Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Everglades Challenge

On the beach pre-start UM 2006

Fort Desoto or Bust!

Watertribe events stirs a special passion in some people. For true adventurers, the journey blends the serenity of nature with the challenge of getting from Fort Desoto to Key Largo under human or wind power.

The Everglades Challenge takes them away from their everyday worries and forces them to focus on the task at hand, the water and the beauty around them. Good luck to all and have a safe and enjoyable journey.

The solution to any problem - work, love, money, whatever - is to go paddle - sailing, and the worse the problem, the longer the trip should be." - Capt'n

Monday, February 26, 2007

Blogs / Mag. / The Shovel

Survived another snow storm

All is well in Wisconsin. We survived another one of Mother Nature's onslots. A little snow shoveling a little Advil; some more shoveling some more Advil..... ah time to rela... some extreme snow shoveling some Advil. It was a great weekend to catch up on some of my favorite blogs and magazines too.

Snow shoveling the new age sport - a how to approach

* Use the right shovel. Shovels with S-shaped handles and non-stick blade surfaces will usually require less effort and minimal bending to move snow. Or, consider pulling the snow out of the way, which requires less exertion.

* Avoid stimulants (for example, caffeine and nicotine) that can raise your heart rate and restrict blood vessels. Avoid shovelingimmediately after having eaten a large meal.

* Warm up and stretch muscles before shoveling, especially in themorning. Muscles are less susceptible to injury during physicalactivity after a warm-up.

* Drink plenty of fluids before and during shoveling to avoiddehydration, but not coffee (see above). Breathing cold air dehydratesthe body.

* Dress in layers. Wear a scarf or mask and/or goggles. Inhaling cold air may constrict arteries, decreasing your heart's oxygen supply.

* Start slowly to avoid a sudden load on the heart. An average snowshovelful of heavy, wet snow weighs up to 16 pounds. That means forevery 10 minutes of typical shoveling, you'll be clearing up to 2,000pounds of white stuff. To lift snow, bend from the knees. Remove heavy snow in two stages. First, skim off the top layer, and then remove the bottom. If snow is too heavy to lift, push it out of the way. Take frequent breaks as needed.

* Immediately stop if you feel pain or discomfort. No one knows your body as well as you do.

* If you have a lot to shovel, consider hiring a removal service.

* If using a snow blower, follow safety precautions completely. NEVER attempt to clear a clogged or stuck blade or auger before shutting off the power, and avoid wearing objects that can easily get caught in the blade, such as a long scarf. Before starting, be sure children and others stand clear to avoid being injured by hidden objects thrown into the air. Even using a snow blower will elevate heart rates, so consult your doctor if you have a history of heart problems.

Paddler, Small Craft Advisor, Good ole Boat; Can't wait for the new issue of Extreme Shoveling to come out. -The Capt'n

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Nothing but the beer light to guide us

Cherry beer - concoction

Low Pressure
We are under a severe snow advisory and blizzard white out conditions, but it didn't keep us from dinner out on a Saturday night. The present winter storm has given us a great opportunity to slow the pace down and reflect.
With nothing but the beer light to guide us, Laura and I spent some quality time in front of a raging fire and had a few cocktails.

Enjoying the fire - no pressure

High Pressure
Rules clarification, untested equipment and light air didn't appear to dampen the spirits of Team RAF. They have used every free moment to build, redesign and fabricate their way into what is the world's toughest small boat race - The Everglades Challenge.

I've been following the "Boys" since the inception of their boats "The Rise" and "The Fall". They pretty much have done the impossible and will make it down to the challenge no matter what the E.C. throws at them. ( see the discussion thread about rules, rules changes and new class development on the WaterTribe Website )

Other boats being built that I have been following, wont be on the beach in Fort Desoto. Tridarka, Adventure Trimaran both out.

Keeping it simple: Team RAF and the "Wizard" get'r done
Anyone can make things bigger, more complex. It takes a touch of genius-and a lot of courage-to move in the opposite direction. -Albert Einstein

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Cha cha cha changes....

Team RAF – Those naughty aerospace engineers
It would appear the boys and their toys have shaken up the Everglades Challenge a bit with the ability to catamaran up or paddle/sail their boats as singles. Waiting on this weekends posts for some pictures of their Wa'apa canoes sail. See the controversy here

Chief is doing a great job in proposing a rules change vs. just changing the rules with out some discussion from the tribe. It will make for an interesting discussion. A great move on Chief’s part. I would assume it would be handled as two Sea Winds catamaraning up. But we’ll see .

Matt has fleas
Matt Layden the "Wizard" of Watertribe has shaken things up a bit too. Known for his very efficient "simple" "comfortable" designs, has pulled Enigma a 12’ ft Sharpie from the Everglades Challenge and he is at this very moment sailing to the start in an 8’ decked pram he is calling the Sand Flea.

Picture of Matt's Rob Roy Sailing Canoe of a few years back

Picture of Matt sailing away in Enigma

Hunkering down
High winds – lot of snow – blizzard type conditions. Need I say more It's Wisconsin… probably a good thing as I would have paddled today on the Bark river, and there is definitely something wrong with my shoulder and neck.

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces up, snow is exhilarating; there is no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather. -John Ruskin

Friday, February 23, 2007

Seconds count

Dang, I was so close! I had been bidding on the 38sq. ft Mark Balogh B.O.S.S. system on e-bay and lost out right at the very last second. The complete rig went for just under $975.00. It would have looked nice on the Sea Wind! Maybe next time!

My neck and back have really been bothering me this past week. A bit of radial pain into my left shoulder and arm. I backed off from working out to see if that will help. I find it very hard to sleep on my side as the pressure does not help the situation one bit. I can barely take my jacket off and on as I have lost some flexibility in the process. I am going to try some additional stretching and exercises that work around the affected area.

Looks like a huge amount of snow could hit this weekend, so I might do a trek in the woods, as the snow covered branches add to the beauty of a long walk. Paddling is most likely out, but you never know what is going to happen this time of year. If you don't like the weather, wait an hour or two.

There's always free cheese in mouse traps, but the mice there ain't happy. - anonymous

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Blown Away

It is very windy, I’m talking blow'n steady at 30 miles per hour gusting to 50 mile per hour. This will definitely contribute to ice breaking up as the temperatures have been in the high thirties and it looks like it will continue for a few days. The weekend looks bad for paddling. Quoting The weather guy, "A wintry mess."

Blown away… again!

Yesterday’s conference had me making collages on how I feel and how I reduce secondary trauma and stress in my life. (In my other life, I work for Human Services).

Thank goodness they had Outside Backpacker National Geographic magazines to cut pictures out of. Lots of canoes and kayaks and river lakes and mountains to paste down. We spent a couple hours on these projects and then talked about our "feelings" for hour and hours.

I'm not stressed!!

I can't believe they let me play with sissors in my state of mind!
At least we didn’t have to perform the "group hug" – The Capt’n

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Can you keep a secret

Every time I get together with my long time friend who will remain anonymous, we start discussing what most 30 40 somethings males do - Women and Adventure. "That's no secret, right?" Well Laura was there too, so the conversation quickly turned to adventure.

Laura doesn't allow me to meet with Mike (oops, so much for that part of the secret) alone anymore, as we usually end up in some exotic location on some wild and crazy adventure whether by canoe, kayak, bike or foot.

Let's just say... I woke up around 2:30am this morning, poured my first cup of coffee and considered the possibilities. Anything is possible... right?

What? No no no can't say.... It's a secret!

I am caught in a web, drawn like a magnet to some pretty amazing individuals with a passion for exploration and adventure. Where's my passport?

Sleep is over rated - The Capt'n

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

This is what I am talking about

People always ask me why did you move back to Wisconsin, having lived in Hawaii and on the West Coast for 10+ years?

For days like this. High 30's Sun shining bright - no wind. Gorgeous out, I was toying with turning the A/C on.

The last couple of weeks have been brutally cold with temps. dipping in the negatives. But a day like today makes it all worth it. Had some time to kill this afternoon, so did a little river scouting.

The Rock and Crawfish Rivers are iced over, but the Bark and Oconomowoc Rivers around Dousman and Oconomowoc are starting to open. If the weather holds, there will be a couple of hours of open water on the Bark by this weekend. Extended forecast shows mild temps. but some rain for the weekend.

Here are a couple of pictures looking down the Bark River near Dousman Wisconsin

Nature and wisdom never are at strife -Plutarch

Monday, February 19, 2007

Monday - who gives a rats " * "

Picture is of the lock system on the Yahara River. The W.K.C.R. will be holding their up-coming season opener March 10th, 2007

A blast in the Sea Wind heading up the Yahara after a day of paddle sailing on Lake Menona in December

What a day -
I still can't get over how beautiful yesterday's paddle was on Lake Columbia. Three hours of skirting the shoreline, pretty much sheltered from the elements. A goofy little lake with an industrial feel (power plant looming over you), but with the ice encrusted shoreline, blue sky and the warmth of the sun on your face. it was just too cool for a February paddle.

You can get around it in about hour and a half. Not very big, but to paddle in single digit temps. in bathwater is definitely an experience to be had. You get that Yellowstone National Park feel, if you have a very active imagination. I saw rainbows white elephants and pigs that could fly... :-)

SandyBottom aka Dawn -
Boy "O" Boy! You give a few suggestions and "BAM" you're a headliner! :-) Swing over to SandyBottom's Blog to catch the action of her preparation for the Everglades Challenge.

A good scare is worth more than good advice. - Horace

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Lake Columbia or Coffee and a Dounut?

It is that time of year when the weather in Southern Wisconsin can swing 20 degrees in any direction. You have to keep a mindful eye as things can go bad quickly out on the water this time of year. It is going to be sunny and maybe 20 degrees, but it is difficult to get motivated when it is 9 degrees dark out and still in your jammies.

I'll wait a bit and see if any of the crew from the Wisconsin Kayak Canoe Race group are heading over there for a paddle. Only have paddled once with them, but they seem to be an approachable group, even for a hack like me. Again I am a long distance cruiser type, not really a racer. Though I will dabble a bit this year.
Here is a picture that I took up on Lake Columbia at Fog Bowl, our New Year's Day Paddle. The water is about 60 degrees F. and the air temp. is about 15 degrees F.; hence the foggy conditions. Big power plant and the lake is a cooling mechanism for the plant.

Here is my garage door frozen shut. There is no way I'm getting this puppy un-stuck. Off to the side door!

Pile off boats just itching to be paddled... How the heck am I going to get the Sea Wind Out!

Sea Wind buried on the far end...Drats! Looks like I can squeeze the Summersong out the side door.

At the put-in on Lake Columbia. Power plant in the background. We are looking at 11 degrees F. right now. Shooting for high teens or low 20's. No WKCR Paddlers!

Getting ready to put in. Wind is picking up, should switch out of the South calm down a bit and pushing warmer air into the area. At least the temp. is in double digits!

Padding into the wind, heading over to the other side of the lake. A bit choppy but doable in the Sawyer Summersong.

Out of the wind, my own piece of heaven. It was an outstanding paddle. Nobody else out on the water, except some geese and a few renagade ducks and one lone fisherman that gave me a nod of understanding.

I begin to see that a man's got to be in his own heaven to be happy. - Mark Twain

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Wisconsin Paddling Event Highlighted

I got a chance to paddle with a few of the Wisconsin Kayak Canoe Race Group in January right before we got iced out on the Yahara. An hour and half with Kevin has helped my forward stroke immensely.

Here is information on the WKCR season opener to coincide with Canoecopia on March 9th - 11th.

2007 Wisconsin Season Opener Canoe / Kayak Race / Saturday - March 10, 2007

Start time: 3:30 p.m. (Note that some earlier e-mails had mentioned 2:30 – we moved it back by an hour.)
Location: The Yahara River in downtown Madison, Tenny Park, just downstream of the locks, at the canoe racks. You can reach this parking lot from Sherman Avenue. Please note that this location is a few blocks North (upstream) from previous years.

More Information: Kevin LeRoy,

Gimmick: We try to set a race course where the winning time in minutes will equal the forecasted high temperature in degrees Fahrenheit. For your reference, the average high temperature in Madison on March 10 is 40 F. The lowest recorded high is 5 and the record high is 66.

Entry Fee: None. However, please note that you get what you pay for. All we are providing is a course and somebody to shout, "GO!" There are no classes, no door prizes, no awards, no safety support, no bathrooms, no t-shirts…the list of what this race does not provide goes on and on. Timing and scoring will be somewhere between casual and non-existent.

Disclaimer: It is very important that you understand the risks of racing on nearly frozen water. The casual nature of this race means that nobody is going to take any steps to ensure your safety. You are completely on your own. You should only participate in this race if you have sufficient paddling experience, understand what you are getting into; and lack common sense.

Course description: The race course will be laps up and down the river (number of laps depends on temperature). This stretch of the Yahara is almost exactly one mile long between Lakes Mendota and Monona. It is almost entirely straight, is generally about 3 - 5 feet deep and fairly narrow. Depending on water levels in Lake Mendota, current can range from minimal to moderate. This is an urban river with plenty of urban river features such as old bridge pilings, pipes, bicycles and shopping carts. You do NOT want to hug the shoreline (especially under bridges). The middle of the river, however, is clear of obstructions. If ice and wind conditions permit, we will also use part of Lake Monona. In the five years that we’ve held this race, we were able to use Lake Monona twice. Once it was too windy, and twice it was still ice covered. Our local ski club has an unofficial meteorologist, and he says we should expect things to still be wintery and icy in early March. (

After the race: Several of us will go out to dinner. A specific restaurant has not been determined yet, but it will certainly be someplace that serves beer.

Before the race: This race is held on this date to coincide with the big Canoecopia paddlesports expo. For more information, go to and click on "Canoecopia".

Also, the other paddlesports shop in town, "The Paddlin’ Shop", will be having special events as sales that weekend as well. See . We purposely set the race start time late in the day so you would have plenty of time for browsing at paddlesports gear and listening to presenters before the race. (And the late start time also helps facilitate post-race beer drinking.)

America is a great story, and there is a river on every page of it. - Charles Kuralt