Saturday, April 30, 2005

Kayaking on the Blue Nile and the Nile

“Mystery of the Nile
On Christmas day of 2003, world famous adventurer Pasquale Scaturro and a team of explorers and filmmakers set out on an epic quest to become the first to complete a full descent of the world's greatest rivers—the Blue Nile and the Nile—from source to sea. Four months later, on April 28 at 7:01 a.m., Scaturro and his expedition partner Gordon Brown, completed this 3,250-mile dream when they reached the mouth of the Nile at the Mediterranean Sea.

Their remarkable expedition is the basis for Mystery of the Nile, a brand new, extraordinary OMNIMAX® film. Audiences will take a rugged journey through crocodile-infested waters, enormous waterfalls, giant rapids and breathtaking lakes.....”

In my mind it wasn’t the Blue Nile that was the star of this film, it was Gordon Brown, intrepid kayak-guy who was the safety guide for the journey we witnessed. No I don’t ever fancy myself a white water kayaker, I’ll be happy with touring the shores of Prince Edward Island, but some of the things Gordon could do with maneuvering his water craft was really amazing.

My student cannot imagine why we need paddle lessons. As a homeschooler, he is rather fond of books and believes that we can get what we need about kayaking from the diagrams in our kayak instruction book, but that’s the difference between a visual learner and a sequential learner. This sequential learner needs step by step instructions for safety and comfort. This sequential learner needs a person to show them how to get into the kayak at the dock!

We plan to take our school on the road this summer to Canada. I read that you can stay in a lighthouse on Prince Edward Island and that’s what we intend to do. We want to go to Maine to kayak. We hear it's great there, but we're still researching that idea. We also plan to see Niagara Falls, although, kayaks will NOT be involved.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Mount a trolling motor on your kayak

I saw at your website that you were going to host a “Beginners Kayak/Canoe Clinic” on May 22. Is this information current? Do I need a reservation?

"Yes the dates are current. I prefer for people to pre-register for the clinics. Just give John a call at the shop and he will take your information."
Thanks, April

When we were at Cabbage Key, Florida in February, we wished for a kayak many of the days. Cabbage Key is accessible only by boat, helicopter or seaplane and is located 20 miles northwest of Ft. Myers and 5 miles south of Boca Grande. (For sailors, Cabbage Key is directly across from marker 60 on the Florida Intercoastal Waterway.

Sanibel and Captiva islands are 8 miles to the south.) There are no cars on the island, not even a paved road. You find winding nature trails, picturesque views and relaxation. And after our school days were done, that’s what we did, relax.

On about the 6th day of our stay we saw the ultimate kayak. It was a touring kayak that had a fishing boat trolling motor attached. I couldn’t believe it. These two people had taken relaxing to the ultimate level. They were in the middle of the bay sporting fishing hats, in motorized touring kayaks stalking snooks. If they hadn’t been so far away from shore I would have inquired about the idea of cup holder on board the kayak. As part of my research into a kayak purchase, I “googled” “Mount a trolling motor on your kayak”. The search actually yielded interactions to accomplish this feat.

I have decided that a motorized kayak is not the thing to do. We are going to learn how to kayak the old fashioned way with a paddle. Apparently this requires instruction, we’re scheduling a lesson in May.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Do we really need a "hully roller"?

“Should we get the kayak stacker or the boat loader”?

You never know what kind of answer you’re going to get from a preteen in a sporting goods store.

“The boat loader mom, or you can get the hully rollers and the mako-saddles.”

I needed an explanation of the “hully roller”, because I had a different image in my head than what was actually being presented. Ahh, communication, isn’t it wonderful? You just never know what new bit of information you’re going to get from a homeschooler. It’s not that homeschoolers are any different than anyone else, it’s just that we intentionally take more time to actually think about things, at least that’s what I like to believe. I know that when I get an answer like this, it will have been thoroughly researched and the confidence behind the one sentence answer could yield a rather lengthy explanation should I require it.

I love being on the water, in the water, near the water. I thought a kayak would be a great way to do all of the above. There’s a lot of history to water transportation like this. Some people believe that the ancients traveled extensively using this mode of transportation, or something similar. I just believe it will be a great way to get to some of those places we may never get to see otherwise. The history lessons, the physics, the science, the math, the navigation will all be the great "amenities" that will come with this acquisition. But a kayak is also going to be another great excuse to take our homeschool on the road - or on the water in this case.

Making an addition to the family like this requires research. It seems it might be another lifestyle change of sorts, similar to the decision to homeschool but with different questions. Where does one store a kayak? How does one get a kayak from the top of the car to the water? How does one get into a kayak without rolling it over into the water? Can you really stow camping gear in one without getting your only source of nighttime comfort wet? Is there a cup holder on board? All burning questions we’ll need to answer before we invest in this new family member.