Fall Season

Well it is now fall, the leaves are turning and soon the tour up the chain of lakes will be in peak color.  On the lakes people are busy getting their docks and boat lifts out, at least the smart ones are before the water gets cold.

For the record my boat and lift come out Oct 2-3 which is early for me, but I’m having a kayak event at my house on the 16th and want the power boat and lift out for more put-in space.

Tried some new equipment today in 55 degree and windy overcast weather.  A new rash guard shirt by Stohlquist (http://www.stohlquist.com) perfect for the temp as long as it stayed dry, and a kayak camera tripod which also worked well.

I’m trying to find the right gear for myself as the temperatures continue to drop to extend the fall paddles longer.  I work up lots of heat when I kayak and need very breathable gear to be comfortable yet protected from the cold.  When you start kayaking you don’t have much gear just the basics paddle, PFD, and a kayak.  As you get into kayaking more, get more serious, you want to extend the season and be prepared to be comfortable in more adverse weather.  You also upgrade your kayak.

Michigan offers so many places to paddle, and various types of water from protected flat water to white water rivers.  So get out here and start kayaking for your health and fitness and enjoy nature while you’re at it.

Full Skin On Frame Launch Series Posted

If you were part of this event, you may want to watch the whole video, or if you just like watching reality events enjoy.

The idea is to see that lots of people are enjoying kayaking and if you want to get some good exercise, and meet new people this sport is a way you can do that.  Age is not much of a factor and skill level will increase with the amount you do the sport.  I am learning all the time, and the best way to learn is to hang out with other people that know more than you and have more experience.

Fall is a time when you can still learn the sport.  Over the winter kayak classes are held at many of the community education centers so you can be ready for next spring with lots of kayak skills.

Link to series of videos:


Some Rough Water – Check This Out

Last Hot Paddle of 2010 for SE MI

Somewhat long video paddling down the Huron River from Zukey Lake in Southeast Michigan.  It shows the boat traffic on a hot day being shared by kayakers.  Temperature was 85 and mostly sunny, humid.  Lots of people were enjoying the Zukey Lake sand bar staying cool.  There is one place between Strawberry Lake and the Huron that can become one way.  The protocol is whomever is in that section first has the right away.  Two boats can past if done carefully with lots of courtesy.  Last weekend I was going up river with a friend in my CraigCat (check it out on Google) and we were at least 1/4 the way in when this guy with a small pontoon – small not big mind you, came into the channel faster that I have seen anyone enter that section then we met nose to nose.  He claimed since he had a big boat and he did not see me (he was going too fast to see me – attention deficit disorder) that I was the was the one that should risk my prop and go around him to the left (I had the right of way).  His ego was much bigger than his boat and could not admit to the boat full of people on his boat that he screwed up.  I was calm about it but made it clear he was the anomaly.  Well anyway I had to just consider the source and warned a friend on a regular size pontoon boat  going back down the chain to watch out for the “guy” in case he was coming back up river.  It is much easier to get around the boats in the kayaks in the river.  Hope you enjoy the video tour.  Next tour date is Oct 16.  Check out the events on the Great Lakes Paddlers web page for details.

Fall Kayaking

I admit it, I love summer, it is my favorite season.  As long as I am near water it can be hot and humid.  I even do well in Arizona out in 115 degree heat, of course the sun is out there.  A Northern Michigan summer is fantastic.

Now having said all that I know fall is upon us.  This September in Southeast Michigan is starting off cool, I fear the last Michigan 80 degree day of 2010 is now a memory.

The nice thing about September, October, and maybe November is it is great kayaking season.  When the power boats are working to the calendar that after labor day boating is done.  I still have 2 or 3 good months of paddling left.

People are now doing kid soccer, hockey, school events, stuck to the TV watching sports.  Boating is gone from their mind.  That opens up the lakes and rivers for some good flat water kayaking.  I  just spent over $200 in gear to extend my kayaking season with some new gear, and I could have spent a lot more.  Made my first visit to The Kayak Corral is Saline (www.kayakcorral.com/). It is a much bigger store than I imagined, the staff were very friendly and helpful.

So my plan is to enjoy the water until it is too hard to paddle on, when the paddle will no longer break the surface of the water.  Hope people keep in mind the temperature of the water.  At the moment you may get cold getting wet, but it is not life threatening.  In November, and perhaps even October that is a little different, if you are not skilled in rolling and have the right equipment, then stick to paddling close to shore in water just deep enough to paddle in for your own safety.

Remember to get off the couch and get some exercise this fall.

Skirts And Skins

A video record of the Skin On Frame kayaks hand made in downtown Brighton Michigan over the Michigan winter.  Launch Party held at the end of May to get the works of art into the water.  Group paddled from Portage Lake to Zukey Lake and back.

A Progressive Sport

I  have been kayaking now for about ten years.  I was not very serious about it until the last few.  What I’m finding is a person can fully enjoy kayaking at about any skill level, in just about any type of kayak.  I have to admit however the longer sea kayak beats the shorter ones for getting across a lake or down a flat water river.

I have gained in my skill level in the last year by hanging around other kayakers of greater skills. I still have much to learn and improve which makes it interesting.  This summer’s not yet over but I’m already looking forward to kayak training events I’m planning to attend next year.

I’m going to get a Greenland paddle and learn how to paddle with that type.  Don’t know about Greenland Paddling?  Then Google it.  I didn’t get out to bigger water this year, next year my goal is Lake Michigan, perhaps the Detroit river.  There are so many paddle opportunities in Michigan, endless water places to go.  I have a friend in Traverse City, I have not seen in maybe 15 years,  that is as good an excuse as any to go up and paddle in the Grand Traverse Bay.

This a a great sport, one that you can meet new people and friends.  Kayaking can be a reason to go to interesting places.  The more you kayak the more in shape you get yourself into at the same time.  Everything about the sport can be progressive.

Sea Kayak Rescue

Here’s a funny video, demonstrates a deep water technique to recover from a roll and wet exit.  It supposed to show the “crab” re-entry.  More practice may be needed.

Mid August Blues And Beer Bellies

This happens to me every August, just when you start getting used to it being warm and sunny, next thing you know it’s August, and not just August but mid way through with September and fall quickly approaching.

There are still lots of paddling days left however, at least into November.  But paddling in the colder months is just not as nice as a warm summer day with warm water and (as Bruce Springsteen would say) girls in their summer clothes.

I was out this weekend paddling around the moored power boats in the shallow areas, the lake crowd were out there standing in the water having some cold ones.  I have nothing against having a few cold ones but hey they had huge beer bellies.  They looked nine months pregnant.  How do people let themselves put on that much weight?  Instead of using the power boats if they started kayaking to get to their party spot, the belly would start to go. Kayaks can carry coolers.

You can tell these guys only drink and eat without any exercise that burns calories or gets their heart rate up.  I don’t know how they can not see how unattractive those bellies are and the health risks associated with them.  Anyway if you want to get in shape, all you need to do is get out there and do something, anything but just standing in the water and drinking.

Maybe I should not try to get people to exercise, it will just make me look better and stand out on the lakes with my shirt off.  Then again it’s those out of shape boomers that are going to drive up health care even further and destroy social security, then my taxes will go up.  Their ought to be a tax deduction if you exercise and if you’re in shape don’t you think?  Have some incentives for being healthy and in shape!

Back to the season issues, back to school soon for many, I will be enjoying the last of August as much as I can.  How are you going to spend the last 2 weeks of official summer?  Let me know.

Fair Weather Boaters

I am out on the lake as much as possible, either in my kayak or my 30 HP Craig Cat  power boat (after kayaking). The amount of people on the water is directly linked to sun and temperature, an increase in either brings an increase in traffic. This also applies to kayakers.

I have had my best time on the water paddling when it’s overcast, rain forecasted, or cooler in temperature. Just this last Saturday I went out when it was lightly starting to rain, it quit. But what I had was a very nice peaceful paddle, and still got just as much exercise if not more than if it was a sunny day.

Even people on shore were absent, choosing to be inside, perhaps catching up on on inside work. If you enjoy the water then try a paddle when it’s overcast or even raining. It is still a very satisfying experience and the exercise is good for you.

Take a rain coat, hat, be prepared for the weather but still go out and do it. The snow and frozen lakes comes quick enough in Michigan. Enjoy all of the summer and fall days.