Friday, January 29, 2010

girl with a magnefying glass in her hand

So there I was, lying naked on the bed after spending a couple of hours surfing in the cold water and she approaches me with a magniying glass in her hand. Not my most confident hour.
Actually she was really pleased with me, the results were a clean bill of health after a through body scan for signs of skin cancer.We are supposed to have our skin checked once a year, take note of any moles or freckles that change size or appear suspicious, stay out of the sun and use sunscreen. As a responsible kayaker, I always wear a hat, cover my body and use sunscreen but you never know when that rouge ray of uv will get you, and then theres the fact of all those years long ago when we used to coat our bodies with baby oil and spend days in the sun.Well this was my first check up and she said that everything was perfect and to come back next year. Well I will but certainly not after hours in cold water.

The rest of the day was great, we had superb surfing this morning and then I began to work on my new kayak.
The first job is transfering the patterns onto the wood.This is a slow delicate job requiring all the help I can get, so I roped in Eli and Lynn to help.

You can buy the wood all pre cut in a kit if you dont want to spend the time , but I think its part of the fun to do everything oneself.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

only for surfing

Well now that the attraction power of  surf kayaks has been  proved without a doubt, I am going to build myself one. I just received the plans for the Matunuck, the surf kayak designed by Nick Shade of Guillemot Kayaks, today. They are sold  by CLC and come with a building manual.

The technique is stitch and glue, which I have not yet used , but it looks pretty straightforward. .
Now I just have to do some research to find out which colours are the most attractive and helpful in attraction
If there is anyone out there who has built and surfed the Matunuck, I would appreciate some feedback as to how it performs from the write up and pictures it looks like a lot of fun.

Today the surf was mild and well ordered after the stormy seas of the past few days and we sure had a lot of fun .

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

the power of attraction

They say that at a certain age older men buy new sports cars to attract younger women, that is unless they are older kayakers, then they buy smaller kayaks and go out in bad weather, and look what is attracted to them.

My new kayak is still on the drawing board but from the looks of what Israel and Yaniv attracted  today my future is assured.
Hadas on the other hand didn`t have any luck today, but she sure looks good in red

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Circumnavigating the Sea Of Galilee

Impressive title, makes one think of a major expedition, spending days at sea going round some Island, like Australia for example. Certain words evoke emotions,link us to our own experiences and can manipulate the gullible.

Well here in little Israel we don`t have huge masses of water like the Great lakes, but the historical and religious impact is just as large. Mention the of Sea of Galilee and images of Jesus come to mind , here was the beginnings of Christianity, this is where it all happened, the place of miracles.Amazing how such a small place can have such a large impact.

The Sea, or lake is only about 21 Km [13 miles] long and 13Km [8 miles wide]. The circumference is about 53Km [33miles] and is 209m below sea level.It is the largest freshwater lake in Israel getting most of its water from the Jordan river in the north and feeds the Jordan river in the south.Due to the recent lack of rain the lake is shrinking, making the circumference shorter.

This last weekend 24 keen kayakers from our club, Optimist, went on an expedition to paddle round the lake. We started at Ginnosar on Friday morning and made our way north, paddling our heavily laden kayaks filled with provisions to supply twice that amount of people with 3 full meals a day for a few days. This made stops along the shore to refuel imperative. Actually these rest and refueling stops are what makes the trip interesting.

As soon as we get aground out come the gas cookers, coffee and tea are almost instantly available and an amazing amount of goodies appear on a makeshift picnic table.This can include slices of rare roast beef, a variety of cheeses, different alcoholic beverages, salads and numerous types of bread, as well as fruit and cakes.

We usually eat in a haphazard manner, not starting with an apertiser and then first second and third courses, but grabbing whatever comes to hand when offered. It may be that you begin with a pickled cucumber, then have a piece of cheese followed by some nuts and raisins, maybe some tuna or egg salad next and so on until its time to pack up and go looking for the next place to stop and eat again. In between eating we paddle along the shores which at this time of year are nice and green.

The hills of the Galilee on the west and the Golan Heights to the east are beautiful in the early morning light and the late evening.This time we had good weather, sunshine, blue skies warm water, the only distraction was the fishermen on the shores who dont like it when we paddle too close to their lines.They use us as an excuse as to why they didn`t catch any fish .
We tried to paddle up the Jordan river but the current was too strong and so we only went a little way. Its difficult to paddle upstream, you can struggle for an hour and then you turn back and get to your starting point in 5 minutes.
Arriving at Kibbutz Ein Gev at sunset we dragged the kayaks up the shore and headed to our rooms and a great Friday night dinner. That`s a luxury on a circumnavigation, hot showers, nice soft warm beds and a good breakfast before setting off for the second days paddle.
Needless to say the second day was a repeat of the first and the trip was completed by about 4 pm on Saturday.
Kayaks were packed on cars and in no time at all we had dispersed leaving no trace of our presence on the shores or on the water.

Circumnavigation is a lot of fun if you are well prepared.
We all had a great trip and cant wait till next year to do it again.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

balagan balagan

This is the Hebrew word for a big mess, and describes the sea conditions over the last couple of days. Not as accurate as the Beaufort Scale or MAGS, but very descriptive anyway. Strongish winds of 18kn, waves breaking in all directions and foam flying around, even the seagulls had a hard time flying against the wind.

If I had to grade today I would guess its force 4 to 5 on the Beaufort Scale, that is winds of 17 to 20kn, waves of between 1 to 2m, paddling is difficult with paddle flutter expected and difficult to go against the wind, according to Gordon Brown in his new book the limit of adequate reserve in these conditions is 2 hours. If I use the MAGS scale I only get grade 3 which doesn`t sound too bad, classified as intermediate regular seas with easy landing and the risk factor is a chance of injury, reliable roll required. I would rather class it as grade 4, confused seas and injury likely during incident.
In our club the decision to go out is made by the Boss but all owners of private kayaks have the freedom to make their own choices. I think its important to challenge yourself in poor conditions but to know your ability and not push your luck. As you get more experience you can make more informed choices
Today only Hadas and Hod decided to challenge the sea in surf kayaks, I watched from the shore and was glad that I decided to stay dry. It was like paddling on a treadmill, lots of effort and not enough progress and the waves were not too good for surfing anyway

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

nothing to do but surf

Ho Hum another surf day. Winter is a great time here, the sea becomes our great playground. Must be global warming keeping the winter temperatures here very comfortable, makes surfing a pleasure.
Today Vered positioned herself just behind the rock in order to get the best possible video shots of us surfing. This takes a certain amount of courage as you are right there in the path of the breaking waves and the speeding kayaks. There are occasions when you have to drop your camera at the last minute and grab your paddle to punch through the wave to prevent yourself being washed away.
Today was a great day, the waves were not too big and came by in well ordered sets.
Most of our kayakers stayed away so it was just Israel and I out there with Hadas. the fewer kayaks ther are the better, less danger of a collision.
How lucky we are to be able to play like this.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

synchronised rolling

Now if there`s one sport in the Olympic games that makes me laugh out loud its synchronized swimming, but synchronized rolling is a much more serious matter. I have sent in an application to the Olympic committee to have it approved as an official sport in the next olympic games and have received assurances that my request is being seriously considered. So all you happy rollers out there better get practicing, as Mickey and I have got a head start.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

messing around in boats........or messing around boats

“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing—absolutely nothing—half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”

Well today we were messing around this huge coal tanker that was anchored at sea away from the loading dock. It was moved away due to the rough seas expected and will be returned to finish unloading when the sea calms down. In the meantime it makes a fun place to visit by kayak. The tanker is huge, you can see how small a kayak is by comparison, and we had a lot of fun riding the swells as they passed by. The measuring scale on the side of the boat helps us determine the size of the swells, and today they were about 4 to 5m. Its like being at the funfair. Suddenly the tanker let out a blast from its horn and the anchor engine came alive causing us to scamper out of harms way.So we headed back to shore and spent some time surfing and playing in the waves before going off to work.

Friday, January 1, 2010

happy birthday Avital and happy new year

The beginning of the year, Jan 1st and a birthday, great coincidence.

We love birthdays at Optimist, its customary to bring a cake and everybody helps with the eating.
Who can resist after an hour or two of paddling.
So to all those who have birthdays in January, happy birthday and get those cakes ready, no need for candles.