Saturday, March 28, 2009

open house in Pardess Hanna

The village I live in is called Pardess Hanna, the English translation would be Hannas Orchard. Its a small place spread out over quite a large area with a mixture of new and old buildings . It was once an agricultural center. Every year for the past few years, just before Passover the local artists, and there are many of them scattered throughout the village, have a 3 day Open House when they open their houses and studios to the general public. This in order to sell their creations which make good gifts for the coming holiday. Some are great, some not so great but its a nice way to spend some time roaming the village and looking at all the different artworks. I love pottery the best and today went to visit Meir Moheban and his Anagama kiln. This amazing Japanese kiln is a huge construction which uses Wood for the fire and the ashes and smoke affect the glazing of the pots. Because of the labour intense firing process he fires it once a year with all the pots that he has worked on during the year and the outcome is a festival of pottery. And then there is my neighbour Mark Yudel who makes fantastic whimsical Raku pottery. There are others around but these two are my favourites. I admire all the artists around, they make life interesting and encourage us mortals to be creative too.

Friday, March 27, 2009

one girl and a rope

We went on to daylight saving time this morning, so one hour less sleep and up real early to go paddling. The weather report said that there was going to be a strong southerly wind later, and so we went north on our morning paddle. Going out south would have meant coming back with wind behind us, but for some reason we went north. Small waves made the launch interesting and all the way to Jasser there was no wind at all, three of us decided to carry on to Pigeon Island, another 15 to 20 min in good conditions. Just as we were beginning to head home the wind came up as predicted, and it got stronger by the minute. The seas also rose up and soon we found ourselves fighting 20k winds and largish waves breaking and splashing all around us. Progress was slow to say the least and if you got turned around it was not so easy to correct your course. We had no alternative but to slog it out, I dont know how slow we were paddling but at one stage I felt like I was paddling hard and staying in the same position. We were making headway, albeit very slowly and at one stage I decided to tow Zohar , just to make direction control easier and to prevent a downward spiral if anything should go wrong. She didn`t like my decision at all but later on agreed and in the end I think it was the right decision. Sometimes as the responsible adult on the water you have to make decisions that not everybody agrees with, but better to err on the side of prudence than to end up in trouble What usually takes about 80 min on a calm day took us almost double today and when we got back all we wanted to do was eat.
Lessons learnt:
Respect the weather report and plan your trip so that the wind helps you return. Carry a cell phone.
Everyone should have a tow rope.
When conditions change for the worse stay together and decide how to continue and when to tow before getting into difficulties.
You need to experience difficulties in order to become a better paddler.
Always remember to have some fun and look on the bright side.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

new boats and the right clothing for paddling

Here's a new kayak coming out of the club and going on the water for the first time, it`s a Tahe Marine mini reval,

The proud owner getting used to her new boat.I guess it takes a while before you feel comfortable in anything new, you need to get the feel of the boat, to let your body adapt to the shape, feel the rocking and the initial instability especially if you have been paddling something much more solid and stable up to now. It takes time but after a while you get into your boat and it feels like coming home, you don`t even have to think about it anymore, just be patient and you will love your boat, if its a good one that is.

And then you need the right accessories of course, just ask our most respected coach.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

beaufort scale 6 to 7

Wind speed 20to 40 knots, seas moderately high waves, spray and foam flying in streaks off wave crests, and high waves, kayaking conditions very difficult, even experienced kayakers may curse, hard progress into the wind, rescues are difficult too. So off we went, Israel Ruby and I, "lets go out to the ship and back, we will be with the wind coming in so it wont be too bad", thats what we thought when we decided to try our luck this morning. Israel was in a short white water kayak, Ruby and I in sea kayaks. We headed for the break in the reef, the safe passage in and
out of our bay, as we got there I decided that I didnt want to be out in the open sea in such conditions, very large waves, strong wind and a definite threat to my comfort level. Just as we turned to come home Israel flipped over and had to bail, his kayak filed with water making the swim to shore a tedious event. I hooked a towline and began to paddle but the waterlogged kayak acted as a heavy sea anchor and made progress very slow. Also the fact that Israel was holding on to the kayak didn`t help matters much. Ruby hooked his tow onto my boat and together we managed to get back to safer waters. Unfortunately the seas were too rough for me to take any photos and there were no other kayakers out there. Ruby took some pics of me in the shorebreakers at the end. It was a good experience building outing for all of us.

Friday, March 13, 2009

not a kayak in sight [or a day in the countryside]

On wednesday Arele invited me to go with him for a trip in his new toy. I gave up a morning paddle and went off for something completely different, a day driving around the countryside in a 4 wheel drive buggy.It reminded me of my days riding a cross country motor bike.On a trip like this there are 2 distinct aspects, the first is the excitement generated by the power of the vehicle and the ability to go almost anywhere, and the second is the actual trip in the countryside and the local attractions. Walking is the ultimate connection with your environment, as is paddling in a water environment, being on a motorised vehicle is one step removed from it, but still close enough to feel part of it. We spent the day in an area of the country filed with biblical references, ancient remains of settlements, an area of hidden caves built by the locals to hide from the Romans, ancient buriel caves and even an original wine press carved into the rock. Now just after the rains the landscape is still green with all the colors of the natural wildflowers and the weather is comfortable for day trips I can understand why Arele has a hard time to choose between a days paddling or getting out on his new Polaris. I had a great day.

colourful tel aviv markets

Today instead of going paddling I spent the day in the Carmel Market in Tel Aviv,among the colourful stalls of food, spices, greens and everything you could ever want. The saying "untouched by human hand" definitly does not apply here as you can see.

The way to a girls heart lies in the flower stalls, while I looked for cheap sungasses that I know will someday end up under the sea

Just walking around inhaling all the fantastic smells does wonders for you appetite and we ended the day at a great coffee house before heading home. Tomorrow its back to the sea for me.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

naked kayaking

If Freya can paddle topless than so can we , maybe we will start a new trend.
Here's our very own naked kayaker,

never mind the fact that its still winter and the weather is not condusive to topless paddling, nothing stops him.Not even the admiration of fellow kayakers and passers by.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Second Greenland Paddle Carving Day

Today was the second Greenland Paddle Carving Day in Israel It`s hard to believe , but it is possible to carve a Greenland paddle in one day. We began at 10am and by 5.30 everyone had brand new Greenland Paddle to take home. There is a definite sence of acheivement when you take a plank of wood and transform it into a beautiful tool. You almost can`t believe that you did it by yourself with your own two hands and a lot of elbow grease. And now you can`t wait to get on the water and try it out That`s another whole new chapter opening up. So there is something new going on all the time after all.