Wednesday, August 19, 2015

have kayak will travel

My 10 year old Night Heron was looking beat up and I was embarrassed to take it to the beach so I gave it a new layer of fiberglass  epoxy and varnish.Lynn helped me with the work and now it looks as good as new. just in time for the trip from Ashkelon in the south back to Sdot Yam. About 107km to be paddled in 3 days

Wednesday evening we loaded up and drove down to Ashkelon, slept on the beach so as to get an early start in the morning
It didn't take long to load up and get going

The skyline of Ashkelon was lit by the rising sun as we went past
Ashdod marina looked like it may be a good place for breakfast
but when we got inside there was nothing available , no restaurants no cafes nothing at all

so we carried on a bit to the next beach and sufficed with our own coffee and cookies. We decided to eat light  during the day to make paddling easier

After the marina we passed the port of Ashdod, there is a very long breakwater 

protecting the port, but we didn't see any ships moving at all, they must have been on strike

Just past the port the beaches change to a rocky shelf stretching for miles and miles so we stopped at the last sandy beach  for lunch and  a rest from the burning heat of the day
Still eating light we had salad and thina for lunch and a nice rest before continuing on to our next stop  Palmachim beach 

The beach at ashdod was disgustingly dirty with tons of garbage strewn along the coast. what a pity

We arrived at Palmachim in the late afternoon and set up camp for the night

the beach was just under the houses of the Kibbutz, what a beautiful place 

While we were getting ready for the evening Yosi noticed a swimmer in trouble getting swept out to sea and ran to his kayak and paddled out to save the poor fellow.

meanwhile we had a meeting with Jack  on the beach

After a boisterous night filled with drunken neighbours and kareoke singing all night long, we left early in the morning
Just past Palmachim there is an army base and a firing zone out to sea and so we were a bit wary while paddling past hoping there were no exercises planned for Friday morning

The next landing point was the beach of Rishon Le Zion then Bat yam and then the beaches of Tel Aviv
We stopped in at Jaffa port and had breakfast with Ronnie at his club there

for some it was the first time alighting onto a floating pier, getting back in the kayak was also a bit tricky

Paddling the Tel Aviv coast was a new experience for us
all the high rise buildings and packed beaches with lifeguards shouting at us to stay away from their swimmers  made us feel a bit like intruders

The yoga class on SUP was a welcome sight 
Yosi tried to participate but didn`t look as good
at least the beaches were nice and sandy and easy to land and launch from

We stopped in for a cold beer at  the yacht club in Hertzlia before carrying on to our next camping beach at Gaash
Sunset at Gaash beach and a good place for camping. We made sure that there were no all night parties planned nor any kareoke singers nearby

Passing Netanya Karl showed us where he works

Next stop was Neurim where we stopped for a cold drink and said good bye to Karl

Lunch at Olga just half an hour from home

Finally we made it back to Sdot yam where Hadas, Avi and Omer were waiting for us with a celebratory drink

Sunday, July 26, 2015

fighting the wind

The plan was to paddle to Habonim beach on Friday afternoon,spend the night camping and return the next day. Its not a long distance,about 15km one way and should take our group about 2 to 3 hours. In normal weather that is

Plans are made to be changed, and the weather plays a big part in this decision. So when the time came to depart we had to make up our minds. The wind was Northerly about 15 to 25K, the kites were having a blast and the sea was getting exciting.

In the end the decision was made to paddle against the wind and see how far we could go. There were plenty of camping options on the way so if the going got too tough we could stop almost anywhere for the night

The going got tough right from the beginning, the sea was building and the waves were getting bigger, it was very difficult to paddle against the strong wind but we  carried on regardless. Our usual landmarks came and went but the time to get there was more than double. It was very difficult paddling against such a strong wind and  after about 3 hours we decided to call it a day

Even paddling the double was difficult in such conditions and I found myself loosing ground all the time. Eventually we decided on a tow to help us keep up with the rest of the group

We reached Pigeon Island at abouit 6.45 in the evening and had a well earned rest hidden from the wind

It was a good time for some well earned bladder relief

and also to get rid of some of the water that had gotten into the cockpit

We landed on the beach at Kibbutz Maagan Michael  just as the sun was setting

A head count showed that we had not lost any paddlers along the way

Quickly we set up camp and prepared for food

The wind continued untill late that night

It was relatively easy to get the charcoal going in such a strong wind and soon we were feasting and drinking 

Next morning  conditions were more conducive to paddling, no wind and flat sea, making the trip back home a whole lot easier

On reflection I can say that it was quite an achievement for the whole group . We managed to paddle against the wind and the waves for about 3 hours, it was not easy and we stayed together the whole time. No one capsized and we used our tow ropes to keep the group together.
Paddling in strong wind is a real challenge to kayakers, this time we had the wind against us, making it difficult to gain headway , but easier to maintain control and direction.Next challenge is to go with the wind, in a following sea, this is more difficult from a boat control point of view but if you have the experience you can use the waves and wind to your advantage.