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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Paddling Otaku: the year in review.

2013 was an interesting year here in the land of the Otaku.

This site started as a way for me to create my first book, Enlightened Kayaking. After the book was published I viewed the site as a way to promote it and document my expeditions. With 2013 being an off year in terms of expeditions it was difficult for me to always come up with content. I delved more and more into gear, which proved to resonate with readers. As great sites like TheGearJunkie.com tend to ignore kayaking I think there is a small market for a kayaking gear site. I am toying with starting otakuGear.com. Let me know your thoughts on that.

So obviously, gear posts were popular on the site, but it was a good year for all different sorts of content regardless. Here are the top five posts for the year:

Posted in July, My story about the Best Breakfast on the Inside Passage is by far the most popular post on the site (with the aid of Reddit). It has more than double the hits of any other post. Next in popularity, posted in February is a story about the evolution of fleece and what I have chosen to wear over the years, A tale of Three Fleece and a primaloft jacket. I suspect this was picked up somewhere and got popular and I don't know where - as I had some issues with site tracking this year! - because it didn't get popular until the last half of the year. Third on the list is Unfortunately a change in plans, The post where I explain that the labrador expedition isn't happening. Honestly, This post is number three because there is a photo of a famous supermodel in it. If I had known that worked I would be posting pictures of women in bikinis with every post. The fourth posted just a month or so ago, was the Camelbak Cortez post. Rounding out the top five, is the former number one post. Yesterday someone googled.... which is all about how to go to the bathroom in the woods. It is also the only one of the top five posts that isn't from 2013. Those are my top five posts of the year, and also all time. Which means they drew a tremendous amount of hits in a short time. In terms of hits it was a very good year, and long term this site is showing steady growth, which I am really happy about.

On a sad note, as mentioned briefly above, the Labrador trip died due to time constraints, and some logistical hurdles that just proved too difficult to overcome. But a new trip was born, and will occur this summer. If all goes as planned we will be paddling for most of the month of June in Prince William Sound. 'Surveying' glaciers is the plan. and you can read about it here.

I worked hard to find a handful of sponsors for this trip, and it proved to be very difficult. I guess unless you are willing to throw your kayak off a waterfall you won't get too much notice. I would have thought paddling the inside passage, and writing two books would help, but apparently not. I only approached companies whose products I use and love, and in general I had a contact within the company but still no luck. If you read here frequently it should be obvious who I reached out too. (There are still a couple of slim chances that something will come through) So if you wanted your name on a film about glaciers let me know, we can probably work something out.

Another issue we had this year - which is also unresolved - was finding a glaciologist who would act as a technical consultant. I had three reach out to me, and they all decided not to help us out, with the only reason that I can think of for not joining us is that it doesn't pay anything. This disappoints me greatly, as you would think a glaciologist would be excited to help spread information about the state of Glaciers in Prince William Sound.

The Biggest loss of the year was undoubtedly that of my best friend. My beloved dog abby, who sat next to me for countless hours while I was writing finally passed away. Here she is keeping me company while I proof read Enlightened Kayaking.


I didn't get to paddle quite as much as I would have liked this fall, as I was very busy. But with AGAP only five months away - and my paddling partners need to get serious, and spend some serious time in the cockpit. I will be introducing all of them in the coming months. At the moment there are only three of us going - though if the stars align, there might be a fourth. 

With AGAP approaching there is some near gear arriving, expect some gear reviews in January and February. 

Just after thanksgiving, my wife and I decided the house was too quiet without Abby. And while she could never be replaced, we did find a new companion. She isn't as good at keeping me company while I write, but there is hope she will grow into that skill. At the moment her energy level is a little out of control. 


The final piece of the year falls into place as I hit the publish button. This post makes 94 this year. Which just happens to be the same number of posts the first year I started writing, which also happens to be the most posts I have ever done in a year. So maybe I can come up with one more, to set personal record? 

I hope you all had a great holiday, and have a wonderful new year. See you in January!


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