Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Thanks to all our kickstarter backers!

Thanks everyone, what started as an experiment that I really thought would fail, was a tremendous success. I saw a lot of support from friends, family, and acquaintances from several different worlds I have occupied - from outdoor education to photography. I am really touched by the support.

Some Standouts.

Scott Got the ball rolling the very first morning!
Mary was our last supporter, which put us at 172%!
Holly got us over our funding line, guaranteeing success!
And Adam was our largest Backer! Doubling the next highest pledge.

While these people stand out, each and every one of you are as important, and I can't thank you enough.

In 32 days it will all begin. We will load the little toyota for another round trip to Alaska. With three boats on the roof, and a ton of gear.

Stay tuned! Exciting things to come!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Okay we are almost done!

16 hours left in our kickstarter.

I am almost done talking about it.

I am truly flattered by the friends, family, co-workers, acquaintances and strangers who have come out to help us make this film, and have this adventure.

With 16 hours left we are at $1195, far exceeding our goal of $700. But, we would like to use this time remaining to see what else we can manage. Literally every penny counts.

If you have done a trip like this, then you know that expenses just appear in the final prep time. If you haven't done a trip like this, then here are the purchases I have made in the last 24 hours alone.

Service for a SPOT connect
SD cards
A new battery charger.
And Batteries, lots of batteries.

with 33 days to go, here is what my desk looks like:

So what I am trying to say is, its the crazy time. The time before a trip when you are compiling all of the little things you will need. Think about everything you will need for the next month. Now put it in a dry bag, and hope you didn't forget anything. 

So if you have supported us, thank you. If you haven't yet, now is the time. Tomorrow at around 9:30am (EST) we are all done. Then I just have to focus on getting us all in place to paddle. 


Friday, April 18, 2014

Review - Goal Zero Sherpa 50 & Nomad 13

One of the many things on this trip, that is different than on the last trip, is the demand for power. Instead of shooting everything on one GoPro Hero, I now have two Hero 3+'s - which are significantly more power hungry. I will also have a long a DSLR for use in camp for video and for our final "side by side" shots of the glaciers. Which boils down to one thing. We need power, and it needs to be reliable.

I considered many options before settling on the gear that is coming with us. I thought about the Biolite stove, but was concerned that we would find enough tinder - that was dry - and would be able to run it long enough to charge camera batteries. It is also pretty big, and fairly heavy.

I thought about the Powerpot, but really this is just converting fuel to power - via a camp stove - and I didn't want to A) bring along that much more fuel, and B) have run a stove all night to recharge a camera.

This left me with Solar as my only option, and once that was decided I knew It was going to be a goal zero product. Currently they are the only company offering really innovative products.

I quickly realized most of the smaller units wouldn't do what I needed. And so I focused my research on the Sherpa 50. I got one in December and was immediately blown away by how small it was (4.5 x 1.5 x 5.25). The pictures on GoalZero's site make it look much bigger. It also isn't that heavy (1.2 pounds), but as a paddler that is of less concern for me. It fits easily in my hand and have just recently had time to start working with it. I have been exceptionally surprised with how well this unit has done, particularly considering how I am asking it to work.

So the first problem is that I need the unit to charge during the day while we paddle, no problem right? Just put it on the back deck of my kayak. Except, of course the unit isn't waterproof! After racking my brain as to how to make this work - waterproof, and transparent - I realized the idea was literally right under my nose. My Sealine Map case. Waterproof, Flexible and pretty transparent. Of course, I realize that anything between my Nomad 13 and the sun will decrease the panels efficiency, so when I first tested this out, I wasn't too optimistic.

I started paddling with the Sherpa 50 charged at 60% on a bright sunny day. I noticed pretty quickly that the map case it was in was covered with water droplets - which I am sure only slowed the rate at which the Sherpa 50 charged. But even so, I was surprised an hour and 20 minutes later to see that it was now charged at 80%.

Today, a 2 hour and 20 minute paddle brought me from 80% to Full. The next big question is how many times can a fully charged Sherpa 50 charge a Hero 3+, and that was what I did next.

I fully depleted a newer, larger Hero 3+ battery. Then plugged it into the sherpa 50. An hour and 40 minutes later, it was fully charged, about the same amount of time as plugging it into a computer.

All in all I am very impressed with the pairing of sherpa 50 and nomad 13 solar panel. We will see how they perform in rainy and cold Alaska.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Because at the end of the day.... is just money, and money won't make you happy.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

An amazing AGAP update.

It has been a heck of a week for the Alaskan Glacier Awareness Project.

First, as you may know, our kickstarter funded in 36 hours, we then hoped to hit our stretch goal of $1000 and guess what. We hit that goal on Sunday evening, and we still have two full weeks left. Now I am just curious how far we can go? So if you can continue to help us spread the word, that would be amazing. $1500 is our new stretch goal.

Second, the fleet is complete.

This is a Delta Sixteen that will be coming to Alaska with us. So if you aren't keeping track, We will have my Delta Seventeen (in red), A Delta 16 (in green) and a Delta 15.5 (in yellow). Yes, we will be covering the rainbow.

I haven't had a chance to paddle this boat yet, as I just picked it up today, but it amazingly beautiful. A foot shorter than my seventeen (obviously) and a half inch narrower. They changed the way the hatch covers work, which at first I wasn't too excited about, but after playing with them a little I might actually like them more. It is an extra step to open and close them, but the closure is fast and very secure - and in all fairness when rolling, mine leak a little. Also in fairness all kayak hatches leak a little. It has slightly lower volume, which you would expect. 5.5 liters less in the bow (which is almost nothing) and 15 liters less in the stern. So if the boat is a foot shorter and the dry storage isn't that much smaller where is the space coming from? The cockpit. The cockpit in the 16 is 35 liters smaller than the 17. When I am paddling on long trips I generally have a bit more than a foot in front of my feet that I fill with gear. This looks to be a much shorter cockpit. But you can add 11 liters for the day hatch in 16 that aren't in the 17.

I will paddle this boat this weekend and do a first look review. Then of course after Alaska I will do a long term review.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Funded, but not done.

As I am writing this, our kickstarter is funded to $815 on a goal of $700. We couldn't be more happy, and promise shut up about it for a little while. But we aren't done. We still have a kickstarter running for 18 days towards a stretch goal of $1000. So it is still there, and still happening. If you can help us out either with promotion on your social network, or a few dollars it would be awesome.

I will have more big news on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, unrelated to kickstarter. So stay tuned. We leave for Alaska in 51 days!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

What a day yesterday was!

When I got up yesterday morning, I was a little apprehensive. I was going to launch the kickstarter, but I honestly didn't expect it to do very well. I figured I was setting myself up for 21 days of asking people to back it. I am not good at anything to do with money, and I particularly don't like asking for it.

We got our first backer about 30 minutes after it launched, and despite a break in the action in the afternoon, it picked right back up after dinner time on the east coast. It then went to about midnight. was pleasantly surprised to see another backer signed up at 3 am this morning. Leaving us just $55 short of our goal.

$55 dollars short of our total goal, on day 1. So this is where I say thank you, but also say we aren't done yet. I am optimistic that we will make our final $55 but I am also hopeful that we will make it to $1000.

So if I could ask for another great day, help me spread the word further than it has gone already. Help me do the last $355 dollars. If you know someone that likes a documentary, or someone that likes kayaking, or someone that likes the outdoors, or someone that is concerned about the environment, send them here.

I don't have a cool trailer to show you, so I will show you the trailer of chasing ice, an amazing film.

$355 dollars in 19 days for our stretch goal. Post it to Facebook, or reddit, or stumble upon...  Spread the word.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

AGAP Kickstarter

I am trying something a little different this time. In the past I have always funded my trips personally. This time I tried to get sponsors on board, which didn't really pan out - Though one exception may still occur, I will keep you posted - and so I wanted to try a slightly different approach.

I have a launched a small kickstarter for the Alaskan Glacier Awareness Project, and when I say small I am not kidding. we aren't trying to raise thousands of dollars, the goal is set to $700. We are seeing more and more expeditions funded via kickstarter, and in the planning process of AGAP we found we got one response from the people we were telling about the project, Here is what we told them:

"We are going to Prince William Sound in Alaska, and we are bringing with us archival photos of glaciers. Photos like this one of Harriman glacier"

"We are going to try and find the exact spot this photo was taken from, and recreate it, to see the change in the glacier."

Then the person we are telling, almost 100% of the time, says something like this "WOW, that sounds amazing!" There is a small percentage that says "I think that is going to be really hard to do, and they are right also! We figured that since so many expeditions were turning to crowd funding, and since we were getting such an overwhelmingly positive response, we would give it a shot, and see what kind of results we got.

This is the important part. Our goal is to bring awareness to the state of the glaciers in PWS, we will also be doing a side journey to see remaining impacts - 25 years later - from the Exxon Valdez oil Spill. Don't you want to know what has changed in 57 years?

By backing our kickstarter you will be helping to make this project happen. You will also be proving that projects like this can happen without sponsors from major corporations.

So if you love the outdoors, or kayaking or films about the outdoors and kayaking, you could probably help us out. If you are concerned about the environment, and the state of the glaciers in PWS (and elsewhere) you could probably also help us out. If you can't help us out, how about you use your social network - the one you have worked so hard to cultivate - to help us spread the word.

Our kickstarter goal is set to a relatively modest $700. We are hoping to hit $1000, but the way kickstarter works is, if we don't hit your goal, we get nothing.

Always wanted to take part in an Alaskan Expedition? Now is your chance. Always wanted to be the executive producer of a film, now is your chance.

So there you have it! You have 21 days to save the world! or at least help out our little corner of it.