May 30, 2010 — Paddling on LaDue with "ballast" Leslie and Jolly
This entry comes from Leslie:
Unlike Heike and Gale, I am not an avid kayaker. I really enjoy being on the
water, but I don't care for all the work involved in paddling! However,
I couldn't resist the
chance to act as boat "ballast." All I had to do was sit back and enjoy the ride, while giving Heike a chance
to assess the effect of my additional weight on how the boat handles
(simulating what it will be like with supplies in the front compartment
on the actual
brought along my little dog, Jolly, a Shiba Inu who — because of his
looks and his
little round ears — has become the semi-official "polar bear" mascot of the trip.
Leslie and Jolly act as ballast for the boat. Total ballast weight was
around 135 to 140 lb.
Jolly puts up with being in the boat, it is not his favorite activity.
He was trembling and acting like he wanted to jump into
the water and swim to land. However, I knew he would not do this because
he does not like getting wet. Unfortunately for the poor little fellow,
I had to keep pouring water on his head and back to try and keep him
cool — it must have been at least 90 degrees F that day. Pay-back in
full came when he shook his body from nose to tail and sprayed me all
over! But the trip was fun, and needless to say, we got some
interesting comments from other boaters regarding the dog as we glided
Jolly looks like he is contemplating jumping off the kayak and heading
May 13, 2010 — Sailing on LaDue
The first time I tried to sail my kayak, I landed in the bushes on shore and
my mast got tangled up in the trees above. I did it pretty well
but upwind, once I looked up, I saw myself heading to shore at incredible
speed. That was on East Branch. The reservoir is too small to cross against
the wind. So I asked my friend Marty to come and help me
with his experience in sailing.
my first trial, I had my leeboard attached upside down and not fastened
so it was flopping up and down in the water
and getting stuck in the bottom on shore. This time, when I arrived at
the lake, I had forgotten to bring the lee board, period. This was not
too much of a problem as long as the wind was low.
But once the wind kicked up, I was in trouble going upwind; the boat was
moving sideways with incredible
speed. My “emergency brake” was pulling in the sail.
As long as I was sailing with 2/3 of my sail and the wind was relatively
weak, I was ok. Here we are setting the sail to 2/3 of its size.
We are trying to “untangle” all the lines. Still have to learn.
It is important to have the sponsons fully inflated. After being in cold
water for a while, the air contracts and the sponsons have to be inflated
This is something to pay attention to, especially after inflating them
with warm air from the lungs.
ride is quite comfortable with the 2/3 set-up. The wind was low and I
felt comfortable sailing upwind and downwind for several hours.
I still feel relaxed, but the line on top of the mast
was a bit tangled and therefore the sail wasn’t really stretched
full extent. This is something I have to learn to pay attention to.
I am taking off into the “sunset”
The wind was low, so Marty set the full sail.
It looks to me as if I need
rudder. Mine looks flimsy compared to all the other parts of the kayak.
After hitting the “emergency break” I was shaken, because
I zoomed with incredible
speed over the lake.
After I was pushed helplessly into shore (remember: NO LEEBOARD),
we had to take the boat out on shore, disassemble the sail rig, so
comfortably paddle the boat back to our take-in.
It took a while until
had the boat fully under control. I had to paddle straight
into the wind without
having the rudder down. The boat wasn’t loaded well. It is 18 ft long.
I am sitting in the back and therefore the bow sticks out and is caught
wind and pushed around.
May 9, 2010 — Preparing the food
to my estimates, I will need about 800 g of food per day. That is 56
kg altogether (about 120 lb). Partially dehydrating the 800 g will
bring it down to 500 g — altogether, about 35 kg (80 lb).
a) Breakfast: 180
to 200 g muesli consisting of a mix of anything that I love to eat
such as hardy oatmeal (Quaker original large oats uncooked) coconut
almonds, pecans, and/or walnuts, plenty of different dried fruits,
milk powder, and some soya protein powder (vanilla).
I just have to add water, cold or warm, and can go for half a day or longer.
I have tried that recipe and I love it and never get bored with it.
Lunch: I am still working on that one. It has to be something simple
and fast. Maybe food that can even been eaten in the boat if we want
fast. I already have beef jerky, dried salami-like sausages, and crackers.
Adding Wasa or some other bread and snacks such as dried tomatoes and
dried fruit should do it.
c) Snacks: Meal bars such
as Nature Valley. I like these and eat them very often as breakfast. I'll
have more than a hundred with me.
d) Dinner: I am feverishly working on my dinners.
I have a variety of items. Beside breakfast, dinner is most important. This
is the meal that I have to put a lot of attention and work in. I have cooked
spaghetti sauce with ground meat, marinated chicken and beef strips, and
combine these with noodles or rice. For meal variety, I have also dry half-cooked
theses meal choices are dehydrated, weighed, and vacuum-packed. Dehydration
reduces 250 g of food to about 1/3 of its weight. After packaging the food,
label it. I'll take Zip-Lock bags with me and pack the weekly dinner rations
individually, so I can just pack my daily rations from that
bought about $200 worth of vitamins for Juergen and myself, almost all from
Swanson, which gave us a $100 coupon. That
helped a lot. We (especially I) will take supplements such as multi-vitamins,
calcium, magnesium, and more. Because our food was partially processed, we
have to make sure we get enough vitamins and minerals to hang
who wanted to make very delicious beef jerky bailed out :( I haven't tried-out
the re-hydration yet. I hope that goes well :) I would hate to have to eat
yucky food for two months!!! I hope my my method is an efficient
way to process the food for our journey. Please feel to give me any advice,
love to hear good ideas!!
May 8, 2010 —
Leaning to shoot my Mossberg 500 Mariner
This was quite exciting! My Mossberg 500 Mariner shotgun has sat idle
since I got it in November last year. Although I already had shooting
lesson from my three "Shooting
Stars" John, Matt, and John's brother (a just-retired policeman), I had to learn to
shoot with my own gun.
guys are superb! They took me "by my hand" and walked me step-by-step through the procedure. Shooting for Dummies: They
covered loading, unloading, checking if loaded, how to get ready for a transport
of the gun on my boat, how to deal with the gun when actually carrying it, and
...how to shoot it. Also, how do deal with the gun when I hand it to someone,
and what to do when someone hands it to me.
test-shot bird shots first. The strength of the recoil shocked me. I thought
we had used real slugs. No! Now
I had to shoot the heavy bullets. It hurt; my wrists were smashed. Using different
arm positions helped reduce that problem a little bit, but the gun has a powerful
recoil and shooting it still hurt. We
decided I'll buy a foldable stock, which can be swapped with the pistol grip,
whether I am transporting the gun on the boat or using it on land.
brother has a piece of land somewhere south of Cleveland, Ohio. We drove
there because the land area is large enough that I could shoot without
endangering anyone. The fun part came after shooting a box of birdshot and a
box of slugs — shooting clay pigeons. I hit about one out of ten. This takes
a lot of
practice! :) I later shot a pistol and a Russian WWII gun. Both were fun, although
I seem to lack the strength to hold up a heavy gun steadily for a longer period
We were out there for about three or four hours. Enough to learn a lot.
I listen to the invaluable advice of my "Shooting Stars."
Later John showed me how to clean and oil the gun. Although
we shot at least 15 rounds or more, the inside of the gun looked
very clean. The most important
procedures are how to:
I need to buy
a gun case that can be locked for airline transport. According
to John and Matt, I should be able to transport munitions via airline
to Svalbard? Sounds good to me. I have to call the airlines ASAP.
- Check if the gun is loaded
- Load the gun
- Unload the gun if a bullet is in the gun ready to be shot
- Unload the gun if bullets
are in the chamber
- Seecure it for carrying
- Secure the gun for the transport on my boat, ready to
shoot any time but not accidentally.
I practice shooting my
Mossberg 500 Mariner while dressed in my kayaking raingear.
May 1, 2010 — Outfitting
my kayak with a sail
Dave stands next to my new Balogh sail (partially
reefed) on my Feathercraft Klondike kayak.
great experience: We drove from Cleveland to N.Y.C. to visit Dave in the
Bronx, where he had been working on my boat for a few days.
I had left it
with him three weeks ago at the N.J. Paddler Symposium in Somerset, N.J.
My paddling partner Juergen in Germany told me I should buy the sail.
Somehow I was reluctant. I am a paddler, not a sailor. So why should
I get a sail? But the more I thought about the 1,500 miles we will have
to paddle, the more I thought a sail would give me a chance to rest, maybe
keep up, and even be able to return relatively fast if something doesn't
work out. The thought of getting a sail started to intrigue me.
looked at Balogh sails. They looked great! And the system is just unbelievable
smart. David, the shop owner, just bought the company a few months ago.
He is a dedicated sailor. He prefers racing, but our expedition
excited him a
lot. He reinforced all the metal pieces which are part of
the mast and showed me where I might have to do repairs, what tools
I would need, and how I can put pieces together. We will have a satellite
phone with us on the expedition. Should I need to use it, David will have
to walk me through using phone :)
The image shows the re-enforced T-area of the sail.
sail is light and easy to install and to handle. One great feature — it is easy
to reef and reduce the sail in size from the seat of my boat. Everything is simple
I just don't have the "feel" for a sailboat yet. Maybe I'll get it? We will see!
This is how you tie the sail and give it the form it needs to be a "BATWING."
and his wife invited my husband James and I to his house in the
we stayed overnight. They cooked for us. What a great couple!!! We originally
wanted to set-up the boat one more time, install the sail, and work more on a
board that could be put over the cockpit to attach my GPS and a compass. When
we realized how far out we were on Long Island, and that the traffic between
Hampton Bay and N.Y.C. was bad, we decided to leave as early as possible. It
us 9 1/2 hours to get back to Cleveland. Quite a drive!
Dave helped me a lot by going through different scenarios and giving me input
how to respond. He reminded me of all the possible problems and what I need to
take with me. He insists I should have my own Epirb. They are expensive!! But
I might buy an extra one. Hopefully, I can find one for a good price. Last winter,
there were some good ones on Ebay! But then I decided against buying one, because
I'll be carrying the satellite phone.
April 16, 2010 — Visiting polar bears at the zoo
two wonderful friends Gale and Leslie asked me what I wanted for my birthday
this year. "I want to go to the zoo to see the polar bears" was my answer. So we went. Cleveland has a relatively small, poorly designed
zoo. Beside some gray wolfs, penguins, and seals, there is not too
much to see on Arctic fauna. We had to make a long trip through the zoo,
finally find the Polar Bear exhibit.
wanted to see polar bears up-close to see how large they are and prepare
myself for a possible encounter. I
want to be too shocked when seeing one in the wild. The Cleveland
Zoo has only one polar bear. The poor guy was relatively thin; his
skin was loosely hanging from his belly. I assume they don't feed him
much because the blubber would keep him too hot in our milder climate.
area didn't look at all like an Arctic terrain. I felt sorry for the
guy. He looked lonely. Okay, I understand polar bears are loners.
But the poor guy was pacing up and down along the same path, over and
over. His fur looked very yellowish. I heard that polar bears get a
yellowish fur as they age. This makes them easier to spot among snow
and ice flows
because they don't totally blend in.
would have liked to talk to his keeper and ask what odors or sounds
do polar bears hate? This would be a good way to keep them away. But
is nothing a polar bear really hates. I just wouldn't like to have
to kill one of them because they come too close to our tents. It would
better to just deter them.
text in front of the bear's area says Spitsbergen is an area in which
the bears are found, along with Iceland.
Sorry Cleveland Zoo, polar bears do not live on Iceland!!!
The bear's space was a few feet away from the seals — what a torture for the
poor guy, not only is he trapped, the bear also has to smell his favorite
food all day and can never hunt it! What a bummer for the guy. The
visit had an opposite effect on me than I expected: Instead of getting
really scared, I felt very sorry for the polar bear.
Image of the polar bear
March 9, 2010 — Testing my expedition tent
Today I tried to set up my Hilleberg tent in our backyard. I used it last summer
and made one mistake when setting it up. I got a tear in one of the sleeves
for the tent poles. I had to send it to Hilleberg for repair. Problem
was to get the inside tent attached to the fly, so I had to set up the
fly first and then attach the inside next. It wasn't easy to do that
because the snow is at least a foot high and I sank in with my knees
which got cold and wet. Otherwise, everything worked out well. I need
different stakes to get the lines straightened. I want to sleep in the
tent one of these days. But during week I don't want to try it. In case
I cannot sleep I better do that on a weekend. I want to see if my air
mattress and my sleeping bag are holding up against the cold. It was
relatively warm today, 56 F but it gets cold over night.
I am curious which stakes are better for snow. Never thought about that. In
Antarctica we used stones to force the skirts around the tents. I'll
see if the
soft snow makes the night sleep softer!
I tested-out my tent in my snowy backyard. It
will help protect me as I sleep from the Arctic clime.