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billvoss

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Everything posted by billvoss

  1. Pru, what I need to figure out is how many pool practices I am up to attending per weekend, and pick which ones! For December 2019 the choice was easy, Kevin is the only nearby show. For 2020 the choices are harder. AMC sessions in Nashua, NH about 15 minutes from my home some Saturdays at 6pm Kevin's sessions in Lowell about 30 minutes from my home most Sundays at 3:30pm. NSPN's sessions in Haverhill about 45 minutes from my home on various days scheduled by a morning person. and in past years when not injured I've also helped teach white water rolling with AMC Boston historically on Sunday evenings in March.
  2. I've signed up to practice on December 8th and 15th. I hope some of my NSPN friends will be there to spot me!
  3. I'm hoping someone else will also post they are coming, so I don't have to drive home during rush hour around 5pm Tuesday after working with my White-Water rolling student. We might be meeting at White Pond this week (details in this old calendar entry) because Walden Pond is currently closed while police search for a missing man. Will decide which venue Tuesday based on https://twitter.com/waldenpondstate. Though someone else can post an event for the following week if they wish, I will be out of town. By September 24th sunset will be 06:38:50 PM which will probably mean the NSPN Walden after work sessions are finished for 2019.
  4. My back is not sufficiently improved to play with kayaks today.
  5. According to CBS Boston Body Of Missing Cambridge Man Found In Walden Pond report dated September 9, 2109 at 1:19pm. So there is a good chance they will reopen the boat launch Tuesday. Though they haven't done so as I post this. What they have done is moved the close time a half hour earlier. So they will be locking the boat ramp gate at 6:30pm assuming they reopen the boat launch. Which means we would have to get off the water around 6pm. Unfortunately, I strained my back about an hour ago. I hope it will be all better by morning. However, my own ability to attend Tuesday has become uncertain. Unless someone else posts before noon that they definitely want to go this Tuesday, I won't be taking a kayak to Walden or White's Pond tomorrow.
  6. If the weather forecast holds, around 5pm I'm expecting to practice with a rolling friend who hasn't been to Walden recently. Everyone is welcome to join us. -Bill I might also be working with a white-water rolling student before hand.
  7. Assuming the weather cooperates, I expect to work with a white water student until around 5pm, then join any NSPN participants who show up. As far as I can tell the DCR universal access program will not be reserving boat ramp parking next week, so returning the NSPN Walden event to Tuesdays.
  8. billvoss

    Walden August 27th, 2109 (back to Tuesdays)

    Hi Ken, Walden will soon start closing the gates earlier to stay ahead of the sunset. They will also close the beach and its building fairly soon for winter. They announce these changes on https://twitter.com/waldenpondstate. They will eventually close the boat ramp for winter, but I think the park itself is open year round. I recall one year a group of paddlers meet at Walden during Thanksgiving Weekend and carried our kayaks from main parking down to the pond to practice rolling because the boat ramp was closed for winter. Dan Foster only added Walden to the calendar through today, which is traditional. Some years the NSPN sessions at Walden have continued into September on a week by week basis, often moving the start time earlier. It is very weather and interest dependent. You are a paid member, so you can start a trip thread asking if anyone wants to join you at Walden. The weather might cooperate. I might join you. Others might join you. Eventually nobody will respond, then nobody will post, then NSPN Walden is done for the season. However, the water definitely cools off with the shorter days and colder nights. I will probably resume wearing my drysuit for comfort this week. Though it is certainly not required for safety yet. -Bill
  9. billvoss

    Walden August 27th, 2109 (back to Tuesdays)

    Anyone expect to join me this Tuesday for the last Walden on the calendar for 2019?
  10. billvoss

    Bold Coast / Fundy / Cobscook 8.2 - 8.5.19

    Since we are hijacking Joe's trip report today. I'll tell a personal scary rolling experience that I always relate to my beginning rolling students. Back when I was trying to get my pool roll to work on the river, I took a rolling on the river training class. Most of the class was spent peeling out into a play spot, capsizing, rolling up. Below the play spot the current quickly smoothed out, and there were rescue paddlers standing by to assist. I missed my 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and perhaps 4th roll attempt before deciding I was out of air. From my laid back position I tried to sit up and reach the grab loop. Instead of reaching the loop my helmet hit the now shallow sandy bottom. The current was still fast, but the water was too shallow for me to reach the loop. I tried a second time, then switched to plan B. I grabbed the side of my spray skirt and got the skirt off the edge of the coaming. No air left to be fancy, I pushed down on the kayak with both hands like I was pulling off a pair of pants and felt myself leaving the kayak. My feet felt tangled in something, and I flutter kicked them until I was free and breathing that wonderful air. A rescue kayaker reached my kayak, righted it, and declared that my skirt was still on the kayak, which was news to both of us. I have never again worn a skirt with suspenders. I always make sure my beginner rolling students demonstrate they can pop their skirt without the grab loop, and I make sure they know it is possible to leave their skirt behind.
  11. Meeting Wednesday instead of Tuesday this week because we expect the DCR Universal Access program to reserve most of the boat ramp parking on Tuesday. Keep your fingers crossed on the weather. Weather permitting, I should be finishing up with a former white water rolling student around 5pm, after which I'll join whom ever decides to show up from NSPN.
  12. I'm sad about it, but lets skip this week.
  13. I don't see a second person definitely attending, but I do see a good chance of rain and thunder in the forecast for tomorrow. So I'm thinking about skipping this week. Anyone have a burning desire to go?
  14. I expect to be at Walden this Wednesday. I should be finishing up with a former white water rolling student around 5pm, at which time I'll join who ever decides to show up from NSPN. We will probably be meeting at Walden on Wednesday next week as well because Walden is hosting a large group on Tuesday, before returning to the Tuesday schedule. -Bill
  15. billvoss

    Walden Pond Wednesday evenings?

    Wednesday, August 14th this week? Mainly because of the rain in the forecast, not because of the adaptive program.
  16. billvoss

    Walden Pond Wednesday evenings?

    I did some web searching, and it may be less of an issue than we expected last night. Based on https://www.mass.gov/info-details/adaptive-program-schedule#kayak-with-waypoint-adventure- Unless I missed a listing, it looks like the adaptive program is supposed to end around 3pm on August 13th, and 5pm on August 20th. Even allowing them time to cleanup, it looks like only August 20th is likely to impact us.
  17. I haven’t wet my paddle since September 12th, 2018. This coming Tuesday I hope to wet my paddle, kayak, and head with Walden Pond water. Afterwards I hope to enjoy dinner with friends at Comella’s. I’m not leading anything for NSPN or AMC at this time. However, I do want to show up to see old and new friends, and I am willing to sign an NSPN waiver as a participant if someone else brings the waiver. For those unaware, I’ve been out with a back injury. I’m certainly not entirely recovered, but I do now have medical clearance to resume all activities.
  18. Looks like at least 3 this week. See everyone there. Bill
  19. billvoss

    Helmet

    You probably want a helmet that meets standard CE EN 1385 CLASS I/IV – Helmets for canoeing and white-water sports. As far as I know there is no separate Sea Kayaking specific standard. Personally I've settled on the Sweet Protection Strutter helmet mainly because it fits my swollen head better than any other helmet I've tried. It was in fact the only helmet Zoar had in stock half a decade or so ago that I could comfortably fit on my head. Obviously your head is probably slightly different in size from my head. Personally I'm glad the Strutter doesn't have drain/vent holes because I occasionally use it as an impromptu bucket to dump water, usually over myself to cool off. Lack of holes also prevents the sunburn stripes that some of the very well ventilated bicycle helmets I've owned in the past are prone to allow. Sadly, I must also advise you to only purchase helmets from reputable merchants. Apparently fake helmets which look like the real thing but don't perform like the real thing have become an issue. For example this recent NPR report about bicycle helmets, and this Youtube Motorcycle Helmet example.
  20. billvoss

    Latex Care in the Non-Kayaking Commuity

    When I was training as a drysuit scuba driver, they taught me to use my hands to pull the opening wider as though it was a rubber band before pulling my head through when putting the suit on or taking if off. They said the latex has lots of stretch available in that direction compared to the minimal stretch available in the other direction. They did NOT want students ripping their rental suit's neck gasket! This NRS YouTube video calls that "widening the opening with your hands:"
  21. I plan to join you at Comella's on Tuesday, May 21st. 2019, and I have RSVP'ed going. Unfortunately, I will not be bringing a kayak yet, because I'm still trying to comply with the surgeon and physical therapist's guidance. -Bill Voss
  22. billvoss

    Paddling Woods Hole

    I have repeatedly been tempted by your Woods Hole postings, but then Google Maps reminds me to allow two and half hours for the drive down from NH. Once I allow time to get up and moving in the morning and add some cushion against arriving late the time I would have to set my alarm gets absurd. Especially for a night-owl like myself. While your accommodations offer is very generous, that changes the event from a common day trip to a rare "discuss with wife" overnight/multi-night trip. To drum up interest part of me thinks you should offer an afternoon trip. That does make the drive-time/paddle-time ratio pretty severe. However, especially as a spring trip when some of us are not really up to a full day on the water, it might get some participation. If you want to use the afternoon paddle as a hook for longer events, the afternoon trip could also meet at your house for a "bag lunch" before the paddle. That would give you a chance to show off your accommodations offer, and let paddlers look before they jump into a multiple-day commitment. Unfortunately, I'm currently under doctors orders to not resume kayaking yet after back surgery. Once I do start kayaking again I'll need to build my endurance back up like an L1 beginner. So I personally don't expect to paddle Woods Hole until 2020 at the earliest.
  23. billvoss

    PLB

    I was a bit shocked a few years back when a group very close to shore with lots of tiny islands and a bit of fog but only moderate seas proved unable to to maintain radio contact. On the bright side the Coast Guard has much larger antennas mounted much higher above the water. However, the Coast Guard system was designed assuming antennas 6 feet above water level, and even with that assumption their coverage maps shows lots of radio coverage gaps close to shore. See https://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=mtNds Various sources say a DSC alert has a 15% to 25% greater range than a voice call, and it appears that actually transmitting a DSC alert takes less than a second. A DSC radio is supposed to then send another alert every 3.5 to 4.5 minutes updating the GPS coordinates if available until it receives a DSC acknowledgement. However, the most interesting thing I discovered researching this post is that if you have a recent DSC radio, you can get an automated VHF DSC test call response from the Coast Guard! So you can test for yourself if the Coast Guard would receive your DSC mayday! Assuming the Coast Guard receives your GPS coordinates, your little handheld might not reach lobster boats you cannot see, but the lobster men will certainly hear the Coast Guards "All Ships" broadcast which will probably bring them into your sight at which point your radio probably will reach them. Unfortunately my current radio is too old (the manual is copyright 2009), and it does not support the test call feature. It may be time for a new radio.
  24. billvoss

    PLB

    I have to disagree with the only paddle if you would still paddle without your X-device philosophy. If I followed that rule my kayaking would be limited to small warm bodies of water where I was reasonably confident I would always make it to shore unless my body or mind failed so spectacularly that I didn't want to be resuscitated. Everything I take with me kayaking can fail. My mind, my body, my kayak, my paddle, my drysuit, my PFD, my electronics, my companions can all fail. My first week of sea kayaking was a fall course in Maine when ocean water temperatures were near their yearly peak. After that course I read the books Sea Kayaker's Deep Trouble and Sea Kayaker's More Deep Trouble. Those books changed my priorities. Instead of starting off by buying shinny new sea and white-water kayaks, my first major purchase was a Kokatat Drysuit, my second major purchase was a DSC-VHF radio with integrated GPS, and a PLB was not terribly far behind. Other priorities to purchase brand new were multiple replacement copies of the exact same high-end helmet as the older versions took hits, and high flotation PFDs with lots of pockets. Too this day my kayak's have come from Craig's List or I've built them myself. I have indulged in some nice carbon-fiber paddles, but I definitely consider those paddles luxuries. I reordered my priorities because too many of the Deep Trouble stories involved more than one of the following: One or two paddlers (three to sea remains my minimum). Paddling without adequate thermal protection (my drysuit is non-negotiable on the open ocean if the water is too cool for extended swimming in a speedo). Without any radio to signal for help or with the radio inside a kayak they watched blow away. Not listening to weather reports at all, or trying to beat the weather to stay on a tight schedule. Never tried even a paddle float self rescue, or only tried it on a calm pond with unloaded kayaks and often only with somebody else years ago. Never tried an assisted rescue, or only tried it on a calm pond with unloaded kayaks and often only with somebody else years ago. Never learned to roll a kayak, or never rolled a loaded kayak in conditions, or haven't ever/recently practiced rolling this kayak. Poor navigation skills. Waiting too long before they called for help. The biggest one of all, not being willing to be the first at the put-in to say "We shouldn't launch now." So I say if you wouldn't launch without your X-device, great! Just remember to check your X-device at the put-in, and abort your launch if your X-device isn't with you, or isn't working. I would also suggest trying to avoid all the other classic mistakes I listed above.
  25. billvoss

    PLB

    When on the ocean I normally carry a DSC-VHF with integrated GPS and a PLB with integrated GPS. I follow the old rule if it is not on your person you do not have it, so they are both attached to me, not my kayak. I've had my VHF fail during radio tests. The PLB has never failed a self test. I need to replace the old cell phone I used to carry for 911 calls. The "waterproof" box it was in flooded and killed the phone. Though other scenarios are far more likely, my basic worst case PLB scenario is that somehow in very cold water I fall back from the group and unzip my relief zipper, then I hurt an arm, get separated from my kayak and from my companions in heavy fog with wind and current pushing me away from shore, my relief zipper still isn't securely zipped, and nobody hears my calls on the VHF. With a functioning PLB in New England I would probably survive the experience. Without one I might be written up as "an experienced kayaker.... condolences to his family. "
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