Wednesday, July 25, 2012

fixing the Aleut paddle

Here`s a still taken  from the video when I broke my Aleut paddle

You can see the moment of breakage as the blade separates from the loom. Luckily for me the break was not sheared  off, so I decided to be a good Aleut and try to fix it, otherwise I would have to carve another one and thats quite a job.

First I pried open the split and applied some Gorilla glue then drilled a couple of holes through the loom and glued dowels in. The second one is at an angle to give extra strength

You can see the fracture line here

After the glue dried and the dowels were cut and sanded I put on a layer of varnish and now its as good as new, well almost. I wonder how long it will take to break again.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

fun in the surf and breaking a paddle

The sea was up this weekend with some nice surf for playing in
.Friday afternoon I went back with Eli for a bit of fun. I took my Guillemot Play and Eli had the Petrel. No doubt about it the Petrel is the best kayak I have for playing is rough water and surfing. The Guillemot Play I built a few years ago before the Petrel was available has been hanging around for a while hardly used. It can be fun in the surf and has a tendency to nosedive as you can see in the video. I have been using an Aleut paddle for a while, its great in all sorts of seas but I broke it a few days ago. Gorilla glue has held it together since then but I guess the pressure on it yesterday was just too much and it cracked again.I am trying to re glue it  and this time will add a couple of dowels . Hope it holds up.Here` Eyal trying it out before it broke

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Rain, we need it , it feeds our rivers and lakes and our bodies cry out for water in the heat of the summer. Its a blessing when it falls from the sky and we love paddling in the rain.
Except when were are on holiday, then rain is not so welcome. Not to everybody though, some of us love the rain. whenever it rains I get up and out in the water, just love to be under all that falling rain.
It can be a nuisance though, especially if it  drops on your lens while out on a trip and you don`t notice it.
Keeping warm in a cold place is more complicated when wet.Tarps are a great help, they go up as soon as we land, they make dry gathering places, good for preparing food and eating, keeping the group together and encouraging cameradie.
There is a multitude of rain gear to keep us dry, some have ponchos, some have rain suites, jackets and pants
Some use plastic

Others have more sophisticated materials and outfits

The umbrella is still one of the most useful inventions, it can protect you from the rain, snow and even the sun and in windy conditions can act as a sail
Tarps cover tents and keep them from the rain but the moisture in the air gets into everything sooner or later and you are always damp.Its important to keep some stuff dry, sleeping bags, a set of clothes for sleeping in, socks and some other stuff too. With a bit of practice you learn to manage in the wet and you always hope that the sky will open up and the sun come through soon .For us it did after 4 days of cloud rain and fog we had 3 days of bright sunshine.It was a great way to end our trip.

Friday, July 13, 2012


Food plays a huge part in our everyday lives, socially we exist around food, we celebrate with food, we meet over food, we swap recipes, we swap diets cause we eat too much food, and when travelling we spend a huge amount of  time buying transporting and preparing our food

Everybody brought their own eating utensils, but after the first day they all got thrown into the same bag and were mixed from then on. Noam found that flat stones can be used instead of a fork or spoon for rice pasta or couscous but not for soup
True , the conditions were a bit rough, but that's to be expected in the rainy wilds of Alaska. the kitchen area is always some distance from the sleeping area, this in case of hungry bears.
We kept to our Mediterranean diet most of the time, lots of fresh salads, tehina which we had brought from home, fresh fruit too. For breakfast we had pancakes eggs and oats, and lots of tea and coffee as well
You always have to remember to raise your mosquito netting before putting anything in your mouth
When eating in the rain make sure that you are under cover or else your soup can get diluted pretty quickly

The fresh Salmon turned into Cerviche, the rest was fried in butter for supper

Hot food and drinks are essential in the cold weather, they keep up your spirits and stave off hypothermia and keep one fueled up and ready to go. There are many ways to keep yourself fed on a trip, this is how we did it and it worked great.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Coxe glacier, calving video by Hadas

We had spent the night camping on the beach right next to the Glacier, during the night we heard the thunder like sounds from the ice falling and then a few minutes later heard the waves breaking on the shore. Next morning we took a trip to the face of the glacier and this is what we saw. Great video by Hadas

Friday, July 6, 2012

Alaska continued

Paddling in the Harriman Fiord is an amazing experience. The air is clean and cold, reminds me of skiing trips. the views in every direction are like fairy tales, the clouds and mist change all the time causing shifting shadows and moving images

Food is important, keeps you nourished, keeps you warm and keeps you busy especially when you have to feed 17 people, luckily everybody pitches in. If you didn't bring it with you you do without

keeping your body fit and healthy is important yoga stretching in this environment is natural, just look at these two trees.

paddling in ice is a new experience for us

Glaciers are amazing, watching them calve, sounds like thunder and then the waves arrive, need to take care and watch out for floating ice

Eli caught us a fish at the last minute of our trip, great for the last supper

David had some good supervision while cleaning and preparing the salmon

Trees grow everywhere

And finally the sea taxi arrived to take us back to Whittier, trip over all that's left are great  memories and photographs

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Alaska, the last frontier

How does one describe the natural beauty, the remoteness and the awe of kayaking in the wilderness of Alaska.All through the trip I was looking for the words and came up empty. So maybe by describing our adventure some of the majesty of the place will shine through, even the photographs can only capture a small part of the  experience.

Getting kitted out with drysuites, booties, gumboots for shore, kayaks and then getting all that gear into the kayaks takes a whole morning if not more.

Eventually we set out from Whittier into the great outdoors, on a cold rainy day

The landscape is harsh, steep rocks  and forests, waterfalls every few hundred meters and very few beaches to stop at.We managed about 17km to our first campsite at Decision Point State marine park.

Tarps go up whenever we stop for a break because of the incessant rain.They provide a good shelter and allow us to prepare and eat our food in relative dry comfort. Did I say dry? in that rainy environment there is no such thing as dry, the wet gets into everything and drybags are relative. At the end of the day we set up the tarps again and then put up our tents under them and then change into dry clothes and then get wet again.
Umbrellas can be useful in this rainy place

Water water everywhere and lots of it to drink. Keeping our supply of fresh water was never a problem
but we only took from the waterfalls that didn`t have a long trip through the forest in order to keep the potential for contamination as small as possible.

We were surrounded by snow capped mountains cloudy grey skies and mist for most of the first few days, nevertheless the scenery was breathtaking in all directions.
To be continued..