Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Durhamblogger Joins the Outdoor Blogger Network

Durhamblogger has recently joined the Outdoor Blogger Network (OBN), a clearinghouse for all kinds of outdoor-related blogs... from fly fishing to hunting... to outdoor photography... to kayak/paddlesports - one of my favorite! ;-). OBN is managed by Rebecca - The Outdooress and Joe - Flowing Waters. I think it is a great idea to have a centralized and growing outdoor blog resource and Durhamblogger is excited to be one of the newest OBN members!

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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Great and not so Great Paddling Gifts!

Howdy everyone! The Raleigh-Durham area had a "white" Christmas... with 4 - 6 inches of snow falling Dec 25th - 26th! :-) That makes three significant snow events in December... very unusual for this region! Well, besides the "white stuff" falling... the Durhamblogger received both great... and not so great paddling gifts in his stocking this year. On the "great" side... I got

"Paddling Eastern North Carolina" by Paul Ferguson... a most appropriate gift for a guy who can be found "...paddling on the lakes and rivers of eastern North Carolina." Look for a book review on Durhamblogger in the near future! On the "not so great, but pretty funny" side... a gag gift from my mother-in-law... what every paddler does NOT need... a "holey" paddle! :-O

Not too practical getting me from Point A to Point B on the water... but good for a chuckle or too! I also received a French Press coffee maker... and I'm putting it to good use as I enjoy a steaming hot cup of Java watching the snow pile up outside!

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Monday, December 20, 2010

True Meaning of Christmas!

Back in February 2010, my wife and I had the privilege of seeing Celtic Woman live in concert. These Irish lasses have wonderful singing voices and put on a fantastic show! They also understand the true meaning of Christmas! Enjoy!

A Merry Christmas to all Durhamblogger readers!

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

No Paddling - But More Snow!

Yikes! Only 11 days since our last snow event here in the Raleigh-Durham area... and yep... more snow! Looks like some of our blooming plants are having a rough time of it!

It's just a short time until Christmas... so it seems "right" to have another dusting of that white stuff. And with this next round of wintry weather... the handwriting is on the "snow" in regards to being able to squeeze in any more paddling this season. Need to turn my attention to how best to store my small kayak flotilla in our garage... and leave room for my truck and wife's car. Looks like another project to keep me occupied during these cold months! Stay tuned. More to come.

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

More on the Cockleshell Canoes by author Quentin Rees!

Howdy everyone! After I posted my story on the Cockleshell Canoes and featured the above book - "Most Secret: The Cockleshell Canoes - British military canoes of World War Two" I was honored and privileged when the author himself - Quentin Rees... found his way to my blog and commented on my posting! He also "set the record straight"... so I thought Durhamblogger readers would be interested in his comments. Enjoy!

"Hi Guys, just read this... I need to apologise on behalf of someone in my publishers who is not too hot on geography or history in providing the blurb you got a hold of.. sorry.. I actually live in Torbay not Falmouth . I shall send Mike some other details you will be interested in.. and I am sure he will put right the info that's wrong so you can be kept well informed...ref PenobscotPaddles and son... then impress him with what he doesnt know about this raid... Cockleshell Heroes -The Final Witness ISBN 9781848688612. It tells you the true story.. and as the Dailiy Telegraph UK said 'The Truth At Last'. If you have any questions, let me know..

P.S.One thing is for sure, when you read what the boffins got up to you will be amazed!. One canoe was equally at home underneath the water as it was above - really... this one could be sailed, paddled, had an electric motor and was said by its designer as a possible carriage vehicle for the atomic bomb!.. Just so you know the code name for these canoes ( they should have been termed kayaks but the military called them canoes ) was 'Cockle' there were a number of different marks.. the most successful has air sausages on the outside and were removable. I own two... One is a 'Cockle' Mark 2 ( the type use on the Cockleshell Heroes Raid) - the only one in private ownership out of only six known of in the world! Just so you know this 'collapsed' VERTICALLY along its 15ft length. Was a two man canoe. It could be erected in 60 seconds.. its an amazing piece of kit. The other is a 18ft aluminium sectional canoe that can be paddled and sailed which has outriggers and goes through the water like a battleship. When sailing dingies come in because its too windy this is in its element.. it needed to be because it was ocean going and used in Far East. It has ( inc outriggers) FIVE sections. The bow, centre and stern sections all are bulkheaded and were made by aircraft engineers TO AIRCRAFT SPEC/ STANDARD! You should see the riveting . Its a 'cockle' mark 7.The Mark 2 was designed a year before by a chap on the Isle of Wight.. in the Solent called Fred Goatley... He produced another canoe the Mark 2** ( a three man version of the MK 2 ) as well as other craft which are all related in the HEROES book...hope you enjoy." - Quentin Rees

Update 12/19/2010

Quentin Rees contacted me again... and asked that I utilize the "official" cover photo of his upcoming book on the Cockleshell Heroes! I'm more than happy to oblige! Actually, I plan to purchase and read about this fascinating part of kayak history soon! Look for a future book review on Durhamblogger!

The Cockleshell Heros - The Final Witness by Quentin Rees

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Kayaks go to War!

Remembering another December 7th. Sixty-nine years ago, over 2,400 military personnel lost their lives when the Japanese Imperial forces launched a surprise attack against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor on the morning of December 7, 1941. Let us never forget their sacrifice.

I thought it would be a fitting tribute on this day to share with my readers another sacrifice made by brave men who set out in canoes and kayaks to take the battle to the enemy during World War Two. It is the story of The Cockleshell Canoes and Operation Frankton.

Most Secret: The Cockleshell Canoes - British Military Canoes of World War Two

"The gripping story of the development of the Cockleshell Canoes. Used most famously in December 1942, when a small group of twelve men in six canoes were dropped off by submarine 80 miles from the inland port of Bordeaux. Taking a couple of days to get to Bordeaux, the men laid limpet mines on a series of German ships, sinking one and seriously damaging others. These men became the Cockeshell heroes, named after the canoes they sailed in.

But the story of the Cockleshells is more than that of this dozen brave men, most of whom died in what was a suicide mission. Over 4000 canoes were made and the contribution they made to the war was immense, but has remained untold until now. In this new work, Quentin Rees, lucky owner of two of the Cockles, tells the story of the development and use of these 4,000 canoes, from Combined Operations to SOE."

About the Author
Quentin Rees, owner of two cockleshell canoes, has researched the history of the vessels for over twenty years. He lives in Torbay.

Thank you Cockleshell Heroes!

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Monday, December 6, 2010

It's a Small Internet World!

Regular Durhamblogger readers may remember my August paddling adventure on the Pamunkey River. It was during that trip I took the following memorable photo:

And now, as Paul Harvey used to say... "here is the rest of the story." Our friends from Mechanicsville, VA were visiting us this past weekend and told me the following story. The owner of the creek side property and floating dock in the above photo, was recently searching online for paddling areas on the Pamunkey River. And guess what? The Durhamblogger post "Paddling on the Pamunkey River" popped up in his search engine! He was astonished to be viewing his property on the Internet... and at first had no idea how such a photo had found its way into the virtual world! He than remembered a fellow (psst... it was the Durhamblogger himself ) walking around his land this past summer (in the company of his neighbors who are our friends from Mechanicsville!)... and putting two and two together... the mystery was quickly solved. It was "elementary my dear Watson" as the legendary fictitious detective Sherlock Holmes was fond of exclaiming! It is these kinds of "neat" encounters and human interest stories that make blogging so enjoyable and rewarding to me!

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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Old Man Winter Plays Spoiler!

I had tentatively planned to get in a paddle this weekend... but "old man winter" had other ideas... namely the first snow dusting of the year for the Raleigh-Durham region! Weekend temperatures stayed in the mid-30's during the day and dropped into the low 20's overnight. Burr! I didn't get out on any lakes or rivers... but did learn that water resistant paddling pants make great outerwear protection during snow ball fights! ;-)

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Most Popular Durhamblogger Posts in 2010!

Well... with the year almost over (How time flies!)... it is time to highlight the 5 most popular Durhamblogger posts in 2010! Here's what Durhamblogger readers were reading and viewing the most in 2010! Enjoy!

#1. A Great Morning Paddling the Eno River

#2. 3rd Annual Yee Haw! River Paddle

#3. Installing Deck Rigging - A Quick and Easy Project

#4. Sea Kayaking at Wrightsville Beach!

#5. Paddling at West Point on the Eno

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