Sep 23, 2008

Trash Bash 2008

Trash Bash 2008 Flickr set here!

Sebago's Trash Bash was originally slated for the weekend of Tropical Storm Hannah & quite wisely moved to last Sunday, the 21st of September. We had a beautiful day for it, we were joined by the Boy Scouts (the same troupe that had come to Sebago before in preparation for a major canoe camping trip & had a very exciting windy day for their training) & picked up all sorts of things.

I think my strangest find of the day was a slightly melted wax figurine carefully bound in thread. Good thing I'm not superstitious (knock wood). I also found a large handbag and 2 shoes. Who needs Macy's? OK, so the shoes didn't match, whatevahs...

Mary was our organizer, and she sent the following stats & comments for the day:

"HEre are some stats (I just completed the report). John counted 57 bags of trash, and the first prize goes to : TADA -- plastic bags (936); Plastic beverage bottles a distant second with 513, but another 150 total for cans and glass.
I don't think I had the description of your goddess in my data, so I didn't report that (most likely from one of the ceremonies that leaves fruit and flowers all over the beaches). The skull got my vote (though I guess technically it's not trash, but who cares). It looked pretty great on the box of the kayak coming back, and I'm sure someone's parents were truly delighted to have allowed their son to collect garbage under our watchful eyes."

There was also a Little Tykes slide, a child's motorized toy jeep, and a lot of coconuts (but we didn't pick those up).

I do think the oddest find of the day went to Mary's friend David, who had this to say:

"I know that we expect to see everything during these events, but out team found a plastic commode from a boat (okay, call it a head). The whole team was flush with excitement!"

There was a sink involved in that head. That's right, we didn't find everything but the kitchen sink. We found everything.

The interesting part of this, to me (having never participated in an American Littoral Society Beach Cleanup Day), was that the focus wasn't so much on actually cleaning up Canarsie Pol as it was on gathering statistics. We had a big big crowd & if we'd just focused on picking up trash, we could've gathered two hundred bags, I bet. I also bet that you could come back in a week & not know that the place had been picked up. Think Sisyphus. Think Augean stables. However, as it turns out, these events are really just as much about gathering statistics - the Littoral Society sends the cleaning squads out with survey forms & we actually reported the items we picked up. There are events going on all over during the month of September, and the data they collect is all rolled up together. In the end, the Littoral Society ends up with some good statistics to support their environmental efforts.

Anyways - it made for a fun day. Thanks to "Prof M" for organizing, Joan for cooking & the Boy Scouts for helping out.

Cross-posted at Frogma

Sep 22, 2008

Clothing Optional

Some of our newer members have started wondering about what to wear as the weather and water are getting cooler. So far we haven't been in wetsuits, that that is coming soon, especially if the nights are as cool as they have been. One of the reasons it's confusing is there are is so much stuff out there, and many options. When looking at wetsuits, be sure you don't get the surfer model with sleeves. Too restrictive for paddling. Check out these sites below, for good deals and information about what you need.

And Stevie says: I especially want to encourage people to at least get a farmer Jane/John 3mm wetsuit and 3mm or thicker boots. These will add a few months to their paddling season, they are cheap at Campmor and should last a very long time. These should be the minimum for October and May paddling and they make Sept and June paddling more comfortable. Hypothermia is still a possibility in Sept and June as the water temp is borderline and if the air temp is cool, the combination of being wet with wind can really chill. I have seen it many times. I don't recommend wetsuits with sleeves as the sleeves add weight to the paddlers arms and can cause a rash in the armpit shoulder area. This is the website for NRS, and especially check whether they have any good sales on apparel for colder paddling. But first check out the "expert center" advice from Atlantic Kayak Tours. The two important links here are "Cold Water Safety" and "How to Dress." Another good source for reasonably priced cold weather gear is Campmor. There is one in NJ on Rte. 17 that often has really good prices on sale items.

I think some of the members also use Sierra Trading (or Traders, something like that). I haven't so I can't say whether it's a good choice.

Sep 18, 2008

Sewage Overflow Right to Know Act

Yesterday, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee passed, by voice vote, the Sewage Overflow Right to Know Act (S. 2080). Thank you for all the calls that you’ve made to your Senators over the last year encouraging them to sponsor the bill and raising the awareness of the problem of sewage overflows. Your actions helped make sure that Congress placed a priority on protecting the public from dangerous sewer overflows by advancing this bill.

Here’s how it all went down:

Sen. Lautenberg offered an amendment to his bill to sync the language of the Senate bill with the House passed version of the bill. The committee voted to accept his amendment. Sen. Inhofe filed amendments with the committee on Tuesday that would’ve weakened the bill, and we were prepared to fight them. However, Sen. Inhofe was not present in the meeting to offer them when the bill was brought up by the Chair. Crisis averted and the bill passed by voice vote (no recorded vote). It is also worth noting that both Senators Hilary Clinton and Kit Bond made brief statements in support of the bill. Additionally, we found out during the Committee that EPW Chair, Senator Boxer had also signed on as a cosponsor.

If you are constituent of the following senators please take a few minutes to pass along your thanks to them for their support of S. 2080.

Chairwoman Barbara Boxer

Sen. Max Baucus (MT)

Sen. Tom Carper (DE)

Sen. Joe Lieberman (CT - wasn’t present for vote but staff informed AR of his support)

Sen. Hilary Clinton (NY)

Sen. Ben Cardin (MD)

Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT)

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (MN)

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (RI)

Sen. Kit Bond (MO)

And of course Sen. Lautenberg (NJ) for his tremendous leadership in making sure that this bill continues to move forward.

Next stop - the Senate Floor. We don’t anticipate a floor fight. In fact we are hoping that the bill passes with unanimous consent and without much debate or fanfare. On that note, we don’t wish to draw any attention to the bill. Our strategy may change if the lay of the land changes but for now please hold back on calling Senators not already on this list to support the bill. How’s that for an action to take! I will of course be back in touch when the full senate takes up the bill.

We are now in the final stretch towards better protecting everyone from sewage spills and your involvement in this campaign is largely responsible for our success.

Thanks, as always, for your continued support.

Josh Klein
American Rivers
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Sep 17, 2008

5 Years Around Long Island - 2nd Leg, Smith Point Marina to Georgica Beach

And while those guys were making paddles, here's where more of us were...

September 2008 - day 1 Photo Trip Report is up!
From 5 Years Around Long Island - 2nd Year Day 1!

Picking up right where we left off in September 2007 -
From 5 Years Around Long Island - Leg 1, Days 2 & 3

cross-posted at Frogma.

Sep 15, 2008

Paddlemaking Workshop - 9/14/2008

Chris Raab of Tuktu Paddles came to Sebago Canoe Club on Sunday, September 14 and conducted a greenland style paddle-making workshop for members. It started with a plain block of wood, prepared by Chris, and after taking measurements and much planing & sanding, the day ended with new paddles for everyone!

Posted on behalf of Elizabeth, who organized it. I didn't attend - I was elsewhere, but I did see a couple of very nice-looking paddles in the hands of some happy-looking paddlers when we got back!

Sep 3, 2008

Swamped Klepper, Team Rescue

And it really was a team effort. I don't know about everyone else but I not-so-secretly thought this was actually quite a bit of fun, working together to get this boat back up the Paerdegat to Sebago's dock. With a real puzzle of a retrieval, a lovely afternoon, and no one in any danger at all, it was like the wackiest scenario the most creative coach could have come up with.

I was officially the "Assistant Trip Leader" for Phil's Gerritson Creek paddle on Labor Day, where all this happened. We actually had a plethora of qualified trip leaders, and the few non-trip-leaders did fine on our trip to Gerritson Creek. Coming back was a bit of a slog, as we had a headwind & current against us, but everybody (including one of our seniorest senior members - I hope I'm still paddling at 83!!!) plugged away until we were (happily) turning into the shelter of the Paerdegat. Beautiful day, nice crowd, no trouble, couldn't ask for a much easier setup for being in the assistant's role. As we entered the basin, we saw the small sail of the Klepper. At first we thought it was Holly (Sailing Committee Co-Chair), but it wasn't moving right - Holly's tacks are snappy - this one, every time the boat tacked, the sail luffed for a loooong long few moments before it began to move again.

As we got closer, we realized it was a Klepper, being sailed by someone we didn't recognize. John & Mary & I were out in front, said hello & paddled on. A minute later, John H. suddenly looked back & quietly said, "That guy just capsized". Turned out he'd heard Phil yell "Capsize!" - my ears weren't quite as sharp.

The guy was already in good hands - he'd capsized right next to Commodore John & Commodore Emeritus Phil, and a couple of the paddlers in the group decided to keep going to the nearby club dock. John, Prof. M, me, and one of our newer paddlers went back to see what was going on & found the situation I described - a large sailing kayak, with full sailing rig including leeboards, turtled, mast tip in the mud, and half-sunk with no flotation. "Cleopatra's Needle" Deeeee-LUXE!

Phil, Commodore John, John H, Prof M & I all went to work while the less experienced paddler observed (and was eventually impressed into service as the photographer while the tow was underway, thanks M - he & John H took all of these with John's camera - and John, thanks for letting me play with these pictures!).

There's a pretty standard method for dealing with a sea kayak that's ended up in a partially-sunken Cleopatra's Needle position (so called because usually where there's no flotation, one end or the other will usually trap a little air & be sticking up in the air, while the other fills up & sinks down below the surface). You get hold of whatever decklines you can get to. You sloooowly begin to move your way along that deckline hand-over-hand, moving from the floating end of the boat, where you got the line, back toward the center of the boat & the cockpit. Sloooowly because a flotationless kayak full of water weighs - well, not literally a ton, but a good portion of a ton (more on that in a second). As you slowly walk your hands towards the center, the boat will slowly be resuming a more proper horizontal relationship with the surface. You get to the cockpit, get a good grip on the side of the coaming (cockpit rim), you roll the boat on it's side and then you slooooowly begin to curl the boat up out of the water. As the boat rises, the water pours out; you flip it rightside up when you can't raise it any higher, et voila, there you are with a floating kayak. This is a maneuver that can be done by a single person.

Didn't work so well in this case!

The Klepper was first of all very BIG. Here it is on the dock, with a person to give some scale.
The payload weight (the amount the boat, when properly assembled, can carry) of a Klepper Aerius II is 772 pounds. In gallons, the payload is given as 159. A gallon of seawater weighs approximately (VERY approximately!) eight and a half pounds. So I think we can safely say that this boat, full of salt water, weighs at least 1,351 lbs. Complicating the standard Cleo's-needle rescue even further are the leeboards, which are that assemblage sitting behind the person's legs. The plank joining the two larger, parallel, sort of teardrop-shaped boards is mounted across the cockpit & fastened with wing nuts; the leeboards extend into the water on either side of the boat & serve the same purpose as a centerboard or a keel.

They, and the mast, also make it completely impossible to get your own boat alongside & parallel to the sunken Klepper, in the position you need to get to to do the slow, water-draining curl.

'Nuff exposition. Here's the situation we found when we got back to the capsize scene. Leeboards sticking up at the back - owner in water near those.

He was fine, if a bit embarrassed. First things first - Commodore John took him over to the docks at the club adjacent to Sebago. One of our members (Tom of the Penguin Drive silliness day) is also a member there & fortunately was there, so that was no problem.

Phil decided to just follow them, towing the Klepper over to where Tom & the owner were now watching. He hooked onto the D-ring at the bow, started paddling, and the clip and the towline instantly parted ways. Wow.

Clearly the poor beast wasn't towable quite that way.

We all started moving around it, trying to figure out how we could get it at least partially righted & drained.

Here, Prof. M & Phil have actually succeeded in righting it. Prof. M. (yellow boat) is actually stabilizing Phil by leaning on his back deck - when one paddler is braced by another like that, it's an incredibly stable setup & the braced paddler can put all their effort into the whatever it is they need to do. Unfortunately, although they did get the boat rightside-up, the aft end of the coaming was a foot below the surface, so we couldn't do something like them steady while the rest of us grab our bilge pumps & get to work. That's where the sponsons would make all the difference - those would float the boat high enough that once you righted in, the boat would be stable, the coaming clear of the surface & you could start bailing. Leave those air tubes along the gunwales deflated, and it complicates things tremendously (I bet this guy never, ever makes that mistake again).

Here, I've moved in & am trying to figure out if I can get enough of a grip on the leeboard to at least drain a little of the water. It works a little tiny bit. Just enough to get the mast up to where Phil & Prof. M can reach it. As they pull the mast up towards the surface, a little more water drains. Aha! I continue to steady the boat by hauling on the leeboard while the other 2 wrestle the mast until it's lying securely across Phil's deck. John H moves in as this is going on & clips in to the d-ring. As Phil & Prof. M. get past the point where my steadying is useful, I clip in too, we check to see if Phil's set, he is,

And off we went!

It was something trying to get the whole assemblage moving. First few yards we were barely making headway, but we gradually picked up steam & started closing the distance to the dock.

And hey, look, we made it!

Closer view of the arrangement that finally let us clip in -

Once we were back at the dock, it was a lot easier to see how & where things were attached. We derigged with the boat still swamped & in the water; once the mast, sails & leeboards were out of the way, we were able to drain most of the water. There was still quite a bit in the boat, but a couple of the guys carefully wrestled the boat up onto the dock with no mishaps. All was indeed well that ended well, we handed the boat back over to it's owner to complete the dissassembly. And boy did the post-sail beer & cheese that the commodore had brought & the rest of us supplemented (somebody had crackers, somebody had sausage, there was wine, and I ran & raided my garden for cucumbers & tomatoes) taste extra extra good!

Unusual end to a Sebago paddle!

And if I have time later this week I'll try to post a few pictures of the more standard-issue first 95% of the trip.

Cross-posted at Frogma.