WaveLength L Everything kayaking,
Volume 20, Issue 3
FREE at select outlets or by subscription
Man and ecology collide in remote Alaska
Photography Twenty years of pictures from around the world by Michael Powers
Night paddling A look at the dark side of kayaking
this month's features: 8
Heading far west into the Aleutians
Regular items: 6
Images from Michael Powers
26 Tours and Services
Into the Night
36 Kayak-friendly accommodation
by Dan Lewis
The dark side of paddling
Kayaking at night
38 Skillset by Alex Matthews
40 Paddle Meals
by Adam Bolonsky
Health and Fitness by Rob Stevenson
Elephants of the sea
by Hilary Masson
42 Fishing Angles
by Dan Armitage
44 New Gear 46 Books and Videos
by Chuck Graham
the First Word
by John Kimantas
WaveLength Marking the first of two milestones magazine
Volume 20, Number 3 PM No. 41687515
Editor John Kimantas Copy Editing Darrell Bellaart Writing not otherwise credited is by Wavelength.
Cover Photo: Michael Powers captured his wife Nani in a reflective moment during a sunset in Baja. Powers, a member of the Tsunami Rangers, presents highlights of his photography portfolio on page 16.
WavElEngth is an independent magazine available free at hundreds of print distribution sites (paddling shops, outdoor stores, paddling clubs, marinas, events, etc.), and globally on the web. Also available by subscription. Articles, photos, events, news are all welcome. Find back issues, articles, events, writers guidelines and advertising information online at wavelengthmagazine.com
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ISSUE AD DEADLINE DISTRIBUTION Winter 2010 Oct. 1 Nov. 8 Spring 2011 Feb. 3 March 8 Summer 2011 April 4 May 11 Fall 2011 July 1 Aug. 1 A product of:
Wild Coast Publishing #6 10 Commercial St. Nanaimo, B.C., Canada, V9R 5G2 Ph: 1-866-984-6437 • Fax: 1-866-654-1937 Email: email@example.com Website: www.wavelengthmagazine.com
I had a family celebration of sorts on the weekend as I write this, with a good oldfashioned British pub roast beef dinner and a Kilkenny to wash it down (the Kilkenny was appropriate – knock on wood – as I will be in Ireland at about the time you read this, possibly hoisting one near where it is made). The celebration was to mark the two year anniversary of taking over at Wavelength Magazine. Talk about no regrets. It really wasn’t that long ago that I took a beginner’s self-rescue course from Bud Bell at Sealegs in Ladysmith, then rented a kayak and headed out to some islands just north of Nanaimo, eerily aware of how much water was below me. It was a little disconcerting, as I recall. When was that? About 2002, give or take a year. Not long ago at all. Back in 2005 I quit my job to go kayaking up the BC coast, not really sure what was ahead but sure there was something better than spending my life in a dreary office (with due apologies to my coworkers, but let’s face it, we didn’t call it a hamster cage just because we had no windows. And let me tell you, there is nothing worse than being in an office with no windows on the sunniest days of the summer). Paddling off into the wild blue yonder probably had a few people shaking their heads wondering what would come of it all, and even I didn’t know. But I had an idea, no matter how vague, that I could carry it forward somehow. Magazines might not be a blue chip investment for the new millennium, considering what’s happening in the larger picture of the industry (ie. crashing industry-wide magazine subscription numbers and overall dropping readership). But if there’s a bright spot, Wavelength is at the epicenter. Consider: our free distribution model allows us to mirror our content online without restriction, and as we all know online readership is exploding. When I first started at Wavelength we had PDF versions of the magazine available on our website for download, which was sort of a novelty, and helped add a bit of extra readership. We now have a very slick online page-flip format that we are making available on a variety of host sites such as Yudu.com and Scribd.com, where their millions of online magazine readers can search us out. Plus we have a new Embed Program where any kayaking-related site can host our magazine online, adding content and traffic for our hosts – very much a win-win situation. From all this we have the very realistic goal to be the best-read kayaking magazine in the world, and we’re not that far away as it is right now. Not bad for what was considered a small regional player in the paddlesports publishing world. Not only are we making the online magazine more available to the world at large, we’re developing new online capabilities. If you haven’t visited our website lately, please take a look at the demos we have. My favorite: a static magazine article, and suddenly the kayaks in the photograph start paddling away... It’s very cool, but very soon we will be layering in so much extra content in the online version (video, slideshows, etc.) you’ll want to read both the print and online copies. Wavelength Magazine turns 20 next year, which is a chance to celebrate another milestone. We’ll be looking at the past and to the future. And it’s a wonderfully bright past, and future, indeed. - John Kimantas
© 2010. Copyright is retained on all material (text, photos and graphics) in this magazine. No reproduction is allowed of any material in any form, print or electronic, for any purpose, except with the permission of Wild Coast Publishing. Some elements in maps in this magazine are reproduced with the permission of Natural Resources Canada 2010, courtesy of the Atlas of Canada. Also, our thanks to Geobase for some elements that may appear on Wavelength maps. Wavelength Magazine is dedicated to making self-propelled coastal exploration fun and accessible. Safety and travel information is provided to augment pre-existing safety and knowledge. A safety course and proper equipment are advised before any exploration on water. See a list of paddling instruction locations at www.wavelengthmagazine.com
Vancouver Island shoreline near Yellow Point, not far from our Nanaimo office. Fall 2010
Great Island Race attempts delayed
It had all the trappings of a classic event: two separate but simultaneous attempts to set the speed record for circumnavigating Vancouver Island. Colin Angus was set to depart from Port Hardy in mid-June, with Joe O’Blenis to start roughly the same date from Comox. Colin was rowing a specially built expedition rowboat; Joe was to recapture the solo speed record he set in 2007 in a kayak. The goal is to be the fastest to complete the 1,150-km circuit of Vancouver Island, which means beating Sean Morley’s current record of 17 days, 4 hours and 49 minutes. Sean set that in 2008. However, training difficulties plagued both Joe and Colin. Due to a persistent back problem, Colin is postponing his attempt for a year, with a planned start in mid-June, 2011. Joe has now pushed back his start date to mid-August of this year, meaning he could be underway as you read this, if all goes according to plan. Wavelength Magazine will be posting updates of Joe’s attempt online. For more
information on the Great Island Race and previous attempts, see the Great Island Race page at wavelengthmagazine.com/ islandrace.html
there’s still time to Clean up the Coast There’s still time to register for Wavelength Magazine’s 2010 Clean Up the Coast contest to win a great selection of prizes, from paddles and rescue equipment to a scale model kayak and a Desolation Sound kayak tour. Prizes will be awarded this fall to individuals, club event participants and retail event participants who help remove trash from beaches. The event was created to raise awareness of the opportunity for kayakers to take part in coastal stewardship. To see a full list of prizes and to register, please visit wavelengthmagazine.com/clean.
story and images by Rob avery
Aleutian images photo by Stan Chladek
“The habitations are holes dug in the earth, covered with a roof, over which the earth is thrown; when they have stood for some time they become overgrown with grass, so that a village has the appearance of an European church-yard full of graves.” – Remarks and Observations on a Voyage Around the World from 1803 to 1807 by Georg Heinrich von Langsdorff.
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the aleutian islands
PoN mY arrIVal on adak Island, I found the town was not so much a churchyard but a ghost town being relentlessly eaten away by the constant and fierce wind and weather. Ironically, half the sign at the airport was also blown away. It once read “Welcome. adak alaska, Birthplace of the wind,” but now just “adak, alaska the wind.” We were warned about the wind before we departed and the message given at our arrival was loud and clear. according to the russian priest Ivan Veniaminov in his Notes on the Islands of the Unalashka District, published in 1840, the population for adak Island in the early 1800s was 198 native aleut. archeological evidence shows that people have lived on
adak for over 9,000 years. But the population slowly declined throughout the russian occupation and then, in 1942, the U.S. military relocated all remaining inhabitants. Soon after the USa’s involvement in World War Two, a new air base strategically positioned on adak to fight the Japanese threat on the nearby islands of attu and Kiska ballooned the population to over 4,500. During the height of the cold war, the headcount on adak peaked at about 6,000 Navy, Coast Guard and air Force personnel. In the late 1980s the base was rebuilt to house 5,000 people. Just a few years later the base was decommissioned, totally abandoned and turned over to The aleut Corporation under the alaska Native Claims Settlement act. u
moody weather is the backdrop for a makeshift campsite at monroe Bay on Kanaga Island before an early morning crossing to Tanaga Island; insets: a conglomerate sea stack on the south shore of Tanaga Island, one of the many rock formations caused by the aleutian Island’s violent past; and loading on the first day with a view of Kanaga Volcano and adak Strait in the background at Shagak Bay, adak Island.
Fall Fall2010 2010
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a difficult and kelp-obstructed launch in Bay of Island. Even with only a four-foot tide, launching and landing is challenging with loaded expedition kayaks.
Adak and the entire Aleutian Island archipelago form the 1.3-million-acre Aleutian Island Wilderness, part of the vast Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge. Today there are about 60 yearround residents and some seasonal visitors mostly involved in environmental cleanup activities (the town of Adak is an EPA Superfund Site and on the National Priorities List). Today everything – the schools, hospital, recreation facilities, power plants, warehouses, deep-water harbor, the runway (one of the widest and longest in Alaska), the ski and hunting lodge and a complete housing subdivision – all lie empty, decaying and battered by the relentless wind. Would Langsdorff recognize Adak in its stark contrast? I don’t think so. And so we came with the odd goal to kayak the western Aleutian Islands and farther west than any modern sea kayaker. Kayaking has been a passion of mine since my dad and I built and launched our first kayak in 1968. Over the years I have built many more kayaks, including skin-on-frame craft, in an attempt to learn more about the origin of my fascination. In 2009 I was a guest coach for the Summer Festival and 10
anchorage . Dutch Harbor
Kayak Symposium on Kodiak Island in Alaska. As the five-day kayak skills camp got underway a young man, dressed in jeans and a cotton shirt, asked if he could join in and learn how to kayak. We took him in and very quickly we saw how quick and keen he was to learn. After a day or two into the camp, we taught him to roll in those frigid waters and I demonstrated some single-blade rolling techniques (the native Alutiiq of Kodiak used both single and double-blade paddles). It turned out the young man was Dr. Sven Haarkanson, an Alutiiq native, born and raised in Old Harbor, a small village on the southwest coast of Kodiak. Sven received his PhD from Harvard, is a MacArthur Fellow and the executive director of the award-winning Alutiiq Fall 2010
Museum and Archeological Repository in Kodiak. He is a driving force behind the revitalization of indigenous language, culture and customs, including kayaking, in this isolated region. Prior to our course he was in Europe negotiating for the repatriation of artifacts and so was unable to register in advance. He invited the other coach, Tom Pogson, and I back to the museum and we had the privilege of going into the back room where all the good stuff is kept. Donning white gloves, we curiously and carefully inspected artifacts from a forgotten past. With its organic materials and lack of written language, this remote culture has left little trace of its rich history. My profound experience with Sven prompted me to learn more about Kodiak and the Aleutian Islands, the people who inhabited them and the skills that enabled them to survive in such a hostile environment. Earlier that summer I had visited the headquarters for the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge in Homer, Alaska, where I daydreamed away an afternoon imagining a visit to this stunning archipelago. The NOAA US Coast Pilot u
the aleutian islands
adventure Kayaking Vol. 9 states: “The weather of the Aleutian Islands is characterized by persistent overcast skies, high winds and violent storms. No other area in the world is recognized as having worse weather in general than that which the Aleutian Islands experience.” It piqued my interest and motivated me to find a way to travel farther into the Aleutians. A few months later I was contacted by Stan Chladek, a veteran kayaker and explorer, to supply Valley Nordkapp kayaks for his upcoming kayak expedition to the Andreanof Islands in the western Aleutians. I jokingly said, “I may stowaway in one of the hatches so I can come along.” And so I became the fourth member of the team and was given this incredible opportunity to paddle and experience, first-hand, the birthplace of kayaking. We wanted to discover for ourselves who the Aleut were, how they lived and learn a little of the region’s history. Launching from Shagak Bay on the northwest coast of Adak, we looked across Adak Strait 12 miles to the island of Kanaga and had a clear view of Kanaga volcano at 1,307 metres (4,288 feet). The Coast Pilot for the region states, “Kanaga Volcano could be utilized as a means for forecasting bad weather. The volcano peak is seldom absolutely clear of clouds. During April 1934, it was observed that invariably the day or night before a gale the peak made its appearance, shorn of all clouds and with wisps of steam around the crater.” The volcano is a magnificent sight, but also a harbinger of the contrasts we were to encounter during our three-week sojourn into new waters exploring the west coast of Adak Island and those of Kanaga and Tanaga Islands. We were not the first white explorers to visit the western Aleutians. In 1741 the Russian government commissioned the Danish captain Vitus Jonassen Bering for “a voyage of discovery” in two ships, the St. Peter and St. Paul, to chart the Northern Pacific. This expedition landed very briefly on a few islands, including Adak, and claimed Alaska for Russia. The German naturalist, George Wilhelm Steller, who was a member of the expedition, kept extensive journals of the voyage and gave his name to many plants, animals and landmarks he 12
Above: contamination is still very much in evidence from oil drums abandoned at a World War Two era radio outpost on Adak Island; right: orange sea cucumbers in the rich Aleutian Islands intertidal zone.
found during the voyage (for example, the Steller’s Jay, Steller sea lion, gumboot chiton (Cryptochiton stelleri), and the now extinct Steller’s sea cow). Many of the surviving sailors of the expedition brought back sea otter pelts for trade and thus started the gold rush for otter furs. Later, with the sea otter population at near-extinction levels, the Russians introduced Arctic foxes to some of the islands with the intent of also harvesting them for their luxurious fur. In 1867, when the U.S. purchased Alaska from Russia, the foxes and native Aleut population were largely forgotten. However, the foxes flourished and have had a significant detrimental impact on the nesting bird population (with no natural mammals, no trees or predators on the islands, the birds nest on the ground and are extremely vulnerable). Halfway through our journey we made camp at Hot Spring Bay on Tanaga Island next to an abandoned fox trapper’s cabin. Our intent was to explore the surrounding area to search for the site of an Aleut village and have a bath in the hot spring. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service built this cabin in 2004, next to the ruin of a Russian-era camp, as a summer residence for modern fox trappers employed to eradicate the feral foxes from Tanaga. The Fall 2010
trappers were successful and the ravished bird population has rebounded. However, 18 years ago on the neighboring island of Kanaga the program was not successful. While the US Fish and Wildlife Service attempted to eradicate the foxes, some survived and they continue to breed today. We saw several dens and foxes at every beach we camped at on Kanaga. The bird life and bird count is markedly different between Tanaga and Kanaga, illustrating the impact that an introduced species can have on native fauna, even if just miles apart. Other islands, like Adak and Kiska, also have rats, introduced via ships, which now prey on the nesting birds and these predators are extremely difficult to eradicate. It was a rather sobering realization that the eradication of foxes from the Aleutian Islands marks the true end of the Russian influence in the area. While nature is slowly recovering, sadly, the Aleut population and the culture of this hardy race are gone. u
the aleutian islands
For kayakers by kayakers Recreation maps that bring the BC coast to life. Each map rendered in full color both sides on 22x36” heavy stock and comes in a handy resealable slip bag. New for 2010! Broughtons/Johnstone others in the series: • Clayoquot Sound • Broken Group Islands/ Barkley Sound • Desolation Sound and the Discovery Islands • The North Coast Trail and north Vancouver Island.
New for 2010! The Gulf Islands
at better kayaking/outdoor stores everywhere or order online: wavelengthmagazine.com/orderonline
adventure Kayaking During our trip, color was everywhere. The contrasting hues of spring were bursting through winterâ€™s grays and browns as the birds and flowers made their individual displays in an effort to survive. The hills were turning green before our eyes and the sky was a constantly shifting pattern of blues, grays and white. Below the water, the ocean was also displaying its range of colors with sea stars, crabs, anemones, kelp and sponges. Every beach, nook and cranny in the rocks and even the uplands above the tide line were dotted with bright colors too, but these were not the hues of spring. These were man-made colors. Modern manâ€™s impact was everywhere and very evident; even in this, one of the most remote refuges anywhere. While the Bering Sea and North Pacific are giving up their harvest to an uneducated consumer market, the fishing fleet is giving back in its own unique way. Fishing debris in the form of neon buoys of all sizes, nets and lines were on every beach. While the large, soft buoys made wonderful beach chairs (deflate them a little and they are just like beanbags!), they should not have been there. We would have gladly done without the comfort in exchange for a more pristine environment. Part of the reason for my trip, and also my own way of giving back to the environment, was to conduct a beach survey for the Marine Conservation Alliance Foundation (www.mcafoundation. org/marine.html). This will enable the foundation to document the impact of
Exploring the intriguing columnar basalt volcanic shoreline at Naga Point on Kanaga Island.
the commercial international fishing fleet in this remote but not so pristine area in order to solicit funds for cleanup operations. As we paddled around the coastline, I was snapping pictures of both the natural wonders of the Aleutians and the thoughtlessness of man. With the Aleutian Islands lying between the rich marine environments of the North Pacific and Bering Sea, the tide constantly flows back and forth between the islandsâ€™ narrow passes. The islands form a natural sieve between these giant bodies of water, which not only traps nutrients for marine life but catches any flotsam and jetsam that passes by. This area is one of the few breeding grounds for the Steller sea lion and fishing debris creates the real danger of entanglement by discarded and broken
nets. The sea otter, harbor and fur seal, and countless whales live and traverse this coastline and are also vulnerable to injury and drowning by the nets and lines. I wish I had not seen all this color, but hopefully my report to MCAF will make a difference and will make the coastline a little less colorful and safer in the future. Toward the end of our trip, we camped in The Bay of Islands on Adak and poked around the area, again looking for old Aleut village sites. We headed over to a nearby cove where a site once existed. On a low bluff above the cove we saw what looked like rusty oil drums, so we landed to take a look. Hundreds of 55-gallon drums were completely rusted through and had long discharged their diesel fuel into the earth. This was an abandoned World War Two
For more information: Getting there: Alaska Airlines offers (weather permitting) twice weekly service from Anchorage to Adak. alaska maritime National Wildlife refuge: alaska.fws.gov/nwr/akmar/index.htm Fox and other invasive species program: alaskamaritime.fws.gov/whatwedo/bioprojects/ restorebiodiversity/restoremain.htm aleutian Islands Biosphere reserve: alaskamaritime.fws.gov/wildlife-wildlands/ wildlands/biosphere.htm alaskan area weather: www.arh.noaa.gov/ For direct links: Visit the online version of Wavelength Magazine at www.wavelengthmagazine.com and click on the text above to save typing.
radio site, complete with the radio, antenna array, generator and fuel tanks. The buildings have collapsed and been blown away by the Aleutian winds, but the leftovers and the contamination remain. Just over the bluff, we found the Aleutian village site comprised of a series of small depressions in the ground where their “barabaras” had once been. What a stark contrast from the U.S. military site, left only 60 years ago, to this ancient Aleut village. It is a sad reminder of what we have become. There is so much to learn from this remote region. It is an area full of contrasts: it has a rich environment; fauna and flora; active volcanoes; an interesting history and extreme weather. I spent only three weeks in this amazing place: visiting Aleut village sites; observing the wildlife hunted by the Aleut for clothing and food; paddling the same water they paddled in their skin-on-frame “iqak”; making the same crossings they made; dealing with the same environment in which they lived. I have gained a deep appreciation for the Aleut but I have only the beginnings of an understanding of these people. I hope to go back… I plan to go back… I will go back. < Rob Avery spends as much of his time as he can messing around in boats. He has paddled on many expeditions and visited faraway places. Rob owns and operates a kayak and canoe coaching service based on Bainbridge Island, WA. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Fall 2010
by Michael Powers hen a rare tranquil day like today comes to the often tempestuous Strait of Juan de Fuca, it becomes magical. The bow of our sleek double kayak slices smoothly across the mirror-like surface of the water, and long ripples radiate out in all directions to undulate hypnotically beneath the light of the summer sun. Our sea kayaking team from California, the Tsunami Rangers, paddles languidly westward towards historic Cape Flattery on the distant horizon. Riding with me today in the front cockpit of my open-deck Tsunami X-2 double kayak is a young kayak guide named Sasha, who has traveled all the way from
Fall Fall2010 2010
New Zealand to paddle with the Rangers. We follow the others on a slalom course through the rock gardens that line the rugged shoreline, searching for a protected campsite for the night. Sashaâ€™s enchantment with the other-worldly panorama of storm-weathered stone and serpentine kelp forests unfolding before us is palpable, and I strive to capture the magic of the scene with my little waterproof digital camera. Sea kayaking and watersports in general evolved from the most basic of human needs: hunger. Millennia ago, ingenious stone-age hunter/gatherers began to craft vessels from driftwood, animal skin and bone so they could pursue the game they could see abounding in the
Michael Powers portfolio sea. Today those traditions still endure, although fortunately for the animals our objectives have evolved somewhat. Now most homo sapien paddlus are out on the water purely for adventure and exercise, and the hunter/gatherer instincts have been moderated to collect images rather than fresh protein from the sea. Fortunately too for modern paddlers, an astounding array of gear has become available with which to venture out beyond the shore in relative safety and comfort. Along with kevlar and carbon fibre have come quantum leaps in image gathering equipment for watersport photography. Many different waterproof digital cameras are available today, ranging from lightweight little disposables to high-quality professional level models. Here are some images and commentary from many rewarding years of hunting and gathering around our water world with a paddle and a camera, which I hope will inspire and empower you to better document your own watersport adventures â€“ good luck!
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Kayaker sea arch Shooting from shore with a (non-waterproof) Slr camera and different length lenses allows for different perspectives of watersports and the sometimes unique environments where they are taking place. Here an extremely wide-angle fisheye lens allowed me to frame the paddler dramatically in a sea arch as he paddled in a rocky cove on the northern California coast.
Kayaks antarctica On rare occasions where there are no other options, we may have to compromise and make use of smelly, fossil fuel burning watercraft to approach and photograph watersport activities. For a single day off South Georgia Island in Antarctica I gave up paddling to photograph my kayaking expedition teammates from a Zodiac powerboat, driven at high speed by a young crewman from our mothership Russian icebreaker as the kayakers were approaching historic Drygalski Fiord, located near the usually stormy southernmost tip of South Georgia Island. 18
Michael Powers portfolio
To capture this image I mounted a small waterproof camera on the bow of my kayak pointed back towards me, oriented to shoot vertically with the camera on self-timer. I paddled out into the surf zone, and whenever I saw a nice wave building up outside I would quickly reach forward with my paddle and press the shutter button. Then I would paddle hard to catch the wave. Occasionally it worked!
The Tsunami Rangers are known for close-up, action-packed photos and videos of kayakers crashing through waves and over rocks, but sometimes it is refreshing to step back and take a more contemplative, wide angle shot that places your subject in the context of a scenic environment. Here in a beautiful and well-hidden little cove on the southern Oregon coast, surrounded by high cliffs and inaccessible except from the water, I disembarked from my kayak and climbed up on a rock promontory to capture a wide angle shot of Ranger Tim Sullivan as he prepared to re-enter the sea.
Michael Powers portfolio
Baidarka sunset On a summer paddling adventure among the San Juan Islands, we arrived at tiny Patos Island just before sunset. I landed and ran to set up my camera, equipped with a 300mm telephoto lens on a tripod, while my companions continued to paddle their baidarka-style double kayak as the sun was setting. I knew from experience that shooting from shore with a long lens would make the sun appear large in relationship to the kayak in the foreground and add a dramatic mood to the photograph.
Sometimes the photo magic lingers long after the paddling is done for the day. At a well-hidden micro-beach on the southern Oregon coast, the sky continued to grow even more vivid after sunset, inspiring the Tsunami Rangers to break into a martial arts reverie. I mounted my SLR on a tripod and shot the after-glow.
about Michael Powers Michael Powers is a professional adventure photojournalist, widely published, and a commander in the Tsunami Rangers, an â€œextreme conditionâ€? sea kayaking team. He and fellow Ranger commander Eric Soares wrote the book Extreme Sea Kayaking, published by McGraw-Hill.
olves began hoWling as we kayaked home from a dinner date with friends who live up the inlet. It was close to midnight, and the waxing gibbous moon had the scene lit up like a film shoot. Bonny and I had stopped to talk quietly when we heard them start. We sat drifting for a while with the ebb current, lost in the primeval sound of wolves communicating over a large wilderness landscape. When they had finished, we heard an owl puncture the silence in response. Thrilled, we turned our kayaks and paddled on home. I’ve been night paddling since the third day I owned a kayak. I’d paddled from downtown Vancouver to the Museum of Anthropology at UBC. As I paddled back late that afternoon, I realized I would never make it home before dark. So I kept on paddling, staying close to shore, and made my one crossing at the narrowest point, sprinting frantically after scoping and listening a long time to be sure no boats were coming. I learned a lot from that adventure and now I prepare for night paddling every time I leave shore, no matter how confident I am of returning before sunset. The key
By Dan lewis
Drifting in the dark listening to wolves howl or viewing the unforgettable universe of bioluminescence: it opens up a whole new world for paddlers who are willing to take the chance thing is to have a flashlight, on your body in case you are ever separated from the kayak (example: while hiking in the woods). I carry a very small waterproof flashlight in my lifejacket, which I test and have ready whenever I’m paddling after dark. Night paddling opens up a whole new world for the kayaker who dares. Is it safe? Absolutely not, but neither is driving. If you are smart the risks can be managed in a way that is acceptable. The big issues are finding your way in the dark and not getting run over by other boats. But the joys of night paddling are many. It can be so quiet, and there are fewer motorboats to worry about. Seeing a starry summer sky reflected on still waters, then Fall 2010
piercing the surface with your paddle to reveal another universe of bioluminescent stars swirling around your blade as you pull it through the water – few will ever forget such an experience. Sea kayaking at night opens your senses in a way that day paddling cannot. Everything familiar seems foreign. Smells can overwhelm – from the sulfuric stench of a mudflat exposed at low tide to the rich earthy aroma wafting down from an oldgrowth rainforest. Encounters with wildlife can be thrilling. My heart still practically leaps out of my chest when I spook a blue heron fishing along shore in the dark. My heart pounds as they ponderously flap away, screeching like
night paddling I imagine pterodactyls must have sounded way back when. River otters come up to eat crabs they’ve caught, floating on the surface making a delicate crunching noise not unlike humans at a crab bar. Some of the scariest paddling I’ve ever done has been on the open coast at night. During an expedition down the Washington Coast in November one year, we were trying to make it to an archaeological dig at Ozette. Headwinds delayed our progress, and it was pitch black at suppertime when we arrived. Our friends were staying with the archaeologists, and we could see the lights in their cabin, so we headed in toward the light. We could hear surf crashing all around us in the dark, but what choice did we have? In the morning we woke to see the low tide exposing a ledge of rocks covered in boulders. A canoe run to the village had been cleared through the boulders centuries earlier, and by heading for the light we had come right in on the correct line! I’ve made a point since then of getting off the water before dark when paddling open coast. If you want to enter the world of kayaking at night, my advice is to wait until you are an experienced paddler, familiar with the gear and kayaking in general. Pick a location without wind, waves, current, surf, fog, or traffic. Preferably choose a place you paddle a lot, so you are very familiar with the topography. Choose paddling partners with similar or greater skill levels. Stay close together and maintain audio and visual
contact – glow sticks are handy. Counting off can be helpful with a larger group, but inevitably someone forgets their number and the rest of the group has to chime in – “Dave, you’re number four!” There are many reasons to find yourself paddling in the dark, whether a bold adventure in a controlled setting, a scary misadventure, or an expedient attempt to
catch favourable conditions with an alpinestyle pre-dawn start. If you feel called by the night spirits, proceed cautiously and you may find you’ve opened up another world of paddling opportunities. < Dan Lewis and Bonny Glambeck operate Rainforest Kayak Adventures out of Clayoquot Sound.
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Hooksum Outdoor School West Coast outdoor leadership Training. Quality skills training and Hesquiaht traditional knowledge for those pursuing a career or employment in the outdoors. Certification courses include: Paddle Canada Sea Kayaking Levels I & II, Advanced Wilderness First Aid, Lifesaving, BOAT & ROC(M). Visiting Kayak & Hiking Groups: Base your Hesquiaht Harbour adventures from our Longhouse. Meals and overnight stays available in 2010. Phone: 250.670.1120 Web: www.hooksumschool.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Safety and Planning
By adam Bolonsky
The dark side of E
qUIPPING YoUrSElF with the skills and equipment you need to paddle at night has many advantages, not the least of which is the chance to lengthen your paddling days as the approach of winter brings shorter days. You can stay out after dark if you want. If you’re a miles burner who needs to make miles on a daily basis, you can comfortably push on after sunset, or leave before dawn, in regions around the world where late afternoon sea breezes or conditions after sunrise may be daunting. and if you’re a fisher, becoming comfortable paddling at night will give you a leg up on the season’s best migratory pelagic fishing – those 36 inch-plus bluefish and striped bass that, here on the east coast at least, are at their most active at night. one skill is important: the ability to keep your hips loose for better balance and mobility in waves, chop and swell. By learning to paddle with loose hips and knees pressed against the underside of the foredeck or splayed out against either side of the cockpit, the more readily the kayak sways and dips beneath your upper body. meanwhile, keep your upper torso upright and balanced. Paddle with loose hips and your kayak will absorb the motions of rough water, leaving your upper body level. You can paddle more efficiently and have your arms and shoulders in position to lay down a brace. and with that kinesthetic sense of where your body lies in relation to the horizon, you’re less prone to seasickness. loose hips means you’re relaxed in the cockpit and better equipped to deal with nighttime paddling’s challenges, among them a reduced ability to judge the speed and height of swell and waves. Paddle with your eyes closed for a few hundred yards every once in a while and you’ll find that your hips will loosen, and that your balance and confidence while paddling in darkness will increase steadily. Night paddling means you’ll also need
paddling Extend your kayaking season by paddling in the dark but play it smart – follow a few simple rules for night paddling fun to invest in a few pieces of specialized gear. First off, to be legal on the water between sunset and sunrise, you need to be able to show a white light visible in a 360° circumference. although lighting regulations in local jurisdictions like lakes and ponds, municipal harbors, etc. often fall under the jurisprudence of local rather than federal law enforcement and so may require different lighting schemes, in most cases you’re legal on water at night with an inexpensive C-light. Typically powered by aa batteries, the velcro-strapped C-light is about the size and diameter of a felt tip marker, and small enough to strap to the shoulder of a PFD. manufactured with waterproof gaskets, they include a plump, bulbous lens which magnifies their low watt glow into a distinct, hard shard of bright light. That will cover the federal lighting requirement for boats under 18 feet in
Fall Fall 2010 2010
night Paddling length. Just keep in mind that lighting regulations for waters under local jurisdiction can be quirky. Not infrequent has been the night when a sea kayaker lit to federal standards with a white C-light has been stopped and cited by local law enforcement. In violation of local if not simply misinformed versions of lighting schemes, some kayakers have found themselves stopped at night for not carrying green lights to starboard, red lights to port. So be sure to check local regulations by making a phone call to the local harbormaster if you anticipate paddling at night in waters where you are less likely to encounter the Coast Guard
The last rays of the day in Nuchatlitz Provincial Park, Vancouver Island. John Kimantas photo
and more likely to encounter local law enforcement with their own versions of what’s legal at night. Now that you’re as legal as can be expected in most waters, other lights you’ll want to carry are a matter of additional convenience and safety. among them are glosticks, lED lamps and a red night vision light. Together they make for better group cohesion, faster navigation and easier landings at night come time to drag your kayak above the high water mark. It’s a good idea to buy an lED headlamp that you can use hands-free. landing will be easier if you can see what you’re hauling your kayak over, and setting up camp for the night will go faster if you can see what you’re doing. lED headlamps are a particularly good choice; most have very long battery lives and multiple brightnesses. The best for kayakers are submersible, waterproof and of rugged durability. as for group cohesion, and to ensure that members of a group can keep track of each other, it’s a good idea to buy a dozen or so chemlights, also known as glosticks. They’re inexpensive. activate a couple of chemlights with a snap or a shake and tie one to your bow toggle, the other to the stern. The two faint dabs of yellowish light are just enough bright for everyone in a group to keep tabs on each other. Just don’t make the mistake of using green or red glosticks which can be mistaken for port and starboard lights. They will mislead other boaters, and may get you cited for improper light use. another piece of night paddling gear handy to have is a night compass. Seattle Sports makes a pretty decent if somewhat delicately made night compass, called the Nightquest, which houses a red night vision binnacle light. You’ll also want a short-burst emergency strobe and eight strips of SolaS retroreflective tape. SolaS tape, an acronym for the Safety of life at Sea treaty signed worldwide after the Titanic disaster, is rugged, durable and waterproof. apply a strip to each side of your paddle blade and to the starboard and port sides of your bow and stern. all will reflect back bright, distinct flashes of if illuminated by moonlight, a flashlight Fall Fall2010 2010
or other source of light. To add more visibility to yourself and your boat, it’s also a good idea to consider retrofitting your deck lines with the reflective dacron line used as stakeout lines on mountaineering tents. also be sure to buy a PFD with sewn-in reflective bands which make you easier to spot should you become separated from your kayak after a capsize. With SolaS tape on your boat and reflective strips on your PFD, you’ll be that much more visible to the powerboats, ferries and fishing vessels that run at night. Everyone in your group will be visible. Finally, it’s good practice to carry an emergency strobe light. Universally recognized as a distress signal, strobe lights emit short bursts of high intensity light readily seen by overflying aircraft and nearby boaters. activate the strobe after you make contact with rescue personnel via VHF Channel 16, or, in more dire consequences, rocket flares if you need to signal an emergency. Don’t be tempted to use a strobe as a nightlight though – they’re meant only for emergency signaling. If you’re looking for lights that meet many night paddling needs at the same time, many companies sell multi-function lights. The Hydrostar lights, for example, from Seattle Sports, use lED bulbs and a twisting base switch to switch between strobe functions, flashlights of varying intensities, and red night-vision lights handy for illuminating charts and compasses (or fishing gear) at night. The roughly 6.5-inch tall lights have suction cups for attaching to the fore or aft deck, and include spring clips and lanyards for attaching to PFDs. They’re reasonably well made if rather bulky. The only caveat is to choose a multi-function light carefully. For example, of Seattle Sports’ three multi-function lights, only two emit strobe bursts both vertically and horizontally, making the remaining model useful only for vertical hand-held signaling. < adam Bolonsky is a New England sea kayaking instructor and sea kayak fishing guide based in Gloucester, massachusetts. Wavelength Magazine
tours and Services Tours and Services: British Columbia
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tours and Services Tours and Services: British Columbia
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Sealegs Kayaking Adventures
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Kayak Transport Co. a mothership Serving SE alaska. Kayaking from the comforts of a mothership for a week. Paddling our boats and exploring fantastic scenery and wildlife. Eating fresh caught Alaskan seafood. How good does it get?! Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.kayaktransport.com Phone: (206) 719-0976
health and Fitness
By Roy Stevenson
Nutrition strategies Whether training to race, or to just paddle longer, careful attention to your diet can vastly improve your recovery time
ports nutrition has come a long way, and is easily one of the most researched disciplines in exercise science. Literally thousands of research papers have been written on recovery nutrition. We need to pay attention to recovering properly from our kayak training simply because the human body is not designed for the extended, rigorous, high-intensity workouts that we put ourselves through. It’s a wonder we don’t break down more often than we do. The benefits of recovering properly from these hard training efforts are clear. The kayaker who recovers quickly can train hard again with a shorter recovery time, add more quality training in his schedule, suffer fewer injuries and gain an enhanced immune system. All this translates into a fitter, faster and healthier paddler. The strategies we use to speed up our post training recovery are rehydration, glycogen resynthesis and protein and antioxidant supplementation. These techniques replenish our muscle fuel supplies, hasten the repair of muscle damage and combat free
Fall Fall2010 2010
radical formation in our cells. But the devil is in the details. You can pop vitamin pills, drink protein powder shakes, guzzle sports drinks, and eat all the carbohydrates you can stomach, but if you don’t eat and drink the right kinds of food, drink and supplements at the right time, you’ll be wasting your time and money. It’s not just what you eat but when you eat it that counts in your recovery. Here’s how to use recovery nutrition to get the most out of yourself after your hard training and long kayaking efforts. Post-training rehydration: replace water, electrolytes Your first priority is to fully replace muscle and plasma fluid and electrolyte losses immediately after kayaking. Weigh yourself before and after your training effort and make sure you drink the lost weight back within an hour or two of finishing. In fact, aim to drink 125 percent of the weight you lost from sweating because you still continue to sweat while you are rehydrating.
Proper training nutrition in disguise, with excess amounts of sugar and caffeine. Select fruit juices or reputable sports drinks according to your preference – and there’s no rule that says you can’t drink both. You’ll know you’re rehydrating adequately when you start urinating again, which can be several hours after training. Urine should be clear and pale. Despite the refreshing taste, beer (or any other alcohol) is counterproductive to good recovery because its diuretic effect prevents you from rehydrating properly at a critical time. a carbohydrate/protein mix replenishes glycogen faster Researchers have discovered that carbohydrate-rich fluids, when mixed with protein, have an important benefit. They’ve found that a mixture of protein and carbohydrate taken immediately after exercise tops up our glycogen and amino acid stores much faster than a carbohydrate solution alone. The general consensus is that carbohydrate-protein mixes double the insulin response and increases the rate of glycogen synthesis by 30 percent. Since insulin is the hormone that takes up sugar and deposits it into our muscle cells, it follows that a solution that creates a high insulin response will build high intramuscular glycogen levels, and do this quickly. How much protein is needed for this synergistic glycogen building effect? We recommend that athletes ingest 0.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight immediately after training and again two hours later. The protein is best absorbed in the form of whey or casein u
race day at Deep Cove Kayaks, North Vancouver / photo by Viviane Nishikiori
Recent research shows that we absorb more fluid when electrolytes are added to water, thus achieving better restoration of body water. Sodium in particular helps retain water and stimulates thirst. Use carbohydrates to replenish glycogen stores Carbohydrates consumed immediately after and from two to five hours after exercise enhance muscle The Goals of Nutritional Recovery: glycogen restoration. • Replace fluids and electrolytes This is most effective • Replenish energy stores (glycogen, if ingested from ATP, etc) fluid, because fluid • Hasten muscle, tendon and ligament absorption is faster tissue repair than digestion of • Reduce residual delayed onset solid foods. Edward muscle soreness and pain (DOMS) Coyle, Ph.D., exercise • Return immune system to healthy physiologist at the status University of Texas in Austin, says the first two hours after your workout are the most crucial for getting glycogen into your system. “The muscles absorb glycogen like a sponge,” he says, but “four to six hours after training the absorption rate starts to decline.” Choose carbohydrate-rich fluids to replace your water losses, electrolytes and muscle glycogen. Reading the labels of sports drinks is important because many of them are simply soft drinks
Main background image modified with stylized filter.
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health and Fitness Some examples of high glycemic index foods:
Bagels • Baked potatoes • Bread • Crackers • Honey • Maple syrup • Raisins • White rice • Sports drinks (with sugar) • Jelly beans • Dates (dried) • Pineapple • Apricot (canned)
powder. These powders come in several flavors and can be found in nutrition or sports nutrition stores. There’s also been a big fuss lately about how low-fat chocolate milk is an ideal post exercise fluid for enhancing glycogen stores because of the good ratio of carbohydrates to protein. If you like chocolate milk, then by all means have at it! As for the carbohydrates we should be ingesting after training, some carbohydrates cause rapid rises in blood sugar levels (high glycemic index), while others promote a slower release of sugars into the bloodstream (low glycemic index). We should aim to eat and drink high glycemic index foods immediately after training to boost our blood glucose levels quickly, thus causing a faster release of insulin, which in turn drives more glycogen into the muscle cells. How much carbohydrate should we take in? The recommended dose is 0.5 to 0.75 grams of carbohydrate for every pound of body weight. And a second dose of high glycemic index carbohydrates is recommended from one to four hours postexercise. There’s an important dosage requirement for this carbohydrate/protein mix to be effective. The ratio of carbohydrate to protein is most effective at four to one.
This new research on carbohydrate/protein synergy has great implications for athletes. You should be taking on board a mixture of protein and carbohydrates (preferably in fluid form) in a 4:1 ratio, immediately after training or extended kayaking efforts. the kayaker’s need for protein The paddler’s need for extra protein is well documented and we may even require more protein than bodybuilders relative to our body weight. After all, kayakers need to compensate for the physiological demands that paddling places on our bodies: increased breakdown of muscle contractile proteins, increased production of red blood cells, increased mitochondrial protein content, faster replacement of glycogen stores and increased oxidation and use of amino acids as fuel when muscle glycogen is low. the role of vitamins and antioxidants in muscle repair The downside to strenuous aerobic activity is the increased stress on our body’s cells caused by the huge amount of oxygen we process while training. This process, called oxidation, damages the muscle cell’s membrane and internal structure, impairing their function. The result: muscle soreness, inflammation and fatigue – all done by nasty little molecules called free radicals. Vitamins assist in growth, tissue damage repair and disarming free radical damage from stressful environments such as pollution and extreme cold. A strong case can be presented in favor of antioxidant vitamins being taken to hasten recovery of free radical damage, damaged muscle and connective tissue, immune system u
Some key definitions:
Electrolyte – These substances play a role in maintaining blood pH, nerve and muscle function. Ideally electrolyte replenishment should include sodium chloride, potassium, magnesium and calcium. Glycogen – This molecule plays a role in energy storage, particularly for quick release as glucose. Insulin response – After we eat, carbohydrates are broken down into the base sugars. To combat the blood sugar level increase, insulin is released in response. It moves glucose (sugar) from the blood into the muscles and fat cells for storage. The more sugar, the higher the insulin response. Antioxidants – Oxidation is a chemical reaction that can create free radicals that can damage cells. Antioxidants stops this process. Free radicals – Free radicals will attack a stable molecule, taking an electron. The stable molecule then becomes a free radical itself, causing a chain reaction. The result can damage cells. Blood cortisol – Cortisol increases blood sugar and stores of sugar in the liver as glycogen. It counters insulin. Epinephrine levels – Epinephrine, also known as adrenaline, increases heart rate, contracts blood vessels, dilates air passages and plays a role in the fight-or-flight response.
health and Fitness suppression and oxidative stress caused by kayaking. Antioxidants, produced naturally in the body, or obtained from our food, block most free radical reactions. Evidence exists that certain antioxidant supplements reduce free radical damage in athletes. One study found that five months of vitamin E supplementation in racing cyclists reduced markers of oxidative stress induced by extreme endurance exercise. Some studies show that Vitamin E can reduce leakage of cell membranes to result in less creatine kinase (an inflammatory enzyme) and several other indicators of oxidative stress. Another study found that three grams a day of Vitamin C administered for two weeks before and two weeks after damaging eccentric exercise significantly reduced onset muscle soreness and pain in their subjects. Monique Ryan, in her excellent book Sports Nutrition for Endurance Athletes, summarizes: “For endurance athletes they (supplements) are crucially important. Because of your training and stress it imposes on your body, you may need higher amounts of vitamins and minerals than sedentary people. And, as an athlete, you have a highly vested interest in keeping your immune system healthy so that illness does not put a halt to your training.” She continues, “Vitamins and minerals are essential for metabolizing energy, building body tissue, maintaining fluid balance and carrying oxygen in the body.
guidelines for vitamin supplements
• Take your multivitamin supplement with a meal to enhance absorption. • Choose a supplement in which the majority of vitamin A is actually betacarotene. Vitamin A, or retinol, should not exceed 3,000 IU daily. • A blend of synthetic and natural supplements is fine. Look for a mix of vitamin E from tocopherols and tocotrienols. Don’t pay more for “timerelease” or “chelated” products. • If you take antioxidant supplements, keep doses to 100 to 200 IU of vitamin E and 250 milligrams of vitamin C. • Choose a multiple vitamin in which the vitamin D source is D3, or cholecalciferol, the type that is best absorbed.
Vitamins and minerals also play a role in reducing the oxidative stress that is brought on by endurance training.” Immune system recovery Only one nutritional substance has been shown to enhance the immune system in athletes. That is drinking a carbohydrate solution during and after endurance exercise. Drinking one litre per hour of typical sports drinks has been shown to lower blood cortisol and epinephrine levels, reduce adverse changes in blood immune cells and lower anti-inflammatories such as cytokine.
Proteins also play an important role in helping our body fight off infection, especially in the two hours or so after exercise when we’re particularly susceptible to catching upper respiratory tract infections. As proteins make up the infection-fighting agents like macrophages, immunoglobins and white blood cells, ingesting proteins after strenuous exercise will in all probability help us fight any intruding infections and bacteria. I’d suggest that you adopt a holistic approach when devising your nutritional recovery program, and attempt to use carbohydrate/protein sports drinks, fluids with adequate electrolytes, and antioxidant supplements as indicated. If you persist with this program you should find that your health is improved and your kayaking performance is significantly improved after a few months. < Roy Stevenson has a master’s degree in exercise physiology and coaching from Ohio University. He teaches exercise science at Seattle University in Washington State. As a freelance writer, Roy has over 200 articles on sports conditioning, running, triathlons, fitness and health published in over sixty regional, national and international magazines in the U.S.A, Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. To view more of Roy Stevenson’s articles go to www.roy-stevenson.com
By Chuck Graham
This growing colony of northern elephant seals along the central California coast began in November 1990 with just a dozen animals. Today there are over 12,000. From Vancouver Island down to Baja, California, there are 17 northern elephant seal rookeries.
Elephants of the sea
he beach at Seal Point on San Miguel Island was standing room only. Make that wallowing room only. Every inch of sand was covered by northern elephant seals. As I paddled by the crowded, craggy cove, I came upon a swirling submerged rock. Or so I thought. Suddenly, two bull elephant seals broke the surface on either side of my kayak, their big bloodshot eyes rolling back in their heads, their floppy snouts snorting saltwater before submerging once again. Encounters with elephant seals were nearly non-existent 200 years ago. From 1818 to 1860, elephant seals were hunted by whalers to the brink of extinction. Their blubber was coveted for its high-quality oil, which was used for lubricating machinery, lamp oil and for paint, soap and waterproof clothing. One 4,000 pound bull elephant seal could yield nearly 25 gallons of oil. Entire rookeries were easily slaughtered because of the elephant sealâ€™s awkwardness on the beach. Whalers used boat hooks to herd the pinnipeds to shore where they were beaten with heavy clubs. Stricken with fear, the elephant seals instinctively headed 34
Once considered extinct, northern elephant seals are finding new life in Mexico and California
for the safe haven of the sea. However, this only played into the hands of the whalers, saving them the trouble of having to transport the heavy carcasses from the beach to their ships. Many helpless pups were trampled while the adults tried to escape. By 1892, elephant seals were believed to be extinct, so seal hunters turned their
The size differential between the male and female. Sometimes pups get crushed by bulls looking to mate with females. Fall 2010
attention to other marine mammals. However, fishermen found a small rookery of between 20 to 100 elephant seals on faraway Guadalupe Island off Baja California. The Mexican government was the first to provide protection for the massive pinnipeds on the desolate islet. As the colony grew at an estimated six to eight percent per year, elephant seals colonized new sites and expanded their rookeries northward into California. However, it took until 1972 for the United States government to pass the Marine Mammal Protection Act to protect seals from hunting and harassment. With the addition of the Elephant Seal Closure Law, the seals are ensured protection. It also protects significant waters securing much-needed habitat for aquatic species. Its mission is to manage marine areas to protect current and future generations of all marine mammals. u
an alpha male rearing back displaying its dominance within its territory. Note the raw, scarred neck from countless battles with other bulls. SuMMeR Fall 2010
A wide-eyed northern elephant seal pup stays close to its mother. They wean their pups 32 days after giving birth.
Kayak-Friendly Accommodation explore the BC coast by day, enjoy luxury by night, at these resorts that specialize in catering to kayakers.
Paddle in and paddle out Deluxe beachfront house by the wharf. Two-bedroom luxury cottage, floor-to-ceiling windows, living room with gas fireplace, full kitchen, two bathrooms including jetted tub, wrap around deck, bbq. Phone: 250-285-2042 Web: www.capemudgeresort.bc.ca Email: email@example.com
E-Den Bed & Breakfast Escape to Lasquetiâ€™s new B&B, nearby to Jedediah Island Marine Park. Features tandem kayak rentals, kitchenette and bathroom, wood fired hot tub, yoga studio, solar power, organic farm and orchard. Phone: 250-240-8246 Web: www.e-den.ca Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
One example of this is the recently established National Marine Sanctuary surrounding the Channel Islands National Park. It protects a six-mile radius of ocean extending away from the archipelago, limiting fishing and diving to a few select species like sea urchins, and protecting threatened species and the impact on marine mammals. Northern elephant seal populations have made a dramatic recovery. Their numbers are currently 120,000 and 150,000 and are on the increase. New breeding sites like the one in San Simeon Bay in central California are being established (for an article on kayaking day trips in San Simeon Bay, see the Spring 2010 issue of Wavelength Magazine). Unfortunately, even
elephant seals with stiffer laws, the seals are still subject to harassment. Humans still get too close, putting stress on females raising their hungry pups. Although these unique animals have made an extraordinary comeback, the population bottleneck that they experienced in the late 1800s and early 1900s is still a delicate issue. Since all of the current population of northern elephant seals are descendants of the same 20 to 100 individual animals, the lack of genetic diversity makes them extremely vulnerable to new diseases. How vulnerable isn’t known; scientists are currently studying how a new disease would affect the largest of the pinnipeds. As visible as they are today along the
central and northern California coastline, most of their life remains a mystery. Each year they embark on one of nature’s longest migrations, a distance of about 12,000 miles. From the frigid Bering Sea off the Alaskan coast to remote islands off Baja California, the northern elephant seal is the only mammal that completes a double migration in a single year. The first one lasts from 73 to 124 days, and the second one lasts 126 to 234 days. Eighty percent of their lives are spent at sea. During those arduous migrations, elephant seals swim, dive and feed on squid, fish and octopus, reaching depths of 5,000 feet. The longest recorded dive is 119 minutes, and the average dive duration is 20 minutes. Males dive longer but females go
deeper. They’re able to do this by collapsing 95 percent of their lungs while storing their oxygen in their massive muscles. Their lungs are designed to collapse progressively as they sink to the bottom. Their heart rate decreases from 120 beats per minute to six beats per minute. Their kidneys, liver and digestive system virtually halt operation during their deep descents. Once they reach their established rookeries they can rest, wallow and flip sand on their broad backs, giving onlookers like myself a chance to marvel at one of the greatest marathoners of the deep blue. < A guide at the Channel Islands National Park, Chuck Graham is also a freelance writer and photographer in Carpinteria, CA.
On the road to a B&B Marine Trail Wavelength Magazine is dedicated to promoting accommodation services with “kayak friendly” capabilities. Our eventual hope is a “B&B Marine Trail” where entire regions can be paddled using fixed roof accommodation. If you know of accommodation that would be ideal for inclusion on such a trail, or is simply “kayak friendly,” please email us at email@example.com Fall 2010
Rochelle Relyea photo
By alex Matthews
hen kayakers talk about “conditions,” our primary concern is usually wind. Because more often than not, it is wind that will dictate when and where we can paddle and when we must stay ashore. And sometimes the most pertinent question is not “can we paddle in this wind?” but rather “how long can we paddle before exhaustion sets in?” Wind has a profound effect on kayaks. Obviously, a tailwind is going to help push a kayak on its way, while a headwind is going to slow it down. Chart A to the right offers rough estimates of the effects that wind will have on the forward progress of a sea kayak. Just as we’ve always suspected, a headwind slows us down more that a tailwind pushes us forward. Some things just aren’t fair! But bear in mind that a tailwind will generally also generate waves that will allow an experienced paddler to pick up surf rides, speeding him or her faster on their way than the push from the wind alone could generate. Different paddlers counsel different strategies for dealing with a headwind. One old chestnut is to slow down and “conserve energy” for what will be a long arduous slog. Let’s do a little math and see what numbers we get. If you look at Chart B, you can see
The mathematics of Chart A Wind Speed 0 knots 5 knots 10 knots 15 knots 20 knots 25 knots
Headwind Resistance 0 knots -0.5 knots -1 knots -1.5 knots -2 knots -3 knots
slowing down a mere ½ knot to “conserve energy” will slow us down quite a bit. With 15 knots of headwind, if we slow down from three knots to 2.5 knots, our actual speed across the water (or “speed made good”) will be approximately one nautical mile per hour. That means that to cover six miles, it will take six hours. Conversely, if we paddle at 3.5 knots, speeding up a half knot from three, we’ll achieve a speed made good closer to two knots. This will put us in camp in three hours, or exactly half the time it took paddling at 2.5 knots. So the question posed is: who has conserved more energy? One paddler will poke along for six hours. The other will Fall 2010
Tailwind Assistance 0 knots 0 knots +1 knots +1.5 knots +2 knots +2.5 knots
paddle aggressively for three, put up a tent, have a meal, and maybe even take a little nap before the first paddler even arrives. You decide – plug in different numbers to the table and see what kind of times will be generated by putting in different distances, winds and cruising speeds. You’ll find that when the wind blows in your face, it is almost always better to respond by paddling aggressively, rather than slowing down. The same is true for currents, or any other conditions that may slow your progress. Clearly, you don’t want to exhaust yourself, but an increase, or decrease in speed of a mere half knot will make a very
the mathematics of wind
Chart B Headwind Speed
0 knots 5 knots 10 knots 15 knots 20 knots
Speed Made Time Speed Made Time Speed Made Time Good Paddling Good Paddling Good Paddling Based on To cover 6 Based on To cover 6 Based on To cover 6 2.5 knot nautical miles 3 knot paddling nautical miles 3.5 knot nautical miles paddling speed speed paddling speed 2.5-0= 2.5 knots 2.5-0.5= 2 knots 2.5-1= 1.5 knots 2.5-1.5= 1 knots 2.5-2= 0.5 knots
2.4 hrs 3 hrs 4 hrs 6 hrs 12 hrs
big difference to the overall time you spend on the water. So sometimes you’ll want to work harder in order to save energy in the long term. Other times, a little math may quickly convince you that avoiding strong headwinds altogether (in favour of staying ashore or modifying your planned route) is by far your best option. Finally, in my experience, kayakers are very inaccurate when estimating wind
3-0= 3 knots 3-0.5= 2.5 knots 3-1= 2 knots 3-1.5= 1.5 knots 3-2= 1 knots
2 hrs 2.4 hrs 3 hrs 4 hrs 6 hrs
speed. We almost always guess that the wind speed is far higher than what it actually is. Get into the habit of looking up wind speed after a day on the water. The internet is great for this. It’s often easy to consult several automated lighthouse reports, so you can get a good “real world” idea of what wind speed you actually encountered. By doing this post-paddling research on a regular basis, you’ll start to have a far better
3.5-0= 3.5 knots 3.5-0.5= 3 knots 3.5-1= 2.5 knots 3.5-1.5= 2 knots 3.5-2= 1.5 knots
1.72 hrs 2 hrs 2 hrs 3 hrs 4 hrs
idea of true wind speeds and their effects on the water. I’ve recently acquired a handheld anemometer and the ability to record wind speeds in my exact location, and in real time, has greatly improved my accuracy in gauging the power of the wind. < Adapted from “Sea Kayaking Rough Waters” by Alex Matthews available at www.helipress.com.
by Hilary Masson
the Silva Bay Solstice Paddle and Pot luck is proof once again that food tastes better outdoors.
n gabriola island the maritime culture is multigenerational and large crowds are drawn to events like the Silva Bay Solstice Paddle and Potluck. It is so nice, as a young person myself, to live in a community where kayakers of all ages and skill levels get together to celebrate summer and be on the water together for sunset. Sharing food on the beach is one of my favorite parts of being an expedition kayak guide for the past eight years. It is well known that food always tastes better outside, but it tastes even better when youâ€™ve paddled with a group to an amazing location in nature! The solstice paddle, an average Monday night on Gabriola, had a phenomenal turnout with about 35 people kayaking and three motorboats full of other friends who joined in the festivities. We paddled about 45 minutes outside of Silva Bay to a crescent shaped bay with sunset views, unloaded the picnic blankets, small cooler bags and mesh market bags full of tasty treats. There was an eclectic array of food, just like the mixed age range of the community! Here are some of my favorite vegetarian
Pot Luck potluck recipes for such occasions: a grilled eggplant parmesan appetizer and a vegetarian stuffed portobello mushroom dish. Both of these two dishes work well together because the same marinade can be used on both the eggplant and the portobello, and they can be grilled together over a fire, in an outback or Dutch oven or even barbequed. grilled Eggplant Parmesan I look for the smaller in diameter eggplants to make bite-sized rounds for this appetizer. Wash the eggplant and slice in 1cm-thick slices. Let them soak in marinade for at least 15 minutes before grilling. While the eggplant rounds are grilling, slice tomatoes in thin rounds, and grate one cup of mozzarella cheese. Bring fresh basil in a plastic bag with the stem wrapped in a moist paper towel so that the basil lasts during the transport by kayak. When the eggplant is cooked and tender all the way through, place the tomatoes and cheese stacked on top, sprinkle with chili powder for garnish, and continue grilling until the cheese melts. Remove from heat and place a basil leaf on top. Let cool, then Fall 2010
Marinade 2 cloves of garlic crushed Âź cup olive oil 4 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar 1 teaspoon tamari or soy sauce Ground black pepper Spice to taste with chili powder
grilled Eggplant Parmesan 1 medium eggplant sliced 2 medium tomatoes sliced Âź cup of fresh basil leaves 1 cup mozzarella cheese
eat as finger food for a great appetizer over a small fire, or on a hibachi barbeque. Try these also in a sandwich with your favorite bread. vegetarian Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms Each of the portobello mushrooms needs to be cleaned and prepared by removing the stem and all the gills. Then marinate the mushroom caps for at least 15 minutes before placing them on a grill clean side facing down. The stuffing can be made in a frying pan separately, starting with the
vegetarian Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms 4 large Portobello Mushrooms Marinade (see previous recipe) 1 teaspoon olive oil 2 cloves of garlic crushed ½ onion diced 1 small zucchini diced ¼ cup of fresh parsley chopped 1 cup panko bread crumbs 1 cup of grated mozzarella cheese Salt and pepper to taste
olive oil, garlic and onion. Once golden add diced zucchini. When this is tender, add parsley, and panko bread crumbs (which is a course Japanese bread crumb great for frying oysters and fish. It is also good to carry in your kayak for spontaneous seafood moments). Then stir in the cheese. Flip over the portobello mushroom and stuff with the vegetarian mix. Grill until the cheese is melted in the stuffing, remove from heat, and enjoy. I normally like to cut the mushrooms in half or quarters to share as an appetizer, or this can be eaten as a fancy
grilled eggplant parmesan; below: vegetarian stuffed portobello mushrooms.
long paddle. vegetarian main dish with a knife, fork and a plate. Try adding canned crabmeat to the stuffing if you’re looking for protein after a
< Hilary Masson is part-owner and guide at Baja Kayak Adventure Tours and Silva Bay Kayak Adventures.
by Dan armitage
Fall’s fishing frenzy r
ivers come into their own after the dog days of summer, making autumn a great time to wet a line on your next Fall Concerns paddle trip. With cooler air temperatures come more The same factors that make kayak fishing fun in the fall also comfortable conditions under the water – for fish anyway – and make it a bit riskier. Water temperatures can be shockingly many gamefish species in both lakes and rivers that were lethargic cold even when air temps feel comfortable, so use a PFD and through the hot summer months sort of “wake up” and put on the take extra care to make sure you don’t end up in the water feedbag in anticipation of winter. accidentally. Also, keep in mind the wonderful solitude you’ll In addition, some migrating salmonid species that frequented find this time of year translates into fewer fellow boaters lakes, reservoirs and even the ocean will make an autumn assault up around to lend a hand if you need assistance. Fish and paddle feeder streams to spawn; other river species that spend the summer conservatively and be prepared to get yourself out of – or off of – any jam you might confront! months in moving water make the swim downstream to hole up in the deep, still waters of lakes and bays for the colder winter months. Both actions make rivers the place to be fishing come fall. onto a small jig or a plain hook and fished under a bobber. The Perhaps the most popular target of autumn river anglers across same is true of salmon eggs, either out of a jar or from a freshtheir range these days is the steelhead, a rainbow trout that is caught female, placed in mesh bags and hung from a hook. By using hatched on stream-fed gravel bars and swims downstream to spend split shot and experimenting, find just the right amount of line a season or two in lakes or the ocean under the float to allow the bag to tick along the bottom fed by the tributary. Once in the open through chutes and below riffles. If done right this simple Steelhead water, the steelhead feeds on forage rig is downright deadly. Because the baits are fragile and at from Conneaut species and grows quickly to sizes times it can be important to keep the line between the rod Creek, larger than their inland, stream-locked tip and the bobber off the water for a natural, drag-free ohio brethren. After a few seasons in open drift, these baits are often tossed with long, limber spinning water, when the steelhead mature, rods that may measure up to 14 feet. However, just about they return to their home stream as any tackle you can cast can catch these lake-run rainbows the spawning urge arrives. There are once they enter the rivers each autumn. You can also toss “fall run” and “spring run” steelhead, spinners and flies at steelhead, either blind fishing or tossing so named for when they make their annual migratory move out the lures above fish you can see tailing in the current. of the lakes and into the tributary streams in preparation for the Because you can often find them far up streams where the water spawning ritual. There is even some movement up streams this time is small for fish that may weigh a dozen pounds or more, I like to of year by spring run steelhead that hope to feed on the eggs of beach the kayak and wade for steelhead. I don waders to sneak another popular river fish, the Chinook salmon, which spawn in the up to pools and runs that hold fish. I may use spinning gear or fly autumn. tackle, but no matter what I have in hand when I hook the trout Once you find water containing steelhead, you can tempt these I know I’m in for a show. The fish will often charge up riffles so famous fighters in a variety of ways with a variety of baits. Speaking shallow that the steelhead’s back is out of the water and the frantic of bait, one of the best is maggots or other larval baits bunched thrashing leaves a rooster tail in its wake, and some jump clear of the water to try to shake the hook free. In addition to steelhead, many popular gamefish get – and remain – active in rivers between now and the Christmas holidays. As water temperatures cool the fish will congregate in the deeper pools; that’s where the prey fish are likely to be found, followed by the predators that anglers are after. Riffle areas continue to offer the oxygen and aquatic life that baitfish and predators require, and are among the last areas to freeze, so be sure to angle in the pools below whitewater this time of year. < Dan Armitage is a boating, fishing and travel writer based in the Midwest. He is a licensed (USCG Master) captain, hosts a syndicated radio show, and presents kayak fishing seminars at boat shows. 42
Wavelength’s guide to a better world: 1. Cycle to work. Or better yet, kayak to work.
2. Run like a three-year-old.
3. Always have an adventure on the horizon. 4. Never change plans because of rain. Just pack proper clothing and a love of nature, then enjoy.
5. Laugh and love as you paddle: wherever you can, whenever you can.
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Current Designs If you’re like us, and painfully aware that a good kayak can move down the ranks as an option if the seat isn’t comfortable enough, you’ll be happy to hear what’s in store from Current Designs. New for 2011 is the “Revolution Seating System, ” an axis rotating seat that may be the best thing since bucket seats for cars. It is quickly adjustable with a lever-lock system so you can customize the seat position to your personal preference, while the Dimension Adjustable Seat Back is fully articulated for height and angle. Contoured plush foam padding cover
Kayak Kaboose the bottom and sides. The Revolution Seating System will be available in all CD’s recreational and transitional models for 2011. www.cdkayaks.com/
If you’re a fan of nifty dual function products, this new Pakmat is worth a look. The carrying case doubles as the pump! When done, deflate and stuff back inside the pump/ case. The setup time is about 60 seconds, a claim verified in our test. Made of phthalate-free polyester material. www.aerobed.com
Here’s something for the kayaker who has everything, and wants to take it along. You can either A) buy a bigger kayak with more storage space or B) attach a Kayak Kaboose to the back end. This aquatic cargo carrier weighs in at 15 pounds and boasts a 138-litre carrying capacity in a tidy six-foot long waterproof container that looks a bit like a cross between a baby kayak, a pontoon and a miniature submarine. An articulated hitch allows unhindered rolls of either the kayak or the Kaboose for safety, and the Kaboose can be detached mid-trip to retrieve items. It’s clearly a niche product that will appeal mostly to lake trippers and recreational paddlers, or maybe the occasional expedition kayaker. But be warned: you’ll have to drill into your kayak if you want to tow the Kaboose, so no lending it out for casual use. www.kayakkaboose.com/ You can win your own Kaboose in Wavelength’s Clean Up the Coast contest at wavelengthmagazine.com/clean/
New from Delta Kayaks this year is the Delta 10, a new recreational kayak with some extras that will appeal to the discerning short and stubby kayak fans out there. At 37 pounds, it features a large rear storage compartment and a front dry storage
pod under the front deck. An added attraction is the “Sea View” window nestled between the two extruding hull segments in the Delta 10’s catamaran hull configuration. www.deltakayaks.com/
Peregrine Kayaks Every so often it’s like Christmas around the Wavelength office as we unravel a test product. And Santa might have been extra good to us early had not this sample from Peregrine Kayaks ultimately been destined for a Wavelength reader instead of our gear closet. The source for our interest: the Peregrine C2 paddle. Entirely of carbon construction, its continuous carbon weave is designed for an optimum strength-to-weight ratio. Built in a medium-sized touringstyle blade, a nice touch is the shaft adjusts from 215-225cm in length thanks to a sliding connector. Just choose the length, choose your feather, lock and you’re on your way. You can win this finely crafted paddled from Wavelength in our Clean Up the Coast contest at www.wavelengthmagazine.com/
Embed us! looking for ways to build traffic to your kayaking website? Embed the current issue Wavelength magazine. See our embedding instructions and options online add fresh web content. at wavelengthmagazine.com/ Give visitors reason embed.html to linger – and to return. Earn a free online directory listing in return for embedding us! Fall 2010
Books and videos
navigation: Sea State and Weather Freedom of the Seas Vol. 1 www.skils.ca
A few select how-to manuals have helped shape modern sea kayaking, and it is hard to ignore the contributions of the likes of John Dowd, David Burch and Doug Alderson, to name a few. But assuming the need to update, repackage and reformulate our collective expertise in sea kayak skills, the experts at Skils have perhaps nailed the formula in terms of presentation and scope. The first volume in their new howto series tackles Navigation: Sea State and Weather with a level of technical information sure to appeal to both beginners and veterans. Clouds, currents, clapoitis – very little is missing from this soon-to-be sea kayaking bible. The Skils team of Michael Pardy, JF Marleau, Andrew Woodford and Piper Harris have combined their collective experience and knowledge base in a presentation augmented with a myriad of illustrations and photographs.
berries and kelp, you may want to try some traditional recipes. The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council has put together a selection of traditional food recipes in camus, with proceeds benefiting Uu-a-thluk, a First Nations organization for sustainable management and development of ocean resources. Interesting and possibly yummy.
this is Canoeing 12 Adventure Films by Justine Curgenven www.cackletv.com
Fans of This is the Sea and its three followup titles will find the celebration continues with a focus on canoeing and some of the sport’s most talented paddlers, whether it’s wilderness touring or challenging whitewater. The two-disc DVD has about three hours of video in 12 films. Follow a 1,000-mile birchbark canoe journey, northern wilderness expeditions, a voyageur adventure and awe-inspiring whitewater. Filmed by Justine Curgeven it features Karen Knight, Kevin Callan, Becky Mason, Mark Scriver, Paul Mason, Andrew Westwood, Bob Foote, Ray Goodwin, Hailey Thompson, John Kaz, Wendy Grater.
camus: (chum-us) adj. Very satisfying, when you’ve been well fed www.nuuchahnulth.org
If you’ve kayaked the west coast of Vancouver Island, chances are you’ve wittingly or otherwise paddled Nuu-chahnulth territory. So if you’re tempted to try some local food, which could range from the more common salmon to salal 46
Paddle to Seattle Josh Thomas and J.J. Kelley paddletoseattle.com
Already a favorite of viewers at paddle film fests where it has picked up a myriad of awards, Paddle to Seattle follows friends Josh Thomas and J.J. Kelley as they build their own Pygmy kayaks and paddle them for 97 days from Alaska to Seattle 1,300 miles through the Inside Passage. It is the wit Fall 2010
and humor that helps make this a charming adventure. Available for sale online as well as for view at film fests across North America.
Sea Kayaking From Mountains to Ocean Dan Baharav Murrelet Publishing
Everyone who kayaks enough will no doubt eventually have enough content for a decent book; add the discriminating eye of an ecologist and a whole new perspective opens up. Such is the case with Dan Baharav’s narrative of trips through the North Cascades, San Juan Islands and the Olympic coast. Dan combines his experiences kayaking with nuggets about the various coastal watersheds, adding another layer of interpretation for those traveling the waters of the Pacific Northwest. The blend of trips and ecological/hydrological insight makes it quite different from a guidebook, but possibly just as useful. You can find not only great destinations, but probably information you didn’t know, even if you are a regular paddler of these areas. Employment
Winter Guiding in Belize ‘10/’11 Island Expeditions is looking for professional guides to work winters in Belize. Sea kayak, river experience, marine biology or strong naturalist background. Minimum two seasons multi-day guiding experience. Email resume: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 604-452-3212.
Assistant Retail Manager A North Vancouver based kayak and cross country ski retail store is recruiting for the position of Assistant Retail Manager. The successful candidate must have retail sales experience in Ocean Kayaking, Cross-Country Skiing and snowshoeing. Extensive knowledge of Point of Sales systems, inventory control, product merchandising and customer service through superior product knowledge. Must have reliable transportation and be flexible and able to work weekends. Diploma from an Outdoor Recreation Management Program required. Wage Range is $16 - $20/hr based on experience and qualifications. Please respond by fax to 604 987 2255
Published on Aug 4, 2010
Wavelength Magazine is a British Columbia-based sea kayaking and coastal exploration magazine. For more information on sea kayaking and coas...