Sunday, November 21, 2010

Day 3 — Morning Update

In the morning light our paddlers decided that your CAN go home again. They will be paddling back to the Folly landing, delaying just enough for the outgoing tide in the Stono inlet to let up.

MeetUp paddle has been scheduled for those who might like to meet them near Bird Key and escort them home.

I'll be there!


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Day 2 — Part 2: Groundhog Day?

It’s Not the Destination…It’s the Journey.

Back to where they once belonged. If you were following our paddlers on the GPS Spot, you may have noticed an unusual...U-turn.

That double track shows our intrepid adventurers returning to their Friday night campsite (and it bears mentioning again that this is a privately arranged camping spot not generally open to the public).

A phone call from Scott explains the situation: after a fine paddle south across Edisto’s beaches — complete with some play in the surf — our group found that their intended Saturday night camping spot was 1) a long [150+ yards] portage away from the beach, and 2) a hard-packed gravel strewn campsite between two RVs. Feeling fresh, and with fond memories of their first night’s camping experience, the group took a vote (reportedly Paul Bryan lost) and decided to make the return paddle and spend another night at their first pleasantly water-side campsite.

And what will Sunday bring? Plans are a bit up in the air. Our plucky paddlers with either enjoy some Deveaux-area surf play and arrange to take out at Cherry Point… Or they will tackle the longer haul back across Kiawah and into their starting spot on the Folly River.

Which will they choose?

How will it end?

Tune in again tomorrow for the ongoing story. And be sure to drink your Ovaltine.


Folly to Hunting Island: Day 2 — Part 1

For paddlers who regularly set out on multi-day expeditions, a jaunt down the SC coast from Folly to Hunting Island might be fairly routine — but for a bunch of sea kayakers who aren’t used to packing their boats OR paddling 20 miles at a stretch... Well, let’s just say that this trip has generated a little excitement on and off the water.

Are you following our group’s progress online with Paul Shaw’s Spot GPS [no longer available] live tracking?

If you’re surprised that the Edisto Island route seems to have taken an unplanned inland path—

—rest assured that they are, in fact, just sticking to the front beach. To get a better view of things, click on the satellite view on the Spot/Google map:

From the start, day two has been planned as the shortest paddling day. William’s best guess was that folks would use some of the leisure time built into the schedule to indulge in some surf play along Edisto’s front beach.

They certainly have a great day for it weather-wise. Stay tuned for more photos and updates — if the battery in Scott’s iPhone holds up.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Folly to Hunting Island: Day 1

So. This morning, promptly at 10 a.m., five boats with six paddlers — William Seabrook, Scott Szczepaniak, Mary Ross McQuage, Joe Salmonowicz, Paul Shaw and Paul Bryan — set off from the Folly boat landing. This is day one of a three day trip which will take them some 46 nautical miles south to Hunting Island:

See the trip plan at Google maps.
Seeing the group off were friends and family — Will Hewett (who launched his own kayak and escorted them down the river,) Sue Kershaw, Susan Sanders, Steve Bleezarde, Kerri _______, Joe’s wife Kim and daughter Hanna, and Paul Bryan’s daughter.

Anyone interested can track the group’s progress thanks to the wonders of the internet, GPS, and a handy service at Paul Shaw’s GPS is reporting the group’s location in real time:

Scott phoned in some notes after the group landed at their campsite about 4 p.m.: He reports that the trip down the Folly River was uneventful, but followed by the group breaking through 2-3 foot breaking waves along the sandbars as they rounded Bird Key Island. Fair winds and following seas sped the group to the sands of Beachwalker Park where they put in for a break. Mary Ross was reportedly disappointed to find that the restrooms are locked during the off-season. The winds were picking-up as they launched after snacks, again through 2-3 foot breaking waves, and “flew” down to the mouth of the North Edisto and across the inlet to set-up their "undisclosed, high-end, private campsite.

More technological marvels, Scott was able to email a few Day One photos:

William: the fearless leader.
Kayaks are bigger than backpacks.
Shiny, happy people.
Wish them a warm night! More details tomorrow.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Folly Beach to Rockville: Birding Along the Way

So, yes: It was a long day. Seven hours from put-in to take-out and six hours of paddling.
Shorter to paddle than to drive... if you measure, and don't watch the clock.
And yes: I was one of the first to start griping about aches and pains. Some folks are cut out for the long haul, and while I enjoy the sense of accomplishment from completing this long paddle, I've never been one for marathons... So, while we paddled on, I kept looking for shorter-term objectives. And the birds helped.
Mixed gatherings were common on the water, on bars, and on the beach.
From rafts of floating birds, to flyovers and sightings along the beaches and sandbars, it was a good day for birding. Highlights included Scott's first sighting of Northern Pintails among the Hooded Mergansers and Lesser Scaup, Osprey and Bald Eagles in flight, a good assortment of shorebirds, terns and gulls, and marsh favorites including the usual suspects – Great Blue Heron, Great and Snowy Egret – as well as lone Wood Stork and Northern Harrier.

With all the good birding available in the Lowcountry, it is worth remembering that getting off the beaten track can be a first step to some really great birding. Whether you're willing to take to a kayak for six hours or not is up to you. I'm glad I did: I just wish I'd packed my binoculars!

- Steve

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Folly Beach to Rockville: A Rewarding Day

I was part of a group of seven hardy sea kayakers who decided it would be fun to see what it would be like to paddle 18.5 nautical ocean miles in one day.

So on Tuesday Nov. 9 we launched from Folly Beach, S.C. and laid in a course southwest to Rockville, S.C.

The weather was perfect and the ocean was glassy with basically no swell at all. This was a tune-up paddle for a multi-day trip we’re planning for later this month. So the group was eager to see what kind of time we could make and how our bodies held up.

We made good time but as the miles wore on we gained a new appreciation for those expedition kayakers who consider a 20 mile day to be routine or even easy.

I don’t think any of us ever thought we couldn’t make it but our muscles and joints were definitely letting us know we aren’t as young as we like to think we are – and that we don’t do this every day.

While we were glad to see Cherry Point Boat Landing in Rockville – after six hours at sea – I think most of us were happy with our accomplishment and thinking about our next ocean voyage.

Stay tuned for more of our fall adventures…

- William

Monday, April 26, 2010

ECCKF 2010

We all had a blast at the 2010 East Coast Canoe and Kayak Festival on April 16, 17 and 18. It was an exhausting weekend for everyone who works at the shop, but well worth the effort and we can’t wait until next year.

We got to reconnect with old acquaintances such as Wayne Horodowich, from the University of Sea Kayaking in Mill Creek, WA.

One of the other things we got to do beside work in our compound was to test paddle boats!! Mary Ross and Matt in particular had loads of fun rolling the NDK Triton double kayak with a butterfly roll! This kayak is available at Sea Kayak Carolina for $2499.

Check out some more great pictures from the festival. Friday; Saturday; Sunday

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Maelstrom Vaag and Vital Kayaks Come to Charleston

Some will say “Vaag” and others will note that it is “Vaåg” — some will go with “Vital” while others stick with the official “Vitäl”. And Really, it doesn't much matter — no matter how you choose to spell or pronounce them, these Mælström Kayaks are two terrific boats that we’re excited to be adding to the Sea Kayak Carolina line-up.

The Vaag 174 is here now — 17-feet, 4-inches of performance kayak suitable for medium and larger paddlers. The smaller, 16-foot, 6-inch Vital 166 will be arriving in May. Designed by a team in Quebec, and manufactured in North America by the folks at BorealDesign, these two boats impressed all of us that had an opportunity to paddle them at the 2010 East Coast Canoe and Kayak Festival.

Call now to schedule a test paddle — we’re looking forward to sharing our appreciation of these new kayaks with you!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Writer Examines Joys of Kayaking

Local writer Leslee Johnson-Allen joined Sea Kayak Carolina's Introduction to Kayak class last weekend, and she's posted her impressions on the Charleston website.

Her observations are a pleasant reminder to those of us who may occasionally take our pastime for granted — and a fine recommendation for anyone who's thought about getting out on the water for the first time:

“As an art, a sport and a practice, sea kayaking opens up the wild world of waterways and reveals the mysteries water protects. The secrets barrier islands keep, glimpses of the swallow tailed kite, intimate encounters with dolphins: a hidden realm opens wide for those who know how to finesse a paddle and extend their bodies in such a way as to be able to sit on water.”
     ›› Read the rest of her article now

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Dry Bags Galore

Sea Kayak Carolina is carrying Sea to Summit products and currently has in-stock a great selection of Big River DrySacks and Lightweight DrySacks, ranging in size from 1 to 35 Liters.

The Big River DrySack is a heavy duty expedition capable bag that will withstand any abuse you might give it. The Lightweight DrySack is slightly lighter duty and somewhat more economical. However, don’t think they’re cheap though as they’re still plenty tough and a great value for your money.
I have been using a Big River 20 Liter bag for my hypothermia kit since September and it has been bombproof.

Remember due to a kayak’s shape it is always better to have several small dry bags than one big one. So come by today and get geared up for the spring season. It will get warm soon – I promise!!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Drysuits are the best!!

Matt Faust and I decided to head out on the water Sunday against the better advice of everyone. It was sunny but in the low 40s with at least a wind chill of 32 degrees. This might be a beautiful kayaking day in Maine but no one kayaks in this weather in Charleston, South Carolina.

However, Matt and I had just received our new Immersion Research Double D drysuits and were eager to operationally check them out.

It turned out to be a beautiful day and we had the Folly River to ourselves except for the dolphin strand feeding and our feathered friends enjoying the day. Please understand if we had not been wearing the drysuits with the water temp being in the upper 40s and the air temp what it was it would have been foolish to go.

Some thoughts on the drysuits: I have last year’s model and it is awesome without a doubt, however, Matt has the new 2010 model. For me the biggest improvement this year is the zipper system. It opens wider which makes it easier to get into and out of the suit plus it’s easier to open and close. They’ve also gone back to reinforced fabric booties which seemed work as advertized.

If you would like more information on the drysuits visit Immerion Research.

Sea Kayak Carolina will be happy to take your order for your very own drysuit today.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Laguna paddles have arrived!

Werner’s newest paddle blends heritage and advanced design at a new low price — and is now in stock at Sea Kayak Carolina. The Laguna features fiberglass reinforced nylon blades which offer light swing weight and great durability.

Visit Werner's website for more information on these paddles or drop by the shop to see them in person.

This awesome entry-level paddle is available now at an unbeatable price of $109.

Sea Kayak Carolina located in Charleston, South Carolina also stocks a huge selection of other Werner paddles.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Co-starring on Army Wives!

P&H and Venture Kayaks will be co-starring in an upcoming episode of Army Wives, to be shot tomorrow at an undisclosed beach location somewhere in coastal South Carolina! Kayaks provided by Sea Kayak Carolina.

Friday, January 8, 2010

New East Coast Canoe and Kayak festival website

I wanted to let everyone know about a new website, The East Coast Canoe and Kayak Festival MeetUp Group, to promote the Charleston County Park & Recreation Commission's East Coast Canoe and Kayak Festival. The main event runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday April 16, 17, and 18, 2010.

Don't miss Sea Kayak Carolina's un-Official Festival Guide, and to register or for more information, check out the official Festival page.

Perhaps you can make some new kayaking friends on-line prior to the Festival. Perhaps connect with Charleston area paddlers for some fabulous local paddling before or after the Festival.