Wednesday, September 18, 2019

A quick look at a WFA class

Once a month I travel to teach a NOLS Wilderness First Aid class. This is one of the more difficult things I teach, as there are many topics crammed into two days with very tight time constraints. It is also one of the more important things I teach, because at some point I am going to find out that someone in one of these classes saved a life.

I decided to shoot short snippets of this class, and see what it looked like. I will do more detailed coverage as I continue to create content for youtube.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Airstream Madness

A few weeks ago I had two really cool classes back to back. They were both cancelled because of downed power lines in the marina. So to sooth our aching soles, the instructors all went to look at - and dream about - Airstream Travel Trailers. Here is the video from that.

And yes, there is a lot going on over on Youtube. Please head over there, and give it a try. Like and subscribe. I am having fun working in video - though it is a lot of work. Still very active on Instagram, so head over there too!

Sunday, September 8, 2019

How to do First Aid Kits right!

After the Ryan and Sophie video, which got a lot of notice, I wanted to follow up with a video about first aid kits and how I do them. This video delves into what is inside my kits, and how I do them for personal use, long trips, work, and finally how I would do first aid kits for people like Ryan and Sophie who spend extended time at sea.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

An extremely productive summer.

Well, it's September.

Summer is over - though I will be teaching for another month like it was still summer - and I am extremely excited about all I have accomplished. Here is a quick list.

I published two small books (and a third is on the way!) These are the Simple Guides to Paddle Sports, one kayaking, and one sup and you can follow the links to find them on Amazon in both kindle form and paperback. Think of these as "quick start guides" for specific sports. What you need to get started, not a deep dive. Let's not forget that I also published a 300 page monster last year at this time, GO! Planning Weekend Trips to Month Long Adventures. All of these books are also available on Apple Books if you are of the iPad/Mac persuasion. The Simple Guide books are selling really well. Keep in mind for me 4 books a month is considered doing really well. But The Simple Guide to Kayaking sold twelve copies in its first three weeks. So I am super excited. Hey don't judge. Support an independent author who does this all himself with no marketing wing!

I finished my American Sailing Association (ASA) 101 course which is a certification for sailing keeled sailboats, which means, sailboats with a  keel which is bigger than I aha been sailing. You can see a video about that process here.  I am also prepping for my ASA 106 (I think it's 106) and that is a coastal navigation class, as a nav geek I am super excited to take it.

I have been diligent in sailing most weeks, okay most every two weeks. As my instructor said in the beginning of the year it is about tiller time, and I am working hard to build up experience. Hit me up if you want to go sailing.

I have gotten busy on Youtube posting videos on a  regular schedule, check them out here. I am not quite proud of my actual content yet, but I am working on it... It is a work in progress... It is coming along... but really, give me a subscribe. It'll pay off. No really. (Jonah! Just go subscribe on Youtube already!)

Finally, my Instagram has crossed the 700 followers mark, and I am working my way towards 1000. The content on Instagram I AM really proud of. It is where my background in photography really shines, so please, if you're not following me on Insta, it is time...

A productive year, and I still have a quarter of it left! AND I have big plans for 2020. Another ASA course, a NOLS course in Baja, and a lot of sailing not to mention teaching another dozen WFA courses, as well as my normal teaching load. Want to learn a new skill? Hit me up! See you outside.

Hey check out my most popular video!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

MSR Pocket Rocket, It's not my Favorite

New video live on Youtube!

Check it out, give it a like and subscribe. Working hard to post a video per week.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

New Sailor, New Boat, High Winds.

The newest video on Youtube, I got to sail a brand new RS Quest. It was my first time sailing solo, and the most difficult conditions I have ever sailed in. Check it out here.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

How to clean an aging MSR Whisperlite

I have an MSR Whisperlite that is at least 15 years old, and stopped working. I was pretty sure that the only problem was soot from years, no decades, of use. I went to work cleaning and here is the finished result.

The whisperlite is an essential piece of expedition gear. I couldn't do big trips without it.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

The Simple Guide to Kayak

Super excited to announce that a new book "The Simple Guide to Kayaking is now available on Amazon in Print and Kindle and Apple books for iPad.

Think of the Simple Guide as a "quick start" guide to a sport. What you need to get started, safely, and setting you up for deeper dives into knowledge further down your path.

A relatively small book, with an equally small price tag. Get out there and go paddling.

Other Simple Guides are coming.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

How does a $40 GoPro compare...

Do you want to see how a $40 GoPro Clone compares to the $400 real thing...

Watch it here or head over to Youtube

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Adventures in Sailing - Part 3

Part 3 - The Ugly (With some good thrown in for good measure.)

Well, after over a year of trying, I have completed my ASA 101 certification for keeled sailboats. Why did it take so long, because I am not terribly impressed with the American Sailing Association (ASA), here's why.

Last year when I tried to do this I ran into a Captain - who insisted on being called Captain - on the coast of North Carolina. We booked the course as a very cursory investigation into his experience level, and I figured if he was backed by an organization like the ASA he was probably okay.

We had a long string of bad experiences with him.

He cancelled us (I say us because at the time my wife and I were both going to take the course.) 8 days prior to the class, claiming a schedule conflict. In exchange he offers us each a $50 visa gift card and would allow us to sleep on one of his boats, which I will point out if it isn't already obvious, costs him nothing, but is an option he offers to people for $100 a night. This class was scheduled for May, and due to my schedule we weren't able to reschedule until June, when he cancelled us again. The next time we were able to make a schedule work, was in August, and then Eloise - my dog - broke her foot. So three weeks before the class, I told him I had to postpone due to a family emergency. He. Freaked. Out.

He sent me a long email stating that while he was very sorry for my dogs injury, it was outside the cancellation window. He went on for several paragraphs and finally said he would allow it, if an only if I filled out a form on his website in the next 24 hours. I tried repeatedly to make the form work, and it wouldn't go through, I emailed him repeatedly, and finally he relented. The thing was, he was really rude. That was when I dug, and saw notices on the NC Better Business Bureau that this was his norm. Cancelling classes, being rude to students. I stowed that info for later.

A week before the course, I emailed him to confirm the date and the gear we would need, and that he would be providing the gift cards and the housing he promised, and again, he freaked out. He threatened to bill my credit card for a $175 for a class transfer fee, which was when I had enough. I just couldn't imagine getting on a boat with him for three days. Here is what I did.

I first, headed over to the ASA website and found an instructor code of conduct, which I immediately saw he was in violation of, This and a couple of other pieces of information would be all I needed. I sent him an email stating that He had been unprofessional, rude and insensitive. That I wouldn't be getting on a boat with him. and made him the following offer. He could keep the fee for one of us - about $530 dollars - but refund the other, and we would be done. I literally said he could keep $500 for doing nothing. But, if he didn't refund the other fee, here was what was going to happen.

1) I was going to file a complaint with the state of North Carolina BBB, and the ASA since he was in violation of the instructors code of conduct.

2) My attorney advised me that we would have no problem winning a case in small claims court, and he would be representing me. I would also, happily, spend more money on lawyers fees than I was going to get back from him just to make his life miserable.

3) I would be writing about the experience on my website which gets around 10,000 views a month.

I had a refund in less than ten minutes.

This made me super wary of ASA instructors, and when I decided to find someone local to teach me, which was when I found AnnMarie, who was amazing, both as an instructor and a kind soul. But I knew eventually I was going to have to do ASA 101, and I found the group I just worked with.

It was a pretty good experience. But as an outdoor educator I can't help but see all the things that my instructor this past week did wrong. It isn't his fault, he is a highly skilled sailor, but he isn't an educator, and this is what (it seems) the sailing community does. Make sailors into educators when really they should be doing it the other way around. I truly feel I would like to - far down the road - teach sailing, and do a better job of it than I am seeing and experiencing.

The sailing community does a great job giving kids great sailing experiences. They also do an okay job giving adults sailing experiences. But it could be so much better.

Now I have to start logging all of my sailing experience - in a log book given to me by the ASA, which is super cool. I will be taking more sailing courses in the future with the same instructor while building skills. I have big plans. Follow me on Instagram to keep up to date, and if you want to go sailing, drop me a line!