Tuesday, January 12, 2010

New Boat - New Paddle - New Waters - Happy New Year

We have been enjoying drop in kayak sessions at the new pool just blocks from our house in Fort Bragg. It has been nice to have a couple of hours to just play in calm, warm water -no waves to catch, no wildlife to watch for, and no where to go. So what does one do - enjoy the music and mess around in boats. Kayak polo - anyone?

This month I started playing with the greenland paddle during our pool sessions. WOW - it is so much fun. I have been intrigued by the greenland paddling style for its traditional roots and admired the fluidity of movements from the first time that I saw Cheri Perry rolling in This is the Sea 3. It has brought a new sense of kinesthetic awareness to my rolling including more precise and controlled movement. Here's a clip of one of my first rolls with the Greenland Paddle (This is a start and definitely room for improvement).

New for me this year is paddling a performance surf kayak. There has been a green Mike Johnson Design Mini Mako sitting on our kayak rack for a couple of years now. I finally got out our bag of foam and outfitted it. SWEET!!! It is has a totally different feel than any other kayak that I have paddled. It is a fast boat and makes catching waves effortless (almost). I have had a few head over heels tumbles from catching one of the rails and definitely need to learn more about maneuvering the mini mako in the surf. I feel like I have upgraded from my Camry-like Eskimo Kendo to a high performance sports car.

New waters for me besides more time in the surf zone include our local whitewater runs. Last weekend I had my first run on Rancheria Creek and understand why so many boaters rave about the run. It is scenic and fun. Miles of class II rapids keep one entertained and grinning from ear to ear while traveling through a mystical mossy canyon inspires awe as one watches for wood sprites and fairies in the seemingly ancient forest.

Winter rains have also put us back on the main fork of the Eel River between Outlet Creek and Dos Rios. I definitely get to exorcise my demons on this Class III run (more on that in another entry). One of the highlights of this run for me of course are the birds including American dippers, bald eagles, and believe it or not - a male harlequin duck (this is the first recorded sighting of one on an inland river in Mendocino County). In this photo, Jeff watches a 2 year old bald eagle land on a rock next to us on the Eel River.

Good Stuff!!! And more to come!!!