Travels with Paddles

a sea kayaking journal

Axel Schoevers (Photo: A. de Krook) Name:
Axel Schoevers
Rijswijk, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Lower Columbia River Kayak Roundup

It has been a very busy and enjoyable week. This year's Lower Columbia River Kayak Round-up has come to an end. Good paddling, good company and good food. Thanks Ginni, thanks Dave! A long day of hard work and Slow Boat Farm resembles (again) more of a farm than a kayak round-up. Preparations for next year's roundup have already started!

Follow the (link on the) sign for a Lo Co Roundup slide show.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

BCU Entanglements

I just finished a two day BCU Coach update course at Ginni Callahan's Slow Boat Farm on Puget Island in Washington State. Yesterday, we learned about all the changes in the new BCU coaching awards and performance (star) awards. Phil Hadley from Britain had us quickly very enthusiastic: whatever level we are at now, we now all WANT to attend the new BCU Level-1 course! The afternoon was spent mostly on the water discussing the remits for the new 3 and 4 star sea awards.200808171628245311_AS.JPG
Today it was all about the new Foundation Safety & Rescue Training. It is a revamped Canoe Safety Test. And yes, it is now a training and not a test. There were some hairy rescue stories involving buoyancy aids, that had my heightened attention... Too many ropes and lanyards on my buoyancy aid to get entangled with.

What am I doing all across the ocean for a BCU update course? Tomorrow starts the Lower Columbia River Kayak Roundup. The second year running it is now an official BCU endorsed event. I am "updated" now. The more I know from the new BCU schemes, the more I can say that it is the way forward, despite all my 'entanglements'.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Thunder and lightning and other hazards

I am writing this on the day that a thundery weather system is following the Dutch coastline and over our base camp in Anna Paulowna. The sea kayak safety test is cancelled for now, in fact all on-water kayak activities are canceled. Maybe some clearing in the afternoon gets us back on 'schedule'.

Yesterday I joined the Sea Proficiency Extra group on their trip to find some surf on the Noorderhaaks sand spit. Surf we did not find, but we did find something that needed reporting. We lunched next to a full container that on examining the label proved to possibly contain a very toxic and dangerous substance: "Hydrofluoric Acid / Sulphuric Acid"; it's contents and container to be "disposed of as hazardous waste". We reported the finding with the GPS location to the coast guard and later learned that the Coast Guard vessel "Zeearend" had dispatched it's RIB to pick-up the container and delivering it to the Den Helder fire department and thanking us for reporting it. All the time we did not know for sure what the contents actually where, it could well just have been just water. But the unfaded label and May 2008 packaging date (and 1825 days shelve life) was too alarming to ignore.

Rain and thunder have drifted away a bit, let's see what the afternoon brings us. It appears that the years of August heat waves with flat seas are gone. For the last few years it has been rainy and windy. Wind that is excellent for sea proficiency paddling, when only there would not be thunder and lightning.