Wednesday, March 31, 2021

March Video Madness

Time is definitely marching on.  Jeff and I both questioned this week, " Where did March go?"

A fun project that we engaged in this month was the scavenger hunt for The Noyo Center for Marine Science.  The scavenger hunt was a FUNdraiser to raise money for the Noyo Center and also to celebrate the annual whale festivals in a socially distant way.  We were a business sponsor for the event and we decided to give the scavenger hunt a go.  If you are not familiar with the Noyo Center, please peruse their website.  Their goals are education and conservation and they are based in our backyard - Fort Bragg, California.  All donations are greatly appreciated and we see the results of the money directly in educational programs for all ages and conservation projects like help the kelp.  The center is also raising money to build a state of the art marine science center that will showcase the skeleton of a 70' blue whale that our community worked hard to preserve.

A glance at our YouTube Channel will also show what we've been up to.  There is something for everyone this month there.  I have edited 7 new videos (and 8th one is about to be uploaded later this week).

For the sea kayak rock gardening and surfing audience, I created Vitamin Sea Mendocino -

For fans of the natural beauty of the Mendocino Coast, check out 2 new public lands that have been preserved by another one of our favorite local nonprofits - The Mendocino Land Trust.  

Do you want to go on an adventure with Jeff and I?  Join us virtually for a tandem sea kayak journey from LFK Headquarters to Glass Beach.  Our goal was whale watching but the whales did not want to be seen.  I was on camera duty and Jeff enjoyed taking me for a sporty ride on the sea.

It is getting to be time for our annual spring run off trip . . . we are both very ready for a change of scenery.  As we make plans, we reminisce on previous spring run off trips.  Check out this sea kayak adventure on Oregon's John Day River.  My favorite scenes are the big horn sheep lambs.

If you enjoy our videos, be sure to subscribe to Liquid Fusion Kayaking's YouTube Channel. As you watch our videos, give us a thumbs up and please leave comments.  This keeps us motivated and inspired to keep producing videos.

Liquid Fusion Kayaking's Cate and Jeff tandem sea kayaking into Glass Beach on the Mendocino Coast of California.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Birding By Kayak

Both Jeff and I are nature nerds.  Yes, our passion for wildlife and nature extends into birds and we are both avid birders.  When we are apart, it is not uncommon for us to text each other our bird sightings - who is flying by and who is singing.  Birding is something that anyone can do almost anywhere. Of course one of our favorite places to bird is on the water from the seat of our kayaks.

Tips for Birding from a Kayak by Jeff Laxier

Kayak Birding Tour on Fort Bragg's Noyo River

From the moment my father and I witnessed a fly being caught and eaten by a bird, I could no longer hide my blindness to the beauty of nature.

Three tips to birding by kayak

1. Slow it down. The slower you go, the better. Birds and other wildlife will be less alarmed by your curious and courteous behavior.

2. Use a spotting scope, binoculars, or a monocular: These are just tools to assist with getting more detail and possibly identifying species. Try not to get to much into the “glassing” and enjoy your surroundings. Top tip on glassing wildlife: Start with the subject just above the top of the device. Next slowly move your device up until the subject is in view from the glasses. Last focus on subject.

3. Avoidance: If you hear an alarming sound or action (the action and acting of a bird with a broken wing) stop or re-route. During nesting season be very mindful of coastal cliffs with a high accumulation of white bird guano. On the Mendocino coast we have a number of Pelagic Cormorants nesting in colonies upon cliff faces. Often these nesting locations are just above awesome sea caves, cool sea stacks, and rock garden features. Avoid these areas during nesting season (March - August).
Pelagic Cormorants nesting on coastal rocks on the Mendocino Coast.  

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Camp n Surf

 As we roll into 2021, I hope that you are healthy and well and planning adventures for the year.  High on my adventure list are kayak camping trips.  I am dreaming up several multiday whitewater river kayak trips as well as several on the sea.  

Kayak camping on Mendocino's Eel River
Camping and Whitewater Kayaking on Mendocino County's Eel River

Given the current state of the world, chances are good that Jeff and I will continue to hunker down and play in our local playground in Mendocino County.  Fortunately we have an awesome playground with some great options for sea, whitewater, and surf kayaking.

Tent with sea kayaks on a beach on the Mendocino Coast of California
Sea kayak camping on the Mendocino Coast of California

In the spring of 2019, we did a super simple multiday whitewater river kayak trip that ranks among our all time favorites.  We pulled 2 whitewater kayaks out of our quiver that we both could paddle - one was to haul the gear and the other was to play and surf.  We loaded them both up with our camping gear, food, beer, and ukulele.  We paddled down the Eel River until we found a sweet beach with an all day surf wave.  We camped, surfed, strummed, and enjoyed the wild beauty of the Eel River.

kayak camping on Mendocino County's Eel River
Playing the ukulele by the campfire on Mendocino County's Eel River.

Check out this video from the adventure!

I am hoping we get to do a similar version of this trip this year. 

What are your paddling plans for 2021?

Monday, December 14, 2020

The Perfect Knife

There are a ton of different uses for knives when kayaking.  I consider a knife to be an essential piece of safety gear for sea kayaking, whitewater kayaking, and kayak fishing.   I always have one easily (one handed) accessible in my life jacket.  My partner Jeff Laxier is a knife connoisseur.  Here are his thoughts and tips about using and choosing a knife for kayaking.[

The Perfect Knife

Guest post from Liquid Fusion Kayaking's Jeff Laxier

That perfect knife is your perfect knife. That’s right the best knife for you to carry while kayaking is the one that works best for you and the environment you work and play in.  I like a knife that can be accessed by either hand, opened one handed with easy access while under pressure (this must be tested by user!!!) I’m happy to set this up for you and your paddling mates.

Important to be able to access and grab your knife with one hand.

Here are three (of many) active uses for a knife:
1. On the Sea - Cutting braided fishing line out of a rock garden feature. The line looked like a spider web tangled in kelp and was a hazard for both humans and marine creatures.
2. Whitewater River - Just before a rapid there was an abandoned line that stretched across the river.
3. Lunch - Cutting apples and cheese

Using a knife to for boat repair

When shopping for a knife, I look for these key components:
1. Folding with locking blade
2. Serrated blade with blunt tip
3. Belt clip and lanyard hole.
4.  Easy to handle

A variety of knives in my collection. 
I definitely prefer folding and serrated knives with a blunt tip.

Here are a few of my favorite knives:
1. West Marine Stainless Steel Serrated Rigging Knife. Small set up and single hand must be perfected. This is in my PFD.  
Cost $25
2. Byrd Rescue 2. Every day pocket knife and back-up to my WM Rigging Knife. Cost $46
3. Spyderco Atlantic Salt. Cost $142

My two favorite knives -
The Byrd Rescue Knife (orange handle)
West Marine Stainless Steel Riggers Knife (black handle).

If you have a knife that has worked well for you or a knife in use story, please post in the comments.  Definitely hit us up if you have questions about knives and their importance in your kayaking safety kit.  The best way to contact us is through Liquid Fusion Kayaking.

Cate and Jeff