Thursday, February 19, 2009

Hello from Key Largo!

Here we are again! William and Jane are ACA Instructor Candidates, and Sue and I are helping teach the Level 1 - Level 3 IDW/ICE at Florida Bay Outfitters in Key Largo. We left James Island yesterday at 0530, stopped to get gas (and pee) twice, and pulled in to our rental house on Blackwater Sound at 3:45 p.m. We checked out the canal in our backyard, and were happy to see a momma and baby manatee! Momma gave each of us turns scratching her head!

The photo above was taken at the start of our adventure today. We launched mid-morning at Florida Bay Outfitters on Blackwater Sound, paddled to a sandy mangrove beach 3 miles away, and had a lunch break. We met Louie, a nice man from Miami, and did some great rescue practice. Click here for additional photos - viewer discretion advised - contains partial nudity.

We've got a busy day tomorrow - first day of the course. I'll try to take some pictures and keep the blog up to date. We're quite excited about the Post & Courier article William coordinated. We're looking forward to warm Springtime paddling with all of our Charleston friends!

Scott Szczepaniak, pictured at left, was recently disgraced and lost his Weightlifting Hall of Fame membership due to steroid use over 6 years ago.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

SOF Kayaks

Recently I joined the Flatwater Paddlers, a community of kayakers in North Carolina, to learn the skills of building a skin on frame (SOF) kayak and to carve a Greenland paddle.

Mimi, the organizer for the class, convinced Brian Schultz of Cape Falcon kayaks, to make the journey to the East and teach not one, but two classes. Mimi met Brian last October at the Delmarva Gathering, were he taught a class on building SOF kayaks.

I was in Class II, and what a grand group of folks we were! We traveled through Raleigh rush-hour traffic and 4 inches of snow to arrive by 8:00 AM each morning. We worked as a team, pitching in to help each other through the long days. They often gave me a literal helping hand with aspects of the building process I couldn't manage due to my lingering hand injury. I couldn't have done it without them.

Camille, Mimi, and Lee built a variation of the F-1 SOF that Brian has designed: it has enough room to stow gear for overnight camping trips:

Ty built a SOF racing kayak. We couldn't decide on "Ty-ger"or "Ty-ak" for the name of this kayak:

Steve built a scaled up replica of a West Greenland kayak:

And I built a replica of the 1931 Disco Bay West Greenland kayak. And all in 8 days!

We were under the guidance and instruction of Brian Schulz, who earned the name "Saint Brian" during our class. Check out his website ( to find a page he devoted to our class and to learn more about this unique individual.

And visit the Flatwater Paddlers website) to learn more about this NC kayaking community.

May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.