Tuesday, December 30, 2008

a walk on the beach

Its still dark at 6am but the call of the sea gets me out of bed, and even though I hear the sms beep signalling bad conditions and no kayaking I make my way to the beach.Hadas is sitting in the office reading a book and the wind is howling outside. We both decide that due to the strong wind kayaking today is not a good option and decide to go for a walk on the beach instead. Good decision, although its a bit cold and I forgot my hat so my ears got really cold and painful. Treasures get washed up on the shore and sometimes you get lucky and find nice things. First of all we found hundreds of aerosol containers washed up all along the shore, not a nice find,

but then we found this beautiful tiny bluebottle

and Hadas picked up numerous shells to add to her collection.

The tide was comming in and made a strong river flowing under the warf at Sdot Yam harbour.Back to the club for a warm drink and then home for the rest of the day. Hope you all have a good day and a good new year

tuesday end of 2008

I was sick last week with a bout of the flu and so decided that today I needed to get my sinuses washed out with salty water. What better way to do it than by rolling in the sea. So even though the regular outing was again cancelled due to high seas, I went out for about an hour and played in the waves. The only problem with being out alone is that there is no one to photograph and no one can take any pics of me.

When youre out in rough water you need to be totally concentrated, to be alive and alert at all time, you cant be thinking of your next vacation or let your mind wander at all, because the moment you let your guard down you may find yourself being rolled by the wave that you didnt see coming.

I liken this to life in general, sometimes it`s calm and plain sailing, sometimes things get rough and sometimes you have to fight just to survive. A day out on the sea in rough water gives me a good perspective and helps me approach life in general with a knowledge that if I have the same attitude on land as I have on the water I can manage anything.

Sometimes you have to just stand on a rock and let your wings dry before the next session

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Why we didn`t paddle today

Wind speed in the last hour 36 knots
Wave heights up to 4 m

Beaufort scale 8, as described at sea, High waves, dense streaking spray and foam. Kayaking conditions, extremely difficult, no progress into the wind, boat control is a real problem, communication and rescues very difficult.

You`ll be on your own.

Better to avoid these conditions and stay home, warm and dry.
So thats what I did

Actually I went to the beach to see for myself

There was a bouy washed up on the shore from one of the marinas, strong winds and very messy and confused conditions.
Glad I had a few samples of Black Label handy.

So I wish all out there in the real world a Merry Christmass and a happy new year.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Circumnavigation of the Sea of Galilee

This last weekend we spent 2 days paddling round the Sea of Galilee or the Kinerret as it is known here.

Knowing how to pack a kayak is an acquired skill as shown by Zohar, and this can make or break your trip.

The weather report in the morning was for strong westerly winds, and in fact as we started out the sea was waving about and the wind was gusting,making launching into the waves a bit of a challenge, albeit a little challenge.

Luckily for us the wind died down and the rest of the day was sunny and mild, perfect paddling conditions.
We paddled up the Jordan river where it enters the Kinerret, going against the stream is hard work, and after about 45 min to an hour we reached the bridge and turned downstream again.

One of the highpoints in a trip like this is the food breaks, everybody brings something and in the end its a huge feast, tea and coffee, alcohol and other surprises all make for a happy bunch of kayakers.

We arrived at kibbutz Ein Gev where we spent the night and next morning completed the trip finishing the day at about 3.30, just before sunset.

The sad thing is to see the huge loss of water, all the beaches are now much larger than they should be and the piers and moorings for the pleasure and fishing boats are all left high and dry.

We need tons and tons of rain to fill this lake, hopefully we will get some in the near future otherwise we are in for a real tough time.

It`s always nice to have a change of paddling scenery, and the conditions on the lake are different to that of the sea.

Personally I like the challenge of the sea with the tides and currents and the surf, and were in for a large storm in the next few days, according to Karel its going to be 8 on the Beaufort scale so probably no paddling this week

Monday, December 15, 2008


payback time

Sometimes you have to pay for your pleasure, and after neglecting my garden for a few years now I have been harnessed into getting the place cleaned up.

It made me wonder , who cleans up the forests? there seems to be a force of nature at work, stuff grows, then dies , leaves and things fall to the ground, pile up, decay and provide food for new growth. It is a self propagating system and everything grows in harmony. So why isn't my garden doing the same thing, why do I have to rake up the damn leaves and tidy up all the fallen undergrowth, why cant I just leave it to take care of itself.

I`d rather be paddling, out on the water, rolling in the waves or just watching the birds chasing the fish.

I discovered a lemon tree in a neglected corner and the pomelos look good too.

Maybe there is something to be said for looking after the garden after all.
On second thoughts, I`d still rather be paddling

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

and now for the video

Heres a great video that Danny sent me of the festival of paddles. No need to say any more, just thanks Danny .

Today Limor and Yochai brought their new paddles to the club, Limor has given hers a name, Sedna, an Inuit goddess, Yochais is nameless.

I paddled with Yochai`s paddle , this is a personal thing, everyone should adjust the paddle to their own preference and when you make your own paddle you can do just that. You can adjust the size of the loom to fit your hands, you also can shape the blades to fit your grip in the most efficient way for you. So its not finished until you have used it and adjusted it and at last you are happy with it, and then you maybe will find a name for it after you decide how it behaves in your hands.
It also rained today, what fun to paddle in the rain, water under you and water over you.

Monday, December 8, 2008

festival of paddles

Well what can I say, a great day was had by all, Its already Monday and I am still writing about Saturday in my mind. Saturday night I was too tired to write and my pictures got lost when my card malfunctioned, so I waited until I got sent some pictures and am now busy looking at them all and trying to make some sense out of them.

I had planned for about 6 people to work, and had no idea how the day would turn out.In the end we had about 10 people working. Sometimes you make plans and then things get out of control and just go in their own directions, all you can do is go with the flow, that`s what happened on Saturday.

The energy was fantastic, I think that we all have a creative streak inside of us just waiting to be let free, and that is what happened here. Each carver was given a 2 by 4 and some sharp instruments and a bit of guidance and at the end of the day everyone had a paddle, or something resembling a paddle.We worked from 10.30 am and the last ones left at 7.30 in the evening.

I have never seen such determination, no one was prepared to go home until they had made a paddle, and in the end everyone finished, what a great achievement.Remember that the class was for people who have very little experience with wood carving or have never used a plane before and the results are even more remarkable.

As far as I can gather we all had a terrific day, and as Dubi said "I cant remember working for 9 hours straight in the last 50 years and enjoying myself so much"It was a great day.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Greenland Paddle Day

Tomorrow we will make history, it will be the first Greenland Paddle Carving day in Israel.
About 7 people will gather at my house in the morning for the first workshop and by the late afternoon we hope to have 7 new greenland paddles ready for the water.
I make the blanks by glueing a piece of pine between the red cedar, this gives a very strong paddle and adds a nice esthetic tuch to the paddle.
So if you are in the neighbourhood tomorrow morning you can come over and hang around with us while we make our paddles. We will be happy to see you.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

the fear factor

Yesterday the sea was getting higher and higher, and today the sms came in at 6.05, the morning paddle has been canceled due to seas too high . As usual this means that all those with privately owned kayaks and no fear will turn up at the beach to see if we can go out on not. The decision to paddle is our own, and we take full responsibility for anything that may happen. To take a group of kayakers of mixed ability and skill levels out in rough seas is a heavy responsibility and one that is not taken lightly, and so if the sea is anything like dangerous, Ehud will rather postpone or cancel the outing, but if you own your own kayak you can choose what you want to do.
Anyway there were a few of us out today in high seas, and I must admit to feeling a bit apprehensive at times when seeing this huge wall of water rushing towards me . I decided not to surf at the rock, the waves were huge and of the dumper kind,not my favourite conditions for surfing, so 3 of us went out to sea and then came back. Mickey decided that the sea had calmed down again and headed off to catch some waves, Shahar and I decided to play in the shorebreakers. Zohar was on the beach and got some nice photos of us in the surf, meanwhile Mickey had come undone. He had caught a large wave, flipped over and broke his paddle , then his forward bulkhead failed and his kayak filled with water preventing a reentry and roll and making a rescue very difficult. We decided the best thing to do is to tow him back to shore. As I had the only towrope it was up to me to tow a swamped kayak and a not too small paddler and his stabilising friend back to shore. I can tell you that this is very hard work, and not a job to be taken lightly especially in large surf.
Lesson of the day: make sure your kayak is seaworthy and that all the bulkheads and hatches are in good working order, and always have a spare paddle.

Friday, November 28, 2008

High Seas today

Nice rough water today, everyone was smiling all the time

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Yochai`s new kayak

Yochai has just finished building his Night Heron and today he brought it for the official launch.

The fleet of wooden boats is growing and all additions are welcome. I wish you many hours of happy kayaking in your fantastic new boat.

bungees ropes and strings=oops

What a great day in the surf, huge waves and not too cold. But wait, trouble ahead. I have a pump under my bungees on the front deck for those times when a bailout is needed, and it is attached to the deck lines with a short cord to prevent it getting lost or washed away. It has come in very handy in the past and is essential gear .Yesterday while surfing, I flipped over in a rather large wave and while attempting to roll felt something holding my paddle, not letting me get any movement. At first I thought I had broken a paddle but then discovered that the paddle had become entangled in the cord holding the pump to the decklines, thus preventing a roll and causing a wet exit. Thus is experience born.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


The weather changed over the last couple of days, the sea rose up and gave us swells and waves for a few days of fun. Yesterday and today were overcast and rain was predicted. This morning we went out for our morning paddle at 0700, the sea was lumpy with shorebreakers and a bit of wind and in the distance we could see the approaching storm.We finished our outing after about 2 hours and while waiting in the clubhouse the rain came down in buckets. The club has a tin roof and you can imagine the sound of the rain drumming it, it gets so loud that you cant hear anything else.

In a moment we had rivers running down to the sea, the second group of paddlers had to give up and come back as the wind was gusting in sudden strong attacks.

And then when it was just about over we had 2 brave souls get in their boats and go play in the water. All in all a great morning.

Later on I went to see a new kayak almost finished, Yochai has been building a new Night Heron and launch date is coming soon, be sure not to miss it.