Sunday, January 9, 2011

Paddling in cold water

Many of you know that I am a big fan of the drysuit. After many years of saying 'you don't need it/you can accomplish the same things less expensively' I finally gave in, and purchased one two winters ago. I never looked back. It is an expensive piece of gear. Probably the most expensive piece of gear you will buy with the exception of your kayak. But the comfort and freedom it gives you is unbelievable. I no longer worry about getting my feet wet, or getting in the water to help someone into or out of their kayak.

This week, several of the kayakers doing the trip are thinking about clothing, as they want to be paddling, but the weather has gotten bad. I went paddling this week with one of the Alaska team mates, so he could try out some clothing combinations. We were lucky enough to have some ice on the lake we chose to paddle on. This isn't the type of ice we will have in Alaska, but it was still an interesting experience. In Alaska, when near glaciers we will have icebergs and 'bergie bits'. Small chunks of ice ranging in size from fist sized to the size of a large television. On the Lake here in the Carolinas we had sheets of ice. Thin enough that we could paddle through it, but it definitely made it's presence known. It was noisy. In sections you had to break through it with your paddle to get your stroke started. It was an interesting experience, and while it doesn't directly relate to conditions in Alaska, it does give us the chance to work on layering and head, hand and foot wear.

ice from Paddling Otaku on Vimeo.


  1. My daughter paddled the inside passage in '08 and it rained 40 of the 45 days they were out there. She fell in love with her dry suit! Karen Henneghan

  2. I did a month in Prince william sound, and it rained 22 of 28 days. It can certainly happen. The good thing is when it's raining, generally the wind isn't blowing. Which makes for good paddling. I keep telling the folks on this trip, prepare for rain, it's going to be wet and cold. If you can deal with wet and cold you will have the time of your life. But until people are on day 8 of straight rain, they just don't get it.