikaflex. Nothing else even comes close. This sealant is a purpose designed marine sealant/adhesive for below-the-waterline use. You can get it in black or white, tube or cartridge. It can be a bit messy to use, clean up with turps, metho or acetone and store opened cartridge in the fridge. You can get it at Ships Chandlers and marine dealers. Resins will stick to it unlike silicone sealants. It is the best. Again,…it is the best. Do NOT use silicone sealants.

And about foam bulkheads (like mine)

…foam bulkheads often begin leaking within a few years. This is due to the fact that the foam shrinks with age and pulls away from the adhesive used to seal the edges. These leaks are annoyingly persistent even after re-caulking…

A history of modern boat designs

October 3, 2006

Another part of the same source. but interesting in that both ‘paths’ have a Scottish root.

What is the history of the development of the modern kayaks?

The modern sea kayaks can trace their ancestry via two paths. The first type are those kayaks that are close copies of the Southwest Greenland kayaks.

In the summer of 1959, Ken Taylor made a private one-man expedition to Western Greenland and brought a kayak back to Scotland. This particular kayak excited special interest because it was a more moderate example of the West Greenland type.

This kayak has been copied a number of times, most noted being the kayak built by Geoff Blackford in 1971. Blackford redesigned the boat to fit his own particular dimensions, retaining the upturned stern, and ending up with a plywood model 17 ft (5.2 m) long with a 21 in. (533 mm) beam. In all other respects the craft was identical to Ken Taylor’s boat.

Blackford’s craft was used as the plug for a fiberglass mould and eventually found its way to Frank Goodman of Valley Products who went into commercial production under the name ‘Anas Acuta’.

A noted British mountaineer and exponent of outdoor education, Colin Mortlock, proposed an expedition along the Arctic fiords of Norway to Nordkapp, the northern-most cape of Europe. Mortlock and his team paddled the Anas Acuta kayaks around the Isle of Skye but believed that a new sort of boat would be needed, one that could take huge quantities of supplies without losing too much manoeuvreability and seaworthiness.

Eventually Frank Goodman came up with a kayak design, having a basis in the West Greenland kayaks, but incorporating elements of standard boat design, with a round bilge capable of the extra payload required, and the ‘Nordkapp’ was born. Many modern boats can trace their design lineage from this root.

The second line of descent for modern kayaks is that of the ‘Rob Roy’ kayaks.

The McGregor “canoe” was built in 1865 to resemble what John McGregor thought he had seen when looking at sketches of Eskimo kayaks. In shape and size it is fairly similar to a Coaster. The Kleppers were also of a similar style. Many of the kayaks designed in the Pacific Northwest of North America have their roots in this basic shape.

If the designs of the Greenland and Alaskan kayaks are studied, it is obvious that there are a wide range of designs. Each has evolved as suitable for the region that it comes from. From this one can see why some designs are popular in one region and not in another, the Nordkapp style in Britain and New Zealand and the beamier, flatter boats in northwestern North America. Even in a country as small as New Zealand there can be regional preferences, a highly rockered boat in the north and flatter, lower windage boats in the South Island, for example.

Wood and wood/fabric were common up until 1950’s when fiberglass was introduced. This was followed by plastic in 1984, the Chinook being the first of the rotomolded boats.

Was kayak hunting dangerous?

October 3, 2006

Very interesting about greenland kayakers from here:

Very dangerous.

Some times a wounded animal wound attack the kayak. Walrus and whales were especially dangerous when injured. Some times a walrus would attack a kayak even if the kayak was not hunting it. Sometimes the harpoon line would tangle and upset the kayak.

It is important to remember these people had no thermal protection against the cold waters when they wet exited since there was no equivalent to the wetsuit or drysuit (although in Greenland there was an equivalent to the modern drysuit but that was only used by Umiak crews hunting whales). The water temperature they paddled in could be as low as 27 degrees F since saltwater has a lower freezing point than freshwater. Glaciers helped to lower the water temperature by calving icebergs into the water. To wet exit the boat was considered suicide by many groups. Also, there was no equivalent to the modern PFD.

In South Greenland in 1888 there were 162 deaths. 90 were males and 24 of the males died while kayaking. In 1889, there were 272 deaths. 152 were male and 24 died while kayaking. The population consisted of 5614 of which there were 2591 males.