Did you know that the mighty Colorado River used to reach the ocean but now it doesn’t due to heavy water diversion? It’s something that people have told me but never really thought about it or imagined what that could look like.
Back in 2011 a group of kayakers paddled down the Green and Colorado Rivers from source to sea and filmed the whole thing. They edited the entire 113 day journey into 3.5 minutes and called the short film, Mirror River.
Spoiler alert: it goes trickle > raging river > trickle.
I recently stumbled upon this very interesting video hosted by a buddy of mine, JF Marleau from the BC sea kayak school, SKILS.
The video demonstrates a new twist on the classic paddle float rescue by using a waterproof lap bag in place of a traditional paddle float bag. Take a look, it's really interesting:
I decided to contact JF to find out more information:
1) Tell me about yourself, what you do with Skils and how long you have done it?
That is a tough one. I am one of the main instructors at SKILS, I am also a co-owner and the guy running the office. SKILS has been in business since 2003. I have been guiding and teaching kayaking across Canada for the past 16 years. I am also a maniac of kayak fishing.
2) In a typical year, how many days on the water are you paddling/teaching?
I have been on the water teaching and guiding between 100-175 days per year for the past 16 years. Don’t forget to add another 40 days for personal paddling and kayak fishing.
3) How did you guys get the idea of using your lapbag in place of a traditional dry bag?
Like criminals in a court of law or during an inquiry commission are saying “I do not recall'', we have been doing it for so long. Maybe because a long time ago, we used kayaks with no day hatch to guide or instruct long expeditions and we needed to keep things handy to ensure safety, efficiency and comfort. The lap bag provides a much easier, faster and stable access than the day hatch. Furthermore, you can carry more gear on longer courses or trips. You can even have make-up handy if you are from the big city like Toronto...just kidding
4) How has the response been in BC? Do other instructors use it in their lessons?
In BC, most of the kayak guides, kayak instructors and advanced paddlers carry a lap bag which is a purse for kayaker. It might be because SKILS trained most of them and they like the idea. A lap bag is very common in BC.
5) Any tips or tricks you have discovered over the years using them?
During the paddle float rescue, you will notice that your lap bag does not do "a yellow or red rainbow", the weight inside the lap bag provides a counter-balance during the paddle float rescue which is more stable than a blow up one if you are athletic and you do not carry an excess of weight in your lap bag.
Using a drybag instead of a real lap bag completely sucks. It takes too much time, you are more prone to lose stuff and it tends to get wet more often.
Yellow is the best colour because the daylight makes the contents in your drybag highly visible vs the red, blue or camo. Furthermore, Yellow is a highly visible color and enhance safety
My friend Conor sent me this email letting me know about a new sea kayaking film that he discovered. I couldn’t have written the description any better so I just stole this from him:
Thought I'd share this great short film about sea kayaking in B.C.'s Great Bear Rainforest--the same wild channels that could soon be plied by supertankers if the Northern Gateway Pipeline happens. The 8-minute film is excellent not for its technical proficiency but rather for the compelling story it tells. It doesn't focus on politics but rather the simple joys of being immersed in wilderness. It's well worth watching and sharing with others.
Have I got a treat for you today. I just got an email from the fine folks at the Greenland Tourist Association who just released a series of short films highlighting the great things about
Take a look at the amazing sea kayak film they put together. What can I say, it’s gorgeous. When you are done with that watch the second clip below which more of a general film about what makes
If you are wondering who the paddlers are in the films, one of them is Jens-Pavia Brandt from Greenland Outdoors. He is a local guide working in the Kangerlussuaq Fjord [map link] in western
I recently heard about another trip being organized that you might be interested in. This summer the guiding company, Uncommon Adventures is organizing a 12-day adventure to
Here is the trip description from the website:
This one is completely different. Combine the logistics expertise that Uncommon Adventures is known for with the celebrity status of our co-leader and you arrive to community dinners thrown in your honor. Travel like a Greenlander...hand-lining fish for dinner, learning to eat seal, hunting with your camera, paddling in sea ice, camping in sites used as traditional hunt camps for generations. Think cultural immersion, think travel like a Greenlander with a Greenlander...all with a bit of a safety net that comes with our 31 year history in the kayak tripping business.
They are planning to do a loop of about 100 miles on the west side of Greenland out of Sisimiut [map link]
The trip starts at $4900 and you can get all the details here.
About a year ago Jill Ellis from Adanac Paddles contacted me to see if I would be interested in testing a new prototype
One of the things that I learned while visiting Adanac Paddles world headquarters was that every single paddle is custom made to order. When an order submitted, Jill contacts the buyer and asks for a variety of measurements including the arm span, elbow to wrist length, elbow to fingertip, as well as the diameter of your first finger and thumb when doing the "OK" symbol.
Though it sounds pretty precise, these follow the traditional measurements that would be taken from a
As mentioned before, the paddle that Jill made for me was a prototype model she had been working on. The overall shape of the paddle itself was similar to other traditional
One of my goals over the past year was to take the paddle out in a wide variety of conditions including large surf, rocks and ice and try to break the tip off. A year later and I’m quite pleased to say I haven’t busted it yet.
How do I like the paddle? The short answer is that I love it. The finish on the wood is a mixture of oil and wax so it’s super smooth on the hands. It will also be easy to sand out and scratches and buff up with more oil down the road.
While the new tip did add a very small amount of extra weight, the trade-off is a very strong paddle for playing in and amongst rocks. Overall I think the addition if it is well worth it considering how rough I am with all my paddling gear. For example, the photo below is one of the rough water tests I put the paddle through here in Toronto.
The first time I took the paddle out on the water I was also quite pleased to discover that there was very little blade flutter when pulling the paddle through the water. Also, when it comes to rolling, the blade sliced through the water very smoothly and since this particular one is made of Western Cedar it’s super buoyant making rolling that much less work.
When ordering, Adanac offers several different paddle models available in different wood options (from domestic to exotic) so you are going to be able to get exactly what you are looking for. If you choose to "pimp your paddle", Jill will carve a very cool graphic (of your choosing or design) into the tip. My friend Rob got this very nice design carved into his paddle when he ordered it. Did you know that Jill was a champion bird carver? Highly detailed finches were her specialty so you can be confident that the design will come out perfect.
If you already have your own Greenland Paddle and interested into building your collection of
They really are a work of art.
More info: Adanac Paddles
The episode aired last night but you can now watch it online on CBC’s website. Sadly they don’t allow video embedding but it’s the first piece up in the episode.
I won’t spoil it for you but the whole thing is pretty funny.
Some good product placement by Roots (Adam is sponsored by them) on both his boat and the lifejacket that Rick is wearing. Bending Branches gets lots of logo love as well and Adam specifically mentions the benefits of the kayak that Rick paddles which is an older Swift Caspian Sea.
Thanks to trailswag.ca for the hat tip.
The sea kayaking community lost one of its true legends today.
Derek Hutchinson has often been called the father of the modern sea kayak as he one of the first to bring sea kayaking to the masses with is many books and DVD’s. I remember when I was young being fascinated with his book, Derek Hutchinson’s Guide to Sea Kayaking and for me was one the key books that got me interested in paddling.
Derek was also a prolific designer and over the years designed several kayaks including the famous Gulfstream and its little sister, the Slipstream for Current Designs. At the time (early to mid-1990’s) both boats were years ahead of the market curve compared to what the other North American manufacturers were putting out. The Slipstream was the first kayak I ever owned and still look back in fondness to the many adventurers (and mishaps) we had together.
At 4:12 PM GDT I said my final farewell to my adventure partner, my mentor and dearest friend Derek Charles Hutchinson. Derek passed peacefully in his bed. His adventure on this earth started June 30, 1933 and ended Oct 10, 2012. He has now launched for his next adventure.
I wish to thank all of you who have sent your comments to Derek. It meant so much to him, his family and his friends. It is typical to wonder if you have made a difference during your time on earth. The comments you have sent are just a fraction of the number of people Derek has touched. There is no doubt he made a huge impact during his life.
Derek was an innovator, a thinker, a designer, a teacher, a writer and was never shy to share his opinion on any topic related to paddling. He will be missed indeed. Paddle on brother, paddle on.
Ask ten people who live in Ontario where the best places are to go kayaking and you will probably get ten different answers. The opportunities for sea kayaking in Ontario are virtually endless and deciding where to go can be a bit daunting if you don’t already know the area. To help you get started, check out dealchecker. They can help you find the kayak or canoe holiday (as well as flights to Canada) that you are seeking.
Ontario borders four of the five Great Lakes which is one of the reasons it’s such a fantastic place for sea kayakers looking for adventure. Generally speaking, the two best lakes for sea kayaking are Lake Huron (in particular Georgian Bay) and Lake Superior. Both locations offer hundreds of miles of undeveloped shoreline and crystal clear water.
Georgian Bay is one of the classic Ontario destinations for sea kayakers. It’s an area known as the 30,000 islands and a huge amount of the shoreline is still undeveloped giving you the wilderness experience you are looking for.
The geography of Georgian Bay is very unique. During the last ice age that area of the Canadian Shield was scraped down by the retreating glaciers leaving behind campsites made of solid, smooth bedrock. This makes the area a perfect spot for kayak trips as you are not camping on sand or mud and the shoreline is free of weeds for swimming. Those are all good things in my book.
As far as trip routes to paddle in Georgian Bay, you have lots of options. The jumping off point for most people is at the many marinas just outside of Parry Sound. You can leave from the marina in Snug Harbour, Dillon Cove or Point au Baril for example and from there either paddle north or south along the shoreline. If you are looking for less people, plan your trip to get out to the many off-shore islands along its length. There will be a lot less boat traffic and cottages out there.
Getting to Georgian Bay isn’t that difficult for international travelers as you can fly directly into Toronto and a hire a car from a car for the 2.5h drive north to Parry Sound. From there you can access several outfitters who offer everything from boat/camping gear rentals all the way up to fully guided trips. Talk to White Squall Paddling Centre, Black Feather or Learn to Kayak. Wild Women Expeditions is a unique business that runs woman only trips out of the Georgian Bay area so you should contact them if you are looking for that sort of thing.
When it comes to sea kayak paddling locations in Ontario, the north shore of Lake Superior is the undisputed king and often voted as one of the most beautiful places to paddle in Canada.
The one thing to keep in mind is that paddling along Lake Superior is not for the faint of heart. With cold water and big waves due to high winds, you need to plan a trip on Lake Superior like you were planning a trip on any ocean. You should have fair bit of experience kayaking and camping if you are planning your own expedition. That being said, there are lots of excellent locations that beginner can visit when accompanied with a proper guide to help out.
At the East end of the lake international travelers can fly into Thunder Bay and use that location as the start for adventure with many excellent trips along the north shore. Sleeping Giant Provincial Park or Slate Islands are both excellent places to go with a guide.
Another very nice place to paddle that is also logistically easy to get to is Lake Superior Provincial Park along west shore between Wawa and Sault Ste. Marie. Lake Superior Provincial Park offers a coastline that is about 120 kilometers (75 miles) long which is a very nice 5-7 day paddle. Just remember that the shoreline has several sections of large cliffs or inaccessible shoreline so make sure that you stay off the water when the wind is blowing as it can get very rough very quickly. June and July are the calmest months so plan your trip during that time.
There are several outfitters on Lake Superior who can help you with logistics including gear/boat hire, vehicle shuttles, or guided trips. Contact Naturally Superior Adventures, Superior Outfitters, Caribou Expeditions or Wildwaters for more information.
As you can see, Canada offers an unbelievable number of paddling opportunities and we haven’t even scratched the surface yet. British Columbia, Quebec, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia all offer amazing destinations as well. If you are interested in a canoeing holiday there are so many rivers in the interior of Canada that you can’t even count them all on one hand.
Top photo credit: DSCN0339 ep | Eric.Parker Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic / CC BY-NC 2.0
Bottom photo credit: Lake Superior Provincial Park | Andrea Schafferhttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en_CA / CC BY 2.0
You need to check out this absolutely gorgeous sea kayaking short film that was put together from the gang at Kaspi Arial Media. The film follows Christine Utas, one of the instructors from the White Squall Paddling Centre as she paddles through the fog at Killbear Provincial Park. I don’t think I have ever seen Georgian Bay looking so good.
Speaking of paddling films, the Reel Paddling Film Festival is now accepting films in the following categories:
If you are thinking of entering, you had better hurry as the cut-off date is August 31, 2012. You can find all the details on their website.
Justine Curgenven is best known as the creator of the award winning and highly influential kayak film series, This is the Sea. Since she released her first paddling film around 10 years ago she has released several other films including, This is the Sea II, III and IV, This is Canoeing and brand new to the market, This is the Roll.
When not watching paddlers through the lense of a video camera, Justine is off travelling throughout the world on major kayaking expeditions. Sea Kayaking has taken Justine to remote places such as Kamchatka, Tasmania, New Zealand, Sardinia and most recently Tierra del Fuego.
1) How long have you been working in the outdoor industry and what got you started?
After studying geology at university, I had 2 'proper jobs' in the TV industry - a news reporter and then a multi-skilled programme maker taking me up to age 23. I was getting more and more interested in the outdoors for my own pleasure and decided I wanted to try to make a living from filming adventures. I quit my job and spent several years writing to TV companies with ideas, filming pilots at my own expense, picking up a few small bits of work but generally losing money and sometimes losing heart. I guess you could say I was working in the outdoor industry since then, although not very successfully to start with! Eventually I got fed up spending all my time trying to convince TV Stations that I could do a good job and I just went out and made This is the Sea DVD.
2) What’s the best part of your job?
Working for myself and being in being able to make my own decisions. I have the freedom to be able to travel to some amazing places, have wonderful adventures and meet interesting people. Or I can have a lie-in if I'm tired!
3) What’s the most difficult aspect of the job?
It's hard to switch off from work-mode. I sell DVDs internationally so there is always a customer awake at a computer wanting an answer to a question. I could get a work email at any time and I like to deal with any issues ASAP so I tend to always be checking my emails in the evenings and at weekends - which isn’t the most sociable behaviour. To help with the workload, I employ people to mail out orders and other people do jobs like designing DVD covers, making any big changes to my website, and subtitling and authoring my DVDs. Other than that but I pretty much do everything else by myself.
Sometimes I'd love to have someone else to bounce ideas off, or to handle some of the more technological issues such as creating digital downloads which work with all the various gadgets that people have these days. It's also getting harder to make a living from video production. Sales of any one DVD are down slightly as people watch outdoor videos in different ways and as competition has increased. I'm trying to make cackletv.com a place that people come to when they want to buy a DVD for themselves or for a friend. While sales of any individual DVD are down a bit, I sold more overall DVDs in my webstore this year than last year. To stay competitive, keep adapting to the market and customer needs. I actually quite enjoy the challenge & the variety but sometime I feel like I'm spending a lot of time inside trying to keep abreast of technological developments, which isn't my forte.
4) What are two tips you can give to somebody looking to start their own video production company?
There is so much more to a video production company than actually making the film. Make sure you are prepared to spend a lot of time editing, cover designing, marketing, selling and chasing up invoices. You might have a great product but if no-one knows about it or is prepared to risk £20 or $30 on it then you'll have a stack of fantastic DVDs in a cupboard gathering dust.
If you believe in what you are doing and have a lot of drive then I would suggest going for it. Decent cameras and editing software are very affordable these days and you can teach yourself how to do it. Look at Bryan Smith who made Pacific Horizons & Eastern Horizons DVDs (available from the Cackle TV webstore --- see what I did there!?). I'm pretty sure Bryan is totally self-taught but has captured some amazing shots with slow motion cameras and he is now directing adventure films for National Geographic. Anything is possible - but it usually takes a lot of dedication and time to get there.
5) What about your job do you think would most surprise people?
A lot of people seem to think I am always travelling to nice places and kayaking! I do get to do a fair bit of that but I spend between 4 and 10 months every year sat in front of a computer, not only editing but also doing admin, processing DVD orders, marketing, updating my website and problem solving. I'd like to get that closer to 6 months in the next few years!
6) You met the Queen once. Tell me about it.
I was thrilled and flattered to be invited to meet the Queen alongside about 300 "people involved in adventure and exploration" last year. She held a reception at Buckingham Palace to commemorate 100 years since Scott reached the South Pole. It was a great opportunity to meet other adventurous people and catch up with a few friends. I wish it could have gone on longer as I'd like to have chatted to more people. We all lined up and shook hands with the Queen and her husband, while an official read out our name and what we did from a card we handed him. He didn't pronounce "Curgenven" right but I wasn't going to correct him in front of the Queen! The Queen didn't ask me anything about being an “expedition sea kayaker and filmmaker” and I think she was probably wondering what on earth that meant. I've never seen such big bottles of champagne and the quails eggs canapés were particularly delicious.
7) If you could tell something to your 18 year-old self, what would it be?
I would tell myself three things:
Photo Credits: Justine Curgenven
More info: cackletv.com