Saturday, March 26, 2016

For Sale - Valley Avocet LV

I am selling my much loved Avocet LV.

This kayak has a custom blue metal-flake finish, a keel-strip along hull, recessed deck compass, and under deck pump storage. I am including a hand pump and sprayskirt with the boat.

This unique kayak is perfect for the smaller paddler looking for a lightweight high-performance boat.

15'11" long, 20.5" wide.

$3,000 CAD.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

New Boats!

Around two years ago, Matt purchased his first boat! A blue P&H Delphin 155. A friend of ours owned the boat, and had let Matt test it in a variety of conditions (Skooks, Deception Pass, and just putzing about the bay). After getting acquainted with the Delphin, we decided that it was a good fit.

To make his Delphin unique, Matt added new red reflective perimeter lines, and colour-matched bungies. We now refer to it as the "Spiderman boat".

The previous owner installed a full foot plate, to replace the flimsy stock foot pedals. This foot plate is solid, yet adjustable. I would highly recommend this upgrade to any P&H owner.

As I wanted to spend more time in rock gardens, (and after trying Matt’s Delphin at Skooks) I decided that I needed a Delphin for myself. The Delphin 150 was enjoyable to paddle at Paddlefest, and it was a much better fit for me. Luckily for me, a local paddlesports shop had a second hand 150 in stock. The boat was basically new... I don't even think that it had a scuff!

But wait… it’s pink?
Yes, it does have (some) pink on it. It wouldn’t have been my first choice, with my blue obsession and all, however it has grown on me. Something about the fact that it’s mostly battleship grey, and is built like a tank (and weighs nearly as much as one…), lets me justify the pink. It has an air of spunkyness to it.

More information on the P&H Delphin 155 & 150 to come!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016


In keeping with the tradition of creating New Year's Resolutions, I promised myself to get back in to blogging. I have neglected this blog for far too long, and I missed being an active member of the paddling community.

A great deal has happened since July 2013, and I will hopefully be able to catch up.

Also, In an attempt to make myself take more photographs, and to inspire more activity on this blog, I will post about other outdoor activities/adventures in addition to kayaking.

Happy Paddling!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Paddlefest 2013

I'm a kayak geek and I'm happy to admit it. 
So, when Paddlefest comes around every year, I get quite exited. So many boats to try and experiment with!

This year happened to be on quite a windy day. It was over 15 knots, gusting up to 18. That is far from ideal for beginners to learn and try out boats, but it was great news for us.

This year I really wanted to try the P&H Delphin 150. A friend of mine has a Delphin 155 which I have tried before, but I found it way too large for me. Since I'm too light for the 155, I found it way to stable and quite a chore to throw on edge. 

 The Delphin 150 however felt way looser and more comfortable for me on the water. It edged and behaved like I felt it should have. As other people have mentioned before, the Delphins are not the quickest boats out there, but they are not meant to be fast.

I really enjoyed paddling the 150, but the one thing that I hated were the foot pedals. They were pathetic! They were finicky to adjust and they gave out on my twice. I checked to see if they were locked in place (they were), and I asked one of the P&H reps to make sure that it was correct. I would be paddling along and all of a sudden it would just give out... and over I went. Needless to say, the boat rolls well.

If I were to get a Delphin 150 at some point, it would definitely be the surf spec, which has a nice solid foot plate instead of pedals. 

Next on my list was the P&H Hammer. I realize that it is designed for someone much larger than me, but I was still really curious to try it. 

It's a bit of a strange boat. It's designed for playing in rocks, which I enjoy, but something didn't quite feel right for me. I feel that the boat would need to be tested in the environment that it was designed for... but that wasn't happening in the bay.

I was hoping to try the Valley Gemini SP (In plastic) to compare it to the Delphin 150, but surprisingly Vally wasn't there. Next year, perhaps? 

Next we went over to Sterling's booth. We chatted for a bit and I suggested that Matt should try the Sterling Reflection. He tried Rowan's boat, and I grabbed a demo Reflection. We paddled out into the wind, and we managed to surf a few small waves on the way back.

I've tried the Reflection before, but it was the full sized one... which felt huge on me. The one that I borrowed at Paddlefest was the 1" cut version. This Reflection was still a bit large, however I didn't feel like I was swimming in it. It was a really fun boat, and it surfed very well on the small waves that we had that day.

We ended up staying for pretty much the whole day and we ran into a surprising amount of people that we knew. I'm looking forward to next year :)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Carbon Fiber Skeg: A Beauty That Deserves To Be Shown Off!

Ok, by now most people know that I love carbon fiber... It's gorgeous! Matt and I have both worked with carbon fiber quite a bit, and while it's beautiful, it really is a pain to work with. 

One project that we started, but never completed, was a carbon fiber skeg for my Valley Avocet lv. While I realized that the weight savings from the stock plastic blade would be minimal, I still wanted to make one. I wanted it to have a foiled shape and to have a foam core (much like a Werner paddle), but we had more than a few problems with it, so I gave up on it.

Fast forward a bit, and I get an interesting email from a man named Norbert Gancarz. He asked if I would like to test his carbon skeg. I agreed and eagerly awaited the delivery. When it arrived I couldn't help but smile. The finish was beautiful, the fibers were in line, and it was foiled. Geeze... this really put my attempt to shame.

I stripped my old skeg blade out and I weighed it out of curiosity (The backpacker's mentality rubbing off on me!).

And then I weighed Norbert's skeg. 119 grams lighter. 

Ok, so saving 119 grams on a sea kayak isn't much, but look at it!

When installing it, we noticed that it was a bit wider at the base than the stock plastic blade. This resulted it a bit of a struggle getting it to fit between the rubber spacers on either side of the skeg box, but we got it in. Since the rubber spacers were squished a bit, deploying the skeg was a bit stiffer than before. One of the spacers also squished more than the other, resulting it the skeg being offset slightly in the skeg box. Both of these issues should be resolved once the spacers compress over time. 

Overall the skeg is absolutely gorgeous, and I feel bad for having it concealed beneath my boat. I feel that it deserves to be shown off... so capsizing, deploying the skeg, hanging out underwater for a while, and then rolling back up it is!

(Norbert, the only criticism that I have is that it should have a small hole drilled into the tip of the blade. This makes it easier to pull the skeg down if it happened to get stuck.)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Portland Island

(I'm really quite late with this post, but as I mentioned we have been quite busy with preparations for another trip.) 

With the car loaded up before hand, we caught the 5pm ferry after work. Matt and I ended up giving Mark, another WCP member, a ride.

The paddle over to Portland was better than expected. The forecast for the whole weekend was pouring rain (at least 20mm's each day) so we were expecting the worst. It turned out to be a nice evening and we got to the campsite relatively quickly.

When we rounded the point towards the campsite it was already dark, but we could see headlamps on shore. As we paddled closer I saw a headlamp walking along the beach and a voice called out "Hello". I said hi in return and introduced myself, to the headlamp. The voice in the dark responded with "Ah, Alana, we've been expecting you." 

A little weirded out, we landed on the beach. As it was dark and somewhat late, we decided to save time and just carry our boats straight up to the campsitte instead of unloading them. This really seemed to amaze everyone and I heard someone say "Are those loaded? I swear that mine weighs 300 pounds loaded!" as we walked by. We were carrying the boats by grabbing the hull (not by the toggles) and I was honestly surprised by how light and easy to carry they were.
I've carried unloaded boats that were heavier than that!

Since Matt and I were preparing for hiking the North Coast Trail and the Cape Scott Trail, we had a backpacker's ultra-light mindset. Our boats ended up being really quite light. I'm guessing that we had about 20 pounds of gear, plus food and water. 

I remember the first camping trip that I did... I packed EVERYTHING and my Avocet must have weighed at least 150 pounds.

Anyway, after we set up our tent we had a late night snack and Mark came by and enjoyed rice pudding and tea with us. At that point everyone was asleep already so we went to bed ourselves.

The next morning we were pleased to see that the rain held off for another day. We joined the group for breakfast under Dan's massive MSR shelter. The thing really is huge! It engulfs two full sized picnic tables easily and provides a cozy shelter for everyone to cook and eat under.

After breakfast we asked around to see where everyone was paddling today, but surprisingly everyone else wanted to stay at camp. Mark was the only one who joined us. Oh well...

The wind was gusting around 15 knots, but it really wasn't all that bad out. We decided to head over to Russell Island to take a look at the old Hawaiian settlement.

We stopped for lunch and enjoyed the view for a bit. While eating, we noticed that the crow calls that we had been hearing sounded somewhat fake, so I decided to investigate. I walked over to the calls, but I couldn't see any crows anywhere. The crow calls suddenly stopped and a low grumble/growl and crashing sounds started coming from the same area. We came to the conclusion that there was a speaker hidden somewhere playing the animal recordings. We eventually gave up on finding the speaker, but while walking back to the boats I managed to catch a small garter snake that was in the grass.

On the paddle back to the campsite, the wind died quite a bit. Matt and I decided to go for a walk around the island to kill a bit of time before the potluck dinner.

A few paddlers came for the day, and then returned home.

Portland Island is quite beautiful, and there are numerous species of wild flowers scattered around. While walking around, we heard more fake crow calls. Now we were really curious, so we followed it. Aha! It was a speaker and mp3 player after all. Of course I forgot to take a photo of it...

We were not sure if they are trying to attract, or detour animals with the speakers.

Dinner ended up being fantastic! Everyone brought delicious food, and amazingly, no one brought the same dish. (There was even bacon covered scallops!)

The next morning everyone started to pack up. The three of us weren't in a rush so we had a slow, relaxing morning.

The racoons on Portland are a bit crazy. You really need to guard your food. All weekend they tried to steal food, and they even ended up chewing on someone's PFD and back rest. At one point I chased one up a tree, and as I came closer to get a better look, the little guy started peeing! Revenge I suppose...

We left Portland and ended up stopping on Coal Island for a short lunch break. We watched the ferries pass.

... and then we continued around the Island.

On friday we had launched from the public dock beside the ferry terminal, but since there was no parking left, we had to park in Canoe Cove. So, the logical thing to do would be to paddle to Canoe Cove to our car. 

There weren't many places for us to get off the water and unload, so Matt went to scout it out. He ended up talking to the Marina and asking if we could unload boats and pack up the car. They said yes so we did. However, when we were halfway through unloading, a man walked toward us and asked if we could move our boats. I responded with "Yes, we are unloading and will be gone in a minute" and I continued packing up my Ikea bag and put it in the car. He didn't move and responded aggressively with "I said, move your boats". We weren't blocking anything, and other people from the marina had walked passed us without any issues. So to please him, we lifted one of the empty boats onto the car. He stomped off down the ramp, only to return minutes later saying "You don't belong here. I better not see you here again." and he stomps off again, this time in another direction (and assumingly to the office). When he returns again we are tightening cam straps, and he looks even angrier, "You are lucky that the manager isn't in, or else they would have charged you a fine."

You mean the one that we talked to and asked permission to unload? 
We obviously didn't say that, otherwise his head might of exploded. 

We ended up driving off, after having only spent 10 minutes or so at the marina.


On a better note, Matt and I brought the MSR Gear Shed add on to our Hubba Hubba. I had bought it months ago, but we hadn't had the chance to use it until this trip. It essentially doubles the floor space of the Hubba Hubba. The floor of the Gear Shed is open, except for a triangle of fabric shown on the left of the photo. In a pinch, you could probably use the Gear Shed to turn the Hubba Hubba into a 3 person if you use a tarp for a floor (and if you don't expect much rain), but in BC I wouldn't recommend it.

 I'm probably never going to take this backpacking, but it is a welcomed addition of space for paddling trips (and you don't have to buy another tent!).