Thursday, March 30, 2006

A tribute to a sea hero: 2. Paul Caffyn

picture from

The timing couldn't be any better. Exactly in the week of celebrating 400 years of contact between Australia and the Netherlands a parcel with the Paul Caffyns' autographed book "Obscured by waves" arrived. Sender was Justine, who brought some copies of the book with her after she visited Paul in New Zealand. It was a unique parcel packed with lots of Duck tape (Duck tape is the "cure for all" in the kayak world; Wenley also got impressed!).

Paul Caffyn is the Abel Tasman of the sea kayakers. After the circumnavigation of the South Island of New Zealand in 1978 (reported in "Obscured by Waves"), he paddled around the North Island of NZ, Tasmania, Australia, Japan, Great Britain, along big parts of Alaska, Greenland, New Caledonia and, and, and...
I am looking forward to next evenings reading Paul's adventures. Nothing better than a book. I like surfing the internet, and reading stories on the web (otherwise I wouldn't be blogging now), but still find reading a book more relaxing. I enjoy drinking a cup of tea, or a good glass of wine while reading a book. When I am surfing or typing on the PC tea gets cold and wine doesn't taste...

By the way: we should also honor Justine and her friends these Tasman-days: Justine made, together with Trys Morris and Gemma Rawlings, the first female continuous circumnavigation of Tasmania by sea kayak: 1350 km in 37 days. The DVD "This is the sea II" futures a 25 minutes documentary of this trip.

Now I don't know what to do tomorrow in the evening: (1) read Pauls' book (2) read Abel Tasmans' report or (3) view Justines' DVD...

A tribute to a sea hero: 1. Abel Tasman

In March 1606 the Duyfken, a small ship owned by the Dutch East India Company (VOC), that had been sent out to explore the unknown waters south of New Guinea, chanced upon unknown territory. The continent that captain Willem Jansz had “found”, was Australia. 2006 marks the 400th anniversary of the first Dutch contact with Australia. The year is celebrated both in Australia and the Netherlands.
Today, at a symposium called "The Dutch Downunder" in the building of "de Tweede Kamer" (the Dutch house of parliament), a special edition of the original Journal of Abel Tasman's first voyage to the South Land is presented. The old Dutch text is translated in modern Dutch, this makes the report far more accessible to the modern reader. I have read some pre-edited paragraphs. The adventures of Abel Tasman and his crew are fascinating!

In 1642 the VOC made Tasman the commander of an expedition to the South Land. Anthonie van Diemen, the governor-general of the East Indies, ordered him to determine the size and exact location of the South Land and to sketch everything he saw. The expedition’s other objective was to find a passage to the Pacific – in other words a route to South America through Australian waters.
Two vessels were fitted out for this voyage. The Heemskerck, with a crew of 60 ‘stout fellows’ served as Tasman’s flagship. The Zeehaan was under the command of Gerrit Jansz. of Leiden and Isaack Gilsemans, who besides representing the VOC was also a skilled draughtsman. He was instructed ‘perfectly to chart and describe all lands, islands, promontories, bights, inlets, bays etc. that you encounter or pass’.
From Batavia Tasman sailed nearly as far as the Cape of Good Hope, before turning for Terra Australis. On 24 November, by chance, he came across an island which he called Van Diemen’s Land after the governor-general. It was not named Tasmania, after Tasman himself, until many years later. Continuing eastwards, on 13 December he sighted New Zealand, which he called Statenland because he thought it formed part of the land mass south of Cape Horn known by that name.

Illustration Murderers' Bay -from the Journal of Abel Tasman, 1643

The various encounters between Tasman and his crew and the indigenous inhabitants of New Zealand did not always go off peacefully. A clash with Maoris claimed the lives of four Dutch seamen and an unknown number of Maoris. The place was entered in the log as ‘Murderers’ Bay’.
Abel Tasman’s first voyage was undoubtedly the most important of all the Dutch voyages of exploration to Australia. Nonetheless, Tasman’s expeditions brought an end, for the time being, to the VOC’s efforts to find out more about Terra Australis. The Company expected little from the continent and regarded further expeditions as a waste of money.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Space Godzilla vs. Qaaannaq Ataatigut Ipilaarlugu

Blogger Upload Tool refused to do its job yesterday. So I add this picture of a Bowstall-move at the Freestyle Cup in an extra post. The participants of the Cup made moves with odd names like Tricky Wu, Mary Lou, Space Godzilla. It's a world in itself. These moves are far beyond my reach. That's not only because my WW-kajak has to much volume in bow and stern, but more because I am not such an explosive and powerful type of kayaker (getting old?). Yet I have a great admiration for the freestylers and like to watch them doing their moves, and sometime I even join the freestyle training of Jorn.

For doing it myself I am more attracted to the classic rolling thing. I continue trying new rolls with or without my euro-paddle. Now also in Holland Greenland-style rolling is getting more popular. Axel Schoevers has part in introducing it to our scene. Sunday one of his pupils, Gerard, gave a demonstration in Axel's NDK Explorer with a Greenland stick. Greenland moves have beautiful names like Qaaannaq Ataatigut Ipilaarlugu (Sculling Roll with paddle under kayak) or Qiperuussineq (Vertical scull). Sounds great, looks great: learn more about it at One of my favorite kayak-books is John D. Heath's history of Eastern Arctic Kayaks. I have spelled it! And every now and then I study it again.

Despite this fascination: I have not rolled with a Greenland Stick nor paddled an skin on frame kayak yet. I would love to, but up to now I have only seen the original Greenland skin frame qayaqs in musea, not the right place to try one. My new kayak the Pintail, is said to be inspired by the original West-Greenland-kayaks of Igolorssuit, but it is far from a real Skin on Frame design.
Now a dream comes through: yesterday I heard Freya Hoffmeister comes to Spiekeroog in the same week I am coaching the German-Dutch 4-star (Zeevaardigheid/Seebefähigung) kayak-group over there. Freya is a highly talented Greenland Style Kayaker and will be giving rolling classes at Spiekeroog in the weekend after Ascension Day. No discussion: I am staying one or two days longer at Spiekeroog! I subscribed immediately to her class... This morning Freya answered and invited the whole group...

Derrick will be jealous... ;-)

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Too busy...

So pressed for time lately that I don't come to post to this blog. This stupid 9 to 5 pressure even affects my backbone; pain the back! I should be paddling more (the best therapy..). And I should be going to bed earlier. So I leave it with a very short post this time.

Here is a picture of Nico participating on the Dutch Open Playboat Cup this weekend at Outdoorvalley in Bergschenhoek. Nico is a very enthusiast youthmember of kayakclub de Ronde Venen. Nico made it to the half-final round, surpassed his trainer Jorn! Big applause for Nico!

It was a fun happening at Outdoorvalley: the Playboat Cup was part of a big program of activities around the opening the new kayak shop and the kayak season. I met a lot of kayakfriends.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Stuck in the 70's and 80's!

Always look on the bright side of life.
Always look on the light side of life.

If life seems jolly rotten,
There's something you've forgotten,
And that's to laugh and smile and dance and sing.
When you're feeling in the dumps,
Don't be silly chumps.
Just purse your lips and whistle.
That's the thing.

Always look on the bright side of life.
Always look on the right side of life,

Monthy Pyton - Life of Brian - 1979

Tuesday evening is paddling evening. Directly after dinner I go upstairs to change my working clothes for the kayak-outfit. When I did so yesterday, I heard Lieke - my nine year old daughter - singing as a bathroom song the refrain of "Always look upon the bright side of life....". She didn't understand a word of what she was singing, but had great pleasure in it. Especially in the "whistle"-part. The song got stuck in my brain, and accompanied me all evening: when I was biking to the boathouse, when I was paddling, I even fell asleep with it. I didn't mind at all. As a matter of fact: after a boring day at work I could use a feel good song! It is surprising how a simple melody can change your mind. But it was not only the melody. It was the whole association with my history, remembering the joy I had with the Monthy Pyton films in the late 70's....

I had a similar "feeling good while indulging in my history" experience when I was browsing the 2006 Valley Catalogue that came along with the Pintail: Valley has brought back the surf-shoes of the late 70's. Look at the retro design of the new Sneaker. I love this flower-print, it just makes me feel happy....

Spring is in the air!

Monday, March 20, 2006

It's springtime!

Today at 7.24 pm the sun passed the equator: spring has started! It still feels like winter though. And that is not only a feeling: the statistics show that it's far to cold for the time of the year. See the picture above.

Anyhow, it won't last much longer till temperature rises and paddling becomes more comfortable. But water is still cold. So pay attention to Bonnie's hypothermia warning! Have a look at the site of Atlantickayaktours for how to dress (I like the animation!).

GPS track of the Voordelta trip

Click on the picture for a full size view

Peter mailed this GPS-plot of Sunday's kayak trip. Thank you Peter! Now I can complete the statistics of the trip.
Peter has developed a softwaretool for planning kayak trips on tidal waters. It is called Seakayak Navigator and it offers the possibility to plan your kayaktrip on the PC. Seakayak Navigator also interacts with a GPS, so you can exchange waypoints, routes and tracks. Let me know when you are interested, I will contact you to Peter. In the next edition of "de Mededelingen" (the magazine of the Dutch NKB-seakayakgroup) an article of Peter on GPS navigation is published.

statistics NKB kayaktrip ZH-Voordelta:
19 maart 2006
LW Haringvlietsluizen 10.29 uur
HW Haringvlietsluizen 17.16 uur
departure 10.30 uur
break 12.15-12.40 uur
finish 15.45 uur
total distance: 18.2 nautical miles - 34 km
av. speed: 3.8 knots - 7 km/h
wind: 3-4 Bft N -> NE
temperature: 4 "Celsius
watertemperature: 3 "Celsius

Sunday, March 19, 2006

NKB kayaktrip Voordelta Zuid-Holland

I was prepared for a tough kayak-trip. All week the wind on the Dutch coastline was 5-6 Bft, temperature around zero (Celsius), mostly clouded, hardly any sunshine. Bitter cold. But when I met the group at the outer-harbour of Stellendam this morning, sun was shining, wind 3 Bft, temperature 5 degrees 'C. That's more comfortable, you might almost call it "friendly weather". I have seldom met such a homogeneous group kayakers as today. Well equipped, good prepared, a good condition and a good mood. With these guys the tough conditions would also have been fun!

Today was nice. I like the Voordelta with its contrasts: the industrial mainport of Europoort in the north, the rural island of Goeree in the south, the endless sea in the west, the sandbanks with birds and seals (no seals seen today) in the east.
As the sun disappeared and the wind was increasing up to 4 Bft, 30 km paddling still means working. On the seaside of the sandbanks (West from the Hinderplaat) there were nice windwaves that invited to some surfing, and on the way back in the shipping lane (Slijkgat) the headwind kept the muscles warm during the last miles. We have paddled first two hours, made a stop for 20 minutes at the Slufterdam, and finally paddled three hours back. Not much time for eating, a hungry Hans enjoyed Janine's pasta meal this evening!

More pictures: click here
(note the wet look of David on one of the first pictures: a tough guy starts his kayaktrip with a dip. In winter? Keep smiling!)

Saturday, March 18, 2006

The Pintail - II

Atlantic Kayak Tours: Take an Anas Acuta, round off the chines and add a bit of beam for stability, and you have a Pintail. It fits a larger paddler than the Anas Acuta, but does not track as well as the Anas (which is also not known for tracking). It turns so easily, some people call it the Pin Wheel! In the hands of a good paddler, there may not be a more fun kayak to paddle.
The Pintail is a good day-paddling, surfing, rock garden kayak, but large enough to camp from. Everyone should try paddling the Pintail. It'll show you where your paddling skills stand, and help develop better skills. Paddlers sometimes forget that kayaking should be fun, but the Pintail will remind good paddlers how much fun they can have. The Pintail is a unique kayak in a field of copycat designs. It deserves more attention.

VCP Says: The Pintail is based on the classical lines of the Igolorssuit Kayaks, but with rounded bilge hull sections to produce a good boat for lighter loads, lighter paddlers, and shorter trips. It is a rough weather boat with minimum windage. This is one of our most popular designs due to its maneuverability, low windage and ease of paddling. It appeals to many kayakers who want to do either easy cruising with a lightweight, quick and stable boat, or those kayakers who use ocean waves, surf, rock gardens and sea caves as their playgrounds. Available with two cockpit sizes: keyhole and ocean.

Hans: Very happy with the new kayak! I have tried it out today in company of Guus. It's a lively boat, rolls very good, fun to paddle indeed. I have no problem with the tracking so far. And it's so beautiful with its sleek traditional lines!
When we came back to Woerden I didn't bring it to the boathouse immediately, but -as Janine and the kids were not at home - used the opportunity and put in the living room first. I made myself a cup of tea and enjoyed looking at the new toy, dreaming on...

Vital statistics of the Valley Pintail:
Heavy-duty diolene reinforced construction
Outside fiberglass seams
Three Watertight fiberglass bulkheads
Watertight VCP hatches (two round 7.5" and oval 16 x 9")
Recessed deck fittings
Deck lines and bungie cords
Compass recess
Yakima foot braces
Dimensions: 17'2" long and 22" wide
Weight: 52 lbs.
Ocean Cockpit 20" x 15.5"

The Pintail

Text and picture from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (

Pintail (Anas acuta) - AKA: Northern pintail
Slightly bigger than a mallard, these long-necked and small-headed ducks fly with a curved back pointed wings and a tapering tail, making this the best way to distinguish them from other ducks in the UK. The pintail is a ‘quarry’ species, meaning that it can be legally shot in winter, but – unlike in parts of Europe – it does not appear that shooting is affecting their population status in the UK. The small breeding population and significant winter population make them an Amber List species.

Hans: I will have a lot of fun with this bird. It feels bad it can be legally shot in winter...

Vital Statistics of the Pintail:
Eggs: 7-9
Incubation: 22–24 days
Fledging: 40–45 days
Maximum lifespan: Oldest know bird 26 years
Length: 63–70cmWingspan: 80–95cm
Weight: 550-1,200g
UK breeding: 10-40 pairs
UK wintering: 28,100 birds

Friday, March 17, 2006

Temperature, OK? What about the wind...

Last week I was continuously watching any weather forecast I could find, because:
this weekend must be a perfect kayaking weekend: at Saturday I am going to try out a new seakayak with Guus. Sunday is the first official NKB seakayak trip of 2006: 7 kayakers subscribed for the trip in the Voordelta.
I am really looking forward to it. Just one more night!

Puzzling again!

detail of DKW 1811 -

As a kid I was fond of puzzling. Every Friday, when the post delivered a new TV-magazine, the first thing I did was looking at the last pages for the puzzle pictures. My favorite ones were the species of "looking for the 10 differences". You will surely remember these puzzles: on the left side the original picture, on the right side the altered one with hidden differences. Of course I was very good with these puzzles; much better then my parents anyway. I forgot about the puzzles, but they still exist. Now my kids are puzzling, and they do it much better then I...

As I am to restless for puzzling now, I don't hesitate to take advantage of new technologies that do the job for me. So I became an enthusiast user of the digital edition of the Dutch Nautical Charts. The big advantage of these charts is that they are frequently updated: with one push on the button all recent changes in the position of buoys, traffic lanes, restricted areas and other modifications are made. Just make a print the day before your kayak-trip, laminate it, and you have always an up to date, tailor made chart on you kayak deck. (I must admit it took some puzzling before this all worked out, but it did!).

But I have to make a warning. The navigation software on which the charts are based upon has changed. The old version offered the option to export the charts as a bmp-file. This offered the possibility to make a selection, to zoom in and out and to print with any Photo-editing program. With the 2006 version of the charts and software however, this won't work any more. You can only print out directly from the navigation software. And this works rather rude; it is almost impossible to make a good selection and to get a print of a larger area in a readable quality.
As you can't take a laptop on the deck of a seakayak, this limits the usability of the digital maps for seakayakers dramatically. I probably have to return to the paper edition and do all the updates (Admiralty Notices to Mariners - Berichten aan zeevarenden) by hand!

Yesterday I contacted the editor of the digital charts (Stentec). I have spoken with the software designer, a very kind and helpful man. He explained me that new international rules of the UKHO prohibit the bmp-option. Stentec is working on a more sophisticated print option of the navigation software (WinGPS), but that will not be available before the end of this year. He explained me there is still an option to export the maps in pdf-format. It should be possible to export the whole map as an pdf-file and to use that file to make your prints. I have tried it, but I didn't manage tot do this without loss of sharpness: the details of the charts fade away. Perhaps it works with other settings of the pdf-printer, but that takes a lot of puzzling. If you have found a solution: please let me know!
Conclusion: I am afraid in 2006 Dutch seakayakers have to work with the paper edition of the Hydrografische kaarten (DKW 1810 series).

Even on the IJsselmeer (a region where you could use your charts for years because seldom anything changes) you need a new chart for 2006. Seakayaker Peter Grobbee drew attention on the new buoyage for IJsselmeer and Markermeer; there will be more safe water marks and less unlit buoys. By the way: Peter's kayaksite is worth a visit. It is regular updated with nice pictures of his kayaktrips. His first trip this year was on the Lek with an odd combination of a low height of water and a high current.
Another kayaksite worth a visit is Zeekajakvaren from Han and Arie Kreuk. Their site presents the seakayaking program of the other Dutch kayaking association: TKBN. The site is restyled this year and some (Dutch) reviews on kayakgear are added. As I am up to buying a VHF radio myself, I was especially interested in Arie's experiences with the Simrad MT50. It sounds like a good piece of gear, but it is also one of the more expensive VHF-handhelds on the market. With all the uncertainty about DCS and the question how long the coastgard will continue monitoring Channel 16, I have some restraints about investing a lot of money in the perfect (but non-DSC)gear. I suppose an Icom or a Raymarine handheld should also be reliable. And they cost the half! (although I write my posts in English I am still Dutch ;-) ).

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Loosdrechtse Plassen - ...and more ice in march!

Yesterday I made the appointment with Jaap and Guus to paddle around Woerden on sundaymorning. But as Jaap and I arrived at the boathouse of KV Wyrda early this morning, we found the canals in Woerden frozen after one cold night. So we loaded our kayaks on the car to make a ride to open water. Guus arrived a few minutes later with his Kajett on the roof of his car. The Kajett is a fast sport-touring kayak, designed for flat water. Though Guus has no problem handling the Kajett even on big open water, he decided not to join us. It's a pity Guus couldn't paddle with us, but it's a wise decision not to paddle on open water with a kayak without water-tight compartments and deck lines in this time of the year.
We finally paddled the Loosdrechtse Plassen . The "plassen" (=lakes) itself were ice-free, but the sides in the lee were frozen, so we couldn't transit to other waters.

It was the first paddle in daylight and the first longer paddle in the new drysuit. I am still in the try-out period. First thing to discover is: "what to wear under your drysuit?". Provisional conclusion is that polypropylene underwear and one layer of fleece do well under cold circumstances. I wonder how fast it will be to hot. Another question is how I bear the latex seal around my neck on longer paddles. In the beginning the neck seal feels rather tight, but I have noticed that after a while I get used to it. But I worry about the red spots on my neck after half a day wearing the dry suit. I don't like to be a redneck! Perhaps I should shave myself before I go paddling. This would be a new dimension to my paddling: during kayaking trips up to four days I don't shave... (I noticed I am not the only one: perhaps it's a good occasion to alter the Dutch kayak etiquette!).

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Pool session in Alphen

This evening Guus and I were guests at the pool session of kayakclub "de Kromme Aar" in Alphen aan de Rijn. It's a great luxury to have two hours time to play for yourself with your kayak and nobody to look after. Thanks guys!

New gear II - "craftmanship"

From the beginning, Tim has built the company on a simple philosophy: manufacture product on time, meet specifications, increase value, and provide a pleasant work environment. When asked about the company's devotion to quality, Tim simply replies, "My name is on every tool." Although he no longer spends much time on the manufacturing floor, Tim is known for wearing his signature red shop apron every day to show his willingness to pitch in wherever needed. In the mean time, Tim is very involved in manufacturing and product development issues.
About the founder - Tim Leatherman: original text from

When I went shopping for the drysuit two weeks ago, I did also a rather impulsive and needless buy: a Leatherman Tool. Since a long time I am fascinated by these multitools, but as a matter of fact I don't need one. I am very content with my Swiss army knife and in the past years I have selected a fine assortment of high quality tools for all my outdoor activities. So what can a Leathermann Tool add to this? It doesn't even offer a corkscrew! (Very important for an enthusiast of a good bottle of wine).

Yet the Leatherman Tools kept fascinating me. Just the way all the blades, pliers, knives, saws, screw drivers, bit drivers and cutters match together, the smooth way it folds, opens and closes, the ingenious way the tools are locked automatically: it's great!
I must admit I admire craftmanship and the art of engineering. I enjoy intelligent design and quality in itself. Whether it is of any use (for me) is secondary. So I am delighted with my new tool. Toys for boys.

Somehow I like pseudoromantic marketing stories like above about the man behind the toys. I have never met mr. Leatherman, but I can imagine we share the same passion about craftmanship.

And now to kayaking: two weeks ago I met mr. Klaus Lettmann: the man behind the German Lettmann kayaks. Speaking about craftmanship, engineering art: that's Klaus in person! That morning I learned a lot about kayak constructing, new developments with synthetics, enjoyed discussing with this passionated designer. I don't need a Lettmann kayak, but sure want to try one... "Deutsche Wertarbeit" will be subject of one of the next posts.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Licensing a VHF Radio: "be patient!"

I am a barbie girl in the barbie world
Life in plastic, it's fantastic
You can brush my hair, undress me everywhere
Imagination, life is your creation
(Lyrics Aqua - song: Barbie World, 1997)

In the weekend edition of "De Volkskrant" last week, there was an item about walky talkies (= handheld VHF Radios - Portofoons). License free VHF Handhelds are getting more and more popular for skiers on the piste, for communication between motorcylists and even for parents to keep in contact with their kids in amusement parks and other crowded places. The Barbie (Mattel-registered trademark) stupidity has also come into the VHF-world...

A handheld VHF Radio can be an useful kit for seakayaking. Though you will need a more professional and powerful one. A license free VHF Radio won't do, alas. A mobile phone in a waterproof package is another very helpful means of communication on the water, but is not a complete alternative. Radio and phone both have their own limitations and their own advantages. There has been said a lot about this, just have a look at the discussions on the UKseakayakguidebookforum or the German Spierentonne-forum.
I personally find every seakayaker should make up his own mind and decide what to do. For getting weather reports and "only using in the case of an emergency" an "illegal" (=non licensed) VHF Radio might do. However, also in this case I would strongly advise to do a relevant course to get the protocols right. While the coastguard fully supports people having VHF-radios, even without license, it can only be good if we go about having and using them properly (and legally?).
For myself I decided to get the appropriate license(s) anyway. I found, as NKB seakayak coach, I should be able to use a VHF Radio - legally. I bought a learning-book, did one of the free Internet courses and subscribed for the examination in December last year. Since then I am wondering about the little inconveniences that come along with Dutch administration.
The test isn't difficult. But the administration procedures are a world in itself. Not a Barbie world, but more like a Kafka world. For example: about a month after subscribing you can do the test. You have to subscribe via the "ANWB". When you have done the test well, the "c.v. Vaarbewijs en Marifoonexamens" sends you, 4 weeks later, an attestation. You have to sent this attestation to the "Agentschap Telecom". The "Agentschap Telecom" sends you a certificate (in a few weeks, months?? I'll see). When you have received this certificate, you have to sent a copy of it to (again) the "Agentschap Telecom" to get an Operators license. When you have received the Operators license you can..... Why don't they do this "all in one"? You do a test to get a license! I forgot to tell: for every step you have to pay a contribution, of course.

Conclusion: It takes a lot of time, and also a lot of money, before you can legally use a VHF radio in the Netherlands. I wonder if I succeed to have a VHF Radio legally licensed and registered before I lead the seakayakcourse in Germany (Spiekeroog). I do also get more understanding for people that don't take all the trouble...

PS: At one point Dutch administration has made life simpler last year. Since 22-7-2005 it is allowed to use a solo handheld VHF Radio on small boats. Before that date, the use of a handheld was only allowed in combination with a non-portable VHF Radio installation mounted in your boat. Seakayakers had to ask separate for exemption...

Voor de Nederlandse zeekajakkers: als ik de hele procedure heb afgerond, geef ik een volledig overzicht van tijd en kosten...

Saturday, March 04, 2006

The last upswing of winter in Woerden

Meteorological Spring starts at the 1th of March. But Winter makes his final revival these days. It brings some inconvenience like slippery roads, traffic jams, delayed means of public transport (only 5 cm of snow and you can't get to your work anymore... ) and there is no kayaking with ice... But it looks so good! I love the world in white!

So tomorrow (sunday morning) I won't be kayaking but take the mountainbike instead.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

New review on the ""

The kayaker above is Rene, the man behind the This picture was taken almost a year ago, during a rolling photo-session with the Rotomoulded Valley Avocet and a Lendal Kinetik Wing Paddle. That explains the flattering scull cap, nose clip and sunglasses. Mostly we paddle less overdressed.

Last week Rene added the review of the Avocet to his website. Rene takes his testing serious and -as we say in the Netherlands - "doesn't walk on one night's ice". When Rene tests a new kayak, he uses it for months on long and short trips, in all kinds of conditions, loaded and unloaded. His testreports are very extensive and precise. Always test a kayak for yourself, but the information of Rene is a very good help in making up your mind. See it for yourself on the Zeekajaksite. Beside the test of the Avocet you will find on this site dozens of reviews of other seakayaks, some technical notes on seakayaking stuff, sea related Dutch poetry and lots of useful weblinks. Sorry for foreign visitor's: most texts on the Zeekajaksite are in Dutch (some reviews have a summary in English (North Shore Mariner) or German (Godthapp)).

It's nice to meet people that are infected by the same kayakvirus as yourself (perhaps I should better not say that this way, in times of fear for H5N1 - bird-flu; but I mean the harmless and healthy kayakvirus). Rene is one of the people, I can talk with for hours on kayak design, paddles, navigation-tools, seakayaking places and other very interesting things. Sometimes a little bit to the frustration of my partner, especially when she wants to use the phone :-) !

And finally to one of my own little frustrations (myself being a clumsy internet user): actually I wanted to add a moving picture of Rene rolling to this post. But I didn't manage to do it. When uploading an "animated Gif" to Blogger, only the first layer of the picture appears on the Blog. I have been searching all night long on the internet for tips how to do it, and found out it should be possible, but how? The only result was Hans going to bed too late and having a bad temper next day...
It must be simple. Can anyone tell me how to do??

Btw: You can see an animation on the Zeekajaksite (Zeekajaktests-> Valley -> Avocet -> Veiligheid)