Travels with Paddles

a sea kayaking journal

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

Friday, November 19, 2010

Filter Feed

In the Netherlands kayaking is rarely picked-up by the media. And when it does, it is usually because of an incident, like ours on June 13. In the days following, a lot of us were frantically checking the news sites for any coverage.

I thought of what would now be a modern variant of the gathering of newspaper clippings. How to weed through massive amounts of news agency RSS-feeds for kayaking related articles?

By coincidence I stumbled upon on Yahoo Pipes. It allows one to unite an unlimited number of RSS-feeds, throw away all duplicates, filter the remaining stream by using selection criteria and sort the results. I could never foresee that it would be that simple!

Well, the only 'problem' I have is that what I mentioned at the start of this post. My kayak keywords rarely get a hit. Today, one to be precise. And that one is from the RNLI. Just look at the NEWS HEADLINES box in the left pane.

Maybe if I would add 'all' the RSS news feeds of the world I would get some more hits, but I think I keep it to the Netherlands and the UK for now. I think we got hit enough this year.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Let's face it again

Earlier this year Blogger ended support for the ftp-hosting of my blog on my own server, forcing me to use the hosting on Blogger. Apart from that change, I never got around to actually use the new Blogger functionality. Up until now that is.

Unfortunately after a backup/restore process it turned-out that Blogger adds random numbers after the post filenames making all my posts 'not found' through search engines. And worse, all links to my blog posts on other sites are also not valid anymore. Even with my original backup this re-naming issue seems irrecoverable.

I think that's 'just life' on the internet. Sometimes the internet has the memory of an Elephant and sometimes it suffers from instant and total amnesia. Remembering what is no longer there...

Until the search engines have fully indexed my blog (again) I have added a custom Blog & Site Search (top left panel) that does a combined search in all my blog entries AND all the articles in my pre-Blogger Logbook.

I also added the page for my vaarWEER widget. It combines all the weather and tide information that I find useful for planning trips in the Netherlands based on the ports where there is tidal information available. It is amazing how much information is available as 'widgets' that can be contained in other 'widgets' that can be contained in other 'widgets'.

I am also back on facebook. From a totally empty friends list I renewed my first facebook friendship. I tried to get my profile and privacy settings so that the newsfeed notifications are now hopefully bearable. You can help me (stay on facebook) by not tagging me in pictures, video's, likes, yikes, quizzes and such.

I close my eyes,
only for a moment, and the moment's gone
All my dreams,
pass before my eyes with curiosity

Dust in the wind,
all they are is dust in the wind.

(Dust in the Wind - Kansas)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Timeless Skies

Ginni, Gabe, Jen, Phil and I set off from Rattlesnake Beach late evening of Saturday 30 October. In the moonless sky I can finally easily distinguish my favorite constellation Delphinus. All courses finished that afternoon. With 'all hands' cleaned-up and stored the kayaks and equipment of Sea Kayak Baja Mexico. The 1st Loreto Sea Kayak Symposium and BCU Week in Baja California Sur has ended.
Lightly packing our boats with the bare essentials: therm-a-rest, sleeping bag, drinking water and breakfast. In total darkness we paddle the four miles to the south end of Isla Danzante. Stars are reflected from the glassy sea only broken by streaks of light from our paddles that stir the bioluminescent dynoflagilates. And some wild outcries when one of us gets hit by a startled fish.
Ginni knows this route by heart. She can easily distinguish a beach from a rocky outcrop by the sound of the waves lapping on them. We hit her favorite beach on Danzante spot on. On my clock it is just after midnight. I roll out my ground sheet, therm-a-rest and sleeping bag on the gravel beach, a few feet away from the water. I fall asleep under Orion and Pleiades to name a few. Taurus and Gemini are just above the horizon.
Sunrise is red and warm, as ever. Breakfast is simple, delicious and hot, as ever. We paddle north along the east coast of Danzante. The wind is picking up, as forecasted, and we have a choppy ride to the turquoise waters of Honeymoon Cove on the Danzante's west side for lunch. Ginni is cruising with the sailing rig on her Explorer; her sail finally catching a strong breeze. A rough crossing via Punta Coyote back to camp. A day later we find out that time, as we know it, has changed. Summer-time, Winter-time, Baja-time..
Next day Ginni went with Jen and Phil to San Diego to run a BCU 4* assessment for Aqua Adventures Kayak Centre. While Gabe and I drove to Cabo San Lucas on the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula to deliver a BCU 1* and a BCU Foundation Safety & Rescue Training for Cabo Expeditions.

- 1st Loreto Sea Kayak Symposium
- BCU Week
- Danzante trip
- Canyon Hike

In a far and foreign land
The new day breaks out
Opening up it's hand
And the sun has the moon in it's eyes
As he wanders the timeless skies

(Timeless Skies - Al Stewart)