09 May 2013

Sunset Kayaking

Sunset paddle_Bribie_cimage Damiano Visocnik_used with permission
I've been out of action for several months and I was eager to return to kayaking. I had some concerns about my paddle fitness and skills. Afer a solid day paddling, testing my rolling and messing around in small waves, I felt strong and happy. Heading out in the evening with Gnarlydog to enjoy the sunset, was the perfect way to end the day.

26 March 2012

Drought Over

"The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears or the sea". Isak Dinesen

My studies have finished so I am packing the kayak and heading out for a month of "curing" in the salty wet stuff. I will update the blog on my return.

28 June 2011

Under the Sea - Sculling Brace Practice

Under the sea
Under the sea
Darling it's better
Down where it's wetter
Take it from me
Up on the shore they work all day
Out in the sun they slave away
While we devotin'
Full time to floatin'
Under the sea
Alan Menken & Howard Ashman
Upside down_1_c
I totally agree with Menken and Ashman - 'Darling its better, down where its wetter'.
Sculling brace; submerged meditation; devotin' time to floatin', no matter what you call it, planned time spent underwater in my kayak is rewarding. Following Warren Williamson's advice, I fall into the water, let myself sink and come up on the other side and slowly repeat it from side to side.
hitting the water_c
To improve I practice in all conditions.Of course the objective is to gain skills to use in challenging situations but I also find this activity very relaxing.

24 May 2011

Special Dolphin Sighting

surfing wind waves_4
Playing in rough water off Bribie Island in Moreton Bay, I noticed a strange looking dolphin jump out of the water and flip onto its back not far from me. I quickly paddled over to have a closer look, but it had disappeared. There are at least 8 dolphin species recorded in Moreton Bay so it is not uncommon to see them when paddling in the area. However since the Brisbane floods, visible marine activity has been minimal so I was quite excited by the close sighting.

used with permission_Ken Douglas
A short time later, as we continued to play, the same thing happened again. This time Gnarlydog also saw the dolphin and pointed out that it wasn't a dolphin, but a shark approx 4 - 5 ft long. It was quite dark on top with a white belly. The obvious difference was the blunt or stubby head.

Bull shark in 1m water_Alkok_used with permission
I did not feel overly concerned as the shark showed very little interest in us and while some rolling was going on, we were mostly above water in our kayaks. We continued playing for another hour or more, the shark splashing occasionally before disappearing altogether. I was keen to find out what type of shark it was as I had never seen one jump out of the water like that, especially so close to us. I contacted shark expert Valerie Taylor to ask her opinion:

Shark Conservationist and Underwater Film Maker Valerie Taylor AM
You have just described an average shark. Nearly all have white or pale stomachs and are darker on top. The blunt head sounds like a bull shark and they will jump out of the water. I have seen it several times. Do not ever get in the water when the vis is down. Predatory sharks hunt by sight and vibration. Lacking hands, if they cant see something splashing around in the water they can and often do investigate the unusual by biting. You were quite safe in your kayak specially if staying still like a log. Female Bull sharks at this time of the year are swimming into the harbours and rivers to pup. They do this so the males don't eat the new born sharks. The baby sharks will stay in the inland waters until they are big enough to hold their own in the ocean.
Regards Valerie Taylor ***

Bull Shark_Delusion Productions_used with permission
***Interview with Valerie and Ron Taylor

04 April 2011

Getting close to GnarlyDog

Wind forecasts above 15kn are a great time to head into the tidal flow where opposing forces create nice rough water to play in. tail surfing_1_c
Getting close to GDog, very close...

19 March 2011

Rainy Weekend Fun

"In my opinion, you can never practice the sculling brace enough. What I like to do is to get into a sculling brace position, looking up, hands under the paddle, let yourself sink and come up on the other side, to the sculling brace. Doing this back and forth very slowly is a good workout. It's good for learning orientation when you’re under water, teaches you to relax and be ok with being in the water". Warren Williamson
Tesie skull
Taking advantage of another rainy weekend when no one else was on the water, I played and had fun, rolling one day and surfing the next. As Warren says, the sculling brace is helpful in learning underwater orientation and relaxing underwater, both important for the kind of sea kayaking I enjoy.
tesie surf_3
Paddling out through the clear green water the sky was ominous and the falling rain stung my eyes. This small discomfort was quickly forgotten as each wave lifted the stern of my kayak for another ride.

17 February 2011

Happiness is a Stick

Dreamer Matt_Vanstix Aleut paddle
Queensland and my hometown Brisbane, is recovering from the unprecedented weather events of January 2011. Several local beaches and waterways remain closed to swimmers as a precaution. On some of the hottest days of Summer, the usually popular beaches are eerily deserted.
It’s no secret that playing around in my kayak with my stick makes me happy.
Kayaking is a chance for me to be fully present in the moment, not thinking about anything except my body, the paddle, the kayak and the water. Even when I muck it up, it’s still fun. I play to improve my skills and I like that I don’t have to be technically perfect to enjoy myself.
Gnarlydog sculling during a play session
As I play, get wet and focus in the now, I not only come to enjoy the sensation of being underwater in my kayak, I learn how the movements of my body affect the kayak in the water.
Greg Schwarz_Scarecrow roll recovery_copyright Tess Dodd
Greg Schwarz Scarecrow rolling during a play session
Playing with traditional paddles has fast tracked my learning and increased the FUN factor more than I could have imagined.
Greg Schwarz_Upside down or 'downunder' paddling_copyright Tess Dodd
Greg's 'Downunder' stroke
Sticks may not be for everyone, but my friends and I enjoy learning the subtleties of using them - and the benefits they bring!
Tess Rolling Happy_(c)_tess dodd