I have always loved the water. I grew up in it. I spent every summer at the beach. I would stay out in the waves for hours, not returning for lunch or even a sip of water. My family would go back to the house and I would stay. And with my last day of work today, I have an opportunity to return to the water.
I used to challenge my friends to contests, who was willing to swim the furthest, the deepest, stressing the moms out beyond imagination. I always won, fearless of the thought of being so far from shore, enticed by the thrill of the diminishing horizon. I would swim as far as I could dive and still reach the bottom in one breath. I would surface with a fistful of sand and swim further out, eventually giving up in the frigid deep water, but still tempted by the horizon. Continue reading Let the adventures begin→
The setup I decided on for the outriggers is similar to Andrew McAuley’s rig for his Tasman Sea crossing. I used ram ball and socket mounts, size 1.5 inch ball on the deck on either side. I used giant 1.5 inch washers on the underside but I still think I need to reinforce the hull with some fiberglass in that area. The benefits of this design is its flexibility and convenience. It’s weakness is the stress on the hull and weight. I considered simply strapping the extra paddle to deck but realized that would be neither flexible, resilient, nor convenient. However, the load would be distributed across the hull whereas the load for the ball and socket setup is on the hull in just a 2.5 inch diameter circle. Another fault of this system is that the outrigger can slip over the ball, a problem I imagine worsens in the water. Still a work in progress but I’ll figure it out.
Andrew McAuley suggested that sea kayaking was the new mountaineering. For him it was, and it is luring me in too. But for some reason it isn’t drawing the crowds that a new frontier maybe should. It is baffling how many untouched adventures exist on the open water. But even many serious mountaineers draw the line at an open ocean crossing. 95% of the ocean has yet to be explored and until recently, more was known about the surface of the moon. The water turns people away and rightfully so. It has been hundreds of millions of years since we were residents of an aquatic environment. It is foreign to us, unstable. We are not the top of the food chain in the ocean. In fact, we are so outnumbered that an open ocean swimmer is as easy of a meal as a pork tenderloin on your dinner plate. We can only be visitors to the ocean, and that humility is something foreign to the designed environments. Continue reading “A leap of logic”→
There are two types of opinions with respect to science: that it can be used to explain everything and the alternative that its scope is limited. I know a lot of us are tremendously resistant to the belief that science can explain everything. We crave mystery in our world and we often believe science takes that away. But what sometimes we fail to realize about science is that more often than not, it creates mystery where there previously was none, it creates questions more than answers. Scientists themselves are fueled by the mystery surrounding our universe and the entities within it. It is exactly the lack of knowledge that drives them. But they base their search on the premise that knowledge can be obtained, and that is why they keep looking. Continue reading Science!→
I remember that night thinking this silly self-portrait may be my last. But it didn’t bring me dysphoria. It brought action which of course led me out of the backcountry. I wish I could explain the feeling I had when I took this picture but I imagine my expression and the setting themselves say enough. I had no idea how brutal the weather I was about to face was truly going to be or how well my gear would hold up. I was stupid antsy, not naive, just rushed. My tent flattened on the ground and turned to a bivy sack in the 100 mile per hour gusts. If I hadn’t restaked it in the middle of the night, it certainly would have been destroyed. This is the face when the child-like excitement wears off and reality sets in. I guess I could say this is my ‘scared out of my mind’ face, but it is not the ridiculous fear that people feel for spiders or snakes. It is a calm fear, a totally collected state of mind. No adrenaline rush, probably even lowered blood pressure. Like mental overdrive. A kind of acceptance, this is where I am, I got myself here, now I’ll get myself out. It’s fun to think of the solitude I experienced on the mountain that night, the knowledge that I wholly was alone, a kind of apocalyptic taste if you will. And to be perfectly honest, I can’t wait to get back out there. Maybe with a four season tent and a real rain jacket, some waterproof gloves and maybe a buddy too. But the experience is no different. Continue reading Self-portraits→
I added some deck rigging for a kayak sea anchor and towline. I used 80 feet of 2.8mm Spyderline. I took the line all the way from the bow to the stern using Ronstan’s sheaveless blocks at either end. The reason I did this is so that when say I have the sea anchor deployed, the tension runs through the bow block all the way to the stern and then to the deck cleat on the right side of the cockpit. What this essentially does is lower the force on the deck cleat by half. The deck cleat is the most fragile component of the whole system and the one that would cause the biggest problem if it breaks (a hole in the boat). It also allows me to easily deploy and retract both a sea anchor and towline from the same rope. A sea anchor is used in heavy winds to slow the boats progress by acting as a parachute in the water and to orient the bow into the wind where the boat is least likely to capsize.
My homemade kayak sail is complete and I just want to thank my wonderful aunt for all her help with it! It looks absolutely beautiful. I have yet to take it for a test run but with all the forethought, I am certain it will sail wonderfully. In the last three days I also added the outriggers and some deck rigging and cleats for the sea anchor/tow rope. I will post about them in the next couple days!
In preparation for my fast approaching attempt to kayak from Key West to the Bahamas, my aunt and I made a kayak sail. I created the mast and boom using fiberglass rods which I ordered from DX Engineering. I considered using carbon fiber rods but changed my mind because of the expense. A fiberglass pole may cost $10 whereas the equivalent in carbon fiber will be over $100. For a low stress kayak sail, the fiberglass will do.