Jul 31, 2007

Skinny Qajaq (or kayak)

My fascination with kayaking is growing dangerously now and eats into my mercenary activity.

I am digesting a ton of new information about Inuit, Eskimo, Greenland, kayak design, different boats, different rolls and then I came upon something that links me back to an amazing movie, Atanarjuat or Fast Runner in English. On the web site, there is this boat; a reproduction of Qajaq.

"In the film, Atanarjuat paddles to shore in this qajaq (one-man canoe), toward his summer camp and his wife Atuat, who is now expecting their son.

The qajaq was re-constructed by John MacDonald of the Igloolik Research Institute based on detailed structural drawings of a qajaq in the Inuit collection at the British Museum. The drawing, by Michael Morgan, was paid for by Morton and Estelle Sosland.

The qajaq in the museum is almost 200 years old and actually comes from the region of Igloolik, taken to England by the Parry Expedition of 1822-23. The original structure consists of a whalebone frame and a skin-covering attached with braided sinew."

Then, that leads to this other page at Canadian Museum page with three boats. They are unlike most skin kayaks.

Puzzled, searching long and hard leads to another page of a blog which feels more like bridge to the bygone time. Michael is the old timer who lived with Inuits and lives out in the arctics in the summer. And he has this picture of chasing a caribou and losing him in the chase.

See this article by Michael. Here are pictures of skinny qajaq he lost and found recently.

Voila moment, Inuits made these skinny Qajaq to chase caribou through water. For them, kayak was a tool. Fat kayak may be good for harpooning seals. Skinny ones would be good going after fast moving caribou, apparently they are good paddlers (hoofers).

Meanwhile, back in the bay -

Sounds like the lake was great, the bay was pretty great too, and Andy had a little fun with one of the pictures I took of his bluefish!

Full Saturday/Sunday trip report, up on Frogma!

Jul 30, 2007

Last Weekends Skills Session at Lake Sebago

This last weekends kayak skills weekend was a success.
Many paddlers learned new skills and improved or polished existing skills.

The highlights were:

1) Chalu learning to roll on both sides with a Greenland and feathered Euro paddle.

2) Pete showing that he still has his rolling skills from last fall as he rolled multiple times without fail.

3) Minh proving that he is ready to be assessed for BCU *3 by performing the most difficult skills, including extreme high brace on the move with shoulders in the water on both sides.
He also performed a norsak(rolling stick) roll, storm rolls and many forward finish rolls.

4) Tony defeated his nemesis, the extreme high brace by performing it with his ear in the water.

5 Fran and Prof. Mary showing their skills at side sculling and balance brace. They should be rolling next time they get a chance to play in the water.

6) Beth E. showed complete confidence in a real world capsize, when she was upside down and realized that her spray skirt wouldn't release. She relaxed and fiddled with it until she was able pop it and come up after a long delay with a smile, but out of breath.
I'd say she is ready for hat BCU *2 assessment.

7) Tim's rolling back and forth on one side and then the other. That off-side roll was giving him a hard time in the past.

8) Bob showing off how his practice at the pools paid off by performing very smooth butterfly and various forward finish skills.

9) Jerry took another group out for a longer paddle, many first time paddlers and possible new club members.

10) Many people had fun performing a variety of rescues, swimming with paddles and other wacky tricks.

Others may have more to tell as I didn't see all the hi-jinx going on that weekend. Please comment.

Jul 27, 2007

Sewage & Sickness Article from British Surfing Club....

Protecting Your Health

Sewage & Sickness

The Problem

Coming into contact with sewage polluted water while surfing, swimming, diving or any other recreational watersport is not a pleasant experience and can leave you feeling pretty sick.

Unless sewage is fully treated using either ultra-violet disinfection or microfiltration, the effluent in a sewage outfall pipe will contain high levels of human-derived bacteria and viruses, with the pathogens entering the water column at the discharge point.

It is scientifically acknowledged that pathogens present in water can cause infection in water users. Micro-organisms can enter through the oral route (ingestion), through the eyes, ears and nose or through an open wound.

In the case of certain pathogens it takes only one viral particle to cause an infection. Infections can even be contracted from the aerosol spray blown from the water's surface as micro-organisms are contained within the minute water droplets that are unsuspectingly inhaled. For the rest of this article, click here

See how Canada deals with Sewage....British Columbia...

Sebago Canoe Club Does Good at Blackburn Challenge

Preliminary Results 2007

Jul 26, 2007

Hey Chalu

Look, I'm blogging! I don't know why, or what the magic word was, but now it seems to be working. Well, you'll let me know if something appears. For others who were having trouble, I can't help you because I don't know what I (or probably Chalu) did. Mary

Kayaking for Iraq Veterans

Good basic postures

Paddle Float Rescue: Sea Kayak Rescue Techniques

Re-entry & Roll: Sea Kayaking Self-Resue

Training: Surf launch

Jul 24, 2007

Surfrider.org is testing water in Rockaways....

Surfrider Strategic Initiatives
The core activities and campaigns that the Surfrider Foundation uses to protect our oceans, waves and beaches fall into the categories of Clean Water, Beach Access, Beach Preservation and Protecting Special Places.
The Clean Water initiative is primarily focused on protecting water quality in coastal watersheds and in the near-shore marine environment. Consequently, the Surfrider Foundation advocates for strong water quality regulations, adequate marine recreational water quality monitoring, reporting and posting, reduction of polluted discharges into the ocean and education regarding personal responsibility for the reduction water pollution. We also support smart land use planning to ensure that coastal environmental resources are protected and healthy watersheds are maintained. Surfrider conducts a very extensive test of the water quality using a 5 test tube method. To get results, click below and select Beach 90th street for results.Here are the test results.

Five Hombres from Russia on 25 ft inflatable catamaran

Five Russians crossed from the Saudi Arabia to Thailand traveling with the oldest known trade wind. They designed a catamaran with 25 feet inflatables. Did you know catamaran is a word from Tamil language of the south India. Some day, I like to do this but hug the coast more. But too much politics I am afraid. See the video of raising the mast.

Here is a translated page from Russian. So read with caution but it is an amazing feat. If you are interested in learning more about catamaran designs, visit this link.

Jul 23, 2007

Is it raining more than ever?

It's been raining, unusually hard, in several parts of the world--England, China, India, and parts of the U.S.--and, quite by coincidence, there is a paper coming in this Thursday's edition of the journal Nature, reporting that, "for the first time, climate scientists have clearly detected the human fingerprint on changing global precipitation patterns over the last century."

The abstract of the paper is HERE.

The full paper is not online without a subscription, but Nature does have a news piece of its own HERE.

A Kayaker Picture in "Thousands Evacuate in British Flooding"

Some 48,000 homes in Gloucestershire were flooded. But there is a picture of kayaker.

For more about flooding in England! Are we at the tipping point?

Jul 22, 2007

Press release for Wednesdays Event....


Paddling from Park to Park

Parks & Recreation Plans to Create a NYC Water Trail—Volunteers Wanted

Before planes, trains and automobiles…it was boats that carried people from one place to another by way of rivers, lakes and oceans. New York City is surrounded by such bodies of water, yet its shorelines have been largely dominated by commerce and industry for centuries. One of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s highest priorities is to restore access to the City’s waterfronts and interpret the rich history of its shoreline.

"Throughout the city, parks along the shoreline are being built and renovated to reconnect the public with the water—Baretto Point Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Hudson River Park, Fort Totten Park and Fresh Kills Park to name just a few," said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe. "Among the amenities available at these parks, many have or plan to have canoe and kayak launches. To connect these sites and enhance the users’ experience and safety, I have asked our Queens Borough Commissioner, Dorothy Lewandowski—a water sports enthusiast and an accomplished kayaker—to spearhead the initiative to create a NYC Water Trail."

"As an avid kayaker, I am delighted that the opportunities for kayaking right in my own backyard are expanding," said Queens Borough Park Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski. "And I am thrilled to be working to create a comprehensive guide that will enable people to safely travel throughout the City via its waterways and to thoroughly enjoy their day at sea."

The NYC Water Trail will provide information on safe and legal access to the waters surrounding all five boroughs of New York City. The project will identify park launch sites, as well as connect those to non-park launch sites. The guide will also provide recreational, educational and scenic opportunities on each leg of the trail.

This spring and summer, Parks will be collecting information, surveying conditions, photographing, and writing narratives. There are currently 18 existing public canoe and kayak launch sites on parkland with an additional 11 sites in planning and nearly 20 identified as potential sites. Borough Commissioner Lewandowski plans to travel each leg, along with project volunteers, to document the trail. Once all of the information is gathered, work on the website development of the guide will begin—with hopes to launch in the spring of 2008.

Parks will be working with the Hudson River Watertrail Association, Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance and American Canoe Association. This project will rely on volunteers who understand and use the waters of New York City, as well as those who can provide information on the history, geology and points of interest along the trail. If you are interested in becoming involved in this project please contact Borough Commissioner Lewandowski’s office at 718-520-5905 or parks.watertrail@parks.nyc.gov. For more information on existing canoe and kayak launch sites in New York City parks, visit www.nyc.gov/parks or call 311.

Jul 20, 2007

Paddle above the water.......

If you don't like the water ,
paddle above it.....


Jul 19, 2007


Hello, S.W.I.M.
I'm writing to update you on a few things that have happened since our last meeting.

1. S.W.I.M. was represented at the CitySol event this past weekend and recieved several letters from people supporting our position. We will be sending those on to the Mayor's Office soon.

2. DEP has released the Waterbody/Watershed Facility Plans to the public at the same time that it is sent to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) for their review.

Site: http://www.hydroqual.com/Projects/ltcp/
User name: Open Water (or use the drop down to find another waterbody)
Password: watershed

3. Attached is a letter providing recommendations from many of the Open Water CAC members with respect to the WB/WS facilty plans and CSO LTCPs. Most of you are on the Open Water CAC and may have recieved this already, but for those who haven't, it's the CAC's comments on the presentations and stakeholder process around the plans prior to thier release.

4. From Ellie Hanlon: You are cordially invited to a Gowanus Restoration IdeaShare!

Scientists, city, state and federal agencies, elected officials, and fans of the Gowanus Canal: let's unite around the goals of developing storm water best management practices, remediation and restoration!

Each of you brings a unique perspective to the Gowanus Canal puzzle. Come out on Monday, July 23rd at 6:30 PM to the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club boathouse (end of 2nd St off of Bond, use 165 2nd St, 11231 to map location) to share your piece of the solution.

We'll experience the canal from a canoe and meet other like-minded people from the scientific community, the Mayor's Office of Long-term Planning and Sustainability, Department of Environmental Protection, Department of City Planning, NYC Parks Department, Department of Transportation, Army Corps of Engineers, and elected officials.

Wear clothes you can canoe in and bring your ideas and dreams to make pocket wetlands, swales, porous pavement, LEED-certified buildings, and a soft shoreline along the canal a reality! Feel free to bring posters or other materials, but leave the PowerPoints in the office! We'll have a fun, informal meeting focused on the common goal of creating a world-class example of urban restoration.

We'll canoe from 6:30 to 7:30 and then gather at the boathouse for refreshments and idea sharing until sunset. If you want to briefly (5 minutes) explain an idea you have for improving the Gowanus Canal, email me to be added to the schedule. We'll share ideas and then have a chance to mingle and make connections to collaboratively develop ideas and proposals. Please RSVP by Friday, July 20 to ellie.hanlon @ gmail.com.

See photos of the fabulous naturally occurring plants and animals here (click through to see whole set)


Minutes and agendas from our past meetings can be found at


user: gowanus
pass: manzana


Thi is from Commodore....

Jul 18, 2007

Mighty Mini - 13.5' Kayak for 300 Mile Race? Matt Layden's Expedition Rob Royoid

"Matt completed the challenge in 4 days and 11.5 hours beatting many sea kayaks and sail boats. Well, what else you would expect from somebody who finished the Lake Michigan Challenge'03 in the off-the-shelf Stearns 10' deflatable kayak taking the 3rd place? Maybe, that he should take a longer route inside the Everglades. So, he did. I needed almost 7 days to cover the same route in my Sea Wind. "

Read more

Jul 17, 2007

Phillipe asked and Phillipe gets

He asked me the same silly question. The longer the boat, the faster? I read this about two years ago. I agree with Matt.

Here is an answer by Matt, a maverick boat designer.

"Longer boats are commonly regarded as being 'faster' than shorter ones. The reality is, as usual, more complicated. I would rather say that longer boats have a higher potential speed; you still need to supply the energy to achieve that speed. If you don't feel like working that hard ( and it can be real hard in a headwind and sea) then you will go slowly, and the guy in the shorter boat will keep up with you just fine at the same power output. Sorry, here comes a little math: A boat's speed (in knots) can be expressed as a factor of the square root of its waterline length (in feet), V / sqrtL, the Speed-Length Ratio (or Taylor Coefficient). With variations from other factors, generally a boat is most efficient (best speed from least effort) at S/L ratios around 1.0. The maximum speed a boat will usually reach under sail or paddle ('hull speed') is close to a S/L of 1.34."

Well, that is only 1/4 of the full text. Click here for more. Search for "Some Design Factoids"

Jul 16, 2007

Saturday Scene -

Sometimes blues aren't all that blue!

Taken during the new member paddle on Saturday. 'Twas fun!

Outrigger Paddler on Long Distance tour allmost "runs into Pres. Bush SR."

The instant the second boat popped into view it became obvious who the driver of the first boat was, especially since the driver, my "speeding yahoo" cut his engines and was now staring at me and therefore instantly recognizable! The driver was none other than Pres. Bush, Sr. out for a Sunday ride before the storm!
for story click here!

Pulitzer Prize for Article on Altered Oceans

A Los Angeles Times series describing the profound degradation of the world's oceans won the Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting today, the 38th time the newspaper has been awarded journalism's top honor.

The five-part "Altered Oceans" project, headed by environmental reporter Kenneth R. Weiss, revealed how man has choked the oceans with trash and basic nutrients--killing advanced sea life, making people sick and effectively reversing the course of evolution back toward "the primeval seas of hundreds of millions of years ago."

click here for the article:altered oceans

Free Bicycles - Almost in Paris

Parisienne woke up to find shiny bicycles; free.

How about we start "Free Kayaks"? Only on Wednesday and Saturday.

Jul 15, 2007

Forward Stroke

See Olympian stroke

Hank McGregor

Disected for stroke-by-stroke

All different rolls

Why do we have so many different rolls? See this video

Jul 14, 2007

Spring Creek Park, Queens, NY. October 6, 2006. A worker empties human waste load into a hole in the ground in a DEPdump site. © Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates. AllRights reserved for the article click here

Jul 11, 2007

2007 Ski Season is officially over.

After the freak season here and throughout the Europe, the ski season is over. It means no more snow till Thanksgiving... As a grieving backcountry skier, I bring you this link how wacky snow fall has been in the Alps.

Wacky snow fall patterns in Alps

Olympic ski resort closure in Europe

Perhaps, those kayaker-skier types like to head to Chamonix in 2008. Speak with Chalu....

"I am happiest when in desolation of water, snow, ice or sand..."

SWF seeks partner for kayaking business send photo (of the boats)

Greetings from Paris, where the keys on the keyboqrd qre in the wrong plqces, so bear with me; big question of the day, pourquoi il n ya pas de kayak en la Seine? I see a big opportunity here, at least in fantasy...looking for like-minded crepe eating friends to win the hearts of greater Paris one paddle at a time.

off to Spain; forgot the blue hat.

Mqdemoiselle Shari

Jul 5, 2007

How to find out water quality before driving to Sebago...

If you want to see the water quality before you drive to Sebago,
go to the NYC Beach Quality and Safety .

Check for any wet weather advisory for Gerritsen Beach. If they have an advisory, then you can bet our water is the same or worse. It is all part of the same sewage system.

Jamaica Bay video

AP has a new video on Jamaica Bay...

click here for video

Jul 4, 2007

Hundreds of dead fish wash up in Raritan Bay

Associated Press Writer

July 3, 2007, 6:38 PM EDT

TRENTON, N.J. -- Beachgoers and anglers looking to enjoy the waters of the Raritan Bay may see their holiday spoiled by dead fish washing up in the area.

Hundreds of dead menhaden, an oily fish often used for bait or to make fish meal, have been spotted along the shores of the bay or floating in the waters, an incident state environmentalists have said is naturally occurring but that has worried environmentalists and marred the shoreline.

for the rest of article from Newsday, click here...

Sebago blog traffic

Our blog is doing nicely. Unique visitors have increased quite a bit and we are getting good amount of traffic from blogger.com and Google. In fact, if you search certain keyword, this blog site comes up quicker than the original post on a news site.

Many visitors are ourselves from the Americas and some from Estonia and Italy notably. Most see more than 2 pages and read on average several minutes. Most come back and there is good loyalty among the readers.

We want to keep refering articles to original articles short. Any text from the original text should be smaller than your own text. We want to value original writing.

Jet Ski Mom wants them to slow down....

Mom policing the waters
Her son died in Jet Ski crash in Mill Basin

This from the New York Daily News.

Jo-Ann Zaccaria never wanted her 17-year-old son Paul to buy a Jet Ski.

But the college-bound Mill Basin teen still found a used one through a local dealer last summer - only to be killed days later in a high-profile water-scooter accident near his home on June 30.

A year after Paul's death, she is determined to protect other kids.

Together with local officials, Zaccaria is pushing for stepped-up enforcement and stricter laws regulating the high-speed water scooters popular in waterfront neighborhoods around Jamaica Bay, Pelham Bay and other areas.

Under state regulations, all water scooter drivers must take an approved eight-hour boating safety course, wear a life vest and, in most cases, be at least 14. But Zaccaria and local City Councilman Lew Fidler insist the laws are not always obeyed - and must go further.

Zaccaria's son, who had a black belt in karate, was not wearing a life jacket when he was rammed by a water scooter driven by Aristotle Plagianakos, then 16, also of Mill Basin. "He died instantly," said Zaccaria, adding that witnesses told her Plagianakos may have been going up to 70 mph when he slammed into Paul. "A life jacket wouldn't have saved him." In March, Plagianakos was charged with second-degree manslaughter - a first in the city for a boating incident, according to the Brooklyn district attorney's office. He also was charged with criminally negligent homicide and reckless endangerment.

Cops also said they stopped 146 water scooters last year and issued 87 summonses, nine for reckless operation, 25 for no safety certificate and 53 for no life vests and other equipment.

Claim $100 for picking up these lost duckies for scientific study.

Seen at Science Blog


Jul 3, 2007

Notes to self, for the next time I stay at the cabin for a class

  1. Don't party too hearty on Friday night. This leads to a slow start on Saturday morning
  2. It is always cooler at the cabin than I think it will be. Bring an extra fleece or two.
  3. Check the screen door for squeaks before bedtime. If it is squeaking, find Philippe and have him fix it. Do this before you (or he) break rule #1 above. Or use Mary's plan: tie up the screen door and use the solid door. This is a weather-based decision.
  4. Kayakers snore. I think they snore more than the general population and I would entertain theories on this, but tip 4 is bring ear plugs.
  5. Check your hatch covers when you are assigned a new boat. On some boats, the plastic outside hatch cover doesn't do much but hold on the neoprene inner cover. You should put that thing on. Otherwise your stern will fill with water when you do Eskimos, and you will be swamping, and Pete will have to carry you to the dock on his bow like you are a baby monkey clinging to the mama's fur (actually a great way to travel) while Jerry tows your soon-to-be submarine back to the dock. That makes a person tired. OK, it makes 3 people tired.
  6. Even though it is really fun to ride on the bow like a monkey girl, put on the damn hatch covers. (just reinforcing tip 5).
  7. Listen to the traffic report before leaving the parking lot. Get a better upstate/Jersey map.
  8. Going to the lake is cooler than doing homework, housework or yardwork. Going to the lake makes me happy. So I should go more. There is always someone interesting to spend time with and I get to kayak too. Why is that so complicated?
  9. Remember to thank everybody one extra time. So thanks, to eveybody!
  10. Bring your blue hat.

Jul 2, 2007

Scenes from 1 & 2 Star Training

It was an all around wonderful weekend - except for the 5 hour trip home. There was a terrible accident on the Tappan Zee Bridge and it was closed for 9 hours. We didn't figure that out until we were sitting in traffic so motionless that a spider began spinning a web between the bow of one of the kayaks on Prof. M's minivan and the SUV in front of us.

Aside from that, FANTASTIC weekend, 3 of our 10 students got assessed at the end & all got their 2 star ratings easily - I think there were a few more who would have passed if they'd tried, but 2 days of training, even on flatwater, is pretty intense, and a lot of people just ran out of steam & decided to take the Leisurely Paddle with Pete option. But I think everybody learned a lot - that's the main thing.

Great students. The person standing up in the boat is one of 'em - that was fun! It was funny, we were working on low braces towards the end of Day 1. T-rescues were right after the bracing, so after conferring with the other instructors ahead of time, I decided that we'd start easy - then allow the bracing session to segue into the T-rescue session. People were entertainingly slow to start going over, but once the first couple of capsizes happened & people realized it was all OK, & there was this great sensation of people really starting to cut loose & have some fun! We branched out from T-rescues into paddle float & cowboy. Earlier in the day, I'd stood up in my boat and then jumped out as a "stupid coach trick" forfeit for being caught in a red light-green light game, and M. decided that she wanted to try - she wanted to try the cowboy rescue anyways, and she was getting bored of wet exits...

And then there's Chalu demonstrating what a wonderful job we did of teaching steering strokes.

Boy was that a fun class.

We did lunchtime presentations. On Day One, Tom P., the head instructor, introduced the BCU system and Sebago.

On Day 2, I did a short presentation on kit. I'd written up a list of the basics as a handout, showing what was Coast Guard required (actually I did another handout with sample pages from the USCG Boating Safety website as I think it's really good for sea kayakers to know the regs they are expected to follow) & what's just a good idea; I then brought out my own stuff & just went through it piece by piece.

I'd showed the list to the head instructor in advance & asked him to vet it one more time before I started my talk. I was a little nervous, you see, about the possibility of accidently leaving something obvious out & looking like a dope.

Chalu approached me afterwards as we were beginning to launch. He had a very serious look on his face.

"Excuse me, Bonnie, but I wanted to ask you something - I think you left something out when you were talking about kits."

"Really?" I attempted to maintain a collected expression while mentally I began frantically rummaging through the list o' stuff trying to figure out WHAT boneheadedly obvious piece of perfectly everyday gear I'd left out. Drawing a total, complete blank - "What was that?"

"A banjo".

It's good I wasn't in my boat yet 'cause I think I would have fallen over from laughing so hard.

Border Collie helps save Kayakers.....

When Randy and Christine Ronback adopted their Border collie "Smooch" two weeks ago, they thought she could help keep geese off their lawn.

After alerting her new owners to two capsized boaters yesterday, she can probably add "assistant life saver" to her good-dog credentials, too.

The Ronbacks were enjoying their morning eggs and coffee at their Amityville home when Smooch, 2, began barking incessantly. It wasn't like her to make that much noise, so Christine Ronback went to see what the commotion was about.

Outside her lawn overlooking the Amityville River, an empty yellow kayak drifted toward the Great South Bay. Nearby, a man and woman struggled in the water as they tried to catch up to it, Amityville Village police said.

"Two people fell out of a kayak!" she told her husband.

Randy Ronback, 65, jumped in his row boat and headed in their direction, some 300 to 400 yards away, he said. Pamela Coppola, 32, of Manhattan, was holding her own, but Joseph Hess, 32, of Massapequa Park dipped under the water twice and could barely keep his head up, village police said.

"He'd come up and then he'd sink again," Ronback recalled.

Ronback pulled up alongside Hess and extended a crab net in his direction. He latched on, but didn't have the strength to pull himself up, Ronback said.

Ronback grabbed onto Hess and tugged him on board. Then he steered toward Coppola, and brought them back to shore.

"She was comforting him and he was gasping for air and exhausted," Ronback said.

The Amityville Fire Department transported both to New Island Hospital in Bethpage for examination. Hess had ingested some water and both had been exposed to the water's cool temperature -- though not long enough to suffer hypothermia, Sgt. Brian Scott said.

Police hadn't yet determined yesterday afternoon how or why the kayak capsized. The water was slightly rough from the morning breeze, Scott said.

Neither Hess nor Coppola could be reached for comment.

"He is very lucky that guy happened to look out and see him," Scott said of Hess.

Ronback, who works as a marine contractor, said Smooch doesn't seem to have realized her heroic efforts. "She doesn't think she did anything special, I don't think," he said. "But she really did. Maybe she'll get an extra cookie or something."

Copyright 2007 Newsday Inc.