Showing posts from January, 2009

Ahh, A Nice Day For A Run

Ok, it may not have been the nicest day for a run.  But if you wait for the perfect day this time of year, you will never get out there.  I know I have been saying over the past few days I was going to get out and run.  After I got a cold and it seemed to drag on forever, I could not get motivated withe temperatures being cold.  But today I could see myself slipping into the, I'll do it tomorrow, patter.  Then I looked at Guinness and he seemed just as lazy as me.  So I decided today was the day to break out of the funk and hit the trail.  It was a much needed run.  Being around the house my mind had begun to dwell into things that did not really work out for me this winter.  Running as been the cure for refocusing my mind and re energizing my spirits.
I headed out with the clouds thick above and a nice breeze.  I went to the south end of the island where I love to go run.  I took a different route today and I will take it again.  It was a lot of fun with the wide trail shrinking t…

San Juan Winter Birding

Today was a great day.  Early rise and great breakfast at Rocky Bay Cafe.  Then I was set to go birding with my friend Monika (Orca Watcher Blog).  The condition of the day were cloudy and cold with a moderate breeze.  We were mainly setting out to look at sea birds but as always we check out everything we come across.  
First stop of the day was Cattle Pass.  Located at the south end of San Juan Island and is an area with lots of current flow, we expect to see birds feeding here.  Last time we were there, not much luck.  Today we had more success and started out list for the day.  Whale Rocks located across the way, is a typical haul out for Stellar Sea Lions.  Today we only saw one that I can recall.  Off off Goose Island we spotted a large group of Harbor Seals hauled out.  After spending a bit of time id'ing all the birds it was time to move on.
A quick stop at Fourth of July Beach and off to False Bay.  This is a great place to check out birds. There was a mix of sea birds and …

How To Buy A Sea Kayak

Buying a sea kayak can be a fun experience.  At the same time it can be overwhelming.  There are a lot of kayaks on the market.  In particular you have a lot of choices if you live in the US or Canada.  Kayaks come in many shapes, designs and offerings.  So how does one decide which kayak will fit the best.  
NOTE:  I am not covering sit-on-top style kayaks or fishing kayaks.  This is designed to help those looking for fully enclosed (decked) kayaks. 
Unlike a car where most people pick out a car by looks and then test drive.  I know many people buy kayaks the same way.  But I do not think that is the best way of getting the best kayak for you. Test paddling a kayak is a must!  If this is your first kayak, test paddle a lot of kayaks. Here are some simple questions to ask yourself when getting started.
* What are my goals as a kayaker? Do I want to simply kayak along the shore on calm days in protected waters?Do I want to cross large expanses of water with wave and currents?Do I plan on c…

Choosing A Sea Going Kayak

If you are just joining us for the discussion.  You may want to read the previous post on "How To Buy A Sea Kayak"

Now you have your mind made up and want to have a kayak that can take you to the seas. Remember I call this the Sea Going Category.  Here we are going to discuss a little more detail about the kayaks so that you can be equipped with a bit more knowledge when you arrive at the kayak shop or your kayak lessons.  
As state in my last post.  I feel taking lesson is the best place to start when looking to buy a kayak. This will allow you to gain skill and test a variety of kayaks.
First off the one thing that pops out at you are the different material kayaks are made of. Carbon/Kevlar, Plastic and Fiberglass.  I will give you my opinion and remember that is all it is. Plastic:  I think plastic kayaks are fine.  I like them because they are durable and with proper care will last you a long time.  They are not as rigid as other materials but still offer a great feel. Pl…

Light Snow in the Morning, Cold All Day

We had a few snow flurries this morning.  But that tapered off pretty quick.  It was pretty much just cold outside.  I cannot complain.  My family live in Northwest Arkansas and they are in the middle of a ice storm.  My Mom called earlier to let me know a tree feel on their house.  I do not know much more.  I have tried to call, but all the lines are down.  Thousands are without power and it does not look like it will start warming up until Saturday.  So I am not going to complain about a little cold air.
I took a bit of time to sneak off to the West Side of San Juan and enjoy the sounds of the water and the salty air.  Not much of a sunset tonight with all the clouds, but it is still beautiful. The water had a lite chop and the breeze was moderate and chilly.  Guinness and I walked down to a familiar Madrona Tree and took refuge close the the ground.  I could hear Bald Eagles chattering in the distance and before long I caught sight of one flying over the water.  Searching for its la…


I have to say, I joined the facebook movement last night.  It was a funny circumstance that led to it.  But in the end I have become a member.  It seems like a complete waste of time.  But it has been fun so far.  It was amazing how many friends from High School are there.  Plus it is awesome to see some old friends with their own families.  Pretty cool.  But I will never neglect my duties here on the blog.  Don't worry, kayak information and nature photos will continue as always.
I am sure everyone was worried about that. Laugh!!
Nothing new going on so far today.  A bit of snow early this morning.  Now it is just cold and rainy.
Check back later I hope to get some photos today.

San Juan Island Sunshine

A beautiful day on San Juan Island today.  Very little wind and lots of sun, though the temperature was a bit cold.  After getting some of my work done on the computer today.  I decided it was time to get out of the house.  I thought I might go for a run, but was in a really mellow mood, so a walk was the answer.  Loaded Guinness (my dog) in the Previa and headed out.  
First I went down to Cattle Pass to see if there were any birds or sea lions feeding in the area. There was not much going on.  You could see Mt. Rainier in the distance, always a clue it is a super clear day.  We walked along the shore and I would spy across the water with my bino's in search of any wildlife that might be passing along.  I just enjoyed the nice scenery and took in the sun.
I walked along the bluff above South Beach looking out towards the Olympic Mountains.  There were only a few birds to be seen on the water.  It seems I had my most luck driving to the locations for my walk.  I saw lots of Bald Eag…

Lending A Helping Hand

Tonight my friend Penny ,who works at Wolf Hollow Wildlife Rehabilitation Center here on San Juan Island, asked me if I could help out with a Bald Eagle that was coming in on the 10 0'clock ferry.  I said sure.  Coming from a background in biology and having worked at one point with Bald Eagles I was more than happy to help out.  
We made our way down to the ferry and picked up a box.  Inside the box was an adult Bald Eagle, but you would not have know it.  It was perfectly quite and still.  We drove out to the Center with light snow falling.  Both of us wondering if the bird was even alive in the quite of the car.  Once at the center and opening the box it was alive.  It seemed to be pretty alert and not completely stressed out give the circumstance.  The Eagle was removed from the box and set up to be handled safely.  During examination Penny notice and injury to one of the wings.  The reports said that the Eagle had been on the ground for awhile.  So finding and injury to the wi…

Ever Think That Power Boat Might Hit You

I just finished reading an article in Sea Kayaker Magazine ,February 2009, that was nice and informative on the "Rules of the Road" for kayaks.  If you paddle on saltwater it is a great article to read through that might clarify some confusion about how to handle areas you kayak with lots of boat traffic.  Spending a lot of time on the water in heavily boated waterways, I've seen some pretty crazy travel paths taken by kayakers.  Some of which I believe the kayaks felt they had right of way when they did not.  As a vessel powered by human power it does seem that we should have right of way all the time.  But this is not always the case.  So if you are at the store and want to give it a read, pick it up and enjoy.

Planning Your Own San Juan Island Kayak Adventure

There are a lot of people who search on how to plan their own kayak adventure to the San Juan Islands.  This is a great idea if you have a good understanding of a few important topics and you have accomplished kayak skills.  If you are new to kayaking or do not have an understanding about the kayak environment here in the San Juan Islands.  I recommend going with a guide. This way you have someone with you to ensure safety, navigation and enrich you adventure with information about the islands and wildlife.  
The following information is intended for kayakers with a high level of skill and are looking for tips on kayaking in the area of the San Juan Islands in Washington State.
First thing to mention is the water temperature.  Many people who live where the water is warm do not face the idea of what happens when you capsize and it takes you a good amount of time to get back in your kayak.  With the water temperature here around 48F to 50F year round, well you need to be prepared for get…

Sunset Picture

I meant to post this pic last night.

Just wanted to post this image.  It is a self portrait.   But really I just like the image.
Another beautiful day here on San Juan Island.  Wish I felt better.  My cold seemed to come back this morning with a bit more punch to it.  :(
Hope everyone is having a good day.

Slow Day and Great Sunset

Today did not really go as planned.  But some days are just that way.  I had originally planned on kayaking today.  But an early morning call was to let me that my paddle partner for the day was not feeling well.  Which seems to be going around the island.  So I have to tease a bit and say, Wow I cannot believe you bailed out!  But I understand.  Since I had such a nice day on the water yesterday I decided I would get some stuff done around the house and then clean all my kayak gear from yesterday.
Time seemed to pass quickly. By the time I was done getting most of what I wanted to do for the day, the sun was getting low in the sky.  I pretty much decided earlier in the day that I had to get to the West Side for sunset.  
I found me a nice place where I could lay propped up by a nice rock and watch the water.  Then the funniest thing.  This little boy who was maybe 4 years old, came along.  He came down next to me and just sat right down.  It was pretty funny.  As I looked around I saw …

San Juan Island Winter Sea Kayaking

Today could not have been a better day to be on the water.  There were some Bald Eagles and a few other birds.  But all in all it was pretty quite.  Which there is nothing wrong with quite.  The sun was bright and a breeze out of the north.  My paddler partner today is working on a article for Seattle Magazine.  He was really lucky with the weather today.  We had a pretty nice size ebb tide, so there was a bit of chop for a bit.  But that subsided and the conditions were great.  
After having such a nice day in the sun on the water.  I came home and my roommate and I transferred our home brew to the carboy.  Soon it will be time to bottle and have some drinks!!
Here are some images from the day.

Look at the blue sky! Great time to be on the water.

The ever famous Lime Kiln Lighthouse.

Checking out the shore of Deadman Bay.

Back at Small Pox Bay.  

LOOK AT ALL THAT BEER!  Hope it taste good.
Well it looks like tomorrow is going to be another nice day here on San Juan Island.  Get your kayaks o…

Down With A Cold

Over the past few days I have been up and down with a cold.  I think sometime yesterday it finally got the best of me.  Feeling a bit off today so I did not get out to do anything fun today.  Which is a bummer since the sun was out all day!  
But tomorrow I will be on the water.  I have custom trip to do.  So should get some photos to share and it is suppose to really nice tomorrow.
Remember just because it is winter does not mean you cannot kayak here.  The San Juan Islands are an amazing place to paddle anytime of the year.  Come on out and do some kayaking.
Hope everyone is doing well.  Time for dinner.

I'm a messy eater.

When Is The Wind Too Strong For Kayaking

This is a good question and I bring this up because I see a good amount of people find there way to my blog by searching for that exact phrase.

My first answer for you is it really depends on your individual skill level.  Some kayakers who may be slightly more advanced with bracing and kayak handling skills might be able to kayak in conditions that far worse than a kayaker without those skills.
So knowing your personal limits is key.  Defining those limits should be done in time.  By honing your skills and taking classes (BCU or ACA).  Slowly build your confidence by attending a class in conditions that challenge you and with the safety of an instructor open yourself up for learning.
Next you have to take in account the region you are kayaking.  If you are in a place with little to no tidal exchange then currents are not that big of a factor.  But in areas where you have large exchanges between high and low tide. Well current is a huge factor then.
Example: If you have a tide that ru…

Summer Kayaking Images

I got a comment on the blog this morning from Kandi.  She was on one of my tours last season.  I borrowed a few images from her site to share.  But you should go check out her blog to see how much fun she had on the tour.

Lyle was her paddle partner for the day.

Nice image!  Sunny and calm waters.  I cannot wait for summer!

Stopping for a little chat.

So warm out that I am wearing my shortiedrytop.

Look at the water conditions.  What a wonderful day.
Kandi thanks for sharing your blog with me.  It is always nice to get images with me in them.  It seems most of the time I am taking them, so I am not in many.  Get a group together and set up a 3 day!
Hope everyone one is getting off to a good start today!

Oh the Joy of the Trail

Today started as most do, SLOW!  But after I had some coffee it was time to get a bit or work done. I messed around on the computer getting some much needed organization out of the way.  The work I did today will make what I need to do tomorrow a snap.  
After a bit of time indoors it was time to do something outside.  I decided that a trail run was in order.  I have been a little hesitant about running due to a bit of respiratory issues I have been having.  But it was time to get out there an push trough.  As always the run was a lot of huffing, puffing and sweating.  I cannot discount the wonders it does for you mentally.  At least for me. Running along trails with beautiful scenery everywhere and today Bald Eagles were pretty prevalent.  So it was a great decision to go running.
I took a few images on my way home.  If you ever wondered what most days look like on San Juan Island during the winter.  This will answer you questions.

Kind of cloudy.  Though I did see a patch of sunlight, …

Another Day on San Juan

Today was a quite day.  Never anything wrong with a quite day, but sometimes you can start to have to many of them.  Tomorrow I will have to get out and enjoy some outdoor activity rain or shine!
My good friend Mike who works for the Nature Conservancy in Arkansas doing exciting research in caves.  Has started a new web blog.  It is his work in progress and I wanted to share the blog with everyone and I hope he starts to post some of the amazing discoveries he encounters.

I am trying to get some time to head back south and do some caving with Mike.  We used to do bio inventory work in caves together.  But that was a long time ago and it will be fun to be get back underground and share in the exportation.
Here is a picture of Mike, his wife Christy and me.  This was on New Years Day sitting in a creek bed.  The theory is how you spend your New Years Day would set the tone for your new year. So for me camping, hiking and hanging out with good friends.  Man I …

San Juan Island and Slow Days

Not much happening today.  I ran into some friends when I went out for lunch.  It was fun to catch up.  But a friend of mine called and wanted to go see the little cave I was messing about in the other day so we met up and headed out.  
I spent a bit more time checking things out this time around and took a few new photos.  To see Monika's Photos check her blog: I am sure she will have some images there soon.
Humm. Is this the way out?
Meet some of my new friends

That is all I have.  Have a great day.
Here are some photos sent to me from MoniKa:

Good perspective for seeing the size of the passage.

Checking out critters on the ceiling.

Great Day on the Water

Today was an ambitious day as I had plans to locate and crawl into a cave, then go kayaking.  It turned out to be pretty easy.  The cave was full of water so I was not able to enter.  There is so much water running off the hillsides here.  I am not sure how long it will be before the water has drained.  I will just have to keep checking.  I hope to try and locate some more local caves on the San Juan Island and Orcas Island. 
Kayaking was next on the list.  It was a nice day.  Not too cold, a bit of fog and no wind.  Lyle and I unloaded kayaks, suited up and took off.  Pretty quite out there today.  We were the only ones on the water and other than a bird and a few seals, that is all we saw.  Bald Eagles seemed to be the most common sight of the day.  
Here is a list of birds from the day.
*Bald Eagles*White Wing Scooter*Common Merganser *Buffleheads*Kingfisher*Harlequin Ducks *Double Crested Cormorants*Ruddy Turnstone (surprised to see)
After the day paddle Lyle and I came home and started…