ThePaddler ezine issue 2 October 2012

Page 1

Issue 2

ThePaddler The International digital magazine for recreational paddlers


Arctic Greenland By Phil Eccles

Florida 1

Into the Ice Fjord

By Jill Langard

Florida 2

By Melinda Mack


By Robert Moffatt

Symonds Yat

By Steve Richardson

Russia to Japan

By Sarah Outen and Justine Curgenven


By Scott Edwards


By Jody Dymond

Up to the grade By Stephen Richardson

Shark fishing Simon Everett


Ajawaan Lake, Prince Albert National Park


Eight weeks of jungle clad world-class white water

Contents October 12


Peter Tranter Tel: (01480) 465081 Mob: 07411 005824 ThePaddlercouk /pub/peter-tranter/36/bb8/134

Advertising Sales

Anne Egan Tel: (01480) 465081

Front cover:

Phil Eccles at Upernavik Ice Fjord. Photo: Jo Eccles

Huge thanks to:

Phil Eccles, Leslie Sleight, Nigel Gill, Jill Langard, Melinda Mack, Robert Moffatt, Steve Richardson, Sarah Outen, Justine Curgenven, Scott Edwards, Jody Dymond, Sally Retallick, Stephen Richardson, Simon Everett and Andy Grimes.

Not all contributors are professional writers and photographers, so don’t be put off writing because you have no experience! magazine is all about paddler to paddler dialogue: a paddler’s magazine written by paddlers. Next issue is November 2012 with a deadline of submissions on October 31st.

Technical Information: Contributions preferably as a Microsoft Word file with 1200-2000 words, emailed to Images should be hi-resolution and emailed with the Word file or if preferred, a Dropbox folder will be created for you. magazine encourages contributions of any nature but reserves the right to edit to the space available. Opinions expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the publishing parent company, 2b Graphic Design. The publishing of an advertisement in magazine does not necessarily mean that the parent company, 2b Graphic Design, endorse the company, item or service advertised. All material in magazine is strictly copyright and all rights are reserved. Reproduction without prior permission from the editor is forbidden.

-Where we’ve been… 4

Arctic Greenland

Into the ice fjords on the edge of the Arctic Circle. By Phil Eccles

Issue 2 Arctic Greenland 04

18 Other Greenland stories

Two from the archives. By Leslie Sleight and Nigel Gill

24 Florida 1

Paddle Florida: an international destination for nature-based recreation. By Jill Langard

Florida 24

30 Florida 2

Paddling paradise in south Florida. By Melinda Mack

36 Venezuela

The British University Kayak Expedition. By Robert Moffatt

48 Symonds Yata

Park and play! By Steve Richardson

Venezuela 36

54 Russia to Japan

The kayaking part of Sarah Outen’s London2London expedition By Sarah Outen and Justine Curgenven

60 Maine

Jonny Hawkins, Salto Sakaiki, Venezuela By Robert Moffatt

The diversity of paddling opportunities. By Scott Edwards

Russia to Japan 54

68 Canada

Paddling to the Grey Owl cabin. By Jody Dymond

76 Other Canadian Stories

Two from the archives. By Sally Retallick and Lesley Sleight

78 Up to the grade

Maine 60

Kayaking as part of a GCSE course. By Stephen Richardson

80 Shark fishing

Kayakers helping shark preservation. Simon Everett

Regulars… 20 Coaching

Canada 68

Leadership By Andy Grimes

50 Testing, testing 123

Ego HD camera, Coleman Micro Quad Lantern, Incredisocks, Paramo Grid Technic.

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An expedition to the edge of the Greenland Ice Cap By Phil Eccles “Anything you fancy for the summer holiday, Jo?” “Mmm” my wife pondered, “Maybe a quiet beach somewhere with a book to read” She laughed. She knows I’m not wired to sitting still in one place for very long and as the summer holidays roll around each year I need to be off on some sort of adventure, preferably a journey on the edge of uncertainty.

Main photo: Crossing to Angmaussarssuaq

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spiritual home of the sea kayak


She knew I was yearning to get back to the Arctic after my trip to Baffin Island in 2008. Since that fabulous trip I had regaled her with all sorts of wondrous tales and now she was keen to savour it at first hand. A thousand years ago Eric the Red needed to attract new settlers to the enormous land he had discovered.To do that he called it the Green Land ideal for Scandinavian farmers! Fortunately, Jo didn’t need such a tall tale to attract her. It took us the best part of three days to fly from the UK to Copenhagen and then on to our final destination of Upernavik. In Greenland we had to take two internal flights on wonderfully small planes that flew at around 8,000 feet. The views from this height in the clear northern air were mesmerising. The Greenland ice cap seemed to go on forever. The exciting broken coastline of the west coast was, in places, guarded by immense cliffs that dropped a couple of thousand feet straight into waters littered with icebergs. The tundra was bleak and void of human habitation. Vast tracks of wilderness stretched as far as the eye could see. It was a wild and empty place. Perfect.

Upernavik had the feel of a ‘frontier’ town. Whilst the influence of the west, and specifically Denmark, was clear, it was also evident that traits of the Inuit culture were strongly rooted. For how much longer it is impossible to predict. This small island has only a few short and dusty roads. Understandably, cars are few. Most people seemed to walk to their destinations. Because of the freezing winter temperatures, domestic water is delivered to homes or collected from small shed-like buildings that are dotted around the town. Even though this speck of an island has an airstrip, a small hospital and a shop there is no hotel – not even a restaurant or a café. It is not geared up for any sort of tourism though

the world’s most precarious. The airstrip on Upernavik must surely be one of

It is 400 feet above the sea on the top of a small island that has steep ground on all sides. From the air it looks as though a bulldozer has simply flattened the roof of the island and pushed surplus debris down the hillside. It certainly made for a white-knuckle landing. After the weeks and months of hopes and expectations, after hours of looking at maps and photographs we had finally arrived. At long last we were in Arctic Greenland with its unique language and culture, its massive wilderness and a land for adventure. Greenland – spiritual home of the sea kayak.

occasionally cruise liners stop for a few hours. Younger people favoured ‘westernized’ clothes. Many walked around the town with bottles of Coke whilst talking on mobile phones. A couple of pieces of graffiti acclaimed English Premier league footballers whose antics, no doubt, were watched on Sky TV. Whilst the Inuit culture clearly had strong roots here, the irrevocable march of ‘civilization’ had, without a doubt, reached this northern Arctic outpost.

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Reflections - North Coast of Augpilatog.

Our hopes and aspirations were to paddle and explore the sea and land in the area to the east of Upernavik. Our map revealed a myriad of options and permutations with dozens of islands, big and small, intersected by both wide and narrow watery passageways. We had no plans to paddle huge distances but simply to be here and explore small parts of this vast wilderness. We wanted to ‘expedition’ in the true sense of the word. We wanted to explore this far-flung corner of the planet by kayak and foot, gaze on extraordinary scenery, sleep in amazing places and be as self-sufficient as we could. The highlight would be to paddle into the Above: Upernavik Ice Fjord. Here, the icebergs calve Jo in the Black Diamond straight off the Greenland Ice cap then drift with Midi tent. the tide and the wind for miles and miles all the way to the open waters of the Davis Strait. This year, we were told, the Upernavik Ice Fjord would be a magnificent, if not disconcerting, sight as there would be far more floating ice than normal. We were also warned that even a slight shift in wind direction could blow the ice onshore making it impossible to get back onto the water. Entrapment by ice is always a concern for anyone who ventures out in small boats on Arctic waters. This year the whole fishing fleet in the town of Illulissat, way south of here, had been unable to get out to fish because the ice is blocking the way for up to a mile offshore. Within 24 hours of landing at Upernavik, we managed to eat, sleep, buy stove fuel; pack the mountain of kit into the Scorpios and launch. We were on our way in golden sunshine and on a flat calm sea. Icebergs dotted the horizon. Within 15 minutes, the small settlement was behind us out of sight and the real adventure had begun.

beautiful and surprising. The colour in the land was both

Small clusters of purple flowers grew tenaciously in the crevices and cracks of glacier split rock gardens.

Once we had started the trip we had no access to weather forecasts. Every day brought a fresh concern about the possible strength and direction of the wind, whether there would be rain… or even snow. As we paddled along the coastline to the next unknown destination we mentally checked possible places to land, where there might be a supply of water and whether it would be possible to pitch a tent. With no

by kayak and foot,

We wanted to explore this far-flung corner of the planet

gaze on extraordinary scenery, sleep in amazing places and be as self-sufficient as we could.

You would think that water supply would be plentiful in these parts but that’s not the case. On a couple of occasions we had to paddle further than we had intended simply to find a place to camp close to drinking water. We stayed at most of our seven different campsites for more than one night so we could explore the interior. We hiked across the rock-strewn tundra. The low, rough shrubs must be the epitome of hardiness in the plant world. The colour in the land was both beautiful and surprising. Small clusters of purple flowers grew tenaciously in the crevices and cracks of glacier split rock gardens. Sky-blue Harebells nodded softly in the breeze. Arctic cotton grass bordered boggy pools of rainwater. The land may be bleak, but in summer it

Left: 2000' cliffs in Torssut Sound..

information about the exact nature of the coastline and with only a basic map we were anxious about finding suitable places to land and find shelter. To be without the comfort of electricity, solid shelter, guaranteed warmth, security, sustenance and the knowledge of immediate help and safety are some of the aspects that make for a real adventure. The uncertainty allures. certainly isn’t barren. There are no trees for hundreds of miles. Slabs of multi coloured granite, littered with boulders large and small, were a pleasure to walk on. Whilst the kayaking was the major part of this trip we relished finding outstanding places to camp. Stepping ashore after a day of paddling to explore new territory brought a tremendous feeling of discovery. Invariably, it was not easy to find places flat enough to pitch our two tents – the Macpac Minaret for sleeping in and the Black Diamond Midi for cooking in and stashing kit.

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Below: Jo on the north coast of Atiligssuaq.

When you are

travelling in the land of the polar bear it's good practice to avoid getting the smells, scents and flavours of food onto your clothing and anywhere such as your tent and sleeping bag where you are going to sleep. For this reason it's best, if possible, to keep the cooking tent and the sleeping tent well apart.

Setting up a comfortable camp gives me great pleasure. I enjoy making all those little decisions like which way to pitch the tent, which view do we want as we cook, finding small boulders to hold down the guy lines. And what pleasure to find a comfortable rock with a backrest where you can down a hot cup of tea as the midnight sun dips – but doesn’t set – towards the horizon. Despite the fact sea kayaks have a finite amount of space in which to carry equipment, it always seems to me that people I know manage to find some small cavity into which they can cram a luxury. How many sea kayakers secrete a bottle of their favourite tipple right down in the pointed

end? Jo is an avid reader and managed to stow not only the Travel Scrabble, but also four carefully chosen paperbacks. She would read thirty or forty pages, rip them out and pass them to me. Then they would be used around camp to clean the grease off the pans and to help light the drift wood fires. One evening as we read our book in the evening light of an Arctic summer I teased, “Well here we are… everything you wanted from a holiday… quiet beach and a book to read.“ On the island of Augpilagtoq, we walked about two miles from our campsite to a small Inuit settlement. It proved to be one of the highlights of the trip. As we crested the last small bluff on the outskirts of the little village we looked down on around 70 small and colourfully painted houses. From afar the picture was quite pretty. Small fishing and hunting boats bobbed at the water’s edge testament to the way of life here. However, as we walked down the steep ground and between the homes towards the sea it was a different story.



Friends of ours had paddled in north west Greenland in 2010. They had used some P+H rotomoulded Scorpios and they had left these fine boats in the care of a fledgling hire company on the small island of Upernavik that sits at a latitude of almost 73° north. After a number of phone calls and emails we had secured the use of these kayaks for three weeks in August. In theory, all we had to do was prepare and pack some kit, step off the plane, load the boats and go. Of course, it’s never as simple as that and in reality it took us a full six months to get ourselves prepared. We spent considerable time working out what equipment was essential and what we could manage without. We upgraded and replaced several pieces of kit. Jo had a shopping bonanza checking out everything from a new drysuit to titanium cooking pans, from Werner paddles to a ‘she-wee’. Then, of course, we tested it all on various outings well in advance of our trip to the Arctic.

Very cleverly, Jo prepared the food for our expedition by cooking and then dehydrating everything she could. It then only needed rehydrating and heating. Should our two stoves fail, we could rehydrate and eat the food without reheating. Using these home-dehydrated foods, the saving in fuel usage was quite surprising. With hot drinks and food at breakfasts and in the evenings plus frequent extra hot cups of tea we only used 2.5 litres of petrol in the MSR stove over the whole duration of the trip. This was despite having to use quite dirty petroleum that we had bought in Upernavik. The weight of 16 day’s worth of food was considerable and our baggage allowance was surpassed by around 25 kilograms. There was a hefty cost implication but we preferred this course of action to the alternative which was to ship food and equipment out much earlier in the year. Above: In a survival bag on the coastline of the Ice Fjord.

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There were dogs

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and yet more dogs. It seemed as though every house had about ten dogs. They were chained up and redundant at this time of year waiting for the sea to freeze when they could be used to pull the hunting sleds across the ice. Every imaginable household item of one sort or another was dumped on the land between the houses. Pieces of meat were hanging out to dry. The omnipresent yellow plastic bags that contain the household sewage lay by the path ready for collection and disposal. The effluent is pragmatically dumped in the sea on the edge of town and the plastic bags are burned. There was a well-stocked store in this settlement, like a small supermarket where you could buy anything from frozen muskox meat to a rifle with no need of a licence. The settlements get supplied by ship a couple of times every year. As we walked around this small settlement we were accosted by a handful of giggly kids who thought we looked very funny. That small number of humans were the only people we saw throughout the whole expedition.

frequented the area. Skins and skulls hung on rails next to homes of Inuit hunters. Two days before we had left the United Kingdom there had been a tragic and fatal incident in Svalbad where a young person had been killed by a bear. At night, when we were deeply ensconced in our wonderful down sleeping bags, it seemed that even the slightest of sounds resounded like thunder in the still air of the High Arctic. Icebergs collapsed. The flysheet of the tent occasionally flapped. One of us breathed heavily. Every noise could be translated into the approach of a hungry bear. In Upernavik we had hired a rifle and I carried it in a dry bag on my deck. It was surprisingly heavy. Our wildlife sightings amounted to three types of seals, many flocks of black guillemot, fulmars, eiders, cormorants and a small Arctic fox, who cheekily inspected our campsite as we ate but, thankfully, we saw no bears. Halfway through the trip we reached the Upernavik Ice Fjord. The sight before us was otherworldly. Icebergs of all shapes and sizes floated on the flat calm, dark grey sea. The

Close to Upernavik

The ever-present threat of attack from polar bears was uppermost in our minds. In Upernavik and in Augpilagtoq there was plenty of evidence that these huge carnivores

Icebergs of all shapes and siz

The sight before us w

reflections in the water were as clear as in the best of mirrors. As I watched Jo go gliding by, it seemed as if she were paddling in the clouds. The brightness of the ice dazzled. On the far side of the fjord rose the mountains of Puguta. I wondered how many times they had been climbed or if, indeed, they had been climbed at all. This was awe-inspiring scenery of the highest calibre. There is a prominent American author renowned for his writings on the Arctic whom Jo had heard deliver a lecture in 1976. Quite incredibly, and by pure chance, we met Barry Lopez at the end of our kayaking when we returned to Upernavik. In his book, ‘Arctic Dreams’ he says, “The Arctic reminds one of the desert not only because of the lack of moisture and the barren topography, but because it puts a strain on human life.”

that strain with absolute clarity. Here we were on the north coast of Augpilatoq Island. We felt so isolated in this vast wilderness and humbled by the magnitude of our surroundings. It felt as though we could have stepped out of the kayaks and walked all the way across the five-mile wide sound hopping from one massive piece of ice to the next. Those unstable towers of ice seemed restless as they jostled for position, remorselessly pushing their way to unknown destinations. Every now and again deep resounding booms shot through the air as an iceberg collapsed, broke into pieces or ground itself onto the seabed. Occasionally, an iceberg became so unstable it bobbled and then rolled completely over, crashing in the water with a deafening roar. Having had a close shave in Alaska a few years ago we watched for tsunamis that can result from collapsing ice.

As we entered the ice fjord I sensed

At one point – around midday - the wind shifted noticeably through about thirty degrees. Suddenly, it was blowing directly from the north and hitting us at a low but steady speed. As the air drifted across the ice fjord the temperature plummeted significantly. Despite our layers of protective clothing this wind was quite biting, cutting through us with unnerving ruthlessness. The low cloud suddenly became a cold grey fog. The sea and sky began to merge into a grey oneness. I wondered how much and how quickly the weather would deteriorate. During the previous week we had paddled in quite benign

zes floated on the flat calm,

was otherworldly.

dark grey sea. The reflections in the water were as clear as in the best of mirrors. As I watched Jo go gliding by, it seemed as if she were paddling in the clouds. ThePaddler 13

think with clarity, act with prudence The ice fjord is a place where the kayaker has to

and make very circumspect decisions. There is little room for error.

The immediate shoreline offered possible landing spots but no obvious places to pitch the tent. Last night’s campsite was some three hours behind us. We had enough water for about a day and a half. Some easy angled granite slabs appeared around the next little headland. Grasping the opportunity we jumped out of the boats and into survival bags. Soon, the stove was roaring and the hot drinks brought welcome relief to the tense atmosphere. The weather abated, the sea remained calm and we made the decision to press on. The gods of the ice fjord were smiling on us, allowing us to view their gems but with a reminder that we should not linger long. The ice fjord is a place where the kayaker has to think with clarity, act with prudence and make very circumspect decisions. There is little room for error. After over two weeks of paddling and exploring, we landed for the last time at the same spot where we had first launched. We acknowledged how fortunate we had been to have experienced mainly dry weather with calm winds and magnificently clear views. We had been totally self-sufficient and had achieved our goals of kayaking in the great ice fjord, camping in amazing places and seeing some awesome Arctic scenery. It was satisfying to have used about every piece of kit that we had brought except the first

aid kit, the repair kit and the emergency equipment such as the GPS, McMurdo Fastfinder, split paddles and hand held pump. The rotomoulded P+H Scorpios were a delight. They were stable and sure with ample space in the four hatches. We packed our kit, which included five and a half litres of stove fuel and sixteen days’ worth of food, with ease. By the end of the journey, when we had eaten our way through much of the load, it was a simple task to pack the kit. These Scorpios were fitted out with rudders and skegs. The kayaks tracked so well that there was no need to use them. All of our landings were on rough, broken, rocky foreshores and with only two of us to handle the weight we were glad to have plastic boats.

As we hauled the kayaks from the sea for the last time we felt a wave of relief that our expedition had ended safely. However, with that relief there was sadness that it had come to an end.

Right: Phil Umniasugssuk..

conditions and suddenly everything had changed. Jo shouted over to me to say that she was getting very cold. Another iceberg crashed and the greyness thickened. You could almost cut through the seriousness of the situation with a knife.

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Phil looking towards Puguta

Back home here in The Lake District, England, it feels as though a magical adventure dream ha speed through my head. After all those months of preparation and planning, our trip has com quickly. Fortunately, our photographs anchor me to the reality that we had made a wonderful the world’s most fascinating environments. Russell Farrow of Sweetwater Kayaks in Florida on “People go the Arctic for many reasons. They tend to go either once… or man

If we have the resources and the opportunities, we know we’ll be back!

Thanks to : P+H kayaks

Werner Paddles

Nicolaj Sorenesen of Kayak North, Upernavik. Blizzard Survival products


Nige Robinson

Jo‌ for going along with my madcap ideas!

To see a map of the area visit:,54.393311&spn=4.25204,15.3479&t=m&z=7

as flown at lightning me and gone so journey in one of ce said to me, ny times.�

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A journey to remember By Lesley Sleight

Youth kayak expedition to west Greenland. Sixteen students from Queen Elizabeth II High School aged 15-18 were split into two groups. Each group spent 10 days kayaking, paddling a total of 412kms in which was the first ever youth group to explore the area of Maniitsoq.

The journey was from Maniitsoq Island via Kangaamiut to the far end of Evighedsfjorden and back again.The word ‘Maniitsoq’ means ‘uneven’ in the Inuit language where high mountains and long narrow fjords make this landscape quite unique and completely different from other places in Greenland.There are 4,000 inhabitants in the community with 3,000 living in the town of Maniitsoq. To read further visit:

South Greenland ice cap solo

By Nigel Gill, BCU Level 4 Sea Kayak Coach

It sounded like a high-velocity rifle shot. Two seconds later, I saw a block of ice, the size of a car, shear off the iceberg and slew into the water. A plume of spray shot out, showering the boat. Now unstable, the berg began to topple backwards. As it did so, it levered-up its underwater plinth of ice, which burst out of the water like a submarine surfacing. Then PANG! VAROOSH! It broke off, crashing back into the water. Eyes wide, heart pumping, I shot into a low-brace, as a shock wave coursed towards me. Nigel Gill shares his thoughts on a trip that had some moments of excitement!

To read further visit:

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Coaching by Andy Grimes of Fluid C For me paddling down rivers is an exciting and funfilled experience full of opportunities to visit new places and meet new people. Running rivers demands a certain set of skills for us to be safe and productive and give us an opportunity to enjoy the amazing experience of paddling rivers.

For most people a natural progression in running rivers as a member of a group is to take more of a leadership style role as they become more experienced and knowledgeable.

In this article I hope to uncover some areas and strategies that we as river leaders should be made aware of and always keep in the front of our minds when paddling with a group.

Signal 1


Chapter 2: NO SIGNAL - NO MOVE

Communication Line Of Sight Avoidance Position Right lets start with breaking down river leadership into four simple golden rules.

COMMUNICATION: Keeping communication is vital to be sure that all important information is being relayed within the group and insuring everybody is OK. A good example of communication being used on the river when we cant speak to each other is hand signals.

LINE OF SIGHT: It is always important that as a leader we have a visual line of sight of our group at all times this is to ensure that nobody in the group is left behind or left in trouble without our knowing. In my opinion if we are leading from the front we should be aiming to look behind at our group on average every 15-20 seconds.

AVOIDANCE: This simply means trying to think in our head about avoiding any actual danger or potential situations that could develop into future issues – for example not protecting a rapid that is at the groups limit of paddling ability. The old saying avoidance is better than cure is very useful here so lets be proactive rather than reactive.

POSITION: As leaders we need to place ourselves in a position of most effectiveness for our group to protect them from any potential dangers and provide the fastest and most swift assistant as and when required.

Signal 2

Combinations Kayak Coaching and Guiding If we use and abide to these four golden rules of CLAP we have no reason to get into any form of trouble or difficulty on the river and should at no point need to break any of these rules. If for any reason any of them are broken we should aim to stabilise the current situation and regain control of all four rules again before continuing.

River signals are a regularly used method of creating communication in the river environment over large distances or in environments that verbal communication is not possible throughout the group. Below we can see a sideshow of the most regularly used hand signals.


Signals 1 is the signal to come to me (tapping hand palm down on head).

Signals 2 is the signal for eddy (pointing in the air and moving our hand in circular motion) this is normally followed by pointing in the direction of an eddy we would like members of the group to go to.

Signals 3 is the signal for stop this instructs all the group to stay where they are until further notice!

Signals 4 shows a picture of a paddler using a paddle signal. Paddle signals should be avoided at all costs because this suggests that we have lost line of sight and have positioned ourselves badly to manage our group and have broken one of the golden rules of CLAP.

Signal 3


On steep gradient rivers where line of sight is difficult to keep, we should have somebody stood out of their boat on the bank allowing line of sight to be kept between the leader and the rest of the group. As a whole we should make sure our group are aware of one main rule when it comes to signals on the river:

Signal 4

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When it comes to what we carry on the river we need to ask ourselves one important question: “What is appropriate for the situation and environment”. This basically means asking ourselves what we are carrying and why! If we can justify the reason for the kit we carry we can be sure we won’t unnecessarily overload ourselves and are only carrying what we need and use. Below is a photo of some equipment that we should consider taking or choosing a selection of items from for a day on the river.

● If we abide to the river leadership analogy of CLAP we have no reason to get into trouble on the river.

● If we lose control of one of the rules of CLAP we must not continue any further until we have regained control of all four again.

● The use of river signals must be kept clear and simple so all the group can understand and use them. Avoid paddle signals as this suggests you have lost line of sight and broken a rule of clap.

● We must practise as much as possible all the different river running strategies so we can gain the knowledge and experience to know which strategy works best and in which environment.

● Choose kit that is appropriate for the river/group that you know how to use and is as minimal as possible.

1. Warm clothes; 2. First aid kit & phone; 3.Throw line; 4. Group shelter; 5. Warm hat ; 6. Water ; 7. Emergency food; 8. Basic boat repair kit ; 9. Head torch & glow stick; 10. Split paddles.; 11. Dry bag to the put kit in.

If you wish to learn more about leadership then we recommend that you attend a BCU 4 Star training course. Fluid combinations run these courses all the time so check out the website for further information.


6 7

2 8


Paddlers move down a rapid or stretch of water one at a time while others provide safety or are waiting in an eddy for the signal to move. This strategy works very well on harder rapids and avoids lots of paddlers coming into difficulty at the same time rather than a more manageable single paddler.

Last man go

The last paddler highest upstream in the group moves down stream to an eddy they require that is situated within the rest of the group which then allows for the next highest upstream paddler to move down. We paddle one behind the other with about 3-4 boat lengths of space between paddlers, on occasions though this gap can increase to allow us more space to move around in. This strategy works well on simple open stretches of water where it is easy to see a long way ahead and avoid any issues.

Eddy hopping

The group are spread across a rapid in different eddies, when it is clear and safe to do so the lead paddler furthest downstream leaves their eddy to go to the next downstream eddy. As this happens the paddler upstream of them leaves their eddy and goes to the eddy that the lead paddler has just left from. Having received the signal to move by the lead paddler before he left his eddy the signal is passed back through the rest of the group so all paddlers can begin to drop down an eddy then wait for the next signal to move on their arrival in the eddy. This strategy works well on steep gradients or rivers with lots of tight bends.

In my opinion the hardest skill when it comes to the four river running strategies is the knowing of what strategy to use and when to use it. The only way to get better at this is by having lots of practise and time on the water. However, just remember ,“if in doubt there is no doubt” it’s better to be over cautious than dangerous and gung ho! I would also recommend something to you all known as the rule of two! If you can see two or more obtainable eddies for the group in front of you it should be clear for us to continue down stream along as the eddies continue. If we can only see one eddy further downstream we should be pulling over and making a decision to either position ourselves to a better location so we can see further downstream or get out and inspect further down stream to see if it is clear to continue. Never paddle round blind bends! It’s just not worth the risk.

Andy would like to thank his sponsors SystemX and LiquidLogic Kayaks.



One at a time

All together

In Summary

Group/Leader kit

River Running Strategies

3 4 10

Andy is the managing director of Fluid Combinations Kayak Coaching and Guiding. Further information and courses please see See Andy’s first coaching feature at:

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Pelican reflection in the Florida Keys,

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Paddle Florida: an

Suwannee. Withlacoochee. Wekiva. Ochlockonee. Bahia Honda. What do these exotic sounding names have in common? Anyone who’s gone on a Paddle Florida trip knows, as they’ve canoed or kayaked on or beside these rivers, springs, and keys.

international destination for nature-based recreation

By Jill Lingard – Vice President, Paddle Florida Board of Directors.

In our first feature on Florida, we look beyond the boundaries of Florida’s popular theme parks where lies a treasure trove of natural beauty unlike anywhere else in the world. From coastal mangrove island habitats to spring-fed rivers winding through hardwood hammocks, Florida offers nature lovers year-round outdoor adventure opportunities. Paddle Florida capitalizes on that by staging annual paddling trips in each of the state’s five water management districts. The concept for Paddle Florida was born in 2006 when four friends enjoyed a 10-day paddling trip together on the Suwannee River. Around the campfire, they talked about how river camping might attract more people to Florida’s beautiful waterways if it were easier to carry gear and plan meals.

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Fun facts: Florida has more than 11,000 miles of rivers, streams and wa Longest river: St. Johns at 273 miles. Largest lake: Lake Okeechobee at 700 square miles. Number of lakes greater than 10 acres: Approximately. 7,700

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The idea for supported trips was developed and Paddle Florida launched its inaugural trip in March 2008 with 163 participants paddling 123 miles of the iconic Suwannee over a week. Paddlers were provided with three meals daily and their tenting gear was transported for them to each evening’s camp spot. Artists, musicians, authors, and naturalists local to the region provided Florida-based entertainment and educational programming each evening along shorelines. From that first trip on the Suwannee River, today’s Paddle Florida has blossomed into a nonprofit organization which stages five multi-day trips per year in each of Florida’s water management districts. Their paddling schedule has grown to include three to 10-day trips on the Peace, Wekiva, St. Johns, Ochlockonee, Withlacoochee, and Rainbow Rivers, as well as in

In recognition of their conservation efforts, the Florida Society for Ethical Ecotourism awarded the group its prestigious Silver Level Certification this past June, citing, “Paddle Florida has successfully demonstrated its commitment to ecological sustainability, natural and cultural area management, and delivery of quality ecotourism experiences.” Since their first trips in 2008, over 400 paddlers from 27 states have gone on Paddle Florida’s trips –half of them come from outside Florida. Patty Pape, a Michigander who spends winters in Florida, completed a 10-day trip in the Keys last January. “I had 15 friends from Michigan who came down to paddle with me so that made it special,” she explains. “In Michigan you can ‘walk on water’ in the winter, so they were eager to escape the cold and snow and come to the Sunshine State for a few weeks of paddling. Paddle Florida was a great way to meet

For more information on Paddle Florida and trips available for the 2012-2013 season, visit the Florida Keys. To date, Paddle Florida has staged 16 paddling trips and is preparing to launch its third full season this fall. Non-profit status was awarded to Paddle Florida in May 2011 with a refocus of its mission to promote state-wide water conservation, wildlife preservation, springs restoration, and waterways protection. This mission emerged as a result of what the organization’s staff saw happening to springs in North Central Florida and water policy in general. Paddle Florida staff have re-imagined what their events can achieve and now their annual paddling trips have become the vehicle for promoting their ecological mission. On each trip, Florida’s rich cultural heritage and natural history is promoted by featuring some of the state’s most talented artists, musicians, authors, educators, and historians for their evening programmes. Water district managers are also on hand to explain what they are doing to make water available and clean in their regions. Paddle Florida also coordinates voluntary cleanups of each waterway they visit. Previous years' volunteers have collected and removed over 1,000lbs of rubbish from Florida's rivers.

new people from other parts of the country. With all the work of meals, campsites, route planning, and hauling gear all done for you, it made the trip easy for us.” To further illustrate that last point, 10-year-old Kayla Smith joined her grandmother for a weeklong paddle of the Suwannee River in 2009. Both ladies had a grand time, with the elder able to point out to the younger important landmarks of her childhood in the Suwannee River Basin. Describes Kayla in her journal of the trip, “Our campground has a beautiful spring right next to our tent. There is an underwater tunnel under a rock platform. When Grammy was younger, she went swimming in it! After supper tonight, there was a wonderful sounding woman singing with her guitar. It was a bundle of fun!” The environments visited by Paddle Florida permit paddlers an up-close view of nature. Winding through North Florida’s springs heartland, the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail is home to the greatest concentration of springs on earth, some 260 springs releasing over 2.8 billion gallons of water per day! This uniquely Florida feature supports all kinds of interesting wildlife


0. above and below the water's surface – from brown speckled limpkins to prehistoric-looking sturgeon and manatees seeking winter refuge in crystal clear springs which average a year-round temperature of 72 degrees. The warm, turquoise waters of the Florida Keys support the nation’s only barrier coral reef and a rich diversity of underwater life. Daily itineraries leave participants with the freedom to trade their paddles in for a mask and snorkel to take a closer peek at the abundant river and sea life they’re paddling over.

Morning mist on the Suwannee River,

Paddle Florida’s staff likes to joke that, “they take of everything but the paddling on their trips.” All trips are scouted in advance to ensure waterway conditions and shoreline camping spots maximize comfort and showcase nature's best view. Partnerships with local outfitters provide paddlers with canoes, kayaks, and other gear to rent as needed. Meal plans and gear shuttling eliminate the need to weigh boats down with food and camping equipment. Lead and sweep boats guide paddlers on each day's journey. With this level of support, paddlers of all ages and skill levels can enjoy an extended adventure in Florida’s outdoors.

Suwannee River Wilderness Trail is home to the

greatest concentration of springs on earth,

some 260 springs releasing over 2.8 billion gallons of water per day!

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Enjoying an oyster roast on the banks of the Ochlockonee River, Dam to the Bay trip.

A limpkin along the banks of the Wekiva River.

Campsite at Bahia Honda State Park, Florida Keys Challenge.

Manatees congregate in Blue Spring off the St. Johns River.

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Padd pa

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Wekiva/St. Johns RiverRamble, April 2012

By Melind

Paddle Florida 2012-2013 schedule

It’s no accident that trips are scheduled during the optimal time of year for pleasant temperatures and minimal mosquitoes. The 2012-2013 paddling schedule features these three to six-day trips:

• • • • •

October 26-31: Suwannee River Wilderness Trail (65 miles)

November 30- December 3: Wekiva/St. Johns River Ramble (30 miles)

January 18-21: Florida Keys Challenge (35 miles)

February 13-18: Wild, Wonderful Withlacoochee (60 miles)

March 16-22: Dam to the Bay, on the Ochlockonee River (76 miles)

“I am excited about our slate of trips for the upcoming season. We’re returning to some favourite destinations and breaking in new waterways with our first trip to the Withlacoochee and Rainbow Rivers. In this time when water issues have become a feature of the daily news, it’s also great to be able to involve our paddlers in good stewardship of Florida’s most precious resource.” Bill Richards, Paddle Florida’s Executive Director.


stand up paddle kayak fishing, com

ling in aradise

a Mack, Executive Director, South Florida Canoe Kayak Club

In our second feature on Florida, we are welcomed by South Florida Canoe Kayak Club to highlight the south of Florida. Welcome to Southwest Florida, a paddler’s paradise! Bring your passion for the water to South Florida Canoe Kayak Club, situated on the Gulf of Mexico halfway between Tampa and Miami.

boarding, recreational paddling, wildlife viewing, mpetitive racing, or surfing the ocean on your surf ski peak your interest? Then Southwest Florida is the place to be!

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A region

leggy herons,

Bird sightings along the blue way include

blush-coloured roseate spoonbills, aerodynamic kingfishers and plummeting pelicans

The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel in Lee County is host to a myriad of waterways. You can explore the Great Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail, more than 400 miles of canals, the Caloosahatchee River, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Estero and Imperial rivers.

One of Southwest Florida’s greatest treasures is the aforementioned Calusa Blueway, which meanders 190 miles along the back bays and wildlife-laden shores near Sanibel and Fort Myers. Easy to identify markers guide canoeists and kayakers away from powerboat traffic and through calm areas that often are only a foot or two deep, according to Betsy Clayton, waterways coordinator with Lee County Parks and Recreation. Bird sightings along the blue way include leggy herons, blush-coloured roseate spoonbills, aerodynamic kingfishers and plummeting pelicans. More than 300 species of birds live in or migrate through Lee County. Paddlers encounter dolphins, manatees, sea turtles and river otters. Snook, redfish tarpon and other game fish abound.

The Blueway is named after the Calusa Indians who dominated South Florida for centuries before the arrival of the Spaniards in the early 16th century. The trail is perfect for every paddling adventure from short novice level trips to day-long or overnight trips. Anglers, birdwatchers, photographers, day-trippers, families, archaeology lovers and geocachers enjoy the Blueway. Every autumn, the Calusa Blueway paddling festival celebrates the trail and its cultural attractions. The 2012 dates are November 1-4th at the Sanibel Causeway.

interactive trail map

known as

The trail – and all of Lee County’s waterways – is easy for newcomers and visitors to use.

Along with the posted signs paddlers can use free maps and or GPS coordinates, both of which are online at You can request a free map from the website or pick one up at area outfitters, parks, government facilities, marinas, chamber of commerce and welcome centres. The website includes put-in sites, where to rent boats and how to find guided tours. Area outfitters offer variety, from moonlight trips and ghost tours to eco-trips and fishing adventures. They’re along the trail from Northern Point in Pine Island Sound to its southern end on Estero Bay, as well as inland on the Caloosahatchee River and its tributaries. If you like gadgets and your smart-phone consider this: The Calusa Blueway is among the first water trails in the country to have a state-ofthe-art smart phone application that users can download for free to more easily navigate Southwest Florida waters. It provides real-time GPS coordinates and navigation, an interactive trail map with places of interest identified, boating trips and regulations a brief history of Mound Key inhabitants and a key to the islands flora, fauna and wildlife. Find more information and a link to download the app at For the trail website, visit

If you’re planning a visit, you’ll want to check out the Lonely Planet guide book to region: Or you can download its smartphone app from the iTunes store for a mobile version of the guide.

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environmental surroundings Florida’s climate, water temperature and

makes us the perfect place for exploring nature through paddlesport

While on holiday here

you will have the opportunity to visit the newly revitalized downtown River District where shopping, dining, art museums, music and nightlife abound. Festivals include Artwalk, Musicwalk, bike nights and more. Check out the downtown district at: Of course, you won’t want to miss the South Florida Canoe Kayak Club when you come.

The club has a comprehensive vision for Lee County, which includes a Para Olympic training site for canoeing and kayaking as well as an international training centre for flat water sprint athletes. We dedicate ourselves to all forms of paddlesport and connecting our community to the abundance of water with which we are surrounded.

When you go •

• •

Where: Southwest Florida

Why: Home of the South Florida Canoe Kayak Club, The Great Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail and The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel

When: Sunshine year-round; annual paddling festival Nov. 1-4, 2012.

Call: Visitor bureau toll-free, (800) 237-6444.

Online: for club; for waterways; for visitor guide.

Florida’s climate, water temperature and environmental surroundings makes it the perfect place for exploring nature through paddlesport or learning to gain that competitive edge in racing. We look forward to your visit here and will make sure you have an unforgettable experience. Visitors are welcome to contact us and join our activities year-round. For more information on planning your paddling holiday to Southwest Florida you can visit our website at and find us on Facebook at S.F.C.K.C. For further information or questions, contact Executive Director Melinda Mack at

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British Universities Kayak Expedition

g n i h s a a r l C to zeu in ene V

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I awoke to the sound of

raindrops hitting the tarp above my head, the rushing sound of the river nearby and the incessant background noise of the jungle all around me. Under many circumstances this would be a lovely start to the day. Not so this day. This was day four in our small campsite shoehorned into a space we had cleared in the jungle with our machete.

This was the day that we would run out of food! As the team for the British Universities Kayak Expedition to Venezuela we had so far enjoyed a great two weeks paddling and exploring the steep mountainous rivers of the far north eastern tip of the Andes. Our journey began in a car park at the airport in Caracas, exchanging large amounts of 20 and 50 Euro notes on the black market for an even larger amount of Bolivars. Spiralling inflation and a lack of confidence in the Chavez regime has led to a healthy illegal trade in foreign currency which will see you earn almost twice as much local dinero compared to using an ATM. Having been forewarned of the dangers of Caracas we were understandably a little nervous

One of our main objectives for the first part of the expedition was to complete the first descent of the Upper Aricagua before the second descent of the lower sections. After driving up and down the valley and gathering wisdom from the locals, we came to the conclusion that the only route to the river was down a narrow, steep and rocky tributary. The remainder of that day was spent scraping over rocks, portaging through the dense jungle and roping down steeper sections in what resembled a canyoning expedition with heavily loaded kayaks in tow rather than a kayaking expedition. As night began to draw in we had covered only 300m and were faced with what

at one by one stepping out of sight with a ‘security official’ to hand over large amounts of cash, fortunately he turned out (as we soon learnt was typical of many Venezuelans) to be entirely honest and happy to do business. Cash in hand it was time to load up our Land Cruiser and make a break for the mountains.

appeared to be an even steeper section ahead of us. Ten minutes of ‘light pruning’ with a machete (running around like maniacs, hacking away at the undergrowth) provided us with a small patch of jungle in which to hammock up for the night, unsure of the scale of the task that awaited us the following day.

Our first stop was the rafting centre on the Rios Siniguise and Acequias near Barinas. Catering to a growing contingent of Venezuelans in Caracas and other major cities wishing to experience the thrills (and spills) of the river, several rafting companies have set up base along the river. Spending a few nights with the local raft guides provided us a great source of information, food and hospitality as well as some excellent sections to warm up on. Not that everything ran smoothly; it was only day two when we found ourselves having our first epic – walking out through dense jungle for 10km in the dark, after torrential rain caused the river to rise by four metres in just 15 minutes!

After a fitful sleep and a quick scout of our surroundings we realised what we were up against. Downstream the river entered a steep gorge, which we couldn’t scout, where the ground was too steep to portage and the river unpaddleable. Unable to continue downstream, and unable to hike up to the road we were left with one option – retrace our route. If the previous day had felt like hard work, what we were faced with now was a colossal challenge – canyoning upstream is hard work, doing it with six heavily laden creek boats is soul destroying. After a long day, we had made it back to the road bridge, with just enough energy and time left to swing wildly (though somewhat less

Spending a few nights with the local raft guide food and hospitality as well as some excellent

es provided us a great source of information, t sections to warm up on.

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Sandra Hyslop, Yurani Rapids

Joe Rea-Dickins, Playa Puy

surrounded by jungle

ter, We encountered continuous white wa

ns and with two committing gorge sectio to keep us on our toes

Joe Rea-Dickins, Salto Aponguilao

Jonny Hawkins, Yurani Rapids

nagua Sam Sawday & Jonny Hawkins, Rio Ca


Joe Rea-Dickins, Yurani Rapids

Ar thur Norton, Rio Orinoco

Sam Sawday, Rio Canagua ThePaddler 41

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Sandra Hyslop, Salto Sakaiki.

Once recovered from our jungle ordeal, we were again

We headed to the Orinoco for a week playing on the big

n able to explore some of the rivers of the Andes

Joe Rea-Dickins, Yurani Rapids.

enthusiastically than the previous night) at the jungle to clear another campsite. Having used the satellite phone to leave a message with our driver and guide, Ulysses and Roque, we were confident of being picked up in the morning, ready for a beer and a good dinner. The nights are pitch black under the jungle canopy and, given our proximity to the equator, indefinitely long, but when the morning eventually arrived there was no message on the sat phone, and no sign of our driver. As the day drew on we tired of checking for messages and, having spent most of the day in our hammocks sheltering from the cold incessant rain, the novelty was beginning to wear off – we were cold, hungry and everything was thoroughly damp. Sandra’s 21st birthday came and went and we were still stuck in our small campsite in the jungle, living off the supplies we’d bought for the river trip, hypothesizing as to why we weren’t being rescued.

Sandra Hyslop, Rio Orinoco.

In all we spent four days waiting for salvation, but eventually Roque did return. It wasn’t until we had failed to show up at the take out after three days as prearranged that Ulysses and Roque began to worry and drove back up the river a short way to get phone signal. Completely unaware of our situation they had been living by a lake, drinking bootleg liquor and waiting for us to show up! Once recovered from our jungle ordeal, we were again able to explore some of the rivers of the Andes, recording at least a couple of second descents including a return to the Aricagua to complete the second descent of the lower sections. As we were promised by the first descent team, we encountered continuous white water, surrounded by jungle and with two committing gorge sections to keep us on our toes. The upper section still awaits its first descent, and if it’s anything like the lower section, the lucky paddlers will be in for a treat!

g volume (30,000 cumecs!) rapids and waves

Sam Sawday, Rio Aricagua.

Following on from our month in the Andean states of Barinas and Merida, we headed to the Orinoco for a week playing on the big volume (30,000 cumecs!) rapids and waves where we nearly commandeered an old Soviet era military helicopter for filming purposes. From here we drove east to the Gran Sabana in search of waterfalls and finally to the beach to enjoy the Pacific surf for the last few days before most of the team flew home. In all we spent two months in Venezuela, a country beset with political problems and security issues. All that we experienced was the generosity of the many Venezuelans who welcomed us into their homes, the magnificent beauty of the country and the fabulous variety and quality of white water kayaking to be found there.

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INFORMATION Visas: To enter Venezuela, a passport valid for six months on arrival is required. Visas for Venezuela are not required by US, UK, Canadian Australian of EU nationals with the exception of Latvia and Cyprus.


Safety: The 1,000-mile (1,609km) long border between Venezuela and Colombia is notorious for the risk of violence, kidnapping, smuggling and drug trafficking.Visitors should give the border region a wide berth. Language: Spanish is the official language of Venezuela.

Electricity: 110/220 volts, 60Hz. US two-pin plugs are general..,-66.577148&spn=20.704703,19.973145&t=m&z=6

Geography: Venezuela has a territory of about 916,445 square kilometers

with an estimated population of 29,105,632. There are four distinctive regions in Venezuela.The Venezuelan Highlands in the west of the country. Here is the highest point of Venezuela, Pico Bolívar, at 4,979 metres (16,335 ft).The Maracaibo Lowlands, occupying the northwest part.The central plain of Los Llanos around the Orinoco River and the Guyana region, south of the Orinoco River, including Amazon rain forest and the Guyana Highlands, home to the world's highest waterfall – The Angel Falls (Churun Meru).

Seasons: Venezuela has in general a tropical, hot and humid climate, but the

weather varies depending on the altitude.The climate is moderate in highlands and alpine in the higher parts of mountains.

Money: Venezuela's currency is the Bolivar Fuerte (VEF), which replaced the

Bolivar (VEB) in January 2008.The revaluation means that Bs. 1,000 becomes Bs F 1. It is divided into 100 centimos. US dollars are the most favoured foreign currency so it is best to have cash and travellers cheques in US$. Foreign currency and cheques can be changed at bureau de change offices found in most larger cities and tourist destinations. Some banks (e.g. Banco Mercantil) will now buy US dollars for bolivares or sell bolivares against a foreign credit card; some major hotels will also swap US dollars for bolivares. Banks are usually open Monday to Friday. It is best to obtain local currency where possible before travelling, and bolivars should be exchanged before exiting Venezuela.There are ATMs in the cities (however some travellers have experienced problems using them), and most credit cards, including MasterCard/Eurocard, American Express and Visa, are accepted in major cities. Diners Club has more limited acceptance. Visitors are also warned that there is a serious problem with credit card fraud.

Health: There are no vaccination requirements for Venezuela, but those who plan to travel in areas outside the main cities should be immunised against yellow fever, Hepatitis A, and typhoid. Some airlines travelling to Venezuela will insist on a yellow fever certificate before boarding the plane, and travellers are advised to check with their airline before travel.There is a risk of malaria, particularly in jungle areas, but prophylaxis is not necessary for travel to Caracas or the coastal areas. Medical advice should be sought at least three weeks prior to departure. Insect protection measures are vital to avoid both malaria and dengue fever, which is on the increase. Mains water should not be drunk, but bottled drinking water is available.Venezuela's hospitals offer free emergency treatment, however the private hospitals are better quality, though expensive. Public hospitals suffer from a shortage of basic supplies, as do private hospitals and clinics outside Caracas. Health insurance is advisable.

Jonny Hawkins, Yurani Rapids By Robert Moffatt

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What is the British Universities Kayak Expedition? In its current guise, the British Universities Kayak Expedition was formed in 2005 when a group of British students formed a team and disappeared to Kyrgyzstan, exploring and documenting the white water they found. Since then, it has become a biennial event, with subsequent teams being formed from selection weekends held in Wales before planning and undertaking their own expeditions. Siberia and Mongolia played host to the second expedition in 2007, before 2009 saw a team venture to Vietnam.

How do I get involved in BUKE? If you are a student at a British University and would like to be considered for the selection process, keep an eye on the website ( where details of the application process will be posted prior to each event. The selection process takes place between September and November of the year before each expedition is to take place. If you are interested in supporting the expedition in any other way, then please get in touch through the Uniyaker website or by contacting any of the previous team members.

Thanks to The team would like to thank everyone that helped make the expedition happen: Tim Burne for organising the selection event; Dave Manby for conceding that Venezuela might be a suitable alternative to Iran; Roque Duarte, our Venezuelan guide; Alejandro Buzzo, our rafting contact; and all of our sponsors (Pyranha, Canoe & Kayak Store, Alpkit, DD Hammocks, Cotswold Outdoor and the BCU). For more information about the 2011 BUKE expedition to Venezuela, check out the team’s website:

By Steve Richardson. Ph

otos: Jamie Prout.

Symonds Yat


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Fancy getting wet?

A fairly normal start to most paddling trips. This is often followed by a discussion that has the following elements in: Where has any water? Who’s paddling? How far do we have to travel? How much of a hit is my beleaguered bank account going to take for what will be a paddle in the UK in the middle of summer?

It’s fantastic to read

all the brilliant articles about far off places on the other side of the world, but let's face it most of us have neither the money, time or permission to paddle on some of these exotic paddles.

I know the world has become much smaller and everything in theory is open to everyone but a touch of realism is needed for a sunday morning paddle. Boats on the roof, kit (well some of it) in the car and off we go. Michael has grabbed some school friends and shoe horns them into a small three door VW polo, while we have the rest of the kit and loads of space in a Land Rover. Is my taste in music really that bad! Everyone on the water and off down to play on the small wave train and odd feature. The river is fairly busy with a number of other paddlers. Some just here to play, others just passing through. There is even a small group lower down jumping in and throwing ropes at each other. The water is a little low but some nifty work with a large digger has made the best of it. In fact someone (I think lots of someones) has really made a fantastic job of this section of the river. Time to cough on where we are. We are on the mighty Symonds Yat!

The fantastic work done in improving the site hasn’t turned it into a southern Tryweryn or indeed a natural version of the Cardiff artificial course, but it has created a small section of water that runs most of the year. It’s been designed by people who paddle who have made the features work for us. The challenge is not in conquering a technical Grade 4, it’s in getting the most from what’s there. It can be really hard work to get just the right amount of lift, control or squirt from the features. It also allows the experienced paddlers to play alongside new ones, practice skills ready for the winter season, try new kit and generally have a nice wet day. It also offers clubs like ours the chance to drag several different sections out together. Open boaters and tourers can make a day of it while the park and play mob can well – park and play! There’s a great little paddle shop, parking and food on site. So next time you’re scratching for a local where to go tomorrow, I strongly suggest you give it a look. Many thanks to Jamie Prout for the great photos, who gave his very expensive camera to Michael to carry across to the island to get the shots. A heart in the mouth ferry glide! Further info: Video:

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Liquid Image Ego HD camera

We are smitten with this great looking and feeling HD camera.

LCD screen.

Front LED indicator light.

Optional fully waterproof casing.

Following on from the company’s wide range of goggle-mounted cameras that capture footage from the shooter’s point of view, the new Ego camera can be can be clipped on to various sports equipment and angled to take photos or video of the user as well – hence the name ‘Ego’.

There are three shooting modes in the Ego with the default capturing 720p video at 60 frames per second, where the high frame rate is perfect for sports involving plenty of motion. One tap up top switches to 1080p video at 30 frames per second, and a second to still image shooting at up to 12 megapixels. A front coloured LED tells you which mode you're in, depending on the colour: blue for 720, green for 1080p, red for 480 and purple for stills up to 12MP.

Stand with some adhesive pads for the bottom.

The max 135 degree field of view gives a wide-angle look to video. The quality of video captured is very good with a little over saturation in some colours but the level of detail is very good. It offers no light source in low light conditions, where it becomes noisy but then this isn't really a camera intended for after dark. Our test model came with a fully waterproof casing, which would cost an additional

Available in red, blue, black, yellow and white £159.99

£40 and is good for a depth of 100 metres. Rival GoPro models come with removable waterproof housing as standard, however a similarly-specced GoPro, costs well over £200.

It comes with a basic stand with some adhesive pads for the bottom, but with a standard threaded port on the rear, it will screw into camera accessories.

The Ego can now be turned into a wi-fi hotspot for live streaming to smart phones, tablets and computers with no external wi-fi attachments required. Download the free Action Connect app and you can control the camera’s settings from any iPhone or Android device. This reveals more options that you can access on the camera itself. You can choose the field of view, resolutions and other common image settings. There’s also microphone sensitivity control.

This additional control is the main point of the app, but it can also be used to remotely ‘see’ through the camera’s eyes, albeit with a two second delay but you can take photos and start capturing video directly from the phone - and even use digital zoom. When taking video on the camera itself, the live feed is then cut off.

Visual control of the camera itself is through a small LCD screen mounted between the two control buttons on the top. it is a little fiddly and in bright conditions the shadows cast by the casing make it very difficult to see - that’s the drawback for having something so small.

The Ego can take a Micro SDHC card up to 32GB (memory cards are not included), which records thousands of photos and hours of HD video. Files can then be downloaded to a computer with the high speed USB cable provided or with the SD card and the Ego’s internal battery provides over two hours of life before recharging.

All I can say is grab one!


Coleman claim the lantern has up to 38 hours run time, with the micro-lights up to 9 hours 45 minutes. The micro-lights contain two round lithium batteries that conveniently recharge each time you fix them back to the base unit. The main lantern itself is powered by 4xAA batteries.

This is a real quality product and has more uses than you could possibly think of with a reasonable price. Weight: 266g without power source, 362g with power source Usable light around 20 feet.

Light output: 77 lumens, each individual micro-light has 16 lumens. Detachable microlights with rubber strips for hanging.

Available in red ÂŁ20-25.00

addl er s - em a

il us: revi e

ws@ thep ad d


Magnetic plate and charging clips for the detachable micro-lights.


.co. ler

A very nice touch with the micro-micro lights is the rubber strap that encircles each of them, which can be unhooked it from its groove and you can use it to hang the light or, most usefully, grip it in your teeth.

interest t

Contained within the base are four snap-on colour lenses - green, blue for map reading, yellow and red for night vision.

of be will

The Coleman LED Micro Quad Lantern is a sturdy, bright, fun and functional lantern in its own right. the clever bit are its four detachable magnetic micro-lights that can be fixed to metal, hung or clipped onto your tent, clothing or whatever for hands-free lighting.

d it d an ove

Four for one and all detachable.

rem uct od pr

1, 2, 3‌


f you want tion. I y o sta ur

Coleman LED Micro Quad Lantern


t es


ThePaddle .

Contained within the base are four snap-on colour lenses.

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New paddles


Incredible claims on comfort, blood circulation and sweat reducing capabilities.

Reading the press release - I was sceptical of some of the claims of this so called super sock!

They have been shown to increase circulation quickly resulting in an increased blood flow allowing more oxygen to the tissues. probably down to the tight weave resulting in a strong quality to the sock. I couldn’t honestly say that I noticed any real difference in performance but then again I am no elite athlete!

Wave Sport Ethos

The new Wave Sport Ethos, pioneers the river trekking category in the Wave Sport family of boats and offers confidence-building performance for whitewater newcomers and comfort and reliability for seasoned paddlers embarking on longer trips.

Introducing the river trekking category to the Wave Sport line, the Ethos is a stable, forgiving, crossover platform.The Ethos offers a confidence-building introduction to paddling in up to class III whitewater.The hull is manoeuvrable in rapids, yet tracks well on flat water with the help of a dropdown skeg system.The Ethos offers excellent comfort on long, multi-day river treks due to the roomy cockpit and sizeable gearstorage space.

Key performance features include a full whitewater auto-adjusting foot brace system, an adjustable leglifter, a whitewater-focused rocker profile and a progressive chine that helps beginners learn the feeling of ‘edging’ in a stable, reliable design. These features combined with the river running style peaked bow allow the Ethos to punch rapids, resurface quickly, and move swiftly downriver.

We lose something like 250ml of water each day through our feet resulting in infamous nasty, damp and foul smelling sweaty socks! Now I don’t have particularly bad feet in this area Carbonized charcoal but the socks more than stood up to their anion technology. claim after a 5k run. My feet were perfectly dry and there was no smell! So without washing I used them again the next day for the very same thing and once again they were absolutely fine. They are also very comfortable and have a very nice warm feeling to them, which should make them ideal for winter paddling.

Incredisocks are available in black, white and grey £19.95

Paramo Ladies’ Grid Technic

Zip neck for variable ventilation with zip garage for comfort.

Stretchy and comfortable base layer

Ideal for layering or used on its own on warmer days, the Paramo Grid baselayer material will prove a very useful and stylish addition to your outdoor wardrobe. It features a stretchy grid material that provides warmth and plenty of breathability, whilst remaining light at just 200gms. It also has a lovely soft touch to the gridded fabric called Parameta G that makes it so comfortable to wear, which enables easy movement.

Generous length to protect the lower back during all activities. Thumb loops to hold sleeves in place when required, reducing any gap between glove and jacket in order to maintain hand warmth.

It has a neat tailored female fit with thumb loops to keep the sleeves in place for extra hand warmth when needed and a zip neck for the allimportant temperature control. When covered by a windproof or waterproof outer layer the grid structure of the fabric creates air pockets for increased warmth, whilst decreasing the warmth of the garment if worn on warmer days without a top layer.

Paramo has partnered with Remploy, to produce the garments in factories at Clydebank and Stirling in Scotland.

The Paramo Ladies Grid Technic is a truly high performance long sleeved base layer for year round outdoor activities.

Available in dolphin and black. Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL £55.00

A new level of flexibility Point 65 Kayaks Sweden presents the take-apart Martini! A rigid high-performance kayak that you can carry with a smile on your face, easily stow on your boat and transport in the trunk of your car. Go solo, go tandem go triple - go bananas! The Martini snaps apart and re-assembles in seconds. Snap in the mid-section and your Solo transforms into a Tandem. Add another mid section and it’s a triple! Keep adding mid sections to create the perfect team-building excercise.

Plas y Brenin, Capel Curig Conwy LL24 OET Tel: 01690 720214 Email:

Distributed in the UK and ROI by Surf Sales Ltd. Phone 01303 850553 | |

From Russi with blisters

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‘It’s nearly one in the morning and I’m sat in my tent listening to sand being blasted against the walls. I am absolutely zonked. Having cycled thousands of miles across Eurasia I am fit but my body isn’t used to paddling. My shoulders feel like cement, my hands are blistered and my back squeals regularly.The transition from Hercules to Nelson has been gruelling for both mind and body, and I am only three days in…

Sarah Outen

London2London expedition Photos by and Justine Curgenven (


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First paddle in Nelson at De-Kastri, Russia, heading up the coast before crossing to Sakhalin.

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Getting to Japan from mainland Eurasia involved the volatile and impossible Koreas or the

cauldron of risk that is the East China Sea

When I first started

planning my London2London journey two years ago, I picked out the Russian island of Sakhalin as a stepping stone down to Japan. The map showed a tiny gap between the mainland continent and this little-heard-of island, with a 25 mile strait in the way of Japan.

Given that the other options for getting to Japan from mainland Eurasia involved the volatile and impossible Koreas or the cauldron of risk that is the East China Sea, it was an easy decision. On paper at least. The logistics and red tape involved in getting kit, kayaks to the edge of Russia with a view to paddling out to Japan (they are not friendly neighbours) was huge. The plan was that I would use a mixture of kayaking and cycling to make my way down the island. I was joined by two of my team – one in a logistics role and the other, the marvellous Justine Curgenven as my support kayaker and camerawoman.

It was a hugely challenging leg for me in all respects, not least because of the physical and mental challenge that the change from bike to boat and back again posed. I had been punching hard every day since leaving London and we needed to maintain the pace to get down to Honshu, Japan within all the weather and visa windows. On one day’s cycling I pedalled continuously for 19 hours through driving rain and bitter cold to reach my destination, arriving in the early hours the morning after I had left my tent. As I often joke – it’s an expedition, not a holiday.

It’s all about integrity

The five week phase involved three open water crossings of between 15 and 24 miles which strong currents multiplied to distances much greater than I had paddled before. The crossing from Sakhalin to Hokkaido turned out to be a marathon effort – 11.5 hours in the boat

clocking my biggest continuous kayak slog yet – 38 nautical miles. The extra was partly due to currents pushing us away from our destination, but mostly the extra 13 miles we paddled back into Russian waters once we had been stamped out of the country. We did this to intersect with our path from the previous day – thus ensuring my human powered loop of the planet was maintained. It’s all about integrity. My favourite paddling of the whole journey so far was along the coast of Sakhalin – firstly down the north western side and later down the south eastern edge to the mysterious Cape Krillion, where bunkers and rusting guns tell tales of wars gone by and a Russian military outpost still houses young conscripts on lookout.

Wild & windy

Our coastal journey allowed us to glimpse Sakhalin’s untamed beauty and the lives of the people and animals that depend on the sea. This is a harsh and unforgiving environment – stunted trees grow a shocked crown at angles to norm, as though screaming eastward with the wind, and giant logs lie in awkward places high up the beach and shoved into rocky gaps like graffiti.

Crossing La Perouse Strait from Sakhalin to Hokkaido, Japan.

About to launch going up the coast from De-Kastri then over to Sakhalin.

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After I returned to my bike Hercules and cycled the final 600km down the island, mostly on mud tracks and through thick forest and swampland, Justine and I got back in the boats to paddle to the end of it. Happily, the wintry weather that had made my cycle south so punishing left us in peace and we enjoyed a touch of sunshine, albeit with a nip in the morning air. There were hills at this end of the island and far fewer people – little fishing outposts rather than full villages. Said fishermen welcomed us in for tea and always warned us of the bears who were now feeding up for a winter of hibernation.

nationwide famous Tsugaru straits. For me, those crossings were all about endurance. Mind and body exhausted, it was a battle to stay awake at times and I landed on Honshu’s northern tip of Aomori, happy to have made it and almost too tired to think. It was to mark the end of an era – the Far Eastern Question – so long a beacon of logistical trickiness and expedition intrigue, Sakhalin had been a beautiful stepping stone in my journey home and one which will be hard to beat for its epic wilderness, warm people and breathtaking wildlife encounters.

until he stood on his hind legs to check to see if anyone was watching. He was beautiful and I was glad for that moment

shipwrecks on the shallow northwest coast, gentle giants rusting quietly as they wait for forever to arrive and swallow them into the sand. Along that stretch we had a few days of mad and not-veryhelpful wind before one still day, when our kayaks sliced through glassy calm seas as we hugged the low coast, watched by lazy seals dozing in the sunshine. A few tiny wooden villages perched at the edge of the sea, grey and brown boxes set against a vibrant background of thick forest and framed by blue skies and seas. A few wide-eyed fishermen in little boats, goading at the size of their expected catch, quizzed us as to where we had come from. I got the impression they are seldom joined by two lone paddling girls in Gore-Tex!

he looked very huggable

Then there are the

I now understand why we have teddy bears –,142.558594&spn=29.415576,36.166992&t=m&z=5

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Bear hug

The following sunny afternoon we were treated to a spine-tinglingly brilliant show as one such fellow, a young brown bear, sat on his haunches and munched happily among the tidelines on the beach. Justine and I paddled to within twenty metres without causing him any alarm – the feisty wind blowing our scent and noise downwind. I now understand why we have teddy bears – he looked very huggable until he stood on his hind legs to check to see if anyone was watching. He was beautiful and I was glad for that moment – after three weeks in Russia I had been starting to wonder if I would ever see a bear. We had seen a few huge clawed footprints in the sand at our campsites but never the owner. I am glad of that too, for a few days later we were taken to visit two captive bears kept by a village on the south western edge of the island. One had been orphaned as a cub and the other had come from a circus on the mainland. Both had sadness in their eyes and I left them with a huge sadness in my heart. It was with mixed emotions that I left Sakhalin – excited on the one hand to be heading to country number 12 but sad to be leaving new friends and wonderful wild places. The remaining paddling to be done was to Japan’s northernmost island, Hokkaido, across La Perouse Strait and then after cycling down its coast a final paddle between the

About the author:

British adventurer Sarah Outen is currently on a unique expedition to loop the planet using human power – travelling by rowing boat, bike and kayak across the North Pacific and North Atlantic Oceans and three continents. Sarah started her epic journey by paddling under Tower Bridge on April 1st 2011 to France. After cycling across Europe, Russia and China, and kayaking across to Japan via Sakhalin, she made her first attempt to cross the North Pacific Ocean in May this year. However, Tropical Storm Mawar had other plans for her as the storm bashed and battered her and her boat Gulliver for days, causing irreparable damage and Sarah was left with no choice but to call for an emergency rescue. She is now back in the UK, planning to do battle with the North Pacific again in Spring 2013 and from there continue on her London2London expedition. In 2009 she became the first woman to row solo across the Indian Ocean. Twitter @SarahOuten





Go on, give us a ‘like’ on our Facebook page and be entered into a free draw to have the chance to win a pair of tickets toThe Outdoors Show at:

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ThePaddler 60


Kayaking oppo in my estima

Magical MAINE Kayaking in Maine, East Coast USA By Scott Edwards

From the most challenging of white water runs deep in the majestic mountains inland, a myriad of flat water experience on picturesque lakes and lazy rivers, to an abundance of what has been called the finest sea kayaking in the country, Maine offers something for paddlers of every persuasion. There are also many trips that offer a combination of the two. You need only to look at a chart and/or topographical map to see what trip strikes your fancy.

The resources for paddling in Maine are as abundant as the cornucopia of experiences awaiting you upon arrival. There are many outfitters who will rent boats and necessary kit for your entire trip, books and websites galore. One of the first to visit online is One thing to be aware of if sea kayaking is your choice, the water off the coast of Maine at its warmest, which would be early to mid-August, is only 15 degrees centigrade; even though air temperatures can be significantly warmer, always dress for the water temperature when heading out offshore. Again, the Internet is your best source for water temperatures; is a good place to start. On my most recent trip to Maine I was fortunate enough to be there when the local Appalachian Mountain Club ( was planning an outing to one of the islands off the mid-coast of Maine, offering a beautiful paddle, a stop for lunch, a hike around the island and a paddle back. It was approximately a 19km paddle with a 1.6 kilometre hike thrown in for good measure. It was a beautiful day as we set out from the public launch at Sawyer Park, which put us in the tidal New Meadows River, in the town of Brunswick. There was only a slight head wind and the tides were in our favour, making for easy paddling. When one paddles in Maine, one of the things you can count on is the plethora of wildlife that can be seen. On this particular stretch of water I have seen, Bald Eagles, Osprey, Greater Yellow Legs, Least Sandpipers, Tree and Barn Swallows, as well as a very curious and playful Harbour Seal.

ortunities are abundant on the other side of the pond, but, ation, no single place offers you the diversity of paddling opportunities than the state of Maine.

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The New Meadows River

offers access to a great many parts of the mid-coast of Maine, around many islands, through Thomas Bay and eventually emptying into Casco Bay. The coast of Maine is a treasure trove of thousands of islands. Some are private and some are public. One of the finest resources for paddling in Maine is the Maine Island Trail Association ( They are the shepherds of these treasures of nature and some of the islands are accessible only to members. Outside Magazine recently voted Maine Island Trail as the ‘Best Water Trail’.

The group headed off down the river, past private homes and larger boats moored in the river, to the sound of Osprey calling overhead and water parting as we paddled. This was certainly a paddle that was open to any skill levels, as we did not have to make any open water crossings and the conditions were ideal. As we made our way further away from the put in the amount of human encroachment lessened and the scenery soon was all around us. You do not have to paddle far in Maine to feel like you’re the only one on the water. Smaller islands dotted our path, and Great Blue Herons fished the shallows. One of the most memorable parts of any paddle throughout the coast of Maine is just how clean and clear the water is. You can see right down to the bottom, allowing you to view natural wonders like the starfish preserve located on the backside of one of the islands in Casco Bay. After a leisurely paddle, enjoying the sights and the beauty of the water, the group pulled into the north end of Merritt Island for a lunch break and to hike the circumference of the island. The tide was out, so the group hauled their boats up above the high tide line and everyone was diligent in securing their kayaks to logs or trees. The tides can rise and fall very quickly and nothing puts a damper on a day more than either having to swim after your kayak or have another of your party go rescue your boat as it’s taken out to open water!

open to any skill levels,

This was certainly a paddle that was as we did not have to make any open water crossings and the conditions were ideal

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sweet smell of salt air, A day filled with the

the beautiful scenery and to just be out on

the ability the water passage was quite shallow, as we saw a Great Blue Heron feeding along the sandbar. To sum it up, we all had a wonderful trip and were sorry that the day had wound to an end. It was a decent lengths paddle for a mixed group and everyone arrived at the take out safe and sound, after relishing a day spent in good company in a beautiful place. As is my habit, I always have my GPS on board my kayak, not only to keep me on track, and to have something to double check against charts, it allows me to create a .gpx file that allows me to have a souvenir map of my trips. It also gives me read-outs of the progress and final statistics of the paddle. Although, it does require a good cleaning (as does everything) after a day out on the salt water! Although the trip was an ‘uneventful’ one, it was still a day filled with the natural beauty that is paddling in Maine. We did not encounter any ‘lumpy stuff’, nor did anyone go for a swim, but, none of this diminished a day filled with the sweet smell of salt air, the beautiful scenery and the ability to just be out on the water.

Once lunch was done and all our trash was stowed away (it is important to know that the islands are pack in/pack out, meaning leave nothing behind when you leave), we decided to walk off lunch with an exploration of Merritt Island. Merritt is typical of the islands around Maine, rocky beaches topped with large conifer trees, making for some truly picturesque views.

For those of you looking for more excitement on the water, Maine will not let you down. With it’s coastline jutting out into the North Atlantic to the east and the mountains of northern New England to the north and west, kayaking in Maine can be anything you want it to be. For white water enthusiasts the Penobscot, Allagash, Dead River and many others offer challenges of all levels. I highly recommend contacting a local outfitter for the best times to go and the current water levels.

Our stop for lunch and a hike was a little over an hour and the walk did us all good, allowing us to stretch our legs and digest our lunch before paddling back, that and to give us the opportunity to explore the beautiful woods that make up Merritt Island. It was a beautiful trek on a carpet of white Pine needles combined with some boulder hopping. We passed by the college’s canoe camp, which seemed not to have been used in quite some time. As we cleared the last rise and arrived back at our boats, everyone set about the task of reloading their kayaks, and getting themselves squared away for the paddle back to Sawyer Park. As we paddled back up the New Meadows River, we detoured around another of the many islands that dot the waterway, just to take our time and enjoy even more of the scenery. Some of the

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Maine has

A population of about 1.2 million people.

Sea kayaking is

to me, what Maine is all about, the rugged coastline begs exploration and there are hundreds of places to enjoy. Maine is home to Acadia National Park, on Mount Desert Island, the Deer Island Archipelago to name only a couple of the more well known spots. There are several books available to point you in the right direction, as are the local outfitters. Although it may seem redundant, it bears repeating that the water off the coast of Maine requires consideration each time you go out. Whatever your cold-water kit consists of, customize it for the conditions you are venturing into. Also, make sure your VHF Marine radio is in good working order and you have the proper channels to both reach the US Coast Guard and monitor ship-to-ship communication. The local marinas can provide you with this information. Even if you just want a peaceful flat-water experience, Maine has over 2,200 ‘named’ lakes, which is only the tip of the iceberg. There are over 6,000 lakes larger than an acre and 22,000 less than an acre. The Appalachian Mountain Club publishes a guidebook called ‘Quiet Water Canoe Guide; Maine’ and can give you the why and wherefores if you are just looking for a paddle and a picnic.

As is quite plain by now, I truly love the waters of Maine. While I am not a white water paddler, many who I paddle with are, and I am familiar with their favourite runs. I am drawn to the coast, to the salt water, islands and challenges that paddling the bays, harbours and ocean that lends to Maine having more water than land! With the all but instant contact of the internet, it is very easy to plan your New England paddle holiday. And, while you are there, do not miss the opportunity to feast on the delicious and fresh seafood that Maine is also famous for! No trip to Maine is complete without a meal built around lobsters, clams and fresh corn on the cob! I hope you’ve enjoyed our little trip around Maine and I hope to see you on the water! If you have any questions or would like some thoughts on where one might go, feel free to drop me an e-mail. Scott Edwards, Happy Paddling!

An area almost as big as all of the other five New England States put together.

3,500 miles of beautiful coastline, with bays, coves and similar indentations. Maine has 60 lighthouses including Portland Head Light commissioned by George Washington. 2,295 square miles of inland water area and over 2,000 coastal islands. 6,000 lakes and ponds and 5,100 rivers and streams.

A famous reputation for the fine taste, texture and fresh colour of its seafood, due to the perfect environment.,69.252319&spn=4.754538,8.393555&t=m&z=8

Discover the Maine Island Trail. With 200 island and mainland sites, we believe it is the best way to experience thecoast of Maine.

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Grey Owl cabin Grey Owl: Archibald Stansfeld Belaney named (Wa-sha-quon-asin) Grey Owl by the Ojibway peoples, was born in Hastings, England on September 18th 1888 and passed away at his cabin (Beaver Lodge, Ajawaan Lake) on April 13th 1938. He was best known as the first conservationist for Parks Canada and the author of four books: The Men of the Last Frontier (1931) Pilgrims of the Wild (1934) Sajo and the Beaver People (1935) and Tales from an Empty Cabin (1936). Grey Owl was also a canoeist, a packer, a guide, a fur trapper, a naturalist, and a story teller running many lectures for Parks Canada and making several films throughout his career.

Introduction by Jody Dymond: Throughout my paddling career and travels I have been to some amazing places, but I must say Canada is up there in my top few. Whether it’s Canada’s beautiful national parks, the vast amount of mapped canoe routes, the Rocky Mountains and their hidden creeks, the magnificent wildlife, the great lakes, or simply just for the maple syrup and pancakes there’s something for everyone. Since moving to Canada in March my wife and I have set a goal to paddle to the Grey Owl cabin which resides on the shores of Ajawaan Lake in Prince Albert National Park (P.A.N.P), central Saskatchewan. Ajawaan Lake is only accessible via a 20 km hiking route or a 16.5 km canoe paddle across Kingsmere Lake and a 3.4 km walk in to Ajawaan Lake. There is the option of a 0.6 km canoe portage from Lake Kingsmere followed by a short paddle across Ajawaan Lake to the Grey Owl Cabin. The portage is good and manageable if you have a light boat and minimal kit but would be far more arduous the heavier the boat etc. ThePaddler 69

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Prince Albert National park

was established in 1927 as a public recreation and conservation area. It covers 3,874 square kilometres (that’s 1,496 sq miles for my British friends) and is set in the southern areas of the Boreal forest. The forest is mainly made up of black spruce and aspen trees with scattered sections of fescue and other grasslands where buffalo used to roam but most of these small areas are inaccessible to the average visitor due to the dense nature of the forest and minimal paths and tracks. The park also boasts an impressive array of wildlife - Black bear, coyotes, wolves, moose, several species of deer, elk, beaver, muskrat and many birds of prey all share this beautiful part of the world. Day 1:

Our journey started with a six-hour drive from home in Alberta to P.A.N.P. The journey went on without a hitch and we arrived at Beaver Glen Campsite in Waskesiu at 10:59pm. To our disappointment the campsite was full, so we were forced to stay in overflow camping. Beaver Glen campsite and Red Deer campsite (just opposite) are both available for prior reservation, so if you plan on staying at either, particularly on a long weekend, we recommend pre-booking.

Day 2:

Having raised Jack on the North Devon coastline, England, he is very much a

water dog

and seemed to be in his element

Our day starts with a 07:30 am wake-up call followed by packing down the tent and heading into Waskesiu to register for backcountry camping at the visitor centre. Registration is $9.80 per day per person. After hearing that the lake had a good selection of trout, walleye, pike, yellow perch, and whitefish, we decided to try our luck at fishing for the first day at the cost of $9.80 per person per day. Just to add, you do not need to have a provincial fishing license, just a National Park license and if you wish to fish for trout you need to get a separate tag when obtaining your license.

Nicole, Megan, Matt and I at the North end of the rail cart portage.

One of two elk we spotted on the drive from the egress to Waskesiu.

Before heading off to the put in, we stopped at Evergreen café for breakfast scones and coffee, which we highly recommend. From Waskesiu, the drive to the Kingsmere River and the put in takes about 30 minutes. The drive itself gives you the first taste of the Boreal forest and its inhabitants providing you with a great opportunity of spotting elk and similar ungulates. We arrived at the put in at 11:00 am. The put in itself is about 100m down a steep track that is possible to reverse down to the water’s edge with caution. It took us about 45 minutes to load our canoe and get on the water. This marked the first canoe outing for our oneyear-old collie, Jack. Having raised Jack on the North Devon coastline, England, he is very much a water dog and seemed to be in his element. He only escaped from the canoe twice, getting Nicole rather damp on both occasions. Rail cart portage

After a brief paddle up river, you come to a railcart portage specifically designed for the transport of boats. This portage has been extended recently to accommodate for the ‘rapids’ of Kingsmere River. This portage is the only access for all boating crafts as there is no road access to Kingsmere Lake. The rail-cart portage is 1km with two cart types. We recommend waiting for the four-wheeled cart that is far more stable and is easier to handle heavy-laden canoes. After the portage there is another short paddle upriver before you enter Kingsmere Lake on the southern end. Here you can choose to either take the west side route (with Westside, Sandy beach, and North end campsites) or the east route, which we took (with Southend, Pease Point, and Bladebone campsite).

The route you take is dependent on availability of campsites upon registration. With that in mind, it is always worth going to register ASAP to ensure you get the campsite(s) that you have accounted for in your route plan. As the lake is relatively large, its mood can change within an instant from glass like at one moment to choppy and white horsed the next. Be sure to account for wind direction in your route planning as this can make your journey easy or very arduous. We paddled up to Pease Point where we stopped for lunch. Straight-line distance to here is 5 km but with the wind conditions, we hugged the shoreline, making it slightly longer but far more pleasant paddling.

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Shortly after setting Shortly after setting off we spotted a bald eagle, which has a white head and dark brown body and wings. We continued on paddling and reached Bladebone campsite just before 4pm making our paddling time for the day approximately four hours and having covered about 10.2km. Here we quickly set up camp and got settled in for the evening. We decided to go to the beach for some unsuccessful fishing but enjoyed the relaxation, quiet, and tranquillity none the less. Luckily we weren’t banking on fish being our only food for the journey. After cooking our evening meal we walked down the beach taking in the beauty of the forest and listening to the wildlife, predominantly the iconic loon with its unique call.

That night we decided to get an early night’s sleep as we wanted to get up at 07:00 to ensure we made the most of the day and had plenty of time for our pilgrimage to the Grey Owl Cabin and Ajawaan Lake. Shortly after putting our heads down we were hit by a mighty storm. Even through a zipped up tent and a closed eye, the lightning was blinding and the thunder was so loud you could feel it vibrate through us. After calming down a very nervous dog, and determining that the tent wasn’t going to leak horribly, we finally got some shuteye.

Day 3:

The day has arrived for our last leg to reach Beaver Lodge and the Grey Owl cabin. As discussed the night before we got up just before 07:00 to sort the logistics for the 6 km paddle and 3.4 km hike each way and to get a good breakfast to set us up for the day. We left Bladebone at 08:30. The lake was glass like with absolutely no wind what so ever. This made for a very enjoyable paddle indeed. We paddled past a flock of Loons that were sat on the water diving for fish. At 09:35 we reached the shores of North end and the start of the Ajawaan trail and portage. After a short break to take on some water we headed off onto Beaver Lodge and the Grey Owl Cabin trail. The trail is well marked with plenty of interpretive placards and information posts telling you about Grey Owl’s history and Ajawaan Lake. After 500 metres you come across a fork in the path, the left taking you on the hike into the cabin and the right (a further 100 metre portage) takes you down to the put in and the Southern end of Ajawaan Lake. It was not long before the trail meets the edge of Ajawaan Lake and you get your first sight of this hidden gem. Ajawaan; a small, deep lake, that like a splash of quick silver, lies gleaming in its setting of the wooded hills that stretch in long, heaving undulations into the North… Its waters day by day reflect its countless moods and the everchanging colours of the sky.

‘Grey Owl’

The hiking trail has several raised boardwalk sections to reduce the amount of erosion. We came across some fresh bear scat which indicates there is a bear in the local vicinity however we did not come across the bear its self but assumed its lair must be close by. You will be issued with a ‘P.A.N.P Bear Country – A Guide to Safety’. This tells you how to deal with a bear encounter and how to camp safely in the backcountry. A few hundred metres on I got my first ever sighting of a beaver. Trying frantically to get the lens cap of the camera and get a photo I managed to get one picture just before he took a breath and dissipated. A common misconception is that the beaver lives in a dam. Beavers do make dams to raise water levels of their chosen area of residence but they live in a lodge where they will sleep and raise their young (beaver kittens).

Even through a zipped up tent and a closed eye,

the lightning was blinding and the thunder

The start of 6km paddle to Grey Owl’s Cabin.

Our only beaver sighting.

The egress.

was so loud you could feel it vibrate through us

The rising of the full moon. Spectacular!

View of Kingsmere from South West side. Rail cart portage.

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At 10:50 we arrived at Grey Owl’s Cabin, Beaver Lodge. I felt privileged to be able to stand in the footsteps of someone with so much passion and love for the outdoors and Mother Nature. To know that I was in the space of one man who made such a difference is the way we view our impact on the surrounding area was a blessing! Properly the most repeated words of Grey Owl’s “Remember you belong to nature, not it to you” are the most fitting words for where we were.

This is truly a magical space and one he was happy to share with others then and now. The second cabin is located about 30 metres away up a slight slope to the north/west. This cabin was predominantly for Grey Owl and Anahareo’s visitors but soon became Anahareo’s home, as she was not overly keen on sharing her home with a living beaver colony. From the second cabin we headed west for about 25 metres to reach an area of the tallest trees in the park and the resting places of Grey Owl, Anahareo and their daughter Shirley Dawn. We stopped here only for a few minutes before heading back down to Beaver Lodge for a spot of lunch. After re-fuelling, signing the visitor’s book and taking some more pictures we started the small hike back to the start of the portage trail and where we had moored up our canoe. On getting back to the canoe it soon became apparent that the wind had picked up and our 6 km paddle back to Bladebone campsite was going to be interesting. Surprisingly it only took us an extra five minutes to make the crossing even though the paddling was somewhat tougher than the journey there. All in all the weather had been good to us bar the thunder the night before. After having our evening meal we spent the rest of the evening in the company of another couple we met on-route, Matt and Megan. As the day turned to night, the full moon’s reflection and brightness on the lake was a great opportunity

for us to practice our photography skills. Whilst I was taking some pictures on the beach I thought our dog Jack was in front of me but when I called for him it soon became apparent that it was not Jack but a wolf. I could not help calling for Nicole with joy and excitement much to her bemusement. She still swears I sounded terrified, but I assure you, it was excitement (cough, cough). That night whilst in bed we could hear several wolf packs howling to each other much to the upset of Jack who spent a good 20 minutes growling and barking as they moved all around us. Our neighbours Matt and Megan said they had them brushing up against their tent throughout the night! This very much sums up backcountry camping in Canada.

Day 4:

And so the final day of our voyage starts at 07:00 with a brief breakfast followed by packing down and loading the canoe ready for the paddle out. Much the same as the morning before, the weather was beautiful with no wind what so ever making the lake glass like and totally calm. This made for a very enjoyable paddle back with the wind only slightly picking up in the last couple of kilometres and working in our favour by pushing up toward the southern end of the lake. We made good time reachi

The resting place of Grey Owl, Anahareo and their daughter Shirley Dawn

“Far away enough to gain seclusion, yet w whose genuine interest prompts them to Lodge extends a welcome to you if your Grey Owl, Tales of an Empty Cabin

Beaver Lodge and Grey Owl’s Cabin.

ing the north end of the rail cart portage 11:40. As we had paddled out with Matt and Megan we decided to get the fourwheeled cart and put both canoes and all our equipment on to minimise the waiting time for either couple. Getting to the egress we noticed many people getting on the water so had to wait for 20 or so minutes before we could bring our vehicles down and get loaded up ready for the journey back into Waskesiu to de-register with the park wardens. Ensure that you don’t forget to deregister; otherwise a search will begin for you after 24 hours of your expected return. Shortly after leaving the egress we spotted a couple of elk eating berries and grass on the side of the track. This was a great way to end our trip into the backcountry and our pilgrimage to Grey Owl’s

within reach of those o make the trip, Beaver r heart is right…”

Cabin. We would like to say a special thank you to Matt and Megan for keeping us company at the Bladebone campsite, also to Grey Owl for inspiring us to follow in his footsteps and see yet another magnificent part of this world.

First sight of Ajawaan.

More information:,-106.462669&spn=0.134348,0.310535&t=m&z=13

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Algonquin Provincial Park By Sally Retallick

Algonquin Provincial Park is 7,653km², with over 2,400 lakes and 1,200km of streams and rivers. With its diverse and unique make up, the park boasts over 53 species of mammals including beaver, bear and the infamous southern bog lemming.

When we arrived we purchased our permit just as the park ranger had noted the bear that he had spotted on his way to work that morning on the wildlife noticeboard. I was quick to add my dead porcupine to the head count. We were guided to the Voyageur Quest base by the sound of frantic car horn blasts. A family of four bears had decided to evict the neighbours from their cabin – throwing all their furniture and equipment on to the front lawn.

To read further visit:

Tracking the caribou

Wabakimi Provincial Park By Lesley Sleight

Wabakimi Provincial Park is one of Ontario’s biggest wilderness areas. There are no roads into the park and access is by floatplane, train or canoe. The nearest town is Armstrong which is three hours drive north from Thunder Bay. Wabakimi offers innumerable canoeing opportunities, including over 2,000kms of lake and river travel.

The roots of the name ‘Wabakimi’ may be found in the Ojibway words Waubishkaugimi (meaning ‘white water’). Wabakimi Provincial Park is situated on the traditional lands of several First Nation and Aboriginal communities.

To read further visit:

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Up to the grade

ThePaddler 78

By Stephen Richardson

“You want to do what?”

A phrase repeated by many parents in response to the ever bewildering array of statements from our kids. What provoked this reaction this time? “Dad I want to do kayaking as part of my GCSE.” Well that wasn't an option in my day when we did ‘O’ levels. For those of you not aware, or still have this to come, it is now possible to choose from a vast range of sports as part of GCSE in physical education. We are really lucky that two of the main schools, which our youth paddlers come from, St Johns in Marlborough and Pewsey Vale School, have progressive and supportive PE departments who encourage the students to push boundaries and allow them to use sports such as kayaking, climbing and mountain biking as part of the syllabus. Our club has successfully supported four paddlers at GCSE, two at AS and two at A2 to all use kayaking alongside other sports such as netball, hockey etc.

Watch the video

For any club or parents looking to do this I thought I’d pass on a few observations on our experience. 1. Start early. I can’t stress this enough. Leaving it until the last minute only puts pressure on all involved.

2. Keep everything. The very nature of our sport is that’s its hard for teachers and examiners to come and watch a performance or trip. The information is normally presented in the form of a video. This can be put together over a period of time.

3. Get the correct examination board guidelines and criteria. In practice the current Star and Paddlepower awards are really suited to providing such a broad range of skills and experiences that if done well, all elements of the GCSE will have been covered.

4. Communicate with club coaches and school teachers. This is really important with the school staff. They may have little or no experience of paddlesport but they are experts in presentation, content, timelines and they really keep the whole process on track.

5. Plan your presentation. Work out how you are going to show the elements required.

6. Formats and quality. Try and plan what computer and software you are going to use and stick to this for the whole project. I know most are transferable but we had a few head scratching sessions when some of the footage ended up on a mac while the rest was on windows. The difference between video quality was noticeable, but we were reassured that the content was the main part.

7. Don’t go mad. If you think you may be looking to carry PE on to A level and use kayaking again, beware not to push the boundaries unnecessarily. In order to show improvement you don’t want to set the bar too high at GCSE. This is particularly important for some of our already very talented paddlers who may be performing or competing at a high level form an early age.

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help with

SHARK conservation pr


Simon Everett tells us how kayak anglers are helping with a scientific study to help protect and conserve our shark species through a tagging program.

K program

Simon Everett in his Kaskazi Dorado kayak

a Bull Huss – a bottom dwelling shark, also known as the Greater Spotted Dogfish ThePaddler 81

ThePaddler 82

The History behind the scheme It is incredible to think that we know so little about sharks.The film Jaws probably brought these apex predators into public awareness more than any other publicity vehicle.The fact remains that sharks are instilled deep within the human psyche, as they are one of the predators that we need to be wary of, in the same way that a fear of crocodiles, tigers or lions is ingrained into our instinct for survival.The irony is that whilst in a one on one situation in the water the shark would pose a threat to a human if it went into attack mode, humans are the biggest threat to shark populations worldwide.

Over the last 15 years the world’s population of sharks has been decimated by 90%. The commercial, no industrial, catching of sharks by Japanese, Pilipino and Indonesian boats which lay miles of longlines for sharks and other pelagic species, lines of hooks that can stretch for 10 miles or more, account for thousands of sharks, as well as other species. These boats that are ‘finning’ for sharks haul the creatures aboard whereupon the crew hack off their fins, which are retained, then discard the still live creature overboard and move on to the next hapless fish. It is an abhorrent practise and one that is responsible for much of the decline in shark numbers.

Around our own coasts commercial take was responsible for reducing the stocks of shark species in just as dramatic numbers, if not so ghastly and cruel. Where these slow growing fish were once abundant they were reduced to critical levels in just a few years. Shark tagging programs have been in place since the late 1970s, Ballantines whisky sponsored one of the first by offering a bottle of their finest whisky for each tag that was returned together with the required information then Southampton University took over the processing of the information and managing of the

Over the last 15 years the world’s popula decimated by 90%

e tagging scheme. However, none of these programs were recognised by Government and when the Scottish Sea Anglers Conservation Network approached the then fisheries minister about proposals from the fishing industry to commercially fish the very sensitive tope stocks, there was no scientific evidence to back up the anecdotal claims of the anglers. The information from the various tagging schemes across the years was collated and the official shark tagging scheme was organised, with some funding from Scottish Natural Heritage to pay for the management and administration costs.

Scotland was a major angling destination, based around the presence of

fish species

that were not readily available elsewhere in Europe

lation of sharks has been ThePaddler 83

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Scotland was a

major angling destination, based around the presence of fish species that were not readily available elsewhere in Europe. The ineffective fisheries management left many of these species on the brink of collapse and together with habitat destruction by commercial practises the possibility of stock recovery was minimal. It was the depletion of the stocks and habitat destruction that forced the commercial sector to look for alternative target species and hence their proposal to catch tope on a vast scale. Many of the angling boats relied upon the tope and other sporting species for their livelihoods, but they did no damage to the stocks as they practised careful catch and release. For Government to take any action it was necessary to create a scientific data package from which to work, hence the funded and officially recognised tagging scheme.

Why catch sharks to tag them?

In short, because no other method can be used, sharks drown if netted but they suffer little or no damage when caught by experienced anglers. Without the scientific data to put in place protection measures against the commercial exploitation of the fish, the population of sharks would have been wiped out in a year, because

they are very slow to mature and so their reproduction rate is also very slow, this makes them particularly vulnerable to commercial catch.

Anglers concern

Sharks, of all species, look big and tough when in actual fact they are very susceptible to damage, especially their internal organs when being handled. The well being of the fish caught is the anglers’ primary concern and all shark tagging members are given training sessions on how to catch, handle, measure and tag the sharks before returning them to the water with as little distress as possible. For the smaller sharks a fishing kayak is actually an excellent craft to use because of their low waterline and the proximity of the fish to the angler. A core of conservation minded kayak anglers take time to help with the shark study by catching, measuring and tagging some of the smaller shark species for the program.

base of the dorsal fin The tag is inserted at the

at an angle of about 45 degrees in line with the body of the shark Richi Oliver in the tagging process.

Sharks, of all species, look big and tough when in actual fact they are very susceptible

to damage,

especially their internal organs when being handled ThePaddler 85

“Fail to prepare and you prepare to fail”

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Going about it…

A Bull Huss comes to the kayak, it is already starting to rub its tail against its body the opposite way. This is a defence mechanism and the unwary angler will lose the skin off their hand as the myriad tiny spines working in opposite directions will create a very nasty graze that takes weeks to heal. The skins of these fish were used by French polishers until the advent of sand paper.

Above: A whole mackerel for bait, strong wire trace to prevent bite offs and very sharp, strong hook. The balloon is used as a float to suspend the bait in the taking zone, or drift the bait into position away from the kayak or boat.

As you can imagine, catching sharks from a kayak needs some forethought and preparation. Each angler on the scheme is well versed in catching and handling shark species, but there are still things that can be done in advance to save time and fluster on the water. It stands to reason that the fishing tackle has to be up to scratch. Rods and reels need to be man enough and in good working order, sharp, debarbed hooks are used to make unhooking easier. Before launching it pays to create a table on a divers slate, to record the information quickly and reliably. Each tag has a unique number, five or six will be taken out by each angler and the numbers are written in the table beforehand. Then, when it comes to recording the data, the tag number just needs to be checked before use and the measurements and other information written alongside that number in the list.

The Information

The whole purpose of the study is to gather as much information about the sharks as possible, their habits, their migratory range, their growth rate, any disease or parasitic infections they may have and the sex ratio within the population. Some of this will be determined by the season in which the capture takes place, for instance the parasites present or the sex of the fish as typically, especially with tope, the adult females arrive first, in small groups, to give birth to their young, then as the season progresses packs of smaller male fish arrive until the tail end of the season sees the larger females being caught again. When a shark is caught it is immediately assessed as to whether it is large enough for the species and fit enough to undergo the tagging procedure, if there is any doubt the fish is immediately released without subjecting it to any further stress. Bringing the fish aboard is done in such a way as to prevent dragging it over the gunwale, as this can cause internal injuries, the fish is lifted aboard and turned upside down, this sends the fish into a sort of stupor or calm repose. The fish is then measured carefully with a flexible tape measure from the tip

Inserting the tag

Whilst none of us relishes the prospect of an injection it doesn’t actually do us much harm, inserting a tag is no different to giving the fish an injection. The tags have a shaped tip to make insertion easier and a barb to prevent the placed tag from being easily lost. Before any angler is let loose with a tagging kit they are fully trained in the art of tagging and practise on an orange or grapefruit together with an inflatable shark so as to determine the position and angle of insertion. As with anything, practise provides experience. The tag is inserted at the base of the dorsal fin at an angle of about 45 degrees in line with the body of the shark. The cannula used to insert the tag is very sharp and care must be taken to avoid personal injury, I keep mine in a plastic tube until required.

What a result!

In the three years the Scottish scheme has been running a total of 1981 common skate, 1986 tope, 790 spurdog 790, 275 bull huss, 115 smoothounds, 179 thornback ray, two blonde rays and six spotted rays have been tagged. Out of these there have been a total of 1,224 recaptures across all species, with many tope and bull huss having been recaptured in the Bay of Biscay, showing how far they migrate. This data has already proved extremely valuable and has helped contribute to the development of new Special Statutory Instruments (SSIs) introduced by the Scottish Government earlier this year: these SSIs are an EU first and aim to protect certain species of shark (including common skate) whilst allowing anglers to target the species on a catch-and-release basis. The data is now being used as a basis on which to determine where Marine Protected Areas will be created, with common skate as a feature of the decision, until the tagging scheme was created the common skate was classed as data deficient the information provided by the scheme has been instrumental in providing the protection necessary, Scottish sharks are now the most protected in Europe and it is all down to the efforts of the anglers and the tagging scheme management.


Scottish Natural Heritage: The SharkTrust: Southampton University:

of the snout to the very end of the tail lobe and the length noted. The girth is measured on a line from the front of the dorsal fin around the back of the pectoral fin. Noting the sex of the fish can be done at a glance, by looking at the genitalia, a male fish has long ‘claspers’ by the ventral fins, these are very noticeable fleshy protuberances, which are absent in the female. The gills are examined for gill flukes or worms and any sealice or other parasites are looked for and the general condition of the fish is assessed with regard to overall conformation and the presence of any visible diseases or injuries.

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ThePaddler 88


There is nothing new about fishing from kayaks, that is, after all, their main function amongst the peoples who developed them.

Simon Everett’s

The new Fatyak Mahee

The brand new Fatyak Mahee is a versatile kayak w proven hull design ensuring the perfect balance bet stability and manoeuvrability. The Mahee is designe used as a tandem kayak with the lighter paddler sitt the front, however due to its flexible seating design paddled solo by sitting in the centre position or used family 3 seater with room for a child in the centre po

For the fisherman amongst you the Mahee has som unique and important features. 2 forward facing rod holders for the frontman, 2 rearward facing rod mou for the back, 2 centre mounts for scottie type rod ho a fish finder mount and scupper holes suitable for th transducer and 2 easy access trays for knives, scissors, hooks and weights etc.

Introduction to


from issue 1

Then see the online magazine at or on: website at:


"First a few caveats, because it would be really hard to d Pollack are biting (yum!) and the wildlife is plentiful (one didn’t disappoint. Apart from being exquisitely beautiful ( way out and went a lot further than we were expecting) carry (I even managed to load it on to the car on my own box and the dry storage hatches provide extra storage s exploring and fishing, it’s more than enough."

"Talking of fishing, the fishing rod holders at the front req rather they were there than not present at all. The fishin make it a fabulous platform to fish from. We didn’t catch pleasant to be (bearing in mind all the caveats previous for dinner to discover just how many hours had passed.

"In summary then, the Fatyak Mahee is beautiful, practic two-seater kayak, whether you want to fish from it or no Kind regards, Charis & Matthew

FatYak Kayaks Tel. 01984 632026

e 2/3 Seater Sit on Top Kayak!

with a tween ed to be ting in it can be d as a osition.

me d unts olders, he

dislike a kayak when paddling on calm seas under blue skies around the coast of Pembrokeshire while the e inquisitive grey seal and a young sunfish). Having said that, Fatyak’s new Mahee still had to do its job and it (I just adore the yellow colour!), it’s very stable, deceptively sleek (we were paddling against the tide on the and very spacious. It’s also not that much heavier than the Kaafu so it’s easily light enough for two people to n). The storage section at the rear is smaller than that of the Kaafu, but it’s still large enough for a small cool space. You’re going to find it difficult to circumnavigate Britain with this much storage space, but for days out

quire a little bit of gymnastic flexibility from the forward paddler, but I’ve no idea where else they could go so I’d ng rod holders at the back are perfectly placed for the rear paddler and, combined with the Mahee’s stability, h anything for two or three hours after launching, but we only realised this in retrospect. The Mahee is such a sly mentioned) that time just flew by and it was quite a shock to look at the clock after bagging enough Pollack ."

ical and comfortable and I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending it to anyone thinking of purchasing a ot."

All Fatyak kayaks are manufactured in accordance to BS7852 in Somerset, England. ISO 9001,14001, 18001 accredited manufacturer.


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