(exploration, solo, curiosity, reading up, asking questions)
There will always be the question what makes a person, such as myself, seem to want to pursue paddling exploits.† Have I discovered from local paddling that perhaps exploration of the water from my kayak might be a particularly fascinating way to experience and observe nature.
I noticed, when I am out on the water in my kayak, that even local kayak paddling is surprisingly diverse, no matter what are the conditions.
As my understanding of kayak paddling has been increasing I have discovered that kayaking is a highly intellectual, challenging and stimulating experience.† I have found that during quiet times I can relax and glide over the water investigating its shallows but when there is wind on the water, everything is different.† Then I find myself thinking very differently.
I have found that just because of the very nature of the kayak I can closely interact with the waves on the water.† In my mind this is ballet on the water, the interaction of my body and my kayak with the waves.
Now there are those situations such as when I am passing through conflicting currents I notice that I have to paddle very precisely and vigorously just to control the helm and stay upright.† But in paddling there is plenty of less threatening but very interesting delightful moments while paddling, ballet on the water.
All in all, this wonderful little boat, the kayak, allows me to indulge both my imagination and my curiosity.
Curiosity, this endless pursuit of my curiosity, makes those pieces of my puzzle, those seemingly unimportant things, become terribly exciting.† I have found myself suddenly becoming very involved in unearthing one answer here and another answer there only because I just happened to be out in my kayak and have come across something unknown.
I really donít know how anyone can enjoy water as much as I do in any boat other than a kayak.
For myself one of my questions in this wonderful puzzle is "why do these things live here what are the chemical and physical factors to cause this particular phenomena of are?"
I realize that each solo trip requires immense amounts of study about the natural systems of each area, but that is the wonder of exploring.
Sometimes people feel quite threatened when the find out how serious I actually am about my paddling adventures.† I have always found that resourcefulness and being good at asking questions has been the key ingredient for survival.
I have ravaged all the books in our local libraries reading anything about the Arctic. Then again I have also acquired my own collection of reference books. I used to spend a surprising amount just complete focused on how was I going to even dare to explore.
Questions needing instant answers none of my resources at hand would tell me so invariably I have telephoned people in the places I wanted to visit asking some very important questions such as how do you handle the bears.
And of course there is always some little detail that I forgot to think about.† Exploration in the arctic is such a passion I find myself always asking as much as I can before I get there.†
I really donít want to find out that I have just chosen a terrible place to paddle.†
Believe me, I have based some of my trips upon just a short telephone conversation with someone who has special knowledge about the area I am interested in.
This type of self sufficient travel has made me recall and combine observations and learning I did about geology combined with reading so that I understand a simple description such as katabatic winds occur during summer months in this area.†
Then I combine the remark about katabatic winds with the note that this area is made up of basalt or sedimentary rock.† These little notes immediately alerted me to No I donít want to paddle there because the katabatic winds will drown me and the basalt and sedimentary rocks mean there are just endless scree slopes with no place to land for miles.
I cannot fault myself on trying to be as completely prepared as possible both mentally and physically.† I need to be well prepared and self-sufficient so that I can appreciate and understand what I am experiencing on my journey.
In a solo on a solo expedition kayak there is only one captain and one expedition guide, thatís me!
Then again there is always the part of travel where I am going to find that I cannot always expect to know everything about an area.† I have to access for myself whatever information is available.
Choosing a place to go**
I will tell you about one of my experiences.† I read in the Pilot Guide to Sailing Directions that the winds in Barrow, Alaska in August averaged fifteen knots and blew from the east.
Sounds good to me! I thought.† www.guillemot-kayaks.com/Trips/Gail/GailFerris.html
What I had not thought about things like those occasional meteorological excursions that can occur at any time.† And I do mean excursions.
Barrow was beset by a very large powerful low-pressure system packing 60 mile an hour winds.† Rude I thought to myself.† Well I was very lucky that I happened to chat with the people where I was camping on Point Barrow the day I landed.† Even though it was calm and perfectly innocent looking when I set up my tent that evening the storm came in like a bear.† My friends set up a shelter around my tent of plywood and their station wagon, which saved my tent from ďwho knowsĒ but I didnít want to find out.† It took a few days for the storm to blow through.† I spoke with the local weather station and they advised me to just stay put until this storm passed through.† Then there would be a period of relative calm.† Believe me, I believed them and that was fine with me.
My notes, videos and photos for each trip have much more meaning to me when I write them up as I work on identifying and explaining my observations.† The seemingly simple exercise of just having to put into words what I have seen, is really be quite a challenge and when I do my greatest amount of learning.† http://www.whitespacegallery.com/livingartists/ferris-statement.php
When I flew to Point Barrow, Alaska and on one side was the exhilarating sight and sound of the waves of the Chukchi Sea coming into shore and on the other side was the Beaufort Sea a mass of chunks of ice and to crown it all was the great mysterious Arctic Ocean.
On my way to Barrow I happened to a shadow of my airplane I was flying in reflected in the clouds with a halo around it, and at one point I even saw two of the same airplane side by side.† I didn't think much about it until I started trying to find the answer, then my imagination became excited as I thought about how these factors I had never even given thought to can create such unbelievable visual phenomena.
I found the answer in a Sierra Club Handbook Weather, which explained that this condition was due to the moisture level at that altitude in combination with solar reflection.
Then I panned through the guide to see how this guide might explain mirages or "immera," and so I continued on with more questions of "what is it and why?"
It seemed so impossible but it exists that at just the right moment it is possible to see landforms several hundred miles away magnified just as if they were only a few miles away.† This is because atmospheric conditions are right.† What an experience to be standing there an see an image emerge from the horizon shimmering and climbing higher hovering there for a while only to fall back gradually and disappear on the horizon. www.islandnet.com/~see/weather/history/artmirge.htm
This type of mirage described in the Pilot Guide to Sailing Directions
†http://www.guillemot-kayaks.com/Trips/Gail/GailTrips/UpernavikPaddlingAlone.txt is the result of such a rapid temperature elevation that the density of the air relative to the surrounding air is so different that it bends the light rays causing refraction.† This makes objects appear elongated upward and also may cause objects to appear to be floating. Barrow Alaska, because it is a very flat area, is a good place where I saw one of these mirages at about 4:00 in the afternoon.† I asked a lady about them and she said oh they happen every afternoon. www.islandnet.com/~see/weather/history/artmirge.htm
Out on the Barren-grounds on a nice hot bright summer's day while we were running some mild whitewater on the Baillie River. I was sure that I saw was a huge boulder in the middle of the river.† When I got there, I found out that huge rock, which looked like it was sitting at the top of a rapids as though it was five feet across turned out to be just a regular stone only five inches across.
This visual aberration, the magnification of objects on the surface, is caused by bending of the sunlight as it passes on a shallow angle through the atmosphere and colder surface temperatures.
That rock sure looked real to me and when I actually came up to that 5-inch rock I felt as though I was in a time warp.† I have heard of people having trouble stepping across little ditches because they looked huge to them.† I was glad that I did not have that trouble, things were complicated enough.† Nothing is real and we were in bear country too.
For the Barren-grounds there is information available from The Canada Department of Energy, Mines and Resources in a guide written for canoeing, which advises paddlers to begin run of those river on the last week of June ideally just as the ice goes out.
Ptarmigan Airlines www.firstair.ca/About_First_Air/company_history.html flew us in a DeHaviland Beaver floatplane from Yellowknife to the beginning of the Baillie River for us to run the entire length of the Baillie by the middle of July to its confluence with the Back River.† Then we proceeded to an easily accessible pickup point on the Back River where there was a long enough stretch of flat water for the plane to pick us up on.† www.webshots.com/g/poster/89/19189_poster.html
As we made our way down the Baillie we noticed by the next morning of each day that the river had dropped six inches a day.† By mid-July the Baillie has run out of water because the snow runoff feeding the watershed for this river had long since carried down the river.
The Back River is noticeably wider being about four times the width of the Baillie.† The huge, flat expanse of the Back, belied its swift current at least 7 knots as against the 4 knots I could sprint my Klepper.† I was glad we did not have to run any rapids in the Back I think they would have been quite formidable.
For me during my Barren-Grounds trip the low angle of the sun caused visual aberrations while judging rapids even more complicated on the Baillie River making me ask myself "hey, what's real around here?"† There were also plenty of rock gardens and good strong eddies on the Baillie. http://www.guillemot-kayaks.com/Trips/Gail/GailFerris.html
Another beautiful weather formation I saw at Barrow I saw was plenty of Virga. www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/wea00/wea00173.htm †It seemed to me as though there were more at Barrow than I have ever seen elsewhere but later I saw some lovely Virga in Arctic Bay Canada.
There are many more situations in the Arctic where atmospheric conditions that permit unusual visual phenomena in the Arctic.† Their occurrence doesn't make them any less strange or exciting than watching shooting stars in my kayak at home.
With all these visual phenomena in the Arctic I wonder about how much personal stress these put on those who live there, because I can never be quite sure of what I am actually seeing.† So there I am paddling along and nothing is real, now what!
In the winter the aurora borealis happens in great grandeur and when I was in Greenland there was a Leonid meteor shower with the Aurora all at the time.† That was spectacular. http://science.nasa.gov/newhome/headlines/ast10nov98_1.htm
I wonder if this is another one of the reasons why Arctic people, the Inuit, are always so close with each other and the mystical is of such great value.† Other factors such as the fierce weather, the unpredictability of the ice and the long periods of darkness make the Arctic a very difficult environment to live in.† To visit the Arctic and to be among its people, the Inuit, and to eat some of their native food, but not to disturb, is a special experience.
In Pond Inlet I happened to be on the water just as the sun pierced through the departing clouds as it was beginning to set.† Brilliant reds and oranges illuminated the contrastingly blue and grey sky imparting a pearl luster of pinks and grays to the softly rolling water.† Many times I had been enveloped by this glorious brilliant sky and surrounding waters with their pearly hues at sunset but I this time was special.† From the side of my kayak I lowered my video camera just to the surface of the water and captured not only the brilliance of the sun in the air but also reflected among the soft riffles on the water.† www.guillemot-kayaks.com/Trips/Gail/89PondInlet.htm
When it is very clear in the latter parts of the day I could look for miles across the water.† This became very confusing because I could not tell what was in the foreground and what was the background.† This can be in the range of 50 miles where islands and peninsulas will coalesce to look as though they are combined.
The colors blend into the subtle range of an Oriental watercolor.† Each feature with the closest being yellow browns grading to browns then becoming a lighter and lighter shade of brownish blue finally becoming blue and then finally so pale that the opposite western shore about fifty miles away had become almost invisible.
I saw this while looking at Bylot Island from across the way in Pond Inlet.† In contrast where I was on a vast expanse of flat land in Pond Inlet just a few miles across the water can be a grand cliff face towering to 3,000 feet in one sheer vertical rise called Qorbignaluk Headland and southward down Oliver Sound.† I saw that it was flanked by these equally dramatic cliff faces lining both sides.† The sight is so startling that Oliver Sound is a fjord that has split very deep into the earth appearing as though this fjord had been cut through the rock just same as if I had cut off a piece of cheese.† This illustrates how distance, atmospheric conditions, the angle of the sun above the horizon and objects to compare with for size make quite a difference in how things appear in the Arctic. www.guillemot-kayaks.com/Trips/Gail/89PondInlet.htm
Comparing others experiences and reading various explanations of how does this phenomena happen is very exciting to me and makes travel all the more rewarding.† Some areas in the Arctic have many more mirages and others are especially beautiful for their colors.
I took the advice of Peter Bendtzen and stayed through the winter in Kullorsuaq Greenland just to see the colors.†
Weather and angle of the sun above the horizon can intensify changes in light conditions, which amplifies the colors of everything such as ice, snow and especially the icebergs.† On a foggy gray day where there has been fog among icebergs, I have seen what looks to me to be very strange a glow coming from refractive ice in these icebergs.† This glow I found especially visually exciting during low light conditions when I was paddling alone on the water.
The snow along the riverbanks and the snow which compresses becoming glacier under just the right conditions can become compressed into areas that are perfectly transparent aqua blue.
The physics of compression on snow deposits alters the color that I see by the spectrum wavelength of the light it refracts, which caused the intensely blue color that I saw.† I think that is part of the magic of looking at ice in the Arctic.
Jon Cons and I spent hours photographing and looking at an iceberg beached in Newfoundland because it had the wonderful glowing lines of transparent blue.
In late June into early July along an Arctic river I have seen a very special type of ice, which I have
Getting to your destination**
When I am planning a trip I have to think about what my final problem is going to be.† Sometimes simple things like just getting there can be quite a trick especially when I am carrying lots of excess luggage.
I learned from my first trip to Pond Inlet, which was served by a small aircraft that I had to ship my luggage via airfreight in advance. †www.nunavut.worldweb.com/Transportation/Airlines/
I could not even get away with booking an extra seat for my luggage.
In Upernavik Greenland when they only had helicopter service I often wound up with stuck in Ilulissat camping in front of the airport a few days waiting for the weather to clear.† Passenger helicopters are not allowed to fly if the ground cannot be seen throughout the entire flight.† We flew so low up to Upernavik that I could have reached out the window and grabbed some rocks.
Waiting in Ilulassaat I did tour the Knud Rasmussen Museum www.ilumus.gl/uk/about.html †several times, this is a very informative museum.† Since I was trapped in Ilulissat I also took a day flight to Aassiat to visit that well known museum.† However I would have much rather been on my way to Upernavik.
Iceland air offers a cheaper fare to Greenland but flying into Kulusuk Greenland is not daily and kulusuk is frequently fogged in making the flight from there to the other connections a possible problem I prefer to avoid.† Also I think the freight service is more limited from Kulusuk to Kangerlussuaq.†
So I prefer to go by way of Denmark because of the size of the airplane and frequency of service.†
In 2003 I found that there was a flight from of Canada to Aasiat but it was only once a week on a Hawker-Siddley with no extra baggage allowed.
Now I found via Google on my computer that First Air is planning to possibly offer jet service to Greenland in the summer.† This would make my travel much easier and less time in the air.
However here is the reply from: "Reservations First Air" <firstname.lastname@example.org>Thursday, January 20, 2005 3:58 PM
Subject: Re: Canada to Greenland this summer
We will not be having regular scheduled jet service from Nunavut to Greenland.† Great Canadian Travel will be chartering our aircrafts this summer.† Great Canadian Travel contact information†† is: www.greatcanadiantravel.com or 1-800-661-3830.
To book my air tickets to Greenland I use Greenland Travel phone +45 33131011 or email Copenhagen@greenland-travel.dk to book tickets
There is coastal ferry service via the Arctic Umiaq Line† http://www.aul.gl and the ferry can be taken from Ilulissat http://www.greenland-guide.gl/aul/sarpik.htm#F the ferry takes more time but is considerably cheaper.
Some friends of mine chartered a flight for their family of five with kayaks and camping gear included directly from Canada to Upernavik and this did not cost all that much money in fact it was cheaper than had they booked the commercial flight. http://www.greatcanadiantravel.com/greenland_charter.htm
I have not flown to Russia since 1991 however Alaska Air does offer flights to Russia.
(Pond Inlet, luggage shipping problems, Hawker Sibley, Boeing 737)
Well it seems so easy to cross the Canadian border but when it comes to shipping airfreight in advance
I tried to arrange for an airfreight company to ship my gear over the border from the United States into Canada.† Not all service from the US such as Hartford is suitable for carrying large airfreight items.
I had to go to Canada to clear my freight through customs.
However, once my gear was cleared through customs, I can then ship my gear in advance to Pond Inlet.† I would suggest for Pond Inlet call First Air and see how badly they are backed up with cargo and expect that you might have to ship your gear a month in advance minimum.
To save money on airfreight we drove our freight over the Canada border on the condition that we were on vacation and had it transported by a trucking company to Yellowknife.
For expedition travel I found that it is very important to find out what size aircraft serves the final point of destination.† Then my next question is can this flight carry all of my excess luggage?† If I cannot be guaranteed that my luggage will be flown with me what other means of shipping are available with airfreight being the preferred method.
It is generally true that to places where there is commercial ventures such as mining, Barrow Alaska and Arctic Bay there is frequent Boeing 737 service.† This is ideal the prices are less and shipping problems are minimal.† However SAS from Copenhagen, Denmark to SÝndrestrÝm Fjord / Kangerlussuaq Greenland and then Greenland Air within Greenland charges full freight prices all in all will cost hundreds of dollars.
There is no customs in Greenland and Danish customs for accompanied baggage are not difficult.
In 1992 I flew on First Air New York to Ottawa and Ottawa to Nuuk, Greenland on a Boeing 727 without baggage problems.† Canadian customs were no problem for people from the United States going on vacation in Canada.† I do not understand why this is so exactly because I was going on to Greenland.
When departing I make sure that I get to the airport very early to be sure that my baggage is put on the aircraft in time.
In 1989 I would have never known that there might be even the slightest problem with flying ourselves and all our folding kayaks and camping equipment to Pond Inlet had a friend of mine asked the question about whether there would be any problem getting our equipment up to Pond Inlet.
To Pond Inlet on the leg from Frobisher / Iqaluit, because the only air service, First Air, could not necessarily fly my baggage all the way to Pond Inlet since the 44 passenger Hawker Siddeley 748 airplane is often over booked for baggage and people during the summer.
Unfortunately some of the towns in Canada such as Pond Inlet are limited to small aircraft because the strata beneath those runways cannot tolerate the landing impact of a Boeing 737.† There will not be Boeing 737 service in Pond Inlet any time soon even though this is one of the most beautiful places to paddle in the Canadian Arctic
I plan my packing so that I will not become separated from my camping gear and food because hotel rooms in the Arctic at airports are very expensive.† I have camped at SÝndrestrÝm and Ilulissat a few times and not by choice either.
In one instance I had the misfortune of an outfitter failing to notice that one of my bags was missing.† The airline, First Air, kindly retrieved my missing bag on the next flight.
From that experience I feel it is best to have the airline receive and store my baggage on the other end.† Make sure each bag is labeled with name, telephone number and date of my expected arrival with the label "Hold for Arrival"
For destinations such as Barrow Alaska I have used UPS instead of airfreight service.
I use only shoulder strap canvas or backpack fabric bags because these can be packed into my kayak for the rest of my trip.† My folding kayak is packed in canvas bags because canvas breaths.
(information sources communicating and arranging tide at Pond, Baillie story, Upernavik and Barrow as a contrast)
Well what about the old question, so what will the paddling conditions be?† What I have done is to find out what the conditions are likely to be.† Sometimes there is no information.
I have found that when dealing with guided tour companies not until I have gotten in contact with the proper person and asked the right question have I necessarily gotten the real answer.† Tour guiding companies prefer to avoid accommodating my innovative travel requests if I want to do something that they are not comfortable with somebody like me who would just like to use their transportation to get up to Ellesmere and then go off paddling alone.† I still have never been to Ellesmere and I would like to see the polynia area of Victoria Bay. http://collections.ic.gc.ca/arctic/enviro/polynyas.htm† http://collections.ic.gc.ca/arctic/enviro/polynyas.htm
At home in Stony Creek, when I paddle I pay attention to what kind of sea develops a where in relation to the above and underwater topography when I am paddling.† The familiar questions of how big are the waves when the wind blows twenty knots from the west and where will the waves be largest all go into my collection of information.
I need to be realistic about what paddling situations may arise unexpectedly such as a huge chunk breaks off an iceberg and crashes into the sea.† Or an iceberg suddenly breaks apart.
One of the worst iceberg situations I encountered was in the fjords of Upernavik.† I paddled by what looked like two medium sized icebergs in September.† Of the two icebergs the nearest one suddenly reared completely out of the water.† The whole iceberg was lifted out of the water by the abrupt readjustment to the new center of gravity on the interconnected icebergs.† What looked like two bergs was one gigantic iceberg with a submerged bridge of ice between them.††† I was very lucky.
I had assumed the medium iceberg I was passing by was stable and I had been planning to beach my kayak on the nearby shore.† The steep waves generated by the shift in this gigantic iceberg would have swept my kayak away in an instant.
For exploration planning once I have a clear idea of my paddling skills, I have to match these skills to what I believe my paddling conditions will be.† Why, well because I am a big chicken!† I donít like to be fearful when I am paddling.† I like to paddle from one place to another feeling relaxed to see things I have never seen before.† To me that is what exploration is all about, me not being scared to death and thinking ďWow I almost died doing thatĒ.† I rather feel just transported with aw and fascination looking at things.
Things such as bumblebees and butterflies, the Arctic Fritillary http://www.turtlepuddle.org/alaskan/butterfly9.html† in the Arctic.† Who would believe that there are huge bumble bees in the Arctic www.nhm.ac.uk/entomology/bombus/al.html† I have seen them and it was especially exciting because I had read about them, but seeing made them all the more amazing.
In some ways my travels feed my imagination an extension from when I was a child looking at things and wondering.
So this where the fun begins because there is so much abstract thought and communication necessary to try and figure out what the paddling conditions at the place I plan to visit are likely to be.† I must confess without the slightest hesitation that I certainly have changed my plans from paddling in one area to another once I found out what the paddling situation was really going to be like.
Misery is not for me.† Travel via the kayak is for exploration.† My strategy for paddling is similar to avoiding a traffic jam when I have heard a few cryptic words on the CB from a truck driver such as "backed up to exit 40", which is just enough to be a very convenient tip off.† Forget it I will go elsewhere.
Kayak Choice for shipping**
Just ask yourself how feasible would it be to fly with a fiberglass kayak as a passenger next to you.† Somehow I think it is not likely, even if you were to saw your fiberglass kayak into sections, you would probably be arrested and charged with traveling with an alien.
I have asked airlines if I could purchase an extra seat to accommodate my excess baggage.† The answer was no.
Folding kayaks, which have canvas bags with shoulder carrying straps, such as the Aerius I Expedition Klepper, are the easiest to fly to the Arctic because these can be shipped in their original canvas bags.
How well I remember John Dowd said that you can take folding kayak anywhere in the world on an aircraft.† That was when I decided that first thing I was to do was to own a folding kayak.
In 2003 I replaced my other folding kayaks with the Mark I and II designed and manufactured by Mark Eckhart, Long Haul Products, 1685 2075 Drive, Cedaredge, CO 81413 USA phone: 1 970 856 3662, 1 888 811 3662 fax: 1 970 856 3663 http://www.longhaulfoldingkayaks.com/ .
The Mark I the best folding sponsoned kayak for many reasons first of all for its reliable design and choice of materials and second is because it can be repaired in the field easily.† This is the kayak of choice by the US military exceeding all other kayaks on the market in 2005.
(seaworthiness, wax, rudder, sponsons & air temperature
The Long Haul Mark I I found myself paddling 10 to 12 hours a day because it was so comfortable and seaworthy until I was falling asleep.† I prefer the Long Haul Mark I because this kayak paddles better because the hull is longer and more streamlined shaped than the Klepper. I have inadvertently tested the seaworthiness of the Mark I in hours of following and nasty broadside high wind seas my motor boating friends suggested that I really had better avoid.
The frame is better designed and fittings do not slip apart as they do in the Klepper.† All the failings of the other folding kayaks have been addressed in this kayak.
Loading the Mark I was without question much easier and quicker because of the deck ports.† The nylon dry bags just slipped through the ports.† I could position them within the hull to my weight distribution and logistical needs with complete ease.
I found the design of deck cargo ports, spray skirt, cockpit rim and rudder to be Arctic expedition quality.
I used to prefer the Klepper because it was tough, roomy and the most seaworthy kayak I knew of John Dowd said "I can take a folding kayak anywhere in the world.† Anywhere that I can fly to yes John Dowd was correct, and that if I want to be an explorer and to go to remote places only a folding boat will do.† For me it is the Long Haul Mark I.
How many people know I can paddle a class II river in a Klepper, I know several of these people and I met some of them when I paddled the Baillie with my Aerius I in 1990.† My black hypalon bottom shows hardly any wear after my trip down the Baillie, at Barrow and two trips in Upernavik Greenland and one in Arctic Bay as well as my local paddling and sailing.† In the past the frequent comment was that the Klepper boat bottoms were so fragile that they shredded when used in rivers and shoal areas.† That is not true now.
From my experience in Arctic Bay I can assure I from having rammed into and dragged that black hypalon bottom over some pans of sea ice that the hypalon hull can with stand entrapment in ice floes.† The stress was even greater on the fabric when I forced the hull against sharp fingers of ice to extract myself from ice floe entrapment.† I experienced four instances of ice floe entrapment during my solo kayak trip in Arctic Bay on Baffin Island.
Eric Stiller and Tony Brown used the Klepper Quattro in Australia they were able to vary the shape from the traditional V shape of the Aerius I and II to a flatter shape by fully inflating the second set of air chambers or sponsons.† With this flatter shape they increased their hull speed such that they were able to set a new average speed record of 75 miles 24 hours for 4 to 5 days.
I ran the Baillie with Erwin Streisinger in 1990 in my Aerius I after I had practiced running in a class I white water slalom course was interesting.† I took lessons in slalom paddling from Bart Hauthaway and participated in the ACA New England slalom clinic and race series with a white water kayak and my Klepper.† I did my most intense learning running slalom in my Klepper because in slalom you either make those gates or you do not.† I really found out what it was like to lean out on my elbow to execute an eddy turn into a slalom gate.† I used this knowledge in Arctic Bay for real when I found myself suddenly being blown by wind so strong I felt as though I was water skiing only nobody was towing me, the wind was blowing me.
Kayak repairs **
(cold condition repair)
Cold conditions complicate making repairs.† Any skin on frame kayak or boat hull of Hypalon such as the Long Haul Mark I and II and Klepper can be repaired within the warm environment of a tent.† Depending on where the hole or rip is either take the frame out of the skin and bring the skin into the tent or just bring inside the tent the damaged portion of the bow or stern.
The glue for repairing Hypalon is like bicycle patch cement it will set in just a matter of moments (the time it takes for a bicycle patch to set) in below freezing temperatures however inside a tent there is added security that the cement will have set fully.
Even on a bright sunny summer day I have found that tape will not even stick to itself, so donít bother bringing any tape with you unless you know it will stick at near freezing temperatures.
The fiberglass kayak cannot even be repaired with tape because tape barely sticks even to itself in the typical 40 degrees F Arctic day temperatures.† Special arrangements have to be made to repair fiberglass I have seen fishermen in Upernavik repair their fiberglass yawls by applying polyester resin on the inside of their boat and inverting the hull over a simmering camp stove for a day.†
A sewing kit, just a small one in a waterproof cylinder I have found is the best type of repair kit going.† I t fit it out with some heavy needles and thread for sewing canvas because usually a repair needs to be made on some fabric item. I also put in a small spool of thin nylon thread.† www.seattlefabrics.com/
I bring either two Leatherman knives or a Leatherman and an extra set of pliers.† I have used those to make a frame repair on my kayak.† The wood split and I cooked up a splint from some bones I found on the beach and some wire I came across.
(projected wind demands)
In the Arctic wind I have to exercise some judgment as to whether I should wait out strong winds from foul weather or whether I should take my chances.†
If I do know that there is a forecast for fierce wind commonly called cooling winds wind at 25 knots or 14-16 meters per second I stay put.
The wind generated by temperature difference in fjords generally ranges in 10 to 20 knots will blow for days on end.† Katabatic winds come with no clouds often on bright days.† The katabatic wind does not necessarily ruffle the water in the immediate area affected, indeed katabatic wind can blow the water absolutely flat along with you in your kayak.† These winds are forecast in some areas because of local topographic features that cause them to happen.† Mountains long steep sided fjords bright sun shine on a warm summer day.† In Pond Inlet I was told to beware of White Bay and Arctic Bay near town in general many katabatic winds occur.† The basic principle is cold air is heavier than warm air cold air replaces warm air.
In a group paddling situation in Pond Inlet I have had the experience of being in a situation where people really felt that they had to be on the water even though the wind blowing 25 knots behind them.† When they got to the tip of the peninsula where there was only boulders they had to face the wind.† I decided I would paddle only until I could find a place any place to duck in.† I ducked in and when I turned around I was amazed to find that everyone else had the same idea.† The rest of the group was following me.† The leader said that this was supposed to just be a lunch stop, but none of us were not interested in any more punishment by the wind.
A second situation in Pond Inlet again with heavy wind at our backs we rounded the tip of a peninsula to come abruptly face to face the katabatic wind coming down White Bay.† There were no waves, instead water was blown absolutely flat.†
The only possible point of refuge was a waterfall part way down the peninsula.† There was no other choice for any campsite behind us. †I and the rest of the group survived by paddling as close to the rock cliffs as possible.† We arrived extremely exhausted at the waterfall.†
Previously on our journey outbound we had passed by this waterfall.† I had noticed the loose basaltic rock geology of this island and that this waterfall which came out of the top ridge was surrounded by freshly fallen rocks. Now we had no choice.
We were able to land and to find spaces for our tents among the rocks.† The rocks had lichens on them, which told me that the rocks had probably not fallen all that recently.† It did not matter we had to take our chances.
I thought that our group should have waited another day for the wind to abate.† This endeavor may have not only been futile, but truly courting disaster because the extremely strenuous paddling could have given a paddler a heart attack.
Not all kayak paddlers have skill sufficient to turn a kayak 180 degrees and control kayaks in this amount of wind could easily result in the capsize of a kayak.† Kayaks are very stable going into a wind, but when run with the wind kayaks are much less stable.
Safety issues such as these are why I discuss all the factors I can think of as to what goes into making decisions to paddle in the Arctic.
To me paddling into twenty-knot wind is just slave labor twenty five knots is not realistic except for a very short distance or a dire emergency.
In Arctic Bay a thermal powered wind that had blown all day.† I thought during the early evening as the wind calmed that I could dodge the wind by getting on the water as soon as possible at night.†
While I was making a crossing on Adams Sound of 1 or 2 miles at 20:00 before I was completely across I saw the wind turning the blue-black water to silver white several miles away west of me in the storm direction.† The wind hit me was blowing +15 knots.
I was faced with the decision of turning around returning to a protected campsite and just waiting.
I decided that I could handle the demands.† Even though I faced waves crashing into the shore with unabated violence I trusted my skill and my boat.† Some of the broadside waves slapped me in the face.† I fought my way to keep from being inadvertently blown onto shore using my rudder and my strength with every paddle stroke from that solid paddle I had so carefully chosen for moments like these.†
The wind never let up, in fact the wind increased to 20 knots.† I paddled up the coast in a dead heat with no place to land until at 01:00 I came upon a campsite to tuck into just large enough for myself. †I was exhausted.
I was lucky I was able to paddle against this wind and I did not loose my head, but I could have just turned around and found safety back behind me.† I was lucky I did not have a situation with a huge field of ice to blow into if I could not have gotten to the campsite.† This was a judgment call where being alone and past experience played a role.
I went to Arctic Bay and I did experience some very skill demanding winds and at Barrow Alaska I changed my mind and shortened my trip because I was padding east into a 15-knot wind day after day.† Next time I go to Barrow I shall start out in Prudhoe Bay and head west letting the fair weather wind of 15 knots blow me to Barrow.† When nasty weather comes out of the west I will just camp out until it passes.† I know what nasty weather in Barrow is like and it is not for me.
If I am told that "the wind blows hard one way for days on end and then it blows the opposite for days on end" I try to plan on paddling elsewhere where there is less wind.
Now just for a laugh think of the strategy the wind quiets down at night.† Does this apply in the Arctic when the sun does not set?† Generally in the Arctic the wind just blows when it blows.† There are situations when on sunny summer days the winds from the cold regions of the icecap in Greenland blows into the warm fjords and the only time that stops is when it is gray weather and not at night when the sun does not set.
My over all decision to visit Arctic Bay even though this is a windy area was based on the general observation that during July the weather would be most settled.† However I had not thought that katabatic winds are frequent in warm sunny weather.† Settled weather meant that there would be less likely strong low-pressure systems lasting for days.† The weather becomes more unsettled as the summer progresses into August and still worse in September.
During my encounter with katabatic wind in Arctic Bay my practiced low a low brace from slalom racing saved me in 30+ knots of wind.† The stronger the wind the lower you lean into your low brace toward the water.† Wear a drysuit and donít be afraid to get wet.
I found that out in two incidences in Arctic Bay I wound up leaning way over the side with my elbow on my paddle blade skimming the water.† During another katabatic wind situation I got to go body sailing in my kayak for real.† I just happened to come around a corner to find that it was just like stepping behind a jet airplane on take off.†
Believe me I was glad I was in a Klepper with a big rudder and knew very well how to brace down on my elbow into the wind.
I wondered why everybody in Arctic Bay had two motors as large as 225 horse power on the back of their freighter canoes.† I didnít wonder about that after I saw them coming into town going the opposite way that I was blowing.† All they did was to just put the throttle down and head into town.† Near the end of the point I was able to take refuge coming in for a quite landing in the wind shadow.
Timing and Ice**
(projected open water)
When I am deciding that I might like to visit an area, reliable information such as that the last week of June is the best time for running rivers in the Barren-Ground area is very critical.† This bit of information saves me from having to deal with ice jams or portages because the water shed of snow runoff would become quickly dissipated within the next few weeks.† Who wants to portage needlessly mile after mile if the trip should have been started just a few weeks earlier.
I have risked my job so that I could take a trip in the Arctic.† Life happens only once.† Money comes and goes!
In Toronto at the annual Wilderness Canoe Association is an excellent opportunity to gather information about the north for expedition planning. http://northernbooks.tripod.com/home.html
†The Baillie River trip turned out after hours of flying over the seemingly endless still frozen tundra with occasional open ponds and lakes when I come upon my destination, this is one of those moments when I was very glad that I did do my homework.† I have heard the stories about people who have tried to run the Baillie starting in mid July Ė they got to walk a lot.
On the Baillie where we had planned to start off from on the Baillie River in the Barren-grounds was still frozen in.† We were lucky, our pilot found enough open water to bring us in for a landing.† Our trip worked out just fine.
(projected ice picture why and when
Do I want to paddle on open water, paddle in water at the ice edge or have a combination of up an over ice pans with frazzle ice between.† Timing within the season gives me these options.† And remember that when the sunsets where there is fresh water frazzle ice forms.† Frazzle ice is very sharp and cuts boat hulls.† At 72 degrees North the sun sets in late August.
I saw that in King Oscarís Fjord Greenland.† The last week of August I got to see rafts of frazzle ice float by on clear mornings.† We left just a day or two before it all froze up.† The Serius patrol was right.
Now the big question was for me when I was planning to paddle in Pond Inlet, does the ice usually go out every year and if it does when does the ice go out.
At Pond Inlet I arrived there just the day after the ice went out.† We paddled down the coast a few miles came in among a cluster of chunks of ice and set up camp.† The next day we got to dry out because The ice had come in and settled as the tide went out.† We found ourselves blocked off from open water.†
Oh we were so naÔve, had we known better.† We thought that the next morning we could just wade out there in our dry suits and push the ice off.†
We learned that we couldnít just push the grounded ice off.† In fact our pushing attempts did absolutely nothing.† The ice was impossibly heavy.†
We gained a new respect for ice as we realized that even the collision of a few chunks of ice with our boats in between would render our kayaks into matchsticks.† We had to wait for the tide to refloat the ice off elsewhere.† Luckily the wind didnít blow on shore when the tide came in.
The temperature of the offshore currents have a very large effect on when the ice goes out.† The west coast of Greenland frees up much sooner than the East coast and the coast of Baffin Island because the West Greenland current, a branch off the Gulf Stream, comes up the west coast of Greenland and swings back down the east coast of Canada.†
At 72 degrees north on Baffin Island where Pond Inlet is located the ice goes out the last week of July and at 72 degrees north in Upernavik Greenland the ice goes out in late May or early June.† The east coast of Greenland is late for the same reason.† Read Nansenís story Crossing the Greenland Ice Cap.† He and his crew were dropped off 15 miles from shore.† They couldnít make it to shore.† They got to ride down the coast and back up to the same place on an ice pan getting to shore just as the ice pan broke up.† And even better read how he puts together these crude canvas covered boats and runs the west coast but arrives too late to catch a ship back to Norway that year.
In 1992 I had my own experience with the ice and when it is supposed to go out.† Even though this is true, the west coast of Greenland was much slower to open up.† I did not take into account that conditions for that summer were very different because of the eruption of the volcano, Mount Pinatubo, which the summer to be very cold and the ice never went out from Frobisher Bay/Iqaluit north on Baffin Island.
I had never considered the effect this huge load of volcanic ash in the atmosphere would have on the strength of sunlight, which would cause the worldwide summer to be very cold and that the ice north of Iqaluit on Baffin Island would never go out that year. www.crh.noaa.gov/dtx/talessum.htm
When I flew from Frobisher to Nuuk from the airplane I saw the extent of this ice on Davis Strait off the southern tip of Baffin Island.† I couldn't imagine how vast this ice was until I looked out at it and saw that all I would see for hours from 20,000 feet as I flew to Greenland.†
As we approached Greenland there was a narrow strip open along the coast and as I flew to Upernavik a few weeks later the Disko was just resting in the ice off Uummanaq waiting for the ice at Upernavik to open.
In Upernavik thanks to advice from the hunters to the museum director I was able to paddle from Upernavik to Aappilattoq http://iserit.greennet.gl/adamgrim/aappilattoq.htm† and to visit an area of flowers on Nutarmuit island.† However I was not able to paddle completely around Aappilattoq island because the density of ice bergs essentially closed in the back side of the island. †I did not dare to tackle icebergs so tightly packed.
In 1994 when I went to Arctic Bay I knew from having talked with Glen Williams is the Reneweable Resources Officer in Arctic Bay that the ice was late going out that year.† In my paddling all I did was dodge the ice back and forth.† The afternoon I arrived at Arctic Bay the ice was out of town as far as I could see which was Holy Cross Point.† I could have assembled and packed my kayak and left immediately.† The next morning the ice was coming in.† I got my kayak on the water but was forced to get out and drag my kayak over some ice pans along the edge of the shore to make it to the point a few miles away.† The next day the ice was in so I had to content myself with waiting.† When I did get on the water I paddled as far as the ice would let me go down Adams Sound.† The moment the tide changed I was lucky enough to be able to stop and camp.† The ice filled in and I had to wait a couple days for the ice to go out however guess what?† The ice filled in the lower part of Adams Sound so all I could do was either wait or paddle back out of Adams Sound.
At one point luckily for just a short time in my kayak while the wind and tide changed I became trapped in the ice.† At another I saw this lovely flat spot and very nearly set my tent up.† Some time that night the ice piled up during the night and would have crushed me in my tent and my kayak.† I never heard a thing!
Ice is tricky stuff it is always changing and on the move.† Ice supports a majority of life in the Arctic in the most interesting ways.† It is fun to watch the birds gathering food at the edge of ice and the specialized sea life at the edge of the ice.
(projected matching tides and white water to paddling skills)
For me the major factor when I am choosing a place to paddle is what is the tide range.†
Captain Bob Bartlettís account of the tidal bore coming in behind his ship in the Button Islands Hudson Basin made me decide not for me.† Becoming stranded in Hudson Bay or stories of people not being able to find dry ground to camp on causes me to have no interest traveling there.†
At Iqaluit the tide goes out for miles, not for me.† I just do not have the patience for that kind of situation.
Do I want to have to plan my day by the tides on the open water, which can just as easily turn to open mud or a raging tidal torrent. http://academic.bowdoin.edu/arcticmuseum/exhibits/html/fouryears.shtml
I prefer and am more competent as an open water paddler, so I feel most comfortable on open water because I understand open water more thoroughly.
I thought I couldnít get into much of any trouble in Barrow Alaska because there was only six inches of tide.† Well that was what I thought until I got there.† The only problem was the land was absolutely flat so six inches of water did not make much difference one way or the other to me in my kayak.† I got stuck in the mud anyway.† I never did figure out how they could have possibly mapped the inlets because the water only covered very short grass at high tide.† There was hardly any difference between high and low tide in the inlets.
Where I paddle I am used to six foot tides and granite islands.† The tide can only go out just so far is my theory so how much trouble can I get into I thought to myself.
I choose Pond Inlet on Baffin Island Canada and Upernavik Greenland have the same range of five to six foot tides, which generally does create fairly moderate conditions.
When I am studying my maps and charts the compare relative lengths and depths to the widths of the fjords and look at how many fjords come together to feed through a passage, especially where there are deep fjords and severe restrictions.
Now for a starting point, to give you an idea of what I mean, compare the width of Long Island Sound to its length and relate this to its outlets.† At the eastern end of Long Island the Race is quite aptly named, because that is exactly what the tide does at the Race.† The same thing happens with Cape Cod Canal and only during the short period of slack tide for an hour or less does the tidal flow and wave conditions slack off.
The distance that a kayak can travel in an hour, usually it is not sufficient to execute a crossing through a threatening area before slack water is over and the tide resumes, also there may not be a defined area of slack water.† Bathyometry or underwater topography govern the timing and flow of tidal waters.† Even in Stony Creek Connecticut where there are many variations of depth and islands the complete picture is very interesting to see when conditions are right from the air.† Fast moving currents in Upernavik Greenland are created by tidal flushing in the very deep fjords.
On southern Baffin Island, Iqaluit or Frobisher Bay has twenty-three foot tides with a hard mud bottom.† Customarily large ships stranded on them and trucks drive out on the hard mud flats to unload them.†
Conversely the bottom of Cook Inlet in Anchorage Alaska† is very soft mud bottom and a twenty foot tide, which can easily strand the unsuspecting boater.†
An example of an area with minimal range tides is at Barrow Alaska and throughout much of the Arctic Ocean the tides are only six inches.† This creates another situation especially if the bottom is soft mud because the difference between land and water is only the matter of a fraction of an inch.
Since there is mere inches of water and lots of sticky mud, the buoyancy of my kayak becomes very minimal, if the kayak is heeled onto its chine the chine will be just deep enough to bottom out.
Talk about not being able to lean over and look at interesting things on the bottom.† I couldn't even lean to look at anything because my kayak would just bottom out instantly.† I had to diligently sit there stock straight while I sort of manipulated my craft along with my most delicate version of probe paddling.
I had to very carefully keep my boat gliding over the shallows, sooner or later as the wind pushed me down wind where I finally did bottom out in some impossible mud.
At Pond Inlet even with six foot tide I did happen to come across a situation where I happened to notice a suspiciously odd arrangement of small boulders, which stretched from Frechette Island to the Mainland across the western arm of Tay Sound.† When I saw this unusually large number of closely spaced small boulders, little bells went off in my head and I said to myself "something tells me that this is a very shallow spot about to become exposed as this outgoing tide drops and some of those small rocks look like there isn't much water around."
Quickly I jumped out of my kayak, grabbed the bow and deftly "hot footed it" dragging my kayak with just barely enough water to float it across this strategically placed sand bar.† A few minutes later, just as I turned around this shallows was completely dry.
I read the map afterward and this area was properly noted.† When all else fails read the map!
Okay all that sounds nice, but you must be wondering just exactly why did I choose Upernavik Greenland.
I choose Upernavik after all my other travels because I like all those granite islands, the tides were 2 meters or 6 feet the same as Stony Creek CT where I paddle.† One interesting aspect about paddling in this area is that some of the seas are similar to what occurs in Long Island Sound.† I think this is due to the short fetch from the ice out in Davis Strait off Baffin Island.† The waves are often just short chop maybe three feet tall most commonly.
Ice off shore has the distinctive quality of suppressing wave development however where currents collide steep chop does develop.†
A friend of mine warned me about the currents behind two islands.† This is an area where the tide flushes through.† We crossed them in his motorboat and it was a violent ride.† Later when I made the crossing in my kayak I was quite scared until I figured that my kayak was handling the chop just fine.† I calmed down and just kept paddling.
The currents in Upernavik are to notoriously fast because of the many deep fjords.† Upernavik is described as where the mountains plunge into the sea.† These mountains as high as 4,000 feet are everywhere throughout this region.† Because of this spectacular geology and mineralogy paddling is very scenic.
In this region outside of the fjords while I was once at the helm of a Colin Archer fishing boat putting along at 4 knots, we came upon an iceberg grounded on a rock off Upernavik Isfjord.† I saw that the current passing around this berg was so intense that I immediately turned the shipís wheel over to the captain because I realized that under my helm we were going to be swept into the berg.† I was correct about that decision and the captain brought us clear.
I have seen small icebergs crisscross right in front of my kayak as I was paddling briskly along at about four knots on the icefjord, this taught me a lesson about the currents at Upernavik.
During the winter the ice around Upernavik is among the most dangerous in Greenland because of these currents.
Although I have run the Yama River in Siberia and the Baillie in Canada class II whitewater I prefer open water.
(sedimentary, trap rock, rock slides, talus slopes landing sites
From my assortment of knowledge and paddling observations especially when I have been paddling to me, it is very important to try and figure out if landing places will be reasonably close together.
Before I choose a place to paddle I scan the NOAA Tides and Currents, consult the Pilot Guide for Sailing Directions (Mystic Seaport Library has a complete set), at topographic map maps and most importantly I find out what the local geology and mineralogy is.
I can find out quite important information from these other sources, but I need to know the geological information because I can judge landing conditions by the type of rock in the area.
Paddling in an area of sedimentary rocks such as sandstone, from a distance I can see that they will have very definite straight stratification layers, but only the soft sedimentary finely layered rock cliffs have such a grey weathered appearance.† The problem at the bottom of these high steep let's say 1,000 foot cliffs landing is very likely not going a good idea.† At the bottom of these talus slopes is most likely have nothing but loose talus slopes extending up these escarpments a long way, almost twenty to twenty five percent of the cliff face.† There is also the possibility that there could easily be a shower of this type of rapidly disintegrating rocks come down any time so be careful when I venture too close to them.
Massive rock slides are easily set off from trap rock.† I have seen a rock slide of trap rock let loose from a vertical 3,000 foot level cliff and believe me I was glad we were not on the receiving end.† This was in Pond Inlet and so was the unstable sedimentary rock talus slope.† I can be glad I did not happen to be passing by that area at that moment.† Just the rock dust from that kind of rock slide hung in the air for quite a while.† "Ain't nothin guaranteed!" was about all that was left for me to say to myself .
I very sagely decided not to paddle in Uummanaq because the Pilot Guide because it is surrounded with 7,000 foot mountains endless sedimentary and basaltic formations plunging straight into the water with no place to land for miles around and a few katabatic winds just to finish it all off.† Not a place for me at all.
In Upernavik I learned from reading the Pilot Guide that the majority of rock is granite and that the tallest mountain, Sandersonís Hope was only 3,400 feet high.† That was music to my ears.† I was very familiar from having paddled in Pond Inlet where the obvious differences between granite, basalt and sedimentary rock I saw how the mineralogy and geology factors created good campsites and landing places.† I realized that having paddled for so many years in Stony Creek an area famous for granite there always were places for landing within reasonable distances.
The area along the base of Sandesonís Hope and Torssut Passage in Upernavik is flanked with vertical basalt.† The escarpment was one of those places so vertical for endless feet that if a rock broke loose it would have planted me for good.† Ploop, what was that.† This cliff face plunges straight into the water. www.geus.dk/publications/ review-greenland-98/gsb183p39-45.pdf†
On the opposite side this mountain was a pyramid of endless stepped basalt blocks set comfortably back from the water. www.geus.dk/publications/ review-greenland-01/gsb191p67-72-dk.html
(charts vs topos, rivers and streams campsites, fjord dimensions tidal flow, local information)
Comparing nautical charts with topographic maps, the topographic maps provide better information for choosing campsites than 1:250,000 scale nautical charts.† From my on the water experiences, I found that the most likely campsites are found at the mouth of rivers and streams, which are easily found on charts that show topographic relief.† However, there can be exceptions, as I found in one area of Upernavik Greenland where there were four waterfalls in a row but there was not an inch of ground to come in for a landing or even to put my foot on.† The opposite side of the fjord was just as steep with only place to stop at the beginning.† This was entirely granite dome smooth and round with vertical walls.† I just kept paddling!
When I was at Pond Inlet I knew that I could not be sure about figuring out from my maps where there were suitable campsites.† I went to the Office of Renewable Resources and made notes on my overall chart of all the locations of traditional campsites designated on a chart.† I blanched at some of the distances between campsites were 25 miles in steep rock areas.
In Pond Inlet searching for a likely place to camp there was very shallow beach which looked like storms really do drive in there so I decided that I really didn't want to camp there with menacing aspect visible.
I also came across a similar beach in Arctic Bay facing west, the receiving direction of stormy weather.† From a distance this beach looked absolutely lovely but when I paddled by I found that the entire beach was completely covered with boulders each neatly rounded up by endless wave action.† I had an arduous time paddling by heading west with 20 knots wind coming at me broadside pushing waves up my chest.
Directly behind this beach there was a beach nicely sheltered which was perfect and had been used many times for camping.†
(playing the backs of waves tide against wind)
I was paddling sand beach Pond Inlet.† The day started out innocently it was brilliantly sunny, a dead calm to mid morning and then there came this soft wind from the west generating gentle swells, which were more widely spaced than they were high.† Initially these broadside swells from the west had the character of ground swells.
Then, as the west wind blew at ten to twelve knots from the west for a more protracted period, these swells became larger.† I was paddling north heading to the east I noticed that in the shoal beach area these swells from the west were cresting and breaking.
Then I noticed in the distance a darkening on the surface of the water.†
The shore had been leading northward but now it was winding its way eastward.† I was just beginning to work my way up and around starting to head more easterly toward the town of Pond Inlet. In this area there is a tidal current from the east.
That darkening of the water at a distance gradually drew closer and closer until it was upon me and then everything related to strategy and paddling changed.† Guess what?† Those navy blue cat's paws were caused by a freshening wind coming from the east.† The wind behind me was replaced by this stronger twenty-knot wind from the east.† Now I had wind in my face.
With this shallow sandy bottom and this consistent wind from the east, a delightfully fascinating combination of waves developed.† The longer larger waves from the west I could feel under my.† The waves from the east were a short steep chop, which would intermingle every so many sets with a large ground swell from the west.† These swells from the west continued although the wind from the west had dissipated.
The waves had a rhythm of about three sets from the east and one roll from the west.† To make headway against the wind and the current from the east, I took advantage of the rolls from the west by accelerating as much as possible just at the moment I felt one coming up under me from behind.† I was using that forward momentum of the wave energy to surf on the larger, longer spaced swells from the west over the waves coming from east.† This was a wonderful experience.
In Upernavik I had the experience directly in front of Sandersonís Hope of wind blowing one way and tide rushing the opposite way.† Out from the foot of the mountain I found myself on silver deep blue waves just going up and down like a rollercoaster ride which was great fun paddling but I was not getting anywhere.
I decided that I had better strategize on making progress, so I called upon some of my river paddling experience known as take advantage of the friction.† I pulled over as close as I could to the flanks of the mountain and paddled.† The friction along the flank was enough to reduce the effect of the wind and allowed me to take advantage of the run of the tide.† With that even though I had just sacrificed my fun rollercoaster ride I was able to make forward progress.† And a good time was had by all.
I find in the Pilot Guide information for large boats, but less accurate and informative for the kayak.
Writing for general information to local government park and bureaus such as the Bureau of Economic Resources in Canada for information regarding ordering nautical charts and topographic maps can take time because outside of the United States mail is amazingly slow especially to the far north.
Choosing campsites is interesting, however from my on the water experience I found that the most likely campsites are found at the mouth of rivers and streams.† Maps do not show enough detail for choosing campsites.
I also made note on my overall chart of the locations of traditional campsites designated on a chart at the Office of Renewable Resources in Pond Inlet to eliminate some of the guess-work.† We desperately needed a campsite and the map showed the only stream in the area and we had made a guess that it might be likely that we could land at it.† We camped there.
Now the fun begins as the hours of planning and gathering suitable equipment with all its paper work and exchanges began.
Nautical charts were available from Defense Mapping Agency, Combat Support Center, Attention PMS, Washington, D.† C.† 20315-0010 phone 1-800-826-0342 or 1-301-227-2495 but in 1993 NOAA is handling these charts.
Geological and topographical maps are available from the U.S.† Geological Survey , Map Distribution, Federal Center.† Bldg.† 41, Box 25286, Denver, Colorado 80225.
Foreign Weather Information FTS:(301)763-8076 NOAA, NES, DIS, National Climatic Data Center, Satellite Data Services Center, E/CC6, 5200 Auth Road, World Weather Building, Rm 100, Washington, DC 20233,† Greg Hunolt (301)763-8185
Maps of topography and geology are available at Publication Sales, Geological Survey of Green land,† P† ster Voldgade 10, DK 1350 Copenhagen K, DENMARK.† phone +45-33-11-88-66 FAX +45-33-93-53-52 for the current price and shipping costs.
I bought at the local KNI store in Upernavik a detailed Mercator projection 1:80,000 published by Kort-og Matrikelstyrelsen,
Denmark no address is provided this gives bathyometric information.† I also have a topographic map "Saga Maps" published by the same company.
Maps for the coasts of Greenland covered on a scale of 1:250,000 is available by writing Geodaetisk Institut, Rigsdagsgaarden, DK-1218 Copenhagen K, DENMARK.
Gun Choice Bear solution**
(gun on deck)
Polar bears and walrus are a reality in Barrow Alaska, Pond Inlet and Arctic Bay area carrying a gun is required.
A 12-gauge shotgun weighs the least and can be carried in a gun bag on your deck. The wide range of shot for a 12 gauge shot gun range from bang caps, stun shots, bird shot to slugs with a lot of powder behind them.† I was advised in Arctic Bay by Glen Williams to use 000 buck because this amo requires less accuracy and either kills or cripples the attacking polar bear.
The pump shotgun with a 20-inch barrel length is the fastest and least apt to foul during shooting multiple rounds.† F.O. Mossberg manufactures, the Mariner, a stainless steel model twelve gauge designed for saltwater exposure. www.mossberg.com/pcatalog/Specpurp.htm
The dry bag has to have strings sewn onto it so that it can be tied onto D rings mounted on your deck.
Arrange a roll over seal gun carrying bag such as a "Bone-Dry" gun bag to be tied to "D" rings sewn onto the deck.
Keep the shotgun loaded on the deck in a dry bag.† The dry bag has to have a clip together roll over seal, which can easily be opened and reclosed with one hand.†
The gun has to have a flat nylon strap that attaches to the gun, runs through the roll over seal and attaches to the deck.† For some strange reason guns don't float.
You might also want to have your paddle tied to your kayak. http://www.wavelengthmagazine.com/manufacture.php
(alarms, campsite choice, odors,
The best tactic to deter a bear that is approaching my campsite is the scare tactic
Bears use the beach as a routine route for travel and they hide among the ice.† Although ice is white a polar bear looks yellow.
Around the perimeter of my campsite and to protect my tent and boat I set up some sort trip wire bear warning device.† There was a design of trip wires, which are mentioned in Kingdom of the Ice Bear by Hugh Miles and Mike Salisbury as being a very effective polar bear deterrent.†
Around my tent the bear alarm system I set out 30 lb. fishing line with loops tied with the "bang pops" that explode when pulled apart tied together with a simple overhand knot on themselves shorter than the distance between the loops.† Dip in wax the bang pops to reduce the effect of humidity and rain on these water absorbent paper covered bang pops.† The high water alarm I set up on light weight monofilament fishing line from a fishing reel.† I did tie that rig to my mostly empty tin gallon fuel can in the hopes that if that noisy tin can falls over on the rocks, I will at least hear it.† I was glad that I brought flares and repellant spray.
Take your gun in your tent at night should you have shoot a polar bear from your tent.
In some areas being with ten other people is a deterring factor known to apply to Alaskan Brown Bears.† However polar bears learn and change their behavior in the way they interact with people as the result of repeated exposure.† In other words they do what they want and in some areas such as Ellesmere Island a polar bear has never seen a person and other areas such as Arctic Bay polar bears are used to people and are not afraid of them.
In eastern Greenland a local polar bear became accustomed to visiting a large group of people.† Each time the bear visited the campsite it became increasingly more brazen.† Nothing seemed to deter the bear the people resorted to sleeping in a bear proof building.† After the people left the bear found to another group of people at another campsite.† The bear was so threatening that the people had to shot it because nothing they could do would stop the bear from harassing them.†
There are those unpredictable instances when the playful type of Polar Bear will not be decide not to be afraid of even large groups of people and will become quite a nuisance.† A playful polar bear will find entertaining because something smells interesting.† The bear has enormous strength.† Metal boxes filled with dry fish were dragged out onto the ice.† The bears jumped up and down on them until they broke open.† They can render a kayak in very tough shape just having some fun.
They also have excellent memories and they will go to great extremes to try and get something they think that they want.† Polar bears are much less likely to be in wide open areas when the ice is out because they hunt among and travel on the ice.
Bears are generally motivated to visit campsites by odor curiosity.† It is best to smell as human as possible.
I had thought oh wouldnít it be so easy, just take a dog with me.† A dog will bark.† This is only true if the dog has been trained to bark at polar bears.† Friends of mine did that and all that happened when the polar bear arrived was that the dog threw up.
In Grizzly territory of Alaska food has to be cashed away from boats and campsite but within easy sight of the tent.† In Kodiak travelers tied their kayak out in a bay filled with food.† The bear swam out bit a hole in the kayak and ate the food.
Large boulders and deeply crevassed outcrops might happen to harbor a Barren-ground Grizzly or a Polar Bear.† Polar bears are just as agile as all other bears.
Sleeping out in a sleeping bag makes you appear to a polar bear like a seal.† http://www.nunavutparks.com/visitors_centre/polar_bear_safety.cfm
Video camera **
(why, choice of stable kayak)
From 1989 though 1999 I used a 8mm Sony camcorder CCD-SP7 with five batteries NP-55 Ni-Cd.† This camera is outfitted with a splash proof housing.† I took many very interesting pictures that showed the character of the area.
I recharged my batteries on my rear deck with a solar panel.† I bought extra batteries because batteries do not perform half as well in cold.
I kept my camera in a foam lined dry bag between my legs in the cockpit.†
There have been moments when because I had my camera at hand I was able to capture unique moments.
My folding kayak because it is especially stability made it possible to take video footage while running Class II rapids on rivers and in seas of 15 knot winds.† My camera did not have any image stabilization I stabilized the camera while I looked through the viewfinder.† I got away with a lot with that camera.
In 2003 I replaced my Olympus OM-1N with a Sony Mavica† MVC ĖCD400 digital camera which uses lithium batteries NP-FM50.† I took four NP-FM50, Lithium-Ion batteries and I bought my extra batteries via† http://store.yahoo.com/laptopsforless/digcamlition1.html†† at $29.00.† I had a problem keeping my batteries recharged and I suspect that my solar panel was not able to function at full capacity or that the operating temperature was too low.† Slightly overcast weather with temperatures in the 50ís may have been a contributing factor as instructions do state the recharging is done between 50 and 86 degrees F.
1989 to 2003 I recharged two batteries NP-55 at a time by using a flexible solar panel that is wired to a battery holder.
In 2003 I used the solar panel connected to the Sony NP-FM50 12 volt battery recharging system.† I bought a female socket at West Marine www.westmarine.com/ or an automobile supply store.
The waterproof flexible solar panel, Unisolar Flexible UFF-5† recharges my camera and instrument needs,† can be purchased from HAMILTON FERRIS CO - POWER PRODUCTS
Because salt water is highly corrosive I made a clear vinyl case to completely protect my panel, the rechargers and batteries.†† The clear vinyl case has a. fold over closure such as is used on chart cases can be constructed by gluing together with HH-66 vinyl cement.† The closures are made from PVC nylon reinforced bag material with polyethylene Velcro sewn and adhered to them.†
These materials, the clear vinyl and cement can be ordered from Seattle Fabrics. www.seattlefabrics.com/
GPS prep and batteries.† I added a lanyard to the battery cover and to keep track of which battery is where I numbered the batteries inside so that when I recharged them I could know each battery.
Photo and Video Opportunities**
I have found that some of the most exciting video footage I have taken is during these moments of takeoff from the windows of airliners, helicopters and small planes.† Taking pictures of an overall view of the instrument panel, which later may add significance as I watch the pilot adjust the throttle to accelerate for takeoff.† Being able to record sound as well as images in a situation such as this gives a fuller dimension to what is happening.† www.guillemot-kayaks.com/Trips/Gail/GailsVideos.html
From the air I can capture on video and with my still camera the over all views, which show the character of an area that I donít see when I am on the ground.
Over Great Slave Lake I recorded the topographic views of the forested rocky terrain with its endless lakes located in the peninsulas, some dramatic cliffs and some enticingly beautiful rivers with white water rushing through exciting rapids.† As I flew further north the topography such as large escarpments were exciting to study from the air.
As I flew north when I was on my way to the Barren-Grounds and began to pass beyond the boreal zone I saw where the trees begin to thin and become smaller as the muskeg began to give way to tundra.† More and more frequently the flattening muskeg topography showed shallow dark watered peaty ponds and fewer streams with moving water, haven for mosquitoes.
On take off from Great Slave Lake sitting in the back seat of our float plane I recorded the propeller wash and wake from the floats. I switched back capturing the pilot at the control panel powering up for take off.† Wow how exciting.† The video so perfectly captured thrill of the sound and action of that moment.† I still love that part of my video because it captures the essence of the moment, the takeoff.
The video captured the dynamics of water and aircraft interaction.† It was fun to watch how a float plane is handled by a typical pilot in the north.† I would have never guessed that me sitting in the back seat with my video camera would have captured such an exciting moment.
The north is the world where a pilot above of all, must be very resourceful and completely self-reliant.
I witnessed this first hand as plane was brought down on the water and the variable pitch propellers were reversed so that the plane was backed into shore.† Just as the plane got into the shallows the pilot shipped the rudders on the floats and backed the plane up onto the shore so that the stern of the floats were just on dry land.† Leaving the engine going to keep the plane against the shore the pilot jumped out of the cockpit with a line to secure the plane.
I still remember the moment of suddenly noticing that the pilot wasn't there.† Video captured this disconcerting sequence of the disappearing pilot as no still camera could possibly do.†
My video recordings really do capture the feel of this moment, which I laugh about now when I view that particular video.
Another unique incident on the Baillie I captured on video as we were rounding some more bends we noticed an odd form resembling possibly a Grizzly at a distance.† As we drew closer we realized that we were experiencing a uniquely rare, close viewing of three Muskox happily browsing on willows growing along the river's edge.† It was most amusing to see a willow, which was unusually tall for this area being six or more feet high, waving violently for no explicable reason, when partially obscured by a bank.† And in the next moment there they were some Muskox dining on Willow buds.† The Muskox were not disturbed because they do not regard objects on the river as a threat..
Now I have to admit that I did record some of my encounters in the whitewater and large waves on open water but I could only get away with this because I was under control in a stable kayak.
However I did not have the courage to take pictures and videos in whitewater where the waves were three and four feet high.
In short distance video shooting I found that as I am looking through my view-finder I subconsciously compensate for motion from my tossing kayak.†
Close up photo opportunities in the Arctic after a storm along beaches the small shore birds, Baird's sandpipers, Ruddy turnstones, and Lapland longspurs will be preoccupied with consuming insects and crustacean after a storm.† I quietly position myself and sit perfectly still in a few minutes the birds often do not notice how close I am to them.† I enjoy capturing on camera and video their antics as they run up and down the shore.† Phalaropes will nearly walk over my feet.
Arctic terns are great fun to watch and easy to take pictures of as they sport overhead inspecting the shores and the racing, churning rapids are one of their favorite areas to regularly hunt for small fish and other prey sometimes they will have a time of day routine.
Why sitting still works for taking pictures of caribou, noise or movement will ruin opportunities, I can be sitting on a bluff just fifteen feet below me and unsuspecting caribou will pass right by me while I take some detailed pictures of them until I move or make a noise.† The moment they discover me they are gone just as though their presence had been imaginary.
Navigation Magnetic North**
(solar compass, GPS, sextant, map, protractor)
Navigation in areas close to the magnetic North Pole especially where there are large iron ore bodies means get a GPS.
Frederica DeLaguna mentioned that her compass would tell her where all the oar bodies on the islands in Upernavik were. http://www.geolab.nrcan.gc.ca/geomag/daily_mvt_nmp_e.shtml† After you read this website you will believe me if you happen to be planning on traveling in the Parry Islands in 2005 it is just north of you.
In Pond Inlet the daily magnetic variation in 1989 was twenty six minutes, the deviation ranged between sixty five and seventy degrees west and there are numerous iron ore deposits and these are two very confusing factors when it comes to navigation.† http://www.spirasolaris.ca/sbb4g1bv2.html
A solar compass each hour the sun has moved fifteen degrees in the sky starting at 0 or 360 degrees for midnight standard time progressing to 90 degrees for six am, which is east, then 180 degrees for twelve noon and finally 270 degrees for eighteen o'clock, which is west.† What time it is as compared to where the sun is in the sky tells me what direction I am going with a 24 hour watch.†
In Upernavik Greenland starting from 1992 I used a combination of GPS and sextant with protractor as back up works very well.†
My first experiment in Upernavik I stopped on an island and measured the angle between some objects and compared them just to be sure on my map.† Sure enough what I could not see from where I was beached on Lang ō was the opening to Torssut passage.† I was glad to have this back up system in this area Upernavik which is filled with endless islands and peninsulas.
The Garmin GPS 76 floats, is waterproof, uses 2 AA rechargeable batteries and most important it gave me good data record of positions now that they have unscrambled the satellite output.† This GPS was much lighter and smaller than my original GPS 50.
It was nice to be able to be able to relate by both the GPS and sextant as to where I was.† http://www.semperparentis.org/flash/gps2.htm
I especially enjoyed being able to measure dimensions with a sextant of a gigantic tabular iceberg, the size of maybe half a mile, that was floating back and forth off my campsite.
This year's paddling was simpler as far as navigation was involved because I was more familiar and at ease with the area.†
(forecasts, ice fields, barometer, cloud formations)
Above the Arctic Circle storms come from the west.
In the Arctic some areas do not have local weather forecasts.† Upernavik Greenland does have accurate local weather forecasts all are broadcast on the radio and television in Danish.
Looking at the clouds can at times reveal immediate storms approaching if you are located where you have a view toward the west.†
Along the west coast of Greenland low-pressure systems can move across Baffin Bay more rapidly than forecasters can predict.† Barometric pressure in Upernavik does not to change before the onset of a powerful low-pressure system coming in from Baffin Bay instead it drops an hour after the storm has arrived.†
Motor boaters in Upernavik keep in touch via marine radio with observers in town to tell them what the conditions are before they come into town.† If conditions are bad they head off for protected settlements such as Aappilattoq to wait out the storm.
Peter Bendtzen took me to the window looking out west.† He directed me to look out toward islands in the west.† He told me Upernavik people say when it is black over there you have twenty minutes to get to land.† The Thorliefsenís told me ďBad weather is when Sandersonís Hope has a hat on itĒ.
In Arctic Bay I was told when it looks dark down Adams Sound donít go there because there is bad weather down there.
Here is a description of weather observations of the clouds, wind and barometric pressure In Upernavik, which faces west directly exposed to the open water with Sandersonís Hope 3,400 feet high to the south.† My kayak was assembled resting on the rocks as I was waiting to start on my expedition.
June 29, 1995 I was told that the windstorm coming here was packing 16 knots.† Well this storm isn't, the wind is now at 10:00 packing 30 knots of warm air.†† At 10:30 there are a few stronger blasts.†
The clouds are most interesting assortments of orographic varieties highly distorted by the winds.† I took a series of photographs and videos to record the horizon and the date so that I would have this important record.† The clouds in the upper air are blown out bunched together mammary, cumulus I believe that these clouds are in the alto layer.† There are occasional holes to the southeast where the sun is, which show clear blue sky above suggesting that the cirrus layer is quite open.† The stratocumulus clouds are only present on the top of Sanderson's Hope and these clouds are backed up toward the south as these clouds are trying to blow over the 3,400 foot high peak of this mountain.††
The barometric pressure has been running at 1021mb for two previous days and today it started out at 10:00 at 1022 with the wind blowing as intermittent gusts at 25 - 30 knots from the south then at 11:00 it rose to 1023 with the wind at 30 + knots as gusts with occasional slightly higher gusts.† While I was at the museum near noon the sky cleared to the south letting the sun shine directly through the wind temporarily slacking and then with the sun still shining.
The cloud cover became more intense showing what I had photographed in the morning of layered high altitude and orographic shapes some altocummulis scud was blowing in one area just after Sanderson's Hope.††
Clouds in the stratus layer were condensing at a midway point over the rock island peninsula at altitude of 2,000 feet.† The stratocumulis then were being blown over the top and as these clouds gathered around the summit of the 3,400 peak of Sanderson's Hope were becoming denser.†
The small example of scud that I saw had blown over Sanderson's and was being propelled just above the back eddy of Sanderson's Hope by the air currents at that altitude then the scud would become diffused by the conditions, which absorbed this condensate.† http://www.cvinternet.net/~pwsbooks/wind.html
The air temperature was warm and dry however later at about 14:30 snow and rain arrived medium to light amount.† The warmth of the air may have been a product compression.† http://biocycle.atmos.colostate.edu/~denning/at350/11.localwinds.pdf
I thought that it was very interesting that I did not see clouds in the strato layer, almost no scud and that the scud was in association with the 4000 foot peak Sanderson's Hope.
The wind increased to a solid 30 + knots and had consistent 40 knot gusts, which were difficult to walk against and the barometer climbed to 1024mb.† The barometric pressure has maintained at 1024mb from 12:00 to now at 21:00 the wind had slacked off probably at the tide change.† Now the wind is steady and has accelerated slightly to 30 knots again the sky is overcast.†
At 21:15 there is brightening to the north.†
At 23:00 the sky is grey again with more stratocumulus scud and the alto layers are highly wind defined but there are holes in this ceiling giving way to cumulocirrus broken clouds and blue sky occasionally.† Some of the altostratus layer is dark grey to the east the wind is gusting to 30 + knots I estimate.† Quite strong wind once again.† I had thought that this storm might have blown out by now but the wind is strong the clouds are dark and the barometer is at 1025 mb.
So yes I have learned from experience it is a good idea to watch the clouds because I have had the direct experience of weather going from innocent nothing to insane chaos. http://www.northanger.org/greenlog.html
In 1992 in Upernavik when I was paddling in an oily calm with no change in barometric pressure I saw clouds coming toward me.† I looked at my barometer and there was no change.† Moments later strong gusts blasted me.† These gusts were so powerful that they nearly snatched the paddle from my hands.† I tied my paddle to the bowline on my deck.† Losing a paddle would have rendered me in my kayak helpless.† I assessed my position and immediately headed for the nearest suitable landing.† I was very lucky because I could have been miles from any landing place.
Another storm in this same area revealed its arrival similarly.† This is my account taken from land on July 4, 1995† I had dinner watching the clouds on the top of the 780 meter mountain across from me flowing down hill to the west.† I noticed that something different was happening to the air flow over to the east flank, which is mostly a ridge to the next peak, a 470 meter mountain.†
On the 470 meter peak I could see that the cloud clinging to the top of the peak, which was moving in the opposite direction this cloud was moving to the east.† I also noticed that there was a build up of clouds behind where I could see through the passage, Umiasugssup ilua, separating Umiak mountain from the 780 meter peak.††
I wondered what the weather was in Upernavik because these clouds looked especially dense not just a layer of fog.† Then I began to notice that low broken stratocumulus clouds were blowing up the passage from the outside having come around the seaward side of Sanderson's Hope the highest mountain at 1042 meters in this area.† The front could not quite get past the outer mountain, Sanderson's Hope mountain on Qaersorssuaq island but it must have been hitting Upernavik.††
Gradually something changed because nothing especially the weather can be taken for granted here except change.† The moving clouds the falling air off the 780 meter peak changed it's direction from west to north and this began to do what katabatic winds do it hit the water at the base of the mountain making whitecaps.††
I grabbed my cameras because this was just the same type of event I had experienced in 1992.† I recorded the evolution of the wind first hitting the water near the mountain then gradually the wind progressed across the one mile fetch of Torssut hitting this area in an hour.††
I took storm precautions by moving my kayak up higher.
For my tent I put the usual combination of heavy rocks around the tent.† I put a large rock on top of the tie rope next to the tent and tie the tie rope around a smaller rock so that the smaller rock is anchored in place with the big rock.† If that is not enough I put a tent stake in the ground between the large and small rock or use more large rocks.†
Then I decided to try to reduce some of the slatting problem wind creates with this tent so this time since I happened to have put in a second rescue rope 50 ft of 1/2 inch line for difficult mooring situations I decided to guy the tent off.† What a difference so far, the tent is not slatting as much as it usually does when the wind comes up.† The ropes go from a rock southwest to the peak tie loop to a rock west, which is where all the wind will most likely be coming from.
The barometer definitely does not tell the arrival of this wind it has been hovering all day but at 20:30 it was at 1008 mb then at 21:30 when the wind had actually made it across the bay it
was at 1009 mb then at 22:30 it was at 1010 mb now at 23:30 it is at 1010 mb.† A couple of good blasts hit making it feel like it might blow the tent away.† Barometer rising - typical.††
The time I think it reflects wind more closely is when the barometer has been holding for several hours during a storm and then it rises.† When the barometer rises the wind will and I have noticed that it does increase until the barometer rises again then the wind from the storm, which is clearing out starts to slack off.
In Pond Inlet on Baffin Island, the ice field and ice cap areas, the air coming over these regions will have barometric pressure readings, which are very much lower than what they should have been.† This depression of the barometric pressure is influenced by the size of the ice cap or the ice fields from, which the wind is blowing.† The best way to compensate for this problem in the Pond Inlet area, but this method doesn't work in Upernavik Greenland, is to watch the barometer for change by taking with three or more readings within thirty minutes.† The between those barometric readings in the Pond Inlet area, which are a product of the marine atmospheric conditions rather than the ice cap may be reflected by how rapidly within the 30 minutes the barometric pressure changes.
I can have very low barometric readings at Pond Inlet while it is one of those idyllic days with blue crystal clear sky.
The weather at Pond Inlet is very unusual for that far north, because of the surrounding major elements of topography in the area is surrounded by high mountains in combination with the ice caps all of, which disrupt the passage of storms through this area.† At Pond Inlet the weather is especially moderate with light winds averaging less than fifteen knots and temperatures warmer than the rest of Baffin Island despite its latitude of seventy two degrees North.† .
Special barometric behavior at Pond Inlet, record the measurements of the barometric pressure three or four times with in a period of thirty minutes and look for change within that period of time.† In this area barometric pressure changes not only with high and low-pressure systems coming through, if the atmospheric air is coming east from the Greenland Icecap or south from the Penny Icecap.† The day can be pristine with extremely low barometric pressure readings suggesting a hurricane is right out there, meanwhile it is just air from the icecap.
The barometer may just be indicating from, which direction the wind was blowing in areas such as Pond Inlet.† There either the wind was from the Greenland ice cap, the Penny ice fields to the south or from the continental climate to the north and west.
In Pond Inlet looking at Bylot Island to the north, the clouds aloft allowed me to make meaningful meteorological observations because they indicated the intensity of low-pressure or storm activity by showing wind intensity and direction.† When I see lenticular clouds with a great combination of clouds; those lenticular clouds are actually cumulus clouds being blown into that form by powerful winds aloft, which have a distinctly greyer more compacted appearance than the adjacent clouds accompanying a low-pressure system.† The most definite prognostication of long-term foul weather in the offing is the appearance of lenticular clouds.
The nimbus clouds are quite interesting, since this level of clouds is the lowest level of clouds.
Where the nimbus cloud bases form, which is 1,000 feet relates to topographic features quite conveniently allows me to extrapolate the relative height of formations in an area where there is nothing else to compare topography to.† This is how I can estimate that cliff is 3,000 feet high as compared to 1,000 feet.
In the Pond Inlet area the remarkable quality of the clarity of the atmosphere I found most amazing the sights of clouds of numerous types among the 6,000 foot mountains of Bylot Island.†
I was looking at Bylot Island from distances of a minimum of fifteen nautical miles, but yet in good weather was easily visible because of this extraordinary clarity of the Arctic air and slight magnification by the low angle of the sun.† With mountains over a mile high, Bylot Island is a very dramatic view and often times I could see snow falling on its peaks or a storm with all its levels and types of clouds on Bylot Island while my area was unaffected.
In Arctic Bay and Pond Inlet in fjord areas there can be some very powerful katabatic winds that are deceiving.† These katabatic winds do not blow horizontally and make waves on the water, instead they blow vertically in gusts of warm air, which blows the water flat.†
In the Barren-grounds along the Back River during the hot July days area the seasonal meteorological cycle of katabatic winds related to the temperature regime developed each sunny day starting at noon increasing in velocity until the declining angle of the sun in the late afternoon effectively lowered the air temperature, which gradually decreased the intensity of the winds at about three thirty in the afternoon.† By five in the afternoon these conditions subsided but this meant that our float plane would have to either retrieve us in the early to midmorning or evening hours. †These winds were blowing in excess of thirty knots from the west.† So on days like this if I want to run the Back River and get picked up by float plane at 1:00 in the afternoon I could have a problem but if I am running the river, which flows east I can just relax and steer.
Sailing Kites vs Sails**
(how to, choice, why, conditions
A stunt kite for kiteboarding is usable both up and down wind.† However to fly the kite upwind the kite has to be flown in a figure 8.† The kite has to be waterproof and the sticks in fiberglass have to be tough enough to survive crashes.† http://www.godset.dk/kiteski/first.htm
A control bar has to be attached to the cockpit and a paddle blade has to be attached on a sling to the side of the cockpit to act as a leeboard for reaching up wind.
Sailing functions in a wider range of conditions than a parafoil kite.† For the parafoil the design must match the wind speed and can only go down wind.
Sailing a kayak has the benefit as alternative means of propelling the kayak.† The Klepper drift sail on the unstayed mast can be deployed from the cockpit from the sail bag.† In a gust of wind the sail can just be luffed up.
The sail bag is mounted on the bow deck tied onto the same D rings used for mounting the shotgun in its drybag.
The hollow aluminum mast parts should be made buoyant by stuffing some non-absorbent foam into these open cylinders.†
This drift sail can be sailed down wind without leeboards.
Leeboards are necessary for reaching.
The mast has to be stayed when the jib is used.
I have modified my sail rig for expedition sailing so that I can reach up wind.† I have taken the Klepper Drift Sail and put reef points in it.† Next I have made a jib that is a copy of the S-1 jib reduced to 1/3rd the size on a retrievable pulley system described by Bill and Janice Lozano.† Then I have substituted whitewater paddle blades for the Klepper wood leeboards.† I have drilled new holes in the cross piece allowing me to set the leeboards closer to the mast and the center of effort and to give me more cockpit length.† With the leeboards just 8 inches aft of the mast I can head up on a closer angle to the wind much better.† Aft of the seat I have placed a crosspiece made of fiberglass pole vaulting material used for paddle shafts.† This ferrule is specially made by Northwest Designs to fit my Northwest designs paddle shafts.† The ferrule remains behind the seat beneath the cockpit spray cover, which has two reinforced access ports for the ferrule to project a short distance through.† Attached to the paddle blades that fit onto the male and female fittings on the ferrule are two nylon fabric Velcro strap bags on the bottom of, which the conical air filled sponsons attach.† The air filled sponsons are "Perception" split bow kayak flotation bags complete with grommets for security lines to be attached through.
The whole rig is designed for emergency use to be deployed from the cockpit while underway.† The sponsons are kept in side pockets next to the paddler in the cockpit.† The paddles are spare paddles kept on the deck.† I can sit on the stern deck in 10-knot winds.† I can sail in 15 knots of wind with the boat less heeled over.† In about 5 knots of wind I can to sit up on the stern deck and enjoy the view.
The hull of the Klepper has an unusually large margin of secondary stability because of the above waterline surface area created by the sponsons, which the boat can actually be heeled over onto this surface when sailing on a broadside reach.† Essentially I have two types of hull in the Long Haul and Klepper hull.
In the Arctic I have found that unfortunately there is one slight problem after sailing about thirty minutes because I would become chilled.† This is a problem when sailing in the Arctic with temperatures most frequently in the forty degree range even if it is a nice sunny day the air moving over the water picks up enough of a chill to make sailing rather cold.
When I know that I have to paddle against a wind fifteen knots or less there is an advantage of paddling a loaded boat.† Once the load is set in motion all I do is keep the momentum going.† I cover the same number of miles in the same period of time against the wind.† The inertia of a loaded boat provides an advantage against the wind.
Wind generated waves against the hull are very handy because they greatly reduce the surface friction of the hull.
I experimented and have found that the "Flite" wing paddle in Greenland at length 7.5 foot or230cm or seven and a half feet reduced paddling stress by using larger muscles in my back but the paddle lacked sufficient surface area propel my boat against 15 knots wind.† I noticed the wing paddle superior release than a regular paddle. Brasha http://www.fastkayak.com/wing.html
I relate my paddle length to the combination of my paddling style, which has changed over the years and my shoulder height.† The knuckles of my hand on the paddle shaft in the forward to mid stroke must not be above my shoulders.† The style I am using now is related to whitewater paddling.† I consciously bring the paddle blade as close to the gunwale of the kayak as possible rubbing the back of my wrist and fingers along the gunwale of the kayak as I paddle.† The more vertical the paddle blade the more direct power and reduction of yawing same as canoe paddling Doug Bushnell at West Side Boat Shop.
I found that I maintained the same cadence through out the trip and I did this by using different muscles as was needed.†
I was perfectly comfortable 10 to 12 hours a day with a 7.5 foot or 230 cm Werner Wenatchee whitewater paddle unfeathered.† With a short paddle feathering is not as necessary.†
To minimize physical stress during hours of paddling I have decided that feathering a paddle was a huge waste of energy and of no benefit.† I like the square tip symmetry of the blades because the blade exerts no potential twist on my wrist.
I think square blade tips is one of the many good qualities of the Greenland paddle.
My paddling stroke starts by pushing out straight out at shoulder height and by rotating through the stroke with my lower back through the stroke.† I bend my arms very little.† If I pull on my paddle my hand becomes numb.
In 1989 I used eight foot or 244 cm Northwest Designs Werner San Juan paddle with 60 degree, round shaft, rotation with left, right or no rotation.† www.wernerpaddles.com/wernerstory.html
In 1993 I used the Decente "Flite" wing paddle 6.5 square inch surface area, length 230cm. at this time I am considering using the Brasca Speed wing adjustable length from 210 to 230 and 60 to 90 degree adjustable as an alternative.†
In 2003 I use the Northwest Designs 7 foot or 213 cm Werner Wenatchee whitewater paddle has a stout, round shaft with large symmetrical, rectangular, spoon blade is a substantial paddle for handling paddling all day on open water and white water with a loaded kayak.† Unfortunately this particular paddle is no longer manufactured.†
Kayak Deck Set Up and Equipment**
Bow line of poly with an extra two 50 foot CKS polypropylene throwlines readily available to the paddler stowed in the cockpit.
Loops on the front deck for attaching Shot Gun and sail or kit rig accessible by the paddler from the cockpit of three Delrin or nylon "D" rings set 36 inches apart total mounted on the deckbar seam facing right so the paddler has right handed access to a 4 foot long bag that holds the sail rig or a shot gun.
External Paddle Mounts for spare take apart paddles accessible to the paddler on deck.
(double folding kayak facing forward or backward)
However there is another possibility for the double Klepper. Several years ago Marjorie Martin suggested that wouldn't it be fun if we could row in the Arctic.† The original Oarmaster was designed specifically for the Klepper Aerius II.† This system just set over the ribs and the outriggers were high enough to go over the sides.† The nine foot nine sculls had to be shipped in tact.†
I was not able to find anyone willing to make take-apart 9'9" sculls.† I still think this would be perfectly possible it is just the matter of finding a machinist willing and daring enough to make the take apart sculls.
This failure of this idea was just as well because rowing backward with regular sculls in an ice field is not practical to say the least.† I donít like the idea of having to worry all the time about smashing and tangling up in ice.
Rowing facing forward using the FrontRower in either the Long Haul Mark II or the Aerius II Klepper is possible.† http://www.frontrower.com/
FrontRow Rowing System sets into the open cockpit of the Klepper Aerius II.† The design of the FrontRower would have to be modified by having the crosspiece widened behind the seat, which holds the pulleys for the ropes that attach to the oar looms.† Or the system would have to be raised slightly to avoid these ropes rubbing on the cockpit lip.† A sea sock would have to be installed to reduce the amount of water that might come in during rough sea conditions.
The system may need to be redesigned slightly so that it can be dismantled into pieces no longer than 50 inches long for airplane luggage requirements.† The only other category would be skis to allow for greater length.
I am not sure if two people can fit into a kayak with a Front Rower in the cockpit.
For very turbulent conditions the stowing or just dropping the front pedestal of the FrontRow System out of the way of the paddler might be necessary for very turbulent water that requires paddling and a cockpit enclosed by spray skirts to keep the water out.† It probably will be easy enough to convert back to two paddlers.
For steering either the rower would handle that or the possible person in the front would handle the rudder.† In very demanding wind the rudder takes the stress off having to expend excessive strength steering the boat.† The rudder allows the paddler and rower to use their strength just to propel the boat.
For open water I feel very strongly that a rudder is well worth having when the wind blows.
The standard rudder for the Long Haul Mark 1 was designed as a hybrid between a barndoor and a sailing rudder and 2 inches longer than the Klepper barndoor rudder.† This rudder of anodized aluminum can easily be set at a depth just sufficient to maintain helm without compromising speed.
I wound up paddling in +25 knot wind I was able to turn around broadside to the wind and also head up wind.
The Klepper barndoor rudder of uncoated aluminum is designed for sailing.† Unfortunately this rudder when fully immersed slows the boat by a knot.† I paddle with this rudder lowered into the water just enough to maintain helm..
In the two man kayak the rudder cables can be extended so that the rudder can be operated by the bow paddler.
Psychology and paddling skills**
Projection of positive images is a very powerful very helpful tool for exploration paddling particularly if I am going exploring alone.
In this day and age a satellite phone is very handy.† I found that it is not a good idea if other people are not comfortable about what I am doing to avoid being in contact with them.† Reaching out to people helps relieve my own stress and fears because I am relieving their fears.† Some people become very annoying to me when they know that I am going on one of my solitary adventures.† They try in various ways to stop me.† When I am planning one of my trips I make sure that I avoid those people.† Some people just cannot understand that there are those of us who must explore, it is our passion.
Fear can be my worst enemy and although I know that I have this limitation, I have to be able to project an image of safety and trust that a power greater than myself shall shelter me.†
It is good to have multiple goals and to keep them in mind as only possible through a power greater than myself.
There are always those times during my travels when I realize that I am preoccupied with stress.† When people tell me about conditions I pay very close attention to how they express themselves.† I have my own source of confidence my boat and equipment, my skills and beyond all explanation my higher power.
I have seen the ultimate contrast by two entirely opposite reactions to storm conditions one couple turned their motor boat around came over to me and said conditions were dangerously bad.
I doggedly continued on, rounded the corner encountering cooling winds of 35 to 40 meters per second + 25 knots.† I thought I could make the few mile crossing.
While I was underway I came to realize that I was not even making any progress in fact I was actually losing ground.† I turned around and behind me another couple came barreling by with their boat coming completely out of the water yet they barreled on undeterred on their way to Upernavik.
They could have instantly lost their lives at any moment I think that they were denying their fear.
Another situation making the Upernavik Isfjord passage north of Aappilattoq island people not familiar with the area said take the longer south route.† Another fellow from Aappilattoq said Oh you can make it through there no problem.† He was right but I did have some scary moments when my higher power and his confidence made it possible for me to make this passage.
There is alone and confident and alone and scared but trusting in my higher power which allowsss me to handle those moments when a very threatening situation happens.† An iceberg rolls over sending a huge steep wave toward me.† A chunk of ice breaks free from the foot of an iceberg and bobs to the surface inches from my bow.
Mindless terror is very devastating resort to identify do not compare and use your resources.
To overcome this problem I specifically plan some unhurried time to do activities such as to just sit and watch butterflies and it is most exciting to be able to observe and make record anything special.† I focus myself on seeing what I have not seen before.† This is adventure, not the last but to be one of many.
(distance, size, explosions, waves, rolling, appearance, campsites)
Icebergs large chunks of ice that can change their shape and position at any time.† No kidding!
How big is big?† How about, icebergs are big enough to do you in.
Change their shape at any time, really this I have to see!† And in an instant the iceberg rolls over the bottom comes up it is another berg.
Change its position at any time, canít imagine that!† Hey were did all those icebergs come from?† There werenít any in the harbor a short while ago.
My observation of icebergs, no matter how astute, I knew would not be sufficient for understanding icebergs but knowing that they can always change is the safest assumption I can make.†
How I learned about iceberg paddling was by asking people who have been around them.
Knowing how icebergs can behave the physics involved is how I am safely able to paddle among icebergs in the fjords of Upernavik, Greenland.†
I have never seen an iceberg pirouette across a shallow bay but I have heard other people's accounts of this.† The larger the iceberg the more threatening it is.
An area famous for icebergs with arches in them Northeast Greenland King Oscarís Fjord Olaf Malver told us he once saw one of these icebergs fall apart.† It sent up huge waves that leaped up the shoreline so he advised us to get our kayaks up the bank a good 15 feet above the water edge.† He was right.
Other factors, which must be anticipated, are the effects of the winds, the tides, the currents, the coastal features and the bottom features.† One time I was watching this huge tabular iceberg in a crossing 3 miles wide.† There was no wind but I was not sure which way it was going on the currents.† I stopped and hunkered down to watch it for a while.† It seemed to be just sitting there.† I was deathly afraid of it because it was so gigantic.† It looked lavender pink and was shrouded in pale blue fog.† This ice berg was very scary to look at.† I gave up waiting and decided to just go for it.† I never could tell if it was moving toward or away from me all I knew that if I could get across before it bore down on me I would be okay.†
I had memories of fast moving icebergs and I knew that if I were in front of this iceberg I could not paddle faster than that iceberg could move.† What a relief to get across that passage.† Guess what that iceberg just sat there.† But I did not want to find out if it might be moving I just high tailed it to the safety of shallow waters.
When I was on the water I had to think about where the icebergs are likely become heavily concentrated.† I need to be considering the temporary and long term effects of the wind such that I had to avoid not paddling among them if a result of the wind might be pushing them into an area such as against an island, down into the headwaters of a bay, into a shallows or into a fjord where I might be planning on paddling or setting up camp.
The prevailing wind in the Arctic is from the east, when it prevails, however the strongest winds usually originate from the southwest at possible speeds of forty knots for possible periods of twelve hours, which is sufficiently long enough to rearrange the icebergs.
The effect from this wind is going to be that all the icebergs will be driven as far as they can go in the opposite direction.†
For me, this means that should a storm arrive while I am paddling or camping at the head of a bay downwind from a cluster of icebergs that I may find that those icebergs will be packing into the bay possibly trapping me there.† I was once in this situation and I decided the next day I had better camp elsewhere.
In mountainous areas the water depth can be anything.† The wind has the greatest influence on the movement of free-floating icebergs and pans of ice.† I have seen all sorts of icebergs drift into Kullorsuaq sitting there right off town.† The wind had brought them there.† And a few days later they drifted on the currents off to Davis Strait, thank you.
The tidal currents in the fjords have a marked effect on the density and configuration of icebergs.† The density of icebergs will affect the strength and character of the currents.† These tidal currents force the bergs, even through thick sea ice during the winter.† Some of them may ground out or become stranded in an eddy.
Strange current effects occur around icebergs in tidal exchanges such that large bergs create very strong back eddies, which can suck I in a fast moving circle right into them or into the foot that may be projecting underwater from them and then drag I along in the circular current of the eddy.
I found it absolutely hard to imagine but two icebergs crisscrossed right in front of my kayak.† I couldnít believe such a thing was possible.† I was paddling along and I thought to myself well I can beat it between those two little bergs.† The surface currents were moving so quickly I could not out paddle them.† I learned a new respect for currents off Greenland.
To see two small icebergs crisscrosses right in front of me really opened my eyes.† Donít play with icebergs.
When it comes to icebergs rolling over plan the distance to stay away from an iceberg to be about three or more times the height of the berg these bergs not only fall apart they roll over and they sometimes have surprisingly large hidden dimensions.† A rolling and rocking iceberg makes almost no noise.
On the outside of Upernavik Icefjord I saw the drastic effect tidal current.† The current rushed past a grounded berg generating a powerful whirlpool eddy behind the berg.† The eddy nearly sucked our little fishing boat traveling at four knots right into the ice berg.† I was shocked when I felting the powerful force of the current against the hull of the fishing boat.† I was glad that I did not happen to be out casually exploring the same water in my kayak.
Most of us are unaware of what is even more unpredictable is how a grounded iceberg in late summer can behave in shallow waters.† A grounded iceberg can explode from within because of its internal pressure being released by unequal heat and pressure.
A grounded berg can pirouette across a bay smashing to pieces as it.†
I have chosen campsites on peninsulas where I can watch the procession of bergs on the currents past my vantage point or find protected bays too shallow for the bergs to enter is a safe plan.
I have seen whole sections of bergs explode and crash down into the water, creating large steep sided surf waves.†
During July and August exploding disintegrating bergs thunder because the accumulated warmth of the summer season makes the bergs most explosive.† With a clap of thunder the berg will shed a section into the water, the loose pieces will quickly spread across the water in a large radius and the remaining berg will roll back and forth continuing to bob for several minutes in deep water until the new equilibrium and center of gravity becomes established.† The higher and the larger the berg the more forceful and threatening to any one on the water the berg will be.
When a large piece falls or explodes from a large berg the chunks of ice drop in the water forming very steep sided fast moving waves similar to king of waves generated by dropping a rock into water.
Be ready to brace into the oncoming wave just as if you are surfing in dumping waves or to head over that type of wave try to avoid taking one of those waves broadside.
Greenlanders tell me that shooting a firearm near an iceberg or the warmth of a few liters of blood dripping onto an iceberg from a wounded seal is enough to set an iceberg off.† That is a scary thought as to how unstable an iceberg really is.
My first experience with the hoard of annual pack ice was on my first day at Arctic Bay had started out in the morning with a few clouds but a definite 10 - 12 knots from the south wind.† My first moment to launch and escape town finally arrived by early afternoon.† All morning I rushed and struggled but by the time I was finally ready the south wind had pushed the ice into the bay.† There was now so much ice in the bay that with my loyal helpers I had work the kayak between ice pans, push pans apart to make room and as a last resort, I had to drag the fully loaded kayak over the ice in places.†† Finally I hit a half mile of ice free water but I couldn't stop for any moment because the wind was constantly feeding more and more pieces of ice into the bay filling the bay behind me as I made my way toward the mouth of the bay.
This annual sea ice in this area at the end of the point, which had now broken into pans 6 to 10 feet wide and 2 to 3 feet thick, had no salt in it and melts nicely for water since this area on the point does not have water nearby.† The pans of ice whirl around madly on the wind, tides and currents.† It is tricky to judge where the mass of ice pans is going on the fast moving changing tidal currents when I am thinking about putting ashore or paddling through the ice to make a crossing.
I stood on shore unable to go anywhere while ice easing out of Arctic Bay, which was filled completely up the day before, which was July 22nd, 1994, now 75† of the ice has gone out.
The next day, July 24th I had to quit paddling because I was tired and the ice was too thick further on.† The tide had reversed sending ice floes at me with a vengeance at 14:30. And as I discovered on the next day, July 25th. I awakened at 02:15 by the sound of ice crunching outside.† I looked out to see ice moving rapidly by.† The tide was still coming in and it peaked at 03:00.
My kayak was just at the edge of the high tide mark and the entire Adams Sound as far as I could see west was now clogged back up with ice.† I was very lucky the day before to have caught the opportunity to paddle this far east into Adams Sound when the ice had been pushed out of the way by the 10 knot west wind, which blew for 12 hours on two days.
And later in that same morning at 09:00 the ice is spreading out with developing open spots as it is moving out the outgoing tide.
There was nothing but ice in either direction, so I shall spend a quiet day icebound.
To share with I my experience a few days later on July 28th. 1994†
The passage around Holy Cross point had been open at 2000 on the previous evening to about 0800 this morning.† By 10:00 the tide had switched and started to bring with it from the west the ice closing the passage.
The area around Holy Cross Point westward to the end of Adams Sound was now packing in with the pan ice.†
I thought about walking on the ice pans and dragging my kayak behind me but these ice floes were impossibly slippery.†
Now the wind was blowing a definite 15 -20 knots from the east.† I thought that my most likely passage was as close as possible along the rocks leading around the point.† Here ice was broken into smaller chunks.
At risk to puncturing my hull, I thought I could get away with forcing my way through the ice along the wall. With the wind pushing me I went as far as I could go, which was very close to the end of Holy Cross Point.
I turned around in the cockpit to find that the wind had had filled my passage in with pans of ice leaving me trapped.† This was wind against ice.
I had cooked up this great whitewater idea the effect of reduction of friction along the edges of the water would be enough to affect the compaction of the ice pans.† I forgot that ice is solid and too heavy to be affected friction mechanics.† Oops not realistic thinking to say the least!
I knew that when the incoming tide reversed that the combination of the wind from the East and tide reversing and going east together would force the ice out, but when and would all of this ice go was the question. My kayak sat unharmed in an eddy without much ice packed against it and the ice cleared out a relatively short time later.
Paddling among pack ice I found it to be a moving maze of ice 1 to 2 feet thick above the surface.
Pack ice can forming precarious stacks on shore where the shore has a shallow peninsula to catch the ice.† Avoid camping near this type of area.† Camp in an area where the eddies are deeper.
Ice moves much faster on the wind than just the current.
Multi year ice is entirely different than annual ice because its greater thickness allows its upper surface to have a dry granular texture, which can be walked on.† It is often six or more feet high being thick and stable enough to even camp on.
When camping on it sleep very lightly because it drifts with the current and you could wind up stuck in the middle of an endless ice pack.
Remember that polar bears, walrus and seals commonly like to ride and sleep on these pieces of ice.
Be very sure that what I think is a piece of multi year ice truly is one because a piece of glacial ice can look similar and these are notoriously dangerous.† The major characteristic of multi year ice is that it is entirely horizontal there are no changes in the center of gravity these pieces are formed with the same horizontal orientation and maintain that horizontality throughout their existence.
(design, deployment and stress)
Although the waves are much smaller on cold water for the same amount of wind as compared to warm water because cold water is denser and reacts more slowly to wind.
I might be thinking about the question of suppose I find myself committed for miles unable to make shore in very violent conditions, what can I do?† What I can do is have an auxiliary outrigger floatation system, which can be deployed from within the cockpit.† The critical criteria for I or me as a solitary paddlers, is that this device must be designed to be stowed where I can easily retrieve it.† That means that I must plan my cockpit stowage accordingly and if I are using a folding wood framed kayak there are convenient surfaces to lash gear to. For my cockpit I can buy or make some velcro closing cockpit bags and bungee cord hoops to stow my special gear.† This is the gear that I feel I may need while I am on the water.
Other boat designers such as Georgian Bay have created a floatation system, which is two air filled sponsons strapped around beneath the cockpit.† The straps may drastically slow my forward speed if they happen to have any twists in them where they run beneath the boat and they will have the same effect as running regular line around and under my boat.
Pool noodles are a better solution.
Recently I have found that two or three foam ďpool noodlesĒ carried just inside my cockpit are the best rollers.† I thread rope down the hole in the center and knot each end off with a loop tied with a Bolin.† The Bolin is a nice knot for this application because it provides enough bulk to prevent the line from sliding back down inside the tube opening and can also be easily retied as need be.
I have saved myself more hard work and wear and tare on my kayak hull by rolling my boat up rocks and over beaches with these pool noodles.
Once I have my kayak situated on the rocks for the evening I put the pool noodles around the hull and tie them into U shapes to protect the hull from wearing on the rocks if the wind blows while I am in camp.† I had a situation in Greenland when I could not quite get my kayak above the high tide for the evening and I was exhausted.† I used the pool noodles to protect the hull from wave action during the night and it worked out much better than nothing, which was the other option.
These pool noodles with rope loops sticking out each end can be adapted to function as emergency outriggers or external floatation should the need arise.
However the most difficult moment for anyone, which I am probably familiar with, is will I be able to use it when I need it?† Or will fear with the ensuing helplessness control your ability to think, such that, I will not remember that I do have this safety device stowed in the cockpit readily available and how to use it.† This is the chance, one of the many chances, that you are going to be faced with as a solitary paddler.
(winter paddling clothes, drysuit design & color, rain, wind clothing wind levels)
From my first paddling experience in the Arctic, which was at Pond Inlet, I have found that I should just bring my routine winter paddling clothing that I wear for my winter evening padding at home.† That was easy to relate to and I dressed the same way in all my subsequent trips to the Arctic.
I can expect the air temperature to range from 25 to 80 degrees F.† The water in this area stays within five degrees above and below freezing throughout the year.† Much of the time temperatures will require fairly warm clothing because there are overcast days, which are quite cold because there is with no radiant heat from the sun, especially if I am in an icefjord surrounded by icebergs.
Also later in the season when the sun dips below the horizon frost occurs.
But once in a while, sultry conditions develop, where there is a lack of wind and intense sunshine which can make I uncomfortably warm.
When I buy my drysuit try to choose a drysuit that has a diagonal front zipper and a light color, which at this time is very difficult to find other than the Kokotat Goretex / Teflon coated fabric bright yellow and blue suit.† Rukka in Finland made a white and light grey suit several years ago.† An orange specially gusseted and reinforced dry suit is available manufactured by Ocean Systems sold by CMC Rescue via Better Products through Daniel Meloche at Better Products at email@example.com 1-800-423-0686. http://www.rescuealive.com/services.html
Light colors are more comfortable to wear in the sultry conditions of bright sun in dead calm conditions.
With the diagonal zipper while I am on the water I check to see that the zipper is fully closed and can open the zipper for ventilation.† If it is hot enough I can easily shed the upper half of my dry suit without having to make a landing when I can see that there is really no need to wear my drysuit in such benign conditions.† I will also be glad that my suit has a diagonal zipper across the chest because not only is it convenient to be able to open the zipper when I are too hot but also when conditions change I can easily put my drysuit top back on and rezip the zipper.† All of this assumes that I am paddling a kayak stable enough for these maneuvers.† A drysuit full of water really is a very deadly situation.
The temperature of water in Arctic regions is 34 degrees F.
The wind that I have encountered in Barrow Alaska was blowing at 50 knots and I cannot promise I that this is the maximum wind speed.† When a strong low-pressure system arrives that has a good wind of 40 knots I may find as I did that staying upright even while I am walking on land can be challenging.† There is always the unknown with the wind such as a hurricane wandering up the west coast of Greenland from the Atlantic.† A hurricane arrived in Uummanaq, just a few years ago coming across Davis Strait in from the open water, and it did just what hurricanes traditionally do.
I do gauge my travel on information such as a little paragraph in the Pilot Guide to Sailing Directions, which stated that there were violent katabatic winds from eastward and southeastward frequently in the Umanak area.† I immediately decided my solo paddling elsewhere and the next place with available flight service was Upernavik.
And when I visited Arctic Bay I directly experienced some strong wind.† My experience started while I was in town of Arctic Bay, which is well known for its unusually powerful winds.
As I was on foot doing some errands I did notice some good wind gusts but they did not seem strong enough to be threatening.† I jumped in my kayak and paddled with broadside wind.† I quartered the wind past town then I noticed that the farther along I went the worse the wind became.† My paddle was being rotated from the stern by the wind.† The waves were trying to develop but then the gusts started to get some teeth.† I maintained a quartering angle thanks to the healthy rudder on my Klepper, which luckily I have not broken or bent in the ice and launching, especially backing against ice pans pushing against me with wind.† Farther along approaching the cemetery I gave up paddling and the wind blew me along at first going, then speeding, then rocketing along.† I slowed things to maintain stability, direction and control.† I leaned toward the wind and onto the paddle, which I angled at 35 degrees to the water while the wind pushed on the perpendicular face of the paddle on the opposite side.† I knew that if I made any error I would be in big trouble immediately.† The wind hit some absurd speed so that the tops just spewed off of the waves horizontally as if someone was hitting them with a bat.† Maybe the wind was 35 knots but I have no idea but the wind was brutal.† I knew that if I rounded the point and the little bay that I was shooting for was filled with I would be in some big trouble, because rounding the point with no refuge meant that I would have to make a quick, desperate, instant choice of some type before I was committed to being just simply blown across Adams Sound.
All went well, the little bay that was out of my line of sight was open.† I pulled the boat well up on the bank and very securely set up my tent.
I even noticed a Raven hunkering down behind some old house walls hiding from the blasts of wind, which may have gone to 40 knots.† I can't estimate in that range.† Glad I was experienced and in a well loaded Klepper.† I can't appreciate a big rudder on my kayak until I have experienced involuntary hydroplaning being pushed by +35 knots of wind.
When it rains in the Arctic I may also find that there is sufficient wind to force the rain through anything other than the most waterproof garments.† In other words, stepping out of my tent in the rain to check my gear can be like getting firehosed (sure does wake me up fast though), even if the rain is just a fine spray.
Dressing for when I am in camp in the Arctic there is always a guaranteed wind, so plan to have my outermost layer top and bottom be windproof.† Just wearing windproof, thin, densely woven nylon over-pants and a hooded jacket is excellent.
My initial choice of tent was the Gerry Mountain Tent, which is an above timberline, double entrance, semi free-standing design tent weighing about eight pounds and, most important, it has two entrances.† The Inuit much prefer to camp with a tent, which has no floor because "when the Polar Bear comes in, it is nice to go out."
The Gerry tent is too heavy.
A free-standing tent requires flat ground and is very difficult to erect in windy conditions.† A free-standing tent is a gigantic kite in the wind something very challenging for one person to erect in raging 40 meter per second wind.
I have erected my Mega-Mid in high winds numerous times on what ever ground there was and proceeded to cook inside it when I could just barely stand up outside to go and get water in the wind.
A pyramid shaped, floorless center pole tent, the Chouinard or Black Diamond Mega-Mid tent is.†
On one trip the wind destroyed the coil tent zipper I was very glad I had that repair kit with me.† I replaced that zipper with a tooth zipper because a tooth zipper is much stronger.
These were the conditions were when I was in Barrow with 30 knots of wind blowing.† I had to plan every move for erecting my tent without accidentally having the tent become ripped or damaged, or to have anything blow away in this bullying wind.†
Snow pockets ought to be sewn on or attached to the bottom of this tent for snow and areas as Barrow where there are no rocks.
I sewed a 1.9 oz orange rip stop liner for frost conditions my exhaled breath passes through the ripstop and condenses on the urethane-coated wall of the tent.† When this frost breaks loose it slides down the ripstop liner away from my sleeping bag.
In 2003 my tent disintegrated from old age leaving me with only this ripstop liner.† I fashioned a tent with this liner and space blankets.† Always carry several space blankets they donít weigh enough to matter.† Luckily it did not rain on this trip!†
I should also have a bivouac with in case of a disaster to my tent.† A non-rigid Goretex / Teflon coated fabric bivouac with mosquito netting for the face.† I can sit up and cook while I am in this bivybag.† http://www.rei.com/
For stargazing I have slept in this Goretex / Teflon coated fabric bivy bag on below freezing evenings next morning my bivy was covered with frost but my sleeping bag was dry as a bone.
For camping on ice floes I will need some ice screws and crampons for my shoes to walk on the ice.
Washing and drying**
(pots, hair and clothes
For washing my cooking pots and my hair I do not use soap instead I rub my greasy pots with a combination of water and sphagnum and plants from bog areas until the greasy residues come off.†
For washing my hands and hair by rubbing my scalp very thoroughly bog plants, such as sphagnum moss and or other mosses.
When I used to have long hair, before I leave for the Arctic I can carefully thin out with "blenders" .† My hair still has the same length and looked the same even though the volume had been removed.
I canít be bothered with long hair anymore.
I dry with Non-woven viscose Rayon fiber called a Pak Towel will absorb much more water than cotton and could be wrung out more completely and dried much more easily than cotton.† These are available now for very reasonable prices in discount and auto stores for car detailing and general cleaning for a dollar.† This material lasts for years and years.† Donít be afraid to wring it out and to use it for all sorts of cleaning and scrubbing.
I use this towel to dry fabric out.† I wash my clothes out and extract the water from the fabric by wringing the cloth in this Pak Towel material.
For bathing in some places I found some warm water in a Sphagnum bog with its black peat and shallow ponds in the summer.
I wash my clothes as need be by just rinsing them repeatedly in available water but drying them in a short time is by wringing them in a Pak Towel then ringing the Pak Towel and re ringing them repeatedly until I have extracted as much water as possible.† Then I put the clothes inside my sleeping bag on top of me over night.† The heat of my body evaporated the residual moisture out through my sleeping bag and Goretex / Teflon coated fabric bivy.
This has worked only for my underwear I have never had to wash my wool sweater.† That would be a project to dry.
I wear next to my skin two layers of light weight poly ethylene underwear a pair of light weight Goretex / Teflon coated fabric rain pants, a 80 to 100% wool crew sweater, a Goretex / Teflon coated fabric over jacket, a scarf lined with wool, polyethylene sock liners and wool socks. www.sierratradingpost.com/
I control my body warmth by Goretex / Teflon coated fabric baseball hat, hood and windproof scarf I put on and off according to need.
I sew tie down strings to my hat so that the hat cannot blow off my head.
The visor on the baseball cap is dark colored so that I can see better on the water.
I wear a Kokotat Goretex drysuit with a diagonal front entry zipper and a front relief zipper.† When I need to urinate while underway I open the relief zipper and relieve myself into a Pak-towel.
In heavy mosquito situations a bug hat or netting is the best.† I have seen the air turn black with mosquitoes in the Barren-ground.† The only refuge was mosquito netting and cover all skin especially around your wrists.
Another benefit of a mosquito net on your head is it reduces sun exposure.
Mosquito repellant made by All Terrain works well and it is offered with sunscreen.
In the Barren-grounds and those warm inner fjords of Upernavik mosquitoes come out in force when it becomes warm in July.†
They are attracted by body warmth and carbon dioxide and they can be to a certain extent controlled by cooling an exposed area of skin such as by dunking my hands in cold water when I was paddling.† It is fun to see them sitting stupefied by the concentrated carbon dioxide in the tent peak, they just sit there.
Packing the Kayak**
(dry bags, PVC, urethane nylon, grommets, caboose seat, center of gravity)
On my first trip ignoring the sage advice of my friends I used large bulky bags, which were most difficult to jam into the tapering hull of the kayak.† With horror and embarrassment I had to watch as others could pack their kayaks in just moments, because they used long narrow nylon urethane coated bags.† Packing my kayak was an awful ordeal every morning.† The large PVC coated bag, which I had allocated for my sleeping bag had the insidious habit of drawing air in through the seal thus re-expanding it to an unloadable size if I delayed in loading it immediately after filling and expelling excess air from it.† The worst problem with PVC was that it always binds on any other surface as well as becoming too stiff to form a dry seal in 40 degree F temperature range.
"Bone Dry" bags were but are no longer made by Adventures and Delights, 414 K Street, Anchorage, AK 99501 phone (907) 276-8282 are the best in expedition grade 400 denier urethane coated nylon with not only welded seams but, for longer life expectancy, having cloth binding sewn over the edges of the seams to protect them from unraveling.† This combination of both heavy nylon cloth and urethane coating is especially tough, and I inadvertently tested this when I was forced to camp in a sandstorm area.† I have used them for several years not just for my camping gear, but even more touchy for my camera gear.
The waterproof seal is a very reliable roll over type with a Delrin / Fastex clip, which can be undone quickly with only one hand.† The corners have brass grommets for securing in the boat or used for a variety of purposes, or more importantly when the wind is really vicious they can be tied to each other in various configurations.† These bags are good because these bags are not only very well designed but they do last a long time.
For my trip in Arctic Bay the initial ordeal of loading my kayak was not so demanding because this time I had gone to the trouble of labeling every bag externally.† What a difference, and in addition I labeled and numbered those bags which were replicates so that I would know which bag I am using.
I devised labels out of Tyvek material and a convenient source of Tyvek is from rip proof mail envelopes.† I write the labels in black using a laundry marker or even any waterproof marker in wide easy to read letters.† I design the label like luggage labels with a wide end for the label and a narrow section with a hole cut in it to thread it through the Delrin bag clip.
Two transparent bags are very important one for the medical bag and the other for equally critical equipment, but I do not use these bags any longer.
The design of the Long Haul Mark I and II is a solid seat adjustable for seat angle and padded with an air filled pad on the bottom and a solid foam pad on the backrest.† I found myself paddling for 10 to 12 hours a day in such complete comfort that I only quit padding because I was falling asleep.
When I paddled a Klepper I used the "Caboose Bag" by Voyageurs bag with the slide top closure. I use no zippered closures on dry bags.
I packed the bag carefully and not completely full to avoid creating any bumps and I put some air into it taking care in a Klepper with its high cockpit combing adjust my seat for comfort and height.
To make my seat comfortable I padded my seat with a folded over "Thermarest" pad filled with just enough air for softness.† Each time I move or the boat moves beneath this air filled pad massages my weight bearing points.
Dry bags of heavy gauge - 400 denier urethane coated nylon, expedition weight dry bags, are the best that I know of.† Nylon is preferable to PVC because it slides easily, therefore it stows within the kayak most easily.† I am not at present able to find a manufacturer who offers 400 denier bags.† Seattle bag and NRS offer 200 denier which is much less durable.
Availability and Purity of Water**
In my travels at 72 degrees north and on the Barren-Grounds on the Baillie and Back Rivers I have not encountered any area, which harbored Giardia.† This is because those animals that have this organism do not live in these regions.
Water is some areas such as Upernavik Greenland is readily available however in Barrow Alaska obtaining water was challenging.
Even though the annual rainfall is only fifteen inches of about half a meter, the ground is frozen just a short distance beneath the surface and the evaporation rate is very low.† I practice the old sport of hoping but I noticed that the higher I went the wetter it seemed to become; so much so that waterfalls will originate from the 2,000 foot apex of many escarpments, even on a narrow peninsula.
Aquifers are closer to the surface as the elevation increases.† The Long Trail in Vermont is a perfect example of water on the top and dry valleys.† In Greenland I saw many waterfalls coming out of the tops of cliff faces.
Animals and interactions*****
I bring my plant bird and lichen guides for identifying in the field and for viewing small things I bring a field microscope to keep myself occupied during all the storm time.† For lichens it is good to have magnifying glass.
I had a delightful moment while I was waiting for my espresso to erupt in its usual fashion in the pot, I glanced up to gaze at the opposite side of the ravine when suddenly I saw an Arctic fox standing there only about seventy five feet away.† I was shocked to see this little creature sniffing the wind trying to figure out what I was doing.† Then he paced over to my left but a little closer and sat down.† I had to watch the stove and coffee pot, but that did not disturb my very curious fox visitor.† Then after sitting a few moments the fox yawned, as if bored in general, and then proceeded to scratch an itch behind his ear.† Some shedding hair came out of his tan and brown coat as he scratched; and then just to be thorough, he shifted to the other side to scratch that side.† He paused in his toiletries to watch me some more.† He got up again and resituated himself, this time to my right and a little closer and once again resumed his toiletries of scratching and some more yawning.
I shut off my noisy stove and dared to pour myself some coffee, which didn't disturb my guest in the least.† He could stand his curiosity no longer and walked directly to within six feet of me, when in fear that he might be rabid I shooed him away.† He turned and ran off continuing his endless tour of the tundra.† I thought he might return of that I could relocate him later, but after much walking and looking I found that he was gone.† All of this took place and I did not dare to get up and go get my camera.† Now in retrospect had I known that a fox might have as tame as this one was.
There I was sitting alone on the rocks along the sandy beach when suddenly I found that I was being visited by a curious Arctic fox.† I was so completely surprised that I did not even think to try to take some pictures of him.† He danced and pranced on his toes around my Kayak, inspecting everything.
I had not in my wildest imagination thought that an Arctic fox can be this precocious.† I had read of this trait in Arctic foxes, but I did not think that it would be likely I would encounter such a fox.† The only other wild animals I can think of, which are similar in personality to the fox are ravens and seals, which enjoy heckling people especially campers and kayakers.
I may find in the Barren-grounds and along the northeast coast of Greenland in King Oscar's Fjord Muskox I can watch them without disturbing them even though they are weary animals.† If I move as little as possible so as not to alarm them and they are grazing headed in your direction they will continue to move quite close to you.† During rutting season, which is August don't try approaching them and be careful of my hiking terrain these creatures blend right in and disappear in rocky terrain.† They do charge people during rutting season and with those very sharp horns and great agility.† Climbing a tree is not feasible since I am already walking on top of them.
Arctic Wolf looking for prey will confront the Muskox by dashing in a threatening manner upon the Muskox.† The Muskox Ovibos moschatus will immediately confront a wolf with a quick turn about, a lowered head and a pair of very sharp horns.† The wolf will quickly turn its attention to the caribou for easier pickings dashing after a calf just a few days old or a lame caribou.
The vanguard of the Barren-ground caribou of the Beverly herd are in groups of eight to ten that increase into the hundreds light grey colored, frequently moving, walking along the top of a ridge creating an unmistakable silhouette.† It is hard to spot them, like Muskox, unless I come upon them when they are on the top of a ridge.† When they are engrossed in migrating they may come though the middle of the campsite but they will not likely to do any damage such as step into a boat.
In this same area when out hiking in July among the grasses, abundant willows and rhododendron it was easy to find the nests of Lapland longspurs and other small birds.† Lapland longspurs and horned larks are common on the land.† Male Ptarmagan are frequently among the sedges starting up a chorus of curious calls and antics before this ptarmagan decided to flee to safety.
The male, which may have been acting as a decoy will still retain in late June to early July most of it's winter white feathers.† The nesting female has completely molted to the brown and black coloration, which makes it impossible to see the female until I nearly step on the bird.† At the very last possible moment the female will fly out from almost just beneath my foot to safety, which is quite startling when hiking.
The Barren-grounds host a healthy population of Arctic wolves and it is no surprise to see one trotting along probably hunting for small game.† The wolf looks like a large German Shepherd well furred especially on the legs but with the typical shorter round face of a Wolf and white is the most common color although there are a few black ones as well.† Although the large paw prints from a wolf, which has passed by along a river's edge in the early hours of the morning daily looking for prey are often seen, wolves are shy creatures and they avoid encounters with humans.† They are also returning to northeast Greenland, which will improve the balance of nature in that area.
In the deep rivers such as the Baillie, I did catch Arctic Greyling and Lake Trout they are excellent eating and will take lures that are red and white spoons.† The Arctic Greyling is easy to catch just after a good rain in an eddy where lots of insects are being brought in on the surface you might find these fish busy eating.† They will generate swirls and show their heads as they feed on the surface and then show their dorsal fins and their tails when they dive.† They feed not only on terrestrial and aquatic insects but on other small fish.† The lake trout can be caught near the bottom and in moving water.† A couple friends happened to catch a large lake trout as large as 36" are caught when trolling from their canoe as they were running the river.
In this same area the small shore birds, Baird's sandpipers, Ruddy turnstones, and Lapland longspurs will busy themselves foraging on the insects, which had become trapped on the water and were now coming to shore along the edge of the river after a storm.† They were so preoccupied with eating that they will never notice how close I happen to be to them.† I will be able to capture on video their antics as they search up and down the shore gobbling Nymphs and Stone Flies.† To feed all these fish and birds among the willows, along ponds and other special places there will be hatches of small moths, midges, crane flies and other insects in great profusion after the long winter.
Birds of prey, snowy owls, hawks, falcons, and both bald and golden eagles are easily spotted along large rivers looking for small prey such as the Ground squirrel.† Sometimes I can see them overhead and other times they will be on the bluffs along the river.† The eagles with their impressive size and broad shoulders are spectacular to see.† Pomerine jaegers flying up the river scouting for food is be a regular event making their forays in the morning and the evening.† However most of the time these weary birds are difficult to photograph and video tape at close range.
Ground Squirrel are plentiful where they can make their burrows in sandy soil and often when I find dug up areas among these burrows the brown bears have been there digging them up.
On the open water and in the bays, while I am quietly paddling along my solitude maybe broken by a seemingly inexplicable splash from behind you.† This is very likely the splash of a curious seal, which might happen a few more times until the seal decides that I am not quite exciting enough to continue following.† Turn around and look I will probably see the head of this curious little creature poking up to get a better look at you.† Then in just a moment this little fellow is embarrassed at I discovering him and he will dive.† This is one of those little pleasures I can experience when paddling alone.
One spring day in my local area I had one following me and I realized it was a seal not a lobster buoy when I saw that it had two black eyes and that it swiveled in the water.† Lobster buoys do not swivel they just hang in the current.
In the Pond Inlet area there is now a very large population of harbor seals and other marine mammals during the summer because there is a great abundance of food.† Because of the discontinuance of hunting Harbor Seal pups for fur the population is unusually large.† When I are paddling I may encounter large pods of Harbor Seals, which were cavorting having a great time showing off to one another stirring up the water as they jump up and slid over the backs of each other.† Their antics are most amusing.
On an expedition what do I need in my medical kit?† Basically I need everything to treat what I usually suffer from and some extras that might bother me.† I also need to have a clear knowledge of what the side effects of my drugs can be.† The most common situations people find are drugs, which enhance solar sensitivity usually an antibiotic will do that, stomach irritants usually pain relievers will cause this, or drugs, which will cause digestion problems.† The side effects of these compounds I need to know about such as sensitivity to the sun.† I need to know what to expect and symptoms such as sensitivity to the sun I have to take into consideration when I take these compounds.
Among the standard items should most likely be nausea reducing agents, diarrhea controlling agents, antibiotic for upper respiratory infections, perhaps some zinc oxide ointment for skin irritation problems, cold remedies to control nasal congestion and coughing, pain relievers for† the common pain problems of an anti inflammatory type such as aspirin, some strong pain relievers for very serious situations such as broken bones and tooth aches, and for tooth problems such as the possible broken tooth a simple dental repair kit to close off broken tooth surfaces and some oil of cloves.
Always bring medication for a cold and in Greenland you can buy Kodimagnll ikke stoppende tablets a form of Codine with essentially a type of aspirin to treat cold symptoms with particularly a cough.
Just remember when I get off an airplane the I may have picked up an airborne infection while I was flying or I might pick up the local version of influenza in the town you happen to have arrived at.† I experienced a very virulent form of the local influenza, some type of a cold, when I was at Upernavik.† The sanitation in some towns can be extremely poor so that the whole town will be infected with an influenza when I happen to arrive - so guess who gets sick, I do and if you haven't brought the proper medications with you, I have a very serious disabling problem on your hands.
For blisters on my hands I have resorted to using my boat repair tape.† However to avoid blisters from paddling the best type of gloves to lessen hand abrasion I have found are knitted wool gloves with rubberized dots for gripping the paddle.† They do wear out on the inside of the thumb a little too quickly unfortunately.
I don't paddle with seamed gloves because I usually find that those seams will begin to hurt the pressure points on my hands.† Wool seems to keep its bulky resiliency better than leather.† I experimented with leather and found that I had to dunk the leather gloves into water to restore its bulk every few hours.† The leather did not work out all that well.
I tried bicycling gloves, which worked somewhat but the leather dye stained my hands and these were not nearly as comfortable as the wool gloves.† The worst thing to paddle with is a paddle shaft that is rough and for this reason I prefer round to ovaled fiberglass shafts.
I tried in one experiment to keep my fingers warm by wearing plain wool gloves and leather three finger gloves but this combination is not as good as simple insulated Pogies when I was paddling in Arctic Bay in near freezing windy snowy conditions.† I sustained a slight case of frost bite.
For the rain when camping a waterproof urethane coated ripstop nylon hooded cape is okey but a Goretex / Teflon coated fabric hooded jacket and pants as rainwear kept me drier and warmer in the windy conditions.
Cleanliness there is no need to bother with bringing soap to the Arctic.† The acidic plants particularly sphagnum and other mosses in the bogs function as cleaning agents for the pots and pans, the body and especially the hair.† I will find that I can wash myself and my dishes with acidic bog mosses and plants they replace soap quite well.† It is surprising how well bog plants cut grease on cooking pots.† For washing my hair I use globs of acidic bog plants and mosses and dry with non woven viscose rayon towel called "Pak Towel" http://www.escape-co.com/cooking_accessories.htm#camp%20towel
do not wash my clothes unless I completely sure that I can dry them.† Wet clothing is a killer and I cannot mix them in with my dry clothes.
Stove and Fuel, Cooking and Food Preparation Pots**
The quietest easiest to ignite, most reliable stove I find is the Esbit cube stove.† This cube fuel stove eliminated the problems with carrying flammable liquids on airplanes.† In 2005 I will use an Esbit cube fuel stove with a heat shield to maximize the heat output www.securityworld.com/recreation/91307.html
Before I leave for my destination I find out what fuel will be available for my cook stove.† At Pond Inlet, Yellowknife, and Arctic Bay I can get Coleman fuel at the Co-op or the Bay Store for gasoline stoves.† In Canada and Alaska I have used the Svea 123, which is a simple reliable gasoline stove.†
I used multi-fuel stove for Greenland because in 1992 I wasn't sure of what fuel might be available.† The multifuel stove functioned very poorly.
For a gasoline stove I have never had I had a problem with the simple Svea 123 that I couldn't resolve.† However as with all pressurized stoves they are noisy.† The Tranga an unpressurized alcohol and the Esbit stove solid fuel stove are silent.
With my Svea 123 there is an after market pump system sold by A & H Enterprises http://www.sonic.net/~chard/Stoves.html is designed to pressurize Svea 123 for ignition.† The problem is that stove cap fails to seal properly as the stove heats up during normal operation.† As the stove builds up head pressure the cap begins to leak gasoline.† The gasoline leaking form the cap ignites and the stove burns itself up.† So forget that idea after I just about incinerated myself.
I had to pitch the stove in one last flaming moment off on the tundra and duck in fear that the stove would blow itself up.† I was very lucky because I† happened to have brought the original cap along and could continue to use the stove.
For preheating the Svea 123 supposedly you can pour some gasoline in the well at the base of the stem on the top of the stove and light it off but this method I doubt works because the stove itself is not actually heated.† The stove must be warm to operate.† My method is to heat the stove with a candle in a candle lantern with the top open.† I hold the lit candle in the open top candle lantern beneath the stove.† As the stove warms I open the valve just long enough to see if gasoline will come out of the burner.† As soon as there is sufficient pressure for the gasoline to climb the burner tube, I turn off the valve and I set aside the candle lantern.† Then I ignite the gasoline.† If the stove is hot enough the stove will run consistently.† This is the quickest and most reliable method is to preheat a Svea 123.
I have also had the unfortunate experience of seeing how difficult it is to try and make a much abused Optimus kerosene stove do anything when it is unable to hold pressure.
The MSR mountain multi-fuel stove so far for me has been just annoying.† Although it does run better on gasoline but this model seems to clog up every time I use it.† I accidentally found that priming by filling the fuel tube with alcohol seemed to eliminate some of the constant clogging.
I have found that my MSR mountain stove was very poor and it is limited to hydrocarbons.† The MSR mountain stove will not burn alcohol, I know I tried to make coffee with it, just impossible.†
The mini-Trangia alcohol stove I will not take to the Arctic.† Alcohol does not produce as much heat as the hydrocarbon based fuel and cold alcohol has to be preheated to ignite. The Trangia alcohol stove is very sensitive to wind and the very difficult to see burning alcohol makes absolutely no noise.† If the burning stove is tipped over the burning liquid would ignit everything it touches.
I found that neither the MSR mountain stove nor the Trangia stove were satisfactory. http://www.greenland.com/forum/travelingforum/115.html
I use a two-cup "Nissan" stainless steel vacuum bottle regular size opening plastic cup as the cap keeps food warm 10 hours.† I have had this bottle since 1988 and it still seals and holds temperature perfectly although the exterior has been bashed in here and there.
While I am on the water I feel better if I have hot food meal available.† There are occasions when I found I do need to refuel and re-warm myself. †Even I do not eat that food in the vacuum bottle on the water when I make camp I will have hot food immediately available.
Pots are limited six inch diameter for boiling water.† I use a one quart lidded aluminum coffee pot or a 2 cup stainless cup with handles.
I used to like espresso so much that I indulged myself by taking a three tasse or six ounce espresso pot.† However I have since found that the addiction to caffeine was a problem that affected my ability to function.† I ridded myself of the addiction by cutting down at the last phase to drinking a half a cup a day for two weeks.† The symptom of caffeine addiction is a headache for days, which no pain reliever will touch.
I carried the espresso pot in a one-quart square polyethylene container so that the spout of the pot doesn't poke holes in things and I also use this container to rehydrate food in.† Then I carry three round two-cup polyethylene lidded containers for rehydrating food, a Chinese soupspoon, short handled fork & knife for opening plastic food packages.
To save fuel and to have some hot food immediately available I always prepare my lunch when I am cooking breakfast and I store it in my vacuum bottle.† I always set off in my kayak with a hot meal in my vacuum bottle.†
Food preparation methodology using a home oven: prepare a cooked complex meal without potato rice or macaroni, a roast meat dish or a stew.† These items potatoes, rice or macaroni will dry into impossible to rehydrate rocks.† Add these to food mixtures after instant foods.
After the food is cooked cut the individual items into 1/4 inch or smaller pieces.† Put the food with the juices such as the gravy or broth onto four sided cookie sheets, preferably Teflon coated but aluminum will do, spread the food out evenly.† Put the cookie trays into the oven with the temperature set on Warm or the lowest setting and wedge open the oven door to about half an inches wide at the top.† This narrow opening is just wide enough to allow the moisture to escape without loosing too much heat.† The minimum desirable temperature is 150 degrees F., which is the temperature of pasteurization.
This procedure will take about one or two days.† Stir with a wooden spoon the trays occasionally to speed drying and more evenly expose the food to drying.† Dryness is determined when the pieces of food are rock hard, which I test by chewing.† Any softness I will notice when I break the pieces in my fingers is moisture.
Drying foods with a food dehydrator is less expensive and more reliable because an electric heated fan air circulating food dehydrator such as the "American Harvest" has thermostatically controlled heat and better air circulation.
When the food has completely dried remove and put while the food is still warm into polyethylene zip lock freezer storage bags into the freezer.† When I have accumulated enough for the trip needs, weigh out appropriate ounce amounts using a postage scale or equivalent gram weight quantities.† Working in gram amounts is much easier because everything is easy to figure quantities of ten.
I would give I the weights of the various foods that I use however I seemed to have lost those notes.
Seal these in plastic freezer storage boilable cooking pouches such as "Dazey seal-a-meal" bags or "Micro-seal" pouch material with the "Dazey" heat sealer www.packllama.com/Sealameal.htm .† This plastic is extremely puncture resistant far better than polyethylene zip lock bags.† I save money by buying this plastic in rolls and making an assortment of smaller bags with the sealer.† I cut and seal the bottom, next I seal the bag up the center in the middle and then fill each side finally I seal across the top.
I label them with a felt tip marker so I know just exactly what is in each bag.
I have found that relatively air becomes trapped in these bags even though I just using the ordinary heat sealing not vacuum sealing method.† Enough air is squeezed out from the food that it stores as a sufficiently small volume.† I have carried 45 days of food in my single Klepper and still had plenty of room.
One ritual on these trips is having several courses for each meal, which seems to lighten the spirits.
For mushrooms I took some butter in a screwcap jar although it will become liquid during transportation. is very nice to have should I find Russula mushrooms in August to saute.† The red and brown colored varieties of Russula mushrooms, are not poisonous, but should not be intermixed, because the flavors do not mix.
I am not sure about puff balls although I have seen a few of them in the Arctic
Crowberries, blueberries and Bear berries can be gathered and eaten.
If I can get some seal or char from the Inuit, by all means try it, they are both very delicious.† If I suspect my diet may be deficient in enzymes and vitamins eat the seal meat raw, to augment my food supply.† This is a delicious reprieve from freeze-dried food as fresh meat always is.
For local flora gathering Oxyria, Dock, Fire Weed and Taraxacum - Dandy Lions.† The Oxyria leaves are round, very tender, dark green and especially high in vitamin A.
Green Sea Urchins, when they are large enough have orange gonads, which are tasty morsels, excellent to eat.† These urchins are distributed all over the submerged rocks in many areas and there is no seasonality attached to their edibility.† I fish them up on my paddle and one time I rigged a basket of some sort to catch them on my paddle.
I find them easiest to spot in areas of white feldspar.† I fish them up.† Find a place on the rocks to break them open and eat the gonads all without getting out of my kayak.† I also put one urchin on my paddle blade and smash the urchin open with the other paddle blade on the deck of my kayak.
In my life jacket will be a Stormy Seas in 2005 because a regular whitewater life jacket is too long and rides up under my arms in my kayak. www.stormyseas.com/home.html †
I have worn ordinary whitewater paddling lifejacket with a pocket added to the back.† I cut holes in the bottom of the pocket as water vents.† I added tie downs inside the pocket so that all items are secured inside my pocket.† The pocket is closed with polyethylene Velcro not nylon Velcro.
The pocket spans the width and distance from my shoulders to my cockpit lip.
I carry my binoculars, sunglasses extra insulation for my head, wool gloves a snack a satellite phone, dry matches in a case, a Mylar space emergency blanket, flares and anything I can think of that I might need in a dire emergency.
On the front of my life jacket I have an inexpensive spherical compass and an ACR emergency whistle.† In my life jacket front pocket I carry a signal mirror, usually the type I can look through at the target I am signaling.
In the cockpit readily available I a light tackle telescoping fishing rod in a nylon bag with a plastic jar for my assortment of red and white fishing lures and hooks. http://www.arktiskinstitut.dk/
The easiest fish to catch in Greenland are Ulk or sculpin the meat along their tail is good to eat and Inuit boil them in salt water.eating both the filets along the tail and the esophagus. http://www.natuurinformatie.nl/ecomare.devleet/natuurdatabase.nl/i000960.html
There are shellfish such as muscles and clams here and there good to eat.
Green Sea Urchins are found in some areas clinging to the rocks.† The orange gonads are delicious.
I bought my chart case that has a rollover seal from Mariner Kayak, 2134 Westlake Ave.N., Seattle WA 98109 phone (206) 284-8404. www.marinerkayaks.com/mkhtml/Price98w.html ††This is transparent on both sides and is made of a special type of polyurethane that is much stronger than clear vinyl.† This chart case is at least ten years old and is still as good as the day it was new.† It does not show any symptoms of catastrophic failure as I have seen in other chart cases.
I brought the Sony CLIE SJ 22, PEGA-KB11 CLIE keyboard, PEGA HS-10 hot sync cable, PEGA DC-10 car battery adapter for electronically recording data, however the instrument lost its charge and never functioned.†
Since 1989 I have recorded data on Rite-in-the-Rain paper manufactured by J.L.Darling Corp, 2212 Port of Tacoma Rd, Tacoma, WA 98421 phone (206) 383-1714 www.riteintherain.com/ using the Rite-in-the-Rain ball point pen.† I still have my original records from 1990 they have not deteriorated to speak of.
For 2003 I prepared my food without using my previous system of heat sealed bags.† I choose Glad bags sandwich bags because the zippers close the best and the colored yellow and blue sides of the zippers are much easier to visually match up.† The color when they are joined securely becomes green.
The weekly supply of food included grains and seeds I am taking are old fashoned rolled oats 2 sandwich bags full, sesame seeds, raw flax seeds, raw and roasted sunflower seeds, roasted pepita or pumpkin seeds (those were rancid!), dried currents, and unsweetened carob chips. I was able to keep my energy level up just by chewing on handfulls of this oatmeal seeds based† mix occasionally as I paddled.† This was an important breakthrough and next time I shall add dried apples and peaches for their sugar content and flavor.† I will have dried the apples and peaches myself because I think the quality and flavor of air dried fruit is best.
Other staples were brown sugar, Soy Quik beverage, ground lentiles, etc.† Approximate total weight of each bag is 6.5 lbs. a supply for each week.† None of the food is freeze dried.
One big factor in the choice of food is taste.† In 2003 I had plenty of the essential ingredients however subtle things such as flavor I had in the foods from Fantastic www.fantasticfoods.com, 6 to 7 serving 7 oz. packages of† Spinach Parmesan Hummus, Refried Beans, Spinach Hummus, and† Poulenta. Casbah four serving 7oz. packages of Lemon Spinach CousCous and Nutted with Currants and Spice CousCous. Although all of these items are advertised as requiring 5 minutes of boiling however I found that I could prepare them by pouring boiling water over them in a polyethylene closed container allowed to stand for 10 minutes.† Previously I discovered that dehydrated foods with particle sizes less than quarter inch diameter can be prepared by having had boiling water poured over them in a polyethylene closed container allowed to stand for 10 minutes.
Unfortunately I found this food very boring to say the least.
Food Duplicate my diet**
Designing my meals, the idea is to duplicate my regular diet I am accustomed to eating with the exception of increased fats using dehydrated and freeze dried components.† Remember anything that I don't like in the field is difficult to separate or remove especially if it is a spice when I am in the field.† Test my creations I found that foods that don't quite taste that good when freshly made sitting for hours in a vacuum bottle can taste much worse.
The worst flavor I found was cheese sauces of Romano cheese and dehydrated lamb.† Too much spice can be very repulsive and dehydrated onion can be much too strong. I have always find that it is easiest to go to the trouble of advance planning and packaging in individual packages each meal and its sections.
The meals are packaged in groups for each day into multiple small dry bag so that not all of my food is in just one dry bag (don't put all my eggs in one basket).† Number and label the so that I know, which bag I am using.† Small bags are best because they stow better in the boat and food is especially heavy even if it is dehydrated.† Make liners for the small dry bags of soft fabric such as Tyvek to lessen the abrasion of the urethane coating of the dry bag and make it easier to slide the food out of the bag.
Here is a basic list of foods:
Carbohydrates: the best single complex carbohydrate is oatmeal.† Second is rye and for meals use a† combination of dehydrated potato flakes and precooked rice and or cos cos.
Volume: precooked rice broken up to small pieces but not powder is an excellent filler to provide volume.
Fats: a most critical need to stay warm and have energy in the cold environment - best source, which doesn't become rancid is whole raw nuts and seeds added into any phase of the meals.† High tannin nuts such as pecans and walnuts can cause sore gums mix these with foods that counteract that problem or avoid them.† Large amounts of sunflower and some sesame seeds are good eating, mild, and require large amounts of chewing.
Vegetables: any freeze dried or dehydrated vegetables especially mixed green and yellow vegetables.
Protein: meats and eggs and freshly dehydrated sugared and salted salmon.† The oils in salmon can become rancid quickly I donít recommend Salmon although John Bocstoc used salmon on his umiak journey.
Breakfast: duplicate a balanced carbohydrate, protein & fat in dehydrated and dry components suggestions oatmeal mix of oatmeal powdered milk or soy milk, coffee cream substitute, salt, seeds for the carbohydrate portion.†
Protein & fat portion - powdered eggs, dehydrated meat or cheese spiced to preference powdered eggs are easiest made with just boiling water poured on them then stir them in a container the lid put on and left to hydrate for a few minutes.† Instant egg omlets taste well.
Fruit drink for some simple sugar and vitamins Ė cider mix, tang breakfast drink vitamin C tablet and an assorted vitamin tablet.
Dehydrated spiced meats provide the best flavor for meats much better than freeze dried meats and I need a hunk of something to chew on that is especially tasty.† Dehydrated stews are excellent but the dehydration process in too slow so to speed things up and use my food dehydrator.
I dehydrate solid foods sliced up and buy dry gravy, sauce and soup mixes to create a stew. Some of the individually packaged freeze-dried meals are excellent I repackage them and as a base which I can combine with other items.
Coffee or tea as desired.† Tea is the better choice because it dehydrates you the least.† For espresso make it in its proper pot.
Lunch: prepare at breakfast prepackage a series of combinations made from dry soups mixes and sauces such as ox tail, barley, mushroom, leek, minestrone made by "Knorr" and other companies.† These additions to the general mix give character, body and flavoring is always pleasing for lunch and dinner embellish a stew.† Dehydrated spice meats or sausages, rice and potato flakes, assortment of vegetables, and an assortment of seeds and nuts.† This must be liquid enough to pour from my vacuum bottle.
For a dry cold lunch that is chewy, dehydrated chourico and linguisa from "Sardina's" on 206 Brownell St, Fall River, MA dried spiced meats or Kielbasa, some crackers, reconstituted spiced cider and dry fruit.† Although the sausages and dried spiced meats are slow eating and hard to chew, they were most delicious and spicy.† German hiking sausages lanage jager, kielbasa dehydrated
The hot lunch can be a soupy stew made from a combination of chunks of dried sausages or meats, some freeze dried and dried vegetables, some quick cooking rice and potato flakes flavored with some soup or sauce mix.† After an experimental mix has been soaking in a vacuum bottle for awhile it will either taste wonderful or terrible.
Always set off on the water with my lunch prepared hot stored in a vacuum bottle.† Position my lunch so that I have access to it while I am paddling.† In the Arctic when my blood sugar level drops I quickly become cold, tired and I start making mistakes.
Diner: same as lunch only with an additional solid ingredients because this meal will not need to be stored in a vacuum bottle.
Desert at Night: fruits for desert at night as a compote made with boiling water - apples, peaches, pears dried with the skins on, strawberries, mango, cantaloupe, papaya, raisins balanced off with whole raw sunflower seeds, sesame, almonds and cashews.† .† The combination of flavors and chewing required is pleasant.† Spiced cider mix added to round out the flavoring and sweeten slightly.† Make the fruit nut compote and store in vacuum bottle for occasional consumption all night.† Volume of hot water can vary from 1/2 to 1 liter and still be palatable.
Gail E. Ferris, 1 Bowhay Hill, Stony Creek, CT 0405 (203) 481-4539 firstname.lastname@example.org