Tuesday, February 23, 2010

and then there were 4

Four is a good number, Im sure the numerologists among us will have plenty of info about the mystic properties of the number 4. As far as I`m concerned its a great number of kayakers for an outing. Today there were four of us, not counting Israel who went to play in the waves. Avital, Arye Hadas and myself. I guess its because the forecast said that the seas would be rough. Come on guys, the only way to get better at seakayaking is to get out there when the sea is a bit bigger than flat water, not to mention the pure amount of fun that you can have in the surf.

Just look at how much Arye is enjoying himself

Friday, February 19, 2010

today we went to Michmoret

Michmoret is a small village south of Ceaserea, about 12km away, the beaches are wide and sandy and there are rocky cliffs with small coves and bays along the shore.

There is a reef running parallel to the shore and this makes kayaking among the rocks a bit of fun.

We left at our usual time with the group but when they all turned back at Olga, about 1 hour down the coast, we carried on to Michmoret.

There were 5 of us to begin with but then Amitai turned for home leaving myself Israel Yaniv and Dan.Lucky for us that Dan came with as he is known for making the best Hummus in Israel, and a kayak trip withou humus is just not considered complete.

The wind was against us blowing at about 6kn and making small waves, but it was easy going and felt like we were paddling a lot faster. We enjoyed going through the reefs until Michmoret, found a nice small cove for our breakfast and then went into the little harbour to watch some new sailors get a lesson in rowing.

There is a sailing school there and they use the harbour for their boats.

The home stretch went quickly as we had a following sea with nice waves giving us a free ride

I got a new spray skirt, bright yellow, and what a pleasure to be snug and dry again. I didnt realise how full of holes my old one had become and had adjusted to the fact that I was always wet.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

bow job

Sometimes the sea is as still as a lake and the water doesn`t move at all

Tuesday was one of those days, our kayaks reflected on the surface of the water, couldnt resist a couple of still lifes

Monday, February 15, 2010

guest blog by hadas

Last Friday the Optimists went north to the border with Lebanon to paddle in the caves of Rosh Hanikra and round the reefs up there . I had to attend a dental conference and could not go with so I asked Hadas  to write a guest blog for me of the trip, here is her report.

Rosh-Hanikra-near the border with Lebanon is a white chalk cliff face which opens up into spectacular grottos.

The Rosh Hanikra grottos are tunnels formed by sea erosion.

They branch off in various directions with some interconnecting segments.

A cable car takes visitors down to see the grottos, or as we do it, you can paddle through them in kayaks.

We met up in the morning with Udi Edelman 
who manages the northern most kayaking club, and he helped us coordinate the permits for paddling right there on the border with Lebanon.{ due to the less than friendly relations with our neighbours we have navy patrol boats on the border all the time and if we want to paddle there we need to get permission }
He also gave us a bit of information about the area and then our ways parted, while we continued to the small islets parallel to the cost going south until we reached the islet west of Ahziv national park, there we pulled our kayaks out of the water and sat on the rocks for a sunbathing\brunch\swimming, under the relaxing February, warming sun. Who said winter??

The sea was calm with an off shore breeze which allowed us to paddle safely into the tunnels and around the small rock garden in the entrance at Rosh- Hanikra.

All in all a relaxing paddle in a "change of scenery" area,

on beautiful turquoise water.

With the wind and sea picking up a bit towards our return, we ended the day surfing down to the beach, on a dumping wave while every person took part in the safe landing of all the kayaks.

Fun day, great friends, warm sun, what more can one ask for???

All that was missing was the small gas stove for the tea. Another reason why we missed Steve on this day.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

planning a trip

No matter what trip it is there is always some planning to do. From the simplest shortest paddle, where all you have to plan is to get out of bed and to the water by 7 am, to a multiday camping trip which is a bit more complicated.
Here in Israel most of our trips are pretty simple, get the kayak to the put in, have enough food for a day or 2, make sure we have the right equipment and clothing for the weather, and go for it. There are no tides or difficult areas to navigate, no fog to confuse us and very little sea traffic.The weather is also pretty comfortable, no ice or snow and even when it rains its not too bad. Minimalistic is good for us.
So when we have to plan a trip to Alaska, we suddenly realise that we [most of us anyway] dont have any experience  to guide us, and our imagination takes over. We start reading, looking at more sophisticated camping equipment, and talking to those who have been there before.
In one book I read he explains the difference between brown and black bears, how with one of them you need to be docile while with the other you need to be more agressive. Great, what happens at night when you dont know which bear you are talking to. Is this a real threat, or am I just going down the garden path?
We are going to Alaska in June for a wilderness kayaking trip. For most of us it is a first time experience, and probably not one to be repeated in the near future. So we need to make sure that we have all the correct gear for a successful trip.
I`m asking all you kayakers out there in the Northern Hemisphere to help us out here, whats  your most favourite piece of equipment that you just cant do without on a trip like this.
 Maybe its a potjie

Maybe a comfortable chair

Maybe its a fantastic tent

Maybe its a tarp

Help, I just cant decide whats the most important thing to take with, maybe I need a bigger kayak so I can take it all with me.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

User Friendly Waves

The last 2 days have been great in the surf, yesterday was a bit messy but still fun . We had a southerly wind which made going out against the wind interesting but coming back  with a following wind and surf was a great thrill. Talk about a free ride. Then today we had the most fantastic waves for surfing. Look at Eyal , today he said that he lost his virginity in the waves while catching and surfing  like a pro. I had a great time filming too, positioned myself just under the breaking waves for the best view and got tumbled onece or twice by large breakers taking me backwards and flipping me head over tails . Pity that theres no one to film the photographer. Oh and about that lens with the water drops on it, even though I cleaned the lens pretty well I still had a problem today.  I ended  up licking the salt water off the lens with my tongue. Not elegant but it seemed to help. Heres the results

Saturday, February 6, 2010

how to keep your lens clean

Today I had trouble with water on my lens, no amount of dipping in the sea would get the drops of water off my lens.Rubbing the lens with my finger or with my glove didn`t help either, and so my pictures are all spoiled. I did manage to catch Mickey playing in a nice wave and Hadas on another sit on top, even with a bit of water on the lens the video is not too bad.
Air temperature about 7C, water about 16C,not as cold as some places in the Northern Hemisphere but very cold for us here in Israel. Its warmer in the water than out , but with the right clothing paddling is still fun.And of course we have FANTASTIC WAVES.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

kayaking to the end of the rainbow

What a reward for those of us who ventured out today, just as we were going down to the sea this fantastic rainbow appeared, and enchanted us with its magic. The sea was supposed to be stormy and windy but at first it was not too bad, from time to time we had some gusts of strong wind and some interesting waves but nothing too extreme
We had a short paddle down south protected by the breakwater and then round the corner the wind picked up quite a bit. We turned for home and tried using our paddles as sails to catch the wind.
The home stretch was interesting with the wind at our back and the surf making for an exciting ride.

It was an exhilirating morning out in the weather, the storm is still to come but we had a great time.Photography was difficult, as every time I let go my paddle to take a photo the wind seemed to grab me and whirl me about plus I kept getting water drops on my lens that wouldnt wash off in the water.

Eyal on the other hand had a great time surfing.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

perfect waves blue kayak

Today the waves were just perfect for surfing, both long and short kayaks and even a couple of surfers on surfboards were out there having fun.

And then along came Hadas on this Sit On Top.

Now Hadas is a world class kayaker, put her in anything and  the skys the limit.The theory is that if you want to sell something then you have to know your product and believe in it, so Ehud suggested that she try out all the different kayaks in the shop in order to sound more professional when talking to different customers looking for a kayak The trick is to match the kayak to the buyers needs and if she has intimate knowledge of each kayak the selling will move up a notch.

So today it was time for the Tarpon sit on top.

Well I guess as you can see it was a fun day in the waves, not many who buy this boat will  try to catch these waves, but it can be done.Good for you Hadas.

Monday, February 1, 2010

catch of the day

Meet Natan, our local kayak fisherman. When we go out at 7am he`s usually coming back home with his daily catch. He goes out when its still dark in  his sit on top, spends a few hours fishing and comes home with at leat one fish and like today maybe more

He says his freezer at home is full of fish.
I tried it once, no luck so I just catch waves instead