Tuesday, January 25, 2011

LIFE Jackets Save Lives

Last week on the Noyo River, we were preparing for a water safety class for a group of local stream surveyors. We watched a gentleman launch his brand new kayak onto the river. The stickers were still on it and the paddle. He was also wearing a brand new life jacket that appeared to be snug and well fitted.

It was a beautiful day. The river was calm and glassy with the sun just starting to penetrate through the trees. The kayak appeared to be stable, and we were stoked to see someone heading out to enjoy a gorgeous paddle on the Noyo.

Several hours later, we were on the water teaching our class and a neighbor across the river called us over. He asked if we would retrieve the kayak from a meadow up the river. He had just finished assisting the paddler into an ambulance.

The paddler capsized his kayak. The water temperature of the Noyo was 51 degrees. This individual was having some diabetic issues and became hypothermic in the chilly water. Fortunately there are a couple of houses along the river near where he capsized, and the residents were able to assist him and call for medical help.

We regularly see paddlers on the river paddling without life jackets or wearing them improperly. Fortunately the river is usually calm and most remain upright and in their boats. The water temperature of the Noyo rarely gets out of the 50 degree range so hypothermia is definitely a concern for anyone immersed in it for more than a few minutes.

We thought it would be a good time to share the video Cold Water Boot Camp to illustrate the effects of cold water on the body.

Fortunately, our the paddler on the Noyo River was ok. He had done 2 things right - wearing his life jacket properly and checking in at Dolphin Isle so that people knew to watch for him.

Special thanks to Stan and Jim of the Lost Coast Chapter of the Traditional Small Craft Association for towing the kayak back to Dolphin Isle for the paddler.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Modeling and Remodeling

The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) interviewed and videoed us this morning for a series of videos that they are doing on small businesses that have used SBDC services to make their business successful. Jeff and I worked with our local SBDC - West Company when we were developing Liquid Fusion Kayaking on the Mendocino Coast.

Of course the funnest part was the paddling. Due to time constraints, we weren't able to get out to the ocean for them. However, we had fun in our whitewater kayaks messing around on the Noyo River. It will be fun to see the video after they produce it.

We began phase one of our location make-over. We are still figuring out if we are going to change the layout and how to get a better office set up at our location. Do we go with a camp trailer, a toy hauler, or a shed?

First on our list was reinforcing our rack and replacing a split 2X4 so we had to relocate all of our boats.

If you come by in the next couple of weeks, please excuse the mess.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Surfing the Fleet

A couple of warm, sunny January days had us donning our wetsuits and surfing a variety of our sit on top surf kayaks. We enjoyed the simplicity of wearing only wetsuits and booties.

However by day, 3 we were pining for our high performance surf craft.

A sea kayak surf session was fun. We used the session to practice our combat rolls and to mess about with back surfing (urrrgh . . . still learning our new camera so not the best video clip).

This week, we were back at it in our whitewater kayaks.

The whitewater kayaks are super fun to play around in, simple to throw in the back of the truck, and versatile when good rock gardening opportunities occur.

But again, we found ourselves missing the fast planing hulls and crisp edges of our surf kayaks. Guess we are a bit spoiled.

Speaking of spoiled - Bear and Aften are enjoying our trips to the beach.

Surfing standing waves in our whitewater kayaks on the river is on this weekend's plan.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Whitewater of the Sea

We have been intending to get a new kayak rock gardening video posted on youtube but have been paddling more and computing less (not a bad thing). With our Liquid Lounge Night at Silver's at the Wharf coming up, we knew that we had better get some computing done.

After many hours of reviewing a year's worth of funness and putting it into a video, here's what we came up with. Our local Mendocino Coast audience "ouuuuued and ahhhhhed". We hope that you enjoy it too.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Christmas Bird Count

Life is not about the destination but the journey.

One of the things that we love about our natural world is that you often find what you aren't looking for. Yesterday, we participated in the Mendocino Coast Audubon Society's Christmas Bird Count. We found many things that we were looking for and were delighted with so much more.

This was the 111th year of the Christmas Bird Count and the first year for an organized count in Fort Bragg. We had over 50 birders canvasing areas in the Fort Bragg and Mendocino Areas. Of course, our area was the Noyo River which is only birdable by kayak.

We were stoked to challenge our birding skills and learn from other birders. We enjoyed seeing how many species we could find and identify but as usual enjoyed the journey as much as the goal. Common merganser or red-breasted merganser?

Our journey entailed 7.4 miles of paddling over 6 hours in the Noyo River Estuary. We started in the rain, but a rainbow and glimpses of blue sky had us optimistic of a nice day.

We enjoyed the birds and the beauty of the Noyo River. The river was flowing 650 cfs (cubic feet per second) which gave us plenty of water to get up the river and a nice downriver float. Unintentionally we ended up at the Skunk Train's 1st bridge on the Noyo River in time to see the train go by.

As we took a stretch break, we heard more traffic coming on the train tracks and got to see a parade of speeder cars heading east.

An unexpected wildlife siting of our paddle was a gray fox napping in on a sunny bank of the river. (It let me get a photo).

Oh - by the way, we counted 59 bird species on our paddle including 3 unique to the Fort Bragg Bird Count Species - any guesses which ones they were?