21 May 2014

Video: Vandreaming

Vanilla heard it clearly: it was the sound of his hull scraping on rock.
Now that his new kayak was finally baptized extreme care would no longer be necessary.
The lure of the gentle swell over the rocks was too great and, as if hearing a mermaid's song, we were drawn to it.
There was absolutely no need to paddle so close to those oyster and barnacle encrusted shores but the thrill of feeling the slowly pulsating water push our kayaks up to then suddenly drop away exposing the rock below, was measurable.

Allow yourself to view it on a large screen and headphones: enable HD for a better experience

This time the gentle wind and the calm ocean swell allowed us to explore a few tight spots that we missed on previous visits to these shores.
Food and water for a week and no scheduled itinerary is how we like to kayak. The mileage is irrelevant when there is so much to explore at close quarters in these tropical waters.
I was back in my old "big girl", a kayak that these days I only use for longer trips; when I thought I should spend more time with her. While maybe not as hard tracking and fast as some of my other kayaks, it was a refreshing feeling to be able to maneuver more nimbly around the rocks. A wider beam allows me to edge and release bow and stern for easier turning: I was able to avoid a few rocks...
We were too early in the season to encounter whales but saw a few large tunas leap out of the water.
Vanilla optimistically brought a hand line for fishing, with little success, given that he only tried once.
A realist, I carried dehydrated home-made meals that made fine dinners: just add water (and a bit of heat).
Being a team of just two allowed us much more flexible planning (read: none) and the days' destinations were simply shaped by the direction of the wind: if possible, we chose downwind.

09 May 2014

The anti-social media

Below is one of the most insightful videos that I have seen in a long time.
Ironically it attacks the very essence of the medium where you are now reading this.

There is something about social media (blogging included) that bothers me and at the same time draws me to it.
I don't know where the line is, where is OK to "share" something that I find outstanding and where instead it is just mental distraction, noise.
I have developed an aversion to FaceBook but condone blogging.
I often question myself why I do that.

Maybe I have developed an unspoken ethical boundary where I accept knowledge that I can learn from electronically, but despise formats where I am peeking into people's private lives, even if willingly shared publicly (0:08)
What good can I draw from that? is the question I ask myself...
I don't understand the obsession of individuals bent on knowing what their "friends" are doing, all the time.
But then I am guilty of self promotion letting other know what I do and secretly I crave adulation (1:06).
The real tipping point for me however is the constant presence of the mobile phone, where it is clearly out of place used only to "update" the status or news, or letting others knows "I am having a great time".
Why do I need to tell the world where and what I am doing right now, disconnecting myself from the very people that I am having a great time with?
Let it be, be present and save the updating for when I no longer am in good company as good company is created by actually being present and connected with the people around me as nothing says I don't really want to be here as staring at a small screen and furiously typing away.

(2:19) We are a generation of idiots, smart phones and dumb people...
(4:06) So look up from your phone, shut down those displays, we have a finite existence, a set number of days. Don't waste your life caught in the net as when the end comes nothing is worse than regret...


06 May 2014

Video: Sailing with Vixen

Of the kayaks in my shed Vixen is the most demanding.
I have kayaks that are high volume and are great on extended trips although I find them a bit dull for sheltered waters paddling.  I have low volume kayaks that are oh so easy to roll and a bit tricky to handle in rough waters, I also have a kayak that despite having a tendency to lee cock a bit it is very easy to live with when I do hand's free photography on the water.
And then there is Vixen: a Point65North XP designed by Johan Wirsen.
I need to pay attention when I paddle that kayak; she won't let me be sloppy or careless.
I find her a demanding in short wind waves; because of her longer waterline she tend to bury bow and stern (video here).
With her deep V shaped keel she wants to sit on one side when stationary and novices find it disconcerting.
Vixen however is great for sailing: the deeper keel prevents some of the lateral drift in a beam wind and I can maintain a straighter course over waves.
The longer keel line in the stern resists broaching and I have to use less correctional strokes compared to my other fish-form British kayak.

If you aren't viewing this on a mobile device, go big and watch it in full HD glory
Over the week end the Westerly wind really picked up an despite the shorter fetch over the waters of Moreton Bay I had times when the wind was up to 30 knots.
It was then where I no longer could sail as the bow was getting pushed downwind; maybe a smaller sail could have been still manageable for the beam wind?
Even with the sail stowed on deck I had to take care of occasional lee cocking when the bow will crest a wave and then be blown downwind.
Myself and AdvetureTess had the bay to ourselves with only the occasional yacht enjoying the strong wind.