Thursday, November 29, 2012

How to store your kayak during the off season

So...  that dreaded time finally arrives... the end of your paddling season! You sigh... think back to all those wonderful times on the water... and prepare yourself mentally for your "on shore" time during the paddling off season. Did you know that you should also prepare your idle kayak so it can effectively "weather" the off season too? You want your kayak to be as ready as you will be once its time to get back to paddling! Here are three tips on how to store your kayak during the off season.

Tip #1: Dry and secure: Make sure both your kayak and storage area are dry. Remove all gear. Sponge out the hull, paying special attention to any bow and stern dry compartments and under the deck storage areas. Indoors - The kayak may be stored inside your house, garage, or in another temperature-controlled building. Outdoors - If indoor storage is not possible, than a suitable outdoor shaded area needs to provide protection from both weather elements and direct sunlight. A carport, house eaves, or other structure that provides some protection from the elements is preferable than leaving the kayak out in the open. If you are storing outside, you can invest in a cockpit seal cover that fits securely and tightly over the opening. Make sure hatch covers are secure. You don't want either water collecting or critters making themselves at "home" inside your kayak! You can also store your kayak without a cockpit seal cover. I did it for one off season. But you need to check on your kayak frequently to ensure no water, insects, or animals have crept inside the hull. You can also use a water-resistant tarp stretched (not wrapped around) over your kayak. Be sure that water and snow cannot collect on it. You want air to be able to circulate around the hull so there is no moisture build up.

Tip #2: Even and level: Indoors - Invest in a wall, or floor storage cradle so the kayak weight is distributed evenly. An overhead cradle system is possible in a garage setting, but is a more involved project that requires some carpentry skills and adjusting pulleys. Plastic kayaks can be stored flat on a hard surface (like a garage floor) provided the hull bottom is also flat. You don't want the hull to deform or warp because of uneven weight distribution. Don't store anything inside or on your kayak - especially chemical solutions like gasoline, turpentine, paint, etc. Keep your kayak away from any heat sources like furnaces, hot water heaters, or portable kerosene heaters. Outdoors -  Invert (flip over) your kayak and be sure the hull is supported evenly by padded wood blocks, wedges, or other cradles to distribute the weight evenly. Don't lay it on the ground by itself. Again, ensure that water cannot collect and pool on any hull surfaces. Visually inspect your outdoor stored kayak periodically - especially after rain and snow events.

Tip #3: Lock it down: Unfortunately, you need to guard against theft too. Indoors - An indoor storage location should provide adequate protection. However, if your kayak is stored in a garage or other structure with windows and the interior is viewable from the outside, you may wish to cover any openings so prying eyes cannot see into the building. Outdoors - Position your kayak so it is not visible from the front of your house - especially subdivision roads or other main avenues into your neighborhood. A security cable attached to a sturdy part of your kayak like the foot brace track or hull carry bracket and than locked to a fence, tree trunk, or pole will "discourage" thieves. You want to basically "hide" your kayak from view while making it difficult for a thief to do a "snatch and run" with your valuable kayak.

Follow these storage tips and both your kayak and you will be ready for many paddling seasons to come!

Copyright Durhamblogger. All rights reserved.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

That's All Folks!

Well, that dreaded time has finally arrived... the end of my paddling season! The "V" formations of geese are honking overhead. Trees are bare and dead leaves blanket the ground. The evenings are arriving sooner. The days are colder. Winter is here.

Most importantly, the water temperatures here in North Carolina are getting too low for me to paddle safely... especially since I do not own a dry suit. So, it is time to store my kayak flotilla in the garage and pack up all my gear. Sigh.

But, I'm not going anywhere. I'll still be posting here at Durhamblogger on paddling sports related subjects and will continue to respond to my readers' comments and questions. And I hope that the 3 long months before I can paddle again (Mid-March) pass swiftly!

Now it is time for me to embrace Terri Gullemets' sentiments on Winter...

 "Hot coffee and cold winter mornings are two of the best soul mates who ever did find each other."  ~Terri Guillemets

I hope to join these "soul mates" for many enjoyable times!

 Many thanks to all the folks who are Durhamblogger followers and everyone who stops by to visit at Durhamblogger! I greatly appreciate your reading my blog and your comments! And always remember... Take life one stroke at a time!

 - "Warmest" Regards, Mike - the Durhamblogger 

Copyright Durhamblogger. All rights reserved.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Late Fall Paddle at Hickory Hill on Falls Lake!

 Location: Hickory Hill, Falls Lake, Durham, NC. Temperature: 50F Wind: Calm Conditions: Mostly Sunny 

Saturday was one of those rare days in November, when the temperatures would climb to a balmy 65F, after a cold start in the mid-30's! Fantastic paddling conditions and the Durhamblogger was NOT going to waste such a "gift!" Unfortunately, Rachel was feeling under the weather and was not able to accompany me on this paddling adventure. I decided to strike out for Hickory Hill,(Put in was location #16 on the map) an area on Falls Lake and paddle in a section of the lake that I had not paddled since the summer of 2011. It was time for a return visit! Reminder - click on the photos to enlarge.

 Water and wind conditions were calm, that made for an easy paddle. In the distance, I heard  rifle fire several times during my paddle. Deer season was in full swing and hunters were in the nearby woods. I felt a little small and vulnerable in my kayak!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Paddling the Hyco River with the Dan River Basin Association!

Location: Hyco River, Halifax County, VA. Temperature: 43F Wind: Calm Conditions: Mostly Sunny

Saturday morning I met up with Wayne Kirkpatrick and the fine folks of the Dan River Basin Association for a paddle on the Hyco River! Rachel was not keen on paddling in cold temperatures and decided to spend some quality time with her mother. I was excited to meet fellow yakers and paddle the Hyco River - the first time I've paddled this river! I was a little apprehensive while loading my kayak and gear in the early morning hours - it was cold with temperatures in the mid-30's! But as the sun rose and warmed the outside air, temperatures became more tolerable in the mid-to-upper 40's and 50's halfway through the paddle.