Thursday, December 30, 2010

Bothy Bag

Last year there were one or two occasions when we stopped for lunch and a sudden bit of bad weather popped up. We used a tarp which was a great bit of relief and it has become a standard piece of equipment one of us tucks away.
In one of our winter on land discussion/training sessions the Bothy Bag came up as an alternative suggestion. I happened across one online and my son managed to track one down in Glasgow.
Very handy and simple to use. Shake out, pull it over and sit on internal flaps. You can lean back to support the walls and ceiling, without the need for poles. Warms up inside in no time.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Middle Cove

With all the weather action in the last little while I thought a visit to Middle Cove would be in order - I expected there might be some residual heavy seas. It turned out to be just a nice hike. Unfortunately,I expect some communities on the southern shore may have sustained the worst of the storm surge a few days ago.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

What a year we had.
Kayaking in NL has seen us all over this year - sometimes paddling a lot, hiking and camping. Big event or small, quick dip or a long trip - the kayaking season, which is pretty much year round has been a chance to reconnect with friends, meet new folks and on a few occasions introduce new people to the sport.
As a number of friends have said: any day on the water is a good day.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Lunar eclipse

Winter Solstice Lunar Eclipse from William Castleman on Vimeo.

I was up at 0330hrs this morning but the view of the lunar eclipse was blocked by cloud cover. I could see the star on Signal Hill but that was about it.

Thankfully William Castleman was up and around with a good view.

Mariners have always kept an eye to the sky and this event was well known even in the 1600's. Remarkably it last occurred on December 21st in 1638 according to those who follow these things and won't occur again until 2094.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

China's Terracotta Warriors - ROM

If you get a chance catch this exhibition hosted by the Royal Ontario Museum(ROM), before it leaves in January.
It was quite extraordinary. I found the exhibit fascinating - the kneeling archer pictured is one of 300 or so found in the original pits. The curator Dr.Chen Shen and staff, provided an extensive background of information regarding the Qin army and Chinese history.
The actual pits were discovered accidentally near the tomb of the warrior emperor.
The photo is from the ROM website; which I acknowledge borrowing. More information is available at:

Gift for Christmas

This year a few of us at work joined together to purchase a goat, chicken and rooster for someone at Christmas.

You don't have to wait for Christmas - it can be a great thank you.

But Christmas was our choice this year - and one of a number of good ways to divert some holiday spending.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mummering just outside of St. John's

Mummering is a Newfoundland Christmas tradition that is a great bit of fun especially in smaller communities. Locals disguise themselves in outrageous costumes and go door to door spreading good cheer. The hosts attempt to guess who they are behind the outfits. The whole event usually involves singing a number of tunes.
Part of the fun is that no piece of clothing, sheets or other gear is safe from use -so kayak equipment and good suits are stored if you don't want them used.

Exercise before breakfast is the best

Here is an interesting study that supports trying to get in that early morning run.
This research may not make it any easier for me to get out on the street before
0600 hrs but, it does provide some physiological motivation.

J Physiol. 2010 Nov 1;588(Pt 21):4289-302.
Training in the fasted state improves glucose tolerance during fat-rich diet.
Van Proeyen K, Szlufcik K, Nielens H, Pelgrim K, Deldicque L, Hesselink M, Van Veldhoven PP, Hespel P.

Research Centre for Exercise and Health, Department of Biomedical Kinesiology, K.U. Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.

A fat-rich energy-dense diet is an important cause of insulin resistance. Stimulation of fat turnover in muscle cells during dietary fat challenge may contribute to maintenance of insulin sensitivity. Exercise in the fasted state markedly stimulates energy provision via fat oxidation. Therefore, we investigated whether exercise training in the fasted state is more potent than exercise in the fed state to rescue whole-body glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity during a period of hyper-caloric fat-rich diet. Healthy male volunteers (18-25 y) received a hyper-caloric (∼+30% kcal day(-1)) fat-rich (50% of kcal) diet for 6 weeks. Some of the subjects performed endurance exercise training (4 days per week) in the fasted state (F; n = 10), whilst the others ingested carbohydrates before and during the training sessions (CHO; n = 10). The control group did not train (CON; n = 7). Body weight increased in CON (+3.0 ± 0.8 kg) and CHO (+1.4 ± 0.4 kg) (P < 0.01), but not in F (+0.7 ± 0.4 kg, P = 0.13). Compared with CON, F but not CHO enhanced whole-body glucose tolerance and the Matsuda insulin sensitivity index (P < 0.05). Muscle GLUT4 protein content was increased in F (+28%) compared with both CHO (P = 0.05) and CON (P < 0.05). Furthermore, only training in F elevated AMP-activated protein kinase α phosphorylation (+25%) as well as up-regulated fatty acid translocase/CD36 and carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1 mRNA levels compared with CON (∼+30%). High-fat diet increased intramyocellular lipid but not diacylglycerol and ceramide contents, either in the absence or presence of training. This study for the first time shows that fasted training is more potent than fed training to facilitate adaptations in muscle and to improve whole-body glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity during hyper-caloric fat-rich diet.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Kayak roll

This is a very smooth and nicely photographed roll sequence.
Thanks to the Qajaq tutorial folks.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Dan Ackroyd, NL and Yogi Bear

I am not a big vodka drinker but purchased a couple of the crystal heads as gifts and for guests over the summer - now will use some for the holidays. It was a bigger incentive because of the NL connection.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Merry Christmas

KNL celebrated their Christmas party at the Crow's Nest last night. A great turnout and a good start for the Christmas season. The Crow's Nest is best thought of as a naval museum with a bar and dining room. Many stories and still functioning perioscope that has a view of the harbour. The periscope came from a German U boat that surrendered to HMCS Victoriaville in May 1945 off the coast of Newfoundland. The periscope had been resting in Halifax so it is quite the coup that a number of officers managed to obtain and mount it in the Crow's Nest.
Lots of kayaking stories and catching up plus great photo selection from a years

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Pittance of Time

I always like Terry Kelly's tribute.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


BIRTHRIGHT from Sean Mullens on Vimeo.

An inspiring film by Sean Mullens.
Here is a small glimpse of an individual who no doubt has significant challenges throughout each day - suits up and paddles out.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Cooking at the Campsite

This year we put our camp wok to the test. Picked up at MEC online and delivered at one of those time periods where shipping is free - look for them typically around this time of year. Easily packed in the kayak if needed. Some of the simplest dinners were quickly done on the wok. We chose to pack a few ingredients in plastic bottles that made a difference - olive oil, fresh garlic, onion, black pepper, fresh ginger and a few fresh vegetables that easily were hidden away. We froze a few pieces of chicken and picked the odd piece of one thing or another on the road. I think I used a few other of our friend Cyril's gourmet cooking ideas - like bring a good knife.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Straighten Up and Avoid LBP

I missed the official date of World Spine Day - which has as its theme "Straighten Up".
So here are a few suggestions which would best be described as general guidelines, since once you develop a back problem a full assessment and consultation with a physiotherapist would be a good idea.

Since I frequently provide education sessions on low back problems here are a few ideas I often mention. These points are grounded in scientific evidence, but I have left out a lot of detail for this entry.

The Bone and Joint Decade is coming to a close shortly, so what better time to reflect on this topic?

1. Stay or get fit - look at walking 10000 steps per day as a start. Exercise in general is critical. Basically it keeps the joints healthy and of course improves maximizes heart and lung function. Most of us are slightly biased to our own special interest: Tai Chi, Yoga, Rowing, Kayaking, Aquatics, Swimming, Running... but it seems we are hard pressed to say one is better than another. The truth may be that some exercises and sports are better suited to one individual more than others. Why not do a combination?

2. Actively work your abdominals(and associated back stabilizers) throughout your day. Learn to tighten your abdominals - specifically the transversus abdominis(TrA)even when cutting vegetables, painting, waiting in grocery line. But don't stop there. Also practice the plank, mini squats or lunges, bridges to activate back muscles and key leg muscles. Work up to 20 reps X 3 sets. All these muscles play a role in stabilizing the back or lumbar spine.

3. Eat healthy - my old boxing coach always said "you are what you eat" - his actually phrasing was more like: if you eat crap, you are crap.
And this has turned out to be more true than he would ever have anticipated. Who could have predicted how much fat, chemicals and salt would be stuffed into fast foods, and even into restaurnant dishes we thought would be healthy.

4. Get plenty of sleep. This is the best time to heal, recuperate and regenerate. An associated study suggested that workers should watch how much overtime you do. The link presumably is that workers who are non stop on the job have little time for yoga, kayaking or running. All the good stuff. So given the choice - leave work on time.

5. Watch what you do and how you do it. Bending, stooping and twisting are high risk movements. Watch what time of the day you do them and limit the high risk movments in your exercise routine. If you have been doing yoga for 20 years you are at less risk than if you are just beginning. If doing the Sun Salutation for example, you may wish to avoid full toe touching first thing in the morning, especially if you are not going to be snow boarding or participating in an activity that requires that movement. Bend your knees when lifting loads from the floor - visualize you are an olympic weight lifter. And when transferring loads - pivot your feet.

6. Watch how you are sitting at the computer,or when driving. Quite often your leg position can impart stress to the back region. As a guideline in the car: your knee should be slightly higher than your hip when your foot is on the gas pedal.

7. Work on your posture - even when you are doing tasks around the house. The goal is what is described as - neutral spine position.

the Wave

I just bought this book and I am starting to work my way through it but find myself jumping ahead and back - to different sections.

An incredible work of research and first hand experience that no doubt will add to the collective understanding of one of the
most powerful forces in nature. It is scary though how many aspects of the ocean are still unexplainable, particularly waves.

As we well know living and kayaking in Newfoundland -
never turn your back on the ocean.

Highly recommended. Enjoy. Maybe a potential guest for KNL retreat 2012.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


This weekend I am out in Stephenville Crossing running a technical coaching clinic for NCCP.
Found a great competition sequence.

Friday, October 1, 2010

A good sense of humour

Sometimes things don't go as planned. For some of us - that can be just when you were counting on things to go right.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Quirpon Island I

Despite the skill of Captain Bryce I noticed in the guest book that many of the visitors found the boat ride over to the island to be quite exhilirating. I gather that was the gist of their comments - they used other words though. I could see how some folks from landlocked origins might find the trip over to be a bit daunting. It is short but intense. On the return trip one of the staff got to ride in the space in the bow - this opportunity was not offered to the guests, so I was unsure whether this was a unique privelege or a staff requirement. Guests were content to hangon to their seats and enjoy the spray and the swell.
Once at the beach - there is a nice hike to the actual quest house where the staff gathered to greet everyone.
An incredible place to visit and a unique destination.

Quirpon Island II

When we arrived a little later in the season the whale traffic had lessened but still there were several easily seen inside the Island harbour. And dolphins making a dash outside the island. In the height of the season this would be the ultimate viewing spot. Hikes in the afternoon were easiest to see alternative landing spots at Cod Cove for example, in case heavier seas made it hard for the boat to go around the headland. This I suppose is the reason visitors are limited to one bag.Although there is a quad type vehicle that can carry gear and in a pinch folks who can't hike.
Clear weather allows for sunsets and sunrise shots - so this is a photographers paradise.

L'Anse aux Meadows

The Viking Trail is an extraordinary drive. Reaching L'Anse aux Meadows means you landed on the northernmost tip of Newfoundland. This UNESCO World Heritage Site represents the first European settlement in North America. The interpreters immerse themselves in character and make the settlement come alive. As we hiked around the extensive trail system, it is hard to believe the area was a boreal forest when the vikings landed.
L'Anse aux Meadows the community is still a fishing community and there are a number of local places to visit and eat. Since we were camping we stopped by the Norseman for a great dinner and break.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Raleigh is just a short distance from the Pistolet Bay campsite. We spent most of our time talking to Abiel Taylor about his work, his background in carving and about Raleigh. It seems there are fewer pieces of whale bone around, so selecting one of Abiel's works was a special event. He had a good sense of humour he even suggested a rationale for us to accomodate the purchase of another special carving. I was tempted, but took his card to keep in mind for the future. A visit back next year would not take much convincing.
Then we were off to tour the Burnt Cape ecological reserve. If we had more time this would be the place to go to find rare and unique Newfoundland plants, especially some rare small orchids. You would be wise to go with the tour leaving Pistolet Bay. We missed the official tour but it was encouraging to know this site(almost the whole peninsula) is protected.
Pistolet Bay is accessible through the small neck of land at the base of the bay within Raleigh - we didn't get a chance to kayak in Pistolet Bay and along the outer part of peninsula where you can access the famous Oven.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Pistolet Bay

Pistolet Bay was our base for several days to travel to St.Anthony, Raleigh, St.Lunaire Griquet, L'Ainse aux Meadows and points in between. There was spectacular scenery and we met great folks - and heard many stories from folks running coffee shops, businesses and restaurants all around the region. The park is a great refuge but when the fog, wind and rain set in a good tarp for cooking and a solid tent is needed for a good nights sleep. I found the staff very helpful when picking a spot if choice is possible. If you are using a tent I recommend site 60.