Sunday 26 August 2018

Making Kayak Hatch Gaskets from Silicone

Kayaking is brand new to me, and so I don't know much about it, or kayaks.  So when I posted about my new-to-me sea kayak on one of the canoeing forums, people pointed out that this kayak originally came with neoprene hatch covers, and the firberglass covers went over that to make a tight seal to prevent water infiltration.  I did not have neoprene covers nor any reasonable means to make them, so I improvised a gasket with a tube of silicone and some kitchen cling wrap.  All-in-all I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out.  Of course as always the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so we won't know how well it works until we get it on the water.  So I'll report back after we've taken it for spin.

Sunday 19 August 2018

Swift Caspian Sea Kayak

Last fall when I was making my regular rounds of kijiji a nice looking kayak came up at what seemed to me to be a pretty reasonable price.  16 foot Swift in fiberglass - older but still in great shape.  I don't know the kayak market like I do the canoe market, and I don't think I'd even been in a kayak before except maybe once, but I did know that much like canoes plastic was cheaper and heavier, fiberglass lighter and more expensive, and kevlar lighter and more expensive even still.  So when I saw a 16 foot Swift Caspian Sea for $750 I wanted to go see it.  But it came up at a time when I was extremely busy with vacation and then Scouts, and as such I really could not take the time to go see it.  So after exchanging a few emails weeks passed - 5 or 6 weeks to be exact - and by then of course I figured the guy had long-since sold it.  Then one day out of the blue I get another message from him - was I still interested for 500 bucks!  Well I was still interested at 750 so sure I'd take it for 500 - I went right over to check it out, and took home my first kayak.

Saturday 11 August 2018

New Article - Canoe 101

I spent a lot of time over the last few days putting together an intro article to explain the basics of canoes - mainly geared toward someone buying their first canoe and wanting to get up to speed on what all their options are and what all the different terms mean.  You can see it linked in above but here is a link to it as well : Canoe 101

Tuesday 7 August 2018

Hike to Cape Split

Cape Split is a narrow little jutting peninsula of land which is part of the larger Cape Blomidon. Together they jut out into the Bay of Fundy between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and divide the Bay of Fundy from the Minas Basin. It is often said that the Bay of Fundy has the highest tides in the world - though I believe more correctly the Minas Basin does. The numbers you find online are that the tidal range in this area is about 16 meters or about 53 feet. When you experience this with your own eyes it is really quite spectacular! The hike to Cape Split gives you a perfect opportunity to experience these tides first hand. It is a relatively easy hike if you stick to the main trail, and one that 5 and 6 year olds regularly accomplish with their families. If you hike at a fast pace you can make it to the split in just over an hour, but more realistically most people probably want to allot 4 to 5 hours for the return trip. It is about 6.5 km each way if you stay on the main trail.

My apologies if I misrepresent this piece since I've never heard it told directly by a member of the local Mi'kmaw First Nation, but Blomidon is supposed to be the home of the Mi'kmaw god Glooscap, and the tall pieces of Cape Split broken off the end of where you hike are referred to in local lore as "Glooscap's fingers".  I would love to hear more about this from someone knowledgable.

I was first exposed to tides in this area in University - at Acadia University in Wolfville NS a standard part of the "frosh" program for initiating freshmen was to take them out onto the mud flats of the Wolfville Harbour during low tide and have them slide down the 30 and 40 foot natural mud slides. Of course everyone got completely covered head-to-toe in mud, which is why arrangements were always made with the local fire hall to pay a visit there afterwards to get hosed down.

Cape Split was originally private land which from 2002 through 2007 got acquired by the Province of Nova Scotia and turned into a Provincial Park. In 2009 the province released a 20 year management plan with details on where they wanted the park to go.