Sunday, December 12, 2010
Sunday, December 5, 2010
The transmission on my car in Canada jammed up on me, back in may, 2 days before I flew out to Norway. Now 3 months after, a new transmission being placed in the car, the transmission is playing up again. Due to the fact that I will be in NZ for the next 6 months and the warranty on the tranny will expire before then, I needed to get the car to the mechanic so they could fix the problem. However I had 24 hours till I flew out and needed to get the car back over to Vancouver from Vancouver Island. The good thing is, I needed to get over there for my flight. The bad thing is the car needs to get back to Vancouver Island for storage and I will be gone.
Thanks Karin, Kerry and Joslyn in Cumberland for offering to pick it up from the mechanics when the tranny is done and letting me store the car at their place, and of course they are free to use it!
Yesterday, Saturday, I went to the Nanaimo paddlers Christmas party (www.nanaimopaddlers.org), and meet a bunch of new people, and some old friends. We exchanged gifts, ate and sang some songs. I meet a great guy randy, who makes Greenland paddles). After talking to him for awhile about the NZ trip and his paddles, Randy ended up gifting me a paddle. I was gob smacked by the gift. I would love to be able to take to NZ with me to paddle, however it won’t be possible, so I look forward to getting back to BC and using it next June. Thanks Loads Randy! www.vipaddles.com
After storing my personal stuff, in the basement at my dear friend Lyn Hancock’s, I loaded up my car. Lyn is a friend and mother figure for me in Canada, she is an amazing woman who has travelled the world and lived with and raised many amazing wild creatures, and has written 22 books as well as thousands of travel articles. Thanks Lyn for storing my gear, kayaks and for the support and inspiration, over the years! www.lynhancock.com
With the Trak Kayak, my big bag, my paddle bag (loaded with laptop, Lendal Paddle, extra camera gear, clothes and snacks) and my wheelie Storm case with all my electronics in it all piled in the back of my station wagon I zoomed to the ferry terminal (tranny playing up a bit as I went). I got to the 7pm sailing and was to meet my mate Jason on the other side and stay with him in Vancouver. When I arrived at the other side I parked my car in the village and started reading the new wave length kayak magazine I got (www.wavelength.com), next minute there is a knock on the window.
A Police man stood at my window, my heart sank, my insurance had expired and I hadn’t had time to renew it and was planning on doing it the next day on the way to the mechanic, but no. I ended up with my car towed to North Vancouver and impounded until I got my insurance. Shit!
It could have been worse I could have had my car impounded for 7days and given a $600 fine. I got away with an $80 fine and a tow fee. Thanks Mr. nice police man. Jason picked me up and we went out and drank and talked to the early hours of the morning. The conversation consisted of life philosophy, woman, outdoor passions, relationships and how it all mixes. Very deep and endless!
Tired and groggy we awoke this morning after 3 and a half hours sleep, and casually (slowly) got to sorting out my car. First step was to find a broker that was open on a Sunday, then pay for new insurance for three months, then go back to the car yard, post bail on the car, drive back across Vancouver city, drop the car at the mechanics, put the key in an envelope through the mail slot. After a load of driving, Jason helping by driving me around and then picking me up at the mechanics, We went for a great Falafel Kebab, then he took me to the airport and said goodbye till next summer.
Thanks Jason for all your help. Jason is an Alternative Energy engineer who does house installments for better heating and cooling systems. www.stage3renewables.com
The next adventure today was my baggage. I had two check-in pieces with me, but needed to get more gear in LA when I stopped over there for 4 hours on the way back to Auckland. So I would have to pay $225 for the third bag, and it could be overweight and oversized, which worked great as on Air Canada and Air New Zealand (whom I was both flying with) the Trak kayak was both of those. So I hoped I could declare the bags now, pay for the Trak Kayak as the third check in and avoid the other $100 oversize fee, then put the new check bag with gear from sponsors, in at LA.
Ahhh, of course! The way my 24hours where going, that wasn’t to be. They couldn’t check and invisible bag and they couldn’t turn a blind eye to my oversized Trak bag, despite trying to discuss several alternatives and explaining what I was trying to do. UGH! So $100 bucks more down.
The flight to LA was painless and I walked out into rain in southern California, and the big grins of my friend Kelly Schaefer and her mum Laurie. I meet these two as clients of mine down in Belize at the start of the year, and they allowed me to post stuff to their place in LA, so I could pick it up on the last day on the way to NZ and avoid import and extra shipping costs to Canada (however these savings may have been countered by the extra $225 third bag fee?). So I jumped into the car with the girls and headed out for dinner. The back of the SUV was full of boxes!! Christmas early for me!
There was a big Box of Kokatat Gear (www.kokatat.com), Joby Gorrillapods (www.joby.com),Solar panels from Power Film www.powerfilmsolar.com Go Pro Head cams and attachments, all of whom had offered great support for the upcoming trip and sent out appropriate gear. There were also, extra hard drives for storing footage and photos, as well as a solar energy storage system. So after a great Mexican dinner, there was a great box unwrapping and gear unpackaging, inside the SUV while it rained all around us. It was fun to pull all the new gear out and see it briefly, before shoving it in the big folding pack I had brought with me carry on.
Suddenly I realized; as all the boxes emptied their contents, that unfortunately, what wasn’t there, was the HD video camera and underwater dive housing plus extra tripod mount systems I had ordered. Ahhh crap! I am now not sure what to do. It will arrive eventually, and either I will ask the girls to send it to NZ after taking all the packaging of it all, so it appears used, and hopefully avoid customs. Or get it posted to Arizona where Dave can pick it up and bring it with him to NZ in two months, and I find a replacement in NZ till then. HMMMM. Thanks Again Laurie and Kelly for the postal drop, Dinner and the friendship!
Back to the airport, I went and checked in my new bag, and to my amazement got billed $50 for the bag, yes finally a break! Oh what, not to be. A nosey head of department, noted I had already paid for another bag and so this bag, must be charged at $175!! Oh come on piss off. I tried to be polite and get out of it, but he was having none of it!! My boyish charm and accent doesn’t work on middle aged fat American men. Grrrr!
Ok so the bank book took a major hit today.
$60 ferry ticket for the car I didn’t need to bring over if not for the tranny.
$80 police fine
$180 tow and storage fee
$250 insurance I don’t get to use
$100 oversize luggage fee
$175 extra bag fee
$885 Canadian down and out!!
Let’s hope I can get through NZ customs without paying any fees!
I boarded the plane from LA at 10pm and now sit, cozy in my exit row set with tones of leg room, and prepare to watch a couple of movies then sleep as much as I can before my 8am arrival in Auckland city on Tuesday the 7th Dec. Man, I even lose Monday on this trip!
I am very thankful for friends and Help. A project like this would get nowhere without all the great people I know that have helped me get it together, and have believed in my ambitions and have helped counter all the hardships that other people throw at me (though not maliciously).
More stories of Kayak Down Under NZ here.
Friday, December 3, 2010
We are stoked that the great NZ company Paddling Perfection, who makes some of the best boats in the country, is sponsoring us two Kevlar “Sea Bear Waitoa's” for our “Kayak Down Under NZ 2011 Expedition”. Thanks Karel and the crew who are making our boats right now.
A highly stable craft, the SEA BEAR is a great all-rounder when it comes to expedition sea kayaking. It begins with remarkable workmanship that produces a very sea-worthy craft that provides an ideal platform in rough or challenging conditions. The SEA BEAR will reassure you that you will be able to complete your plans for the day and reach your destination in safety. Ideal for camping trips or expeditions on lakes or sea alike. the SEA BEAR is the pedigree blue-water tourer's choice. Some other sea kayaks might be faster, although the SEA BEAR is no slouch, however, the conditions sea kayakers face are many and varied so they appreciate a versatile kayak that performs well with a generous payload (145kg). The SEA BEAR fills the bill in this regard and quickly becomes 'a comfortable home' to the expedition sea kayaker.
Can’t wait to get them out on the high sea’s!
Follow the Adventure here “Kayak Down Under NZ 2011”.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
|The Trak atop the Taurus in Seattle|
The last couple of weeks have been spent journeying south along the length of the USA, to clear up and finalize some unfinished business with my best friend and ex fiancé, who now lives in Merced California. It was an emotional time, raising issues of me leaving her for my “crazy dreams of adventure”, I feel I can’t do while staying with her, and my desires to be with her and live our love.
Read More Here http://onayakabout.blogspot.com/2010/12/pan-america-trip.html
or check out the Kayak Down Under New Zealand Blog site
Monday, November 22, 2010
People with half a brain on a subject generally avoid possible conflict with it, however those who tend to deal with something a lot can become a bit blasé and over look a little thing that can lead to an interesting adventure, though could also lead to tragedy. Tragedy is often the outcome for those who don’t have a clue, though hopefully those who should know better know how to deal with the mistake and come out of it with a smile.
My recent mistake (though not a super critical one) lead to an interesting adventure, however I should point out it was a shared mistake and a shared adventure, and shared by two people who should know better and thankfully, by Luck and preparedness, where able to get through it.
|Trak on the Ferry|
After being on Vancouver Island awhile I wanted to explore a bit so I had loaded my folding Trak kayak onto its travel bag from the roof of my car, using the bag with wheels as a kayak cart and Boarded the ferry to Powell River as foot traffic. I was heading over to catch up with a Friend Hugh who ran an outdoor adventure operation there, he had turned down my request to join me for the paddle over the Georgia straight from Comox to Powell river, in hopes of a less character building paddle (this trip would have been 16 nautical miles and about 5 hours) but had invited me to come stay the night at his place for a great dinner and the next day head to Saltery Bay south of Powell River with the thought of exploring the area.
|Loading up Hughs truck|
Read More at http://kayakdownundernz.blogspot.com/2010/11/31-nautical-miles-to-home.html
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Friday, November 5, 2010
Thursday, November 4, 2010
I presented a one and a half hour talk at the Nanaimo paddlers club meeting last night. There where people form all over Vancouver Island present ( about 40 in total). The presentation was primarily about my journeys over the last 6 months with the folding Trak kayak, through Europe, though also touched on my kayak journeys and work in Central America and finished with talking about my up coming journey along the coast of New Zealand. www.kayakdownundernz.blogspot.com
The presentation featured Photos, short video mixed with music, Promotion of Sponsors and key products (namely the T-1600 folding Kayak by Trak Kayaks) and the live narrated stories of Jaime’s experiences.
People where very impressed by the journeys I had taken the Trak on, and my ability to document the journey through photo and film. people poured all over the kayak at the end, full of questions and curiosity.
“What a fantastic presentation!” Gloria Martens member of Nanaimo Paddlers Club.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Well it has been a great trip to Norway, a good mix of work, play, learning and knowing.
I am heading now to the UK, landing in Heathrow and heading to Bristol to catch up with an old friend Fiona and her Boyfriend Stu. From Bristol I plan to catch a plane to Split, Croatia, hopefully meet up with a friend Tania and her Boyfriend and go sailing for a day or two, I then plan to jump in my Trak and just Kayak out around the islands, explore, meet locals and see what can be found. I am in much need of my own space and a solo trip, so, though I sent out invites to join me, I was quite happy no one could take me up on it. Solo trips are a much needed journey and they tend not to happen enough! Split is in central Croatia and I hope to travel north wards to see some of the islands around Rab, then head south along the coast as far as I can get in my Trak, with hopes of making it to Dubrovnik ( a fair distance and maybe not possible, but thankfully there are always buses). It will be a nice contrast to the cold chilly waters of the North Atlantic and I look forward to being able to walk around in a pair of shorts and nothing else.
I will fly back from Dubrovnik Croatia to Heathrow again, from there, catch a bus to Cornwall where there is a sea kayak symposium happening, I hope to meet some new friends and learn some new open water skills with the English, before then heading back to Bristol via bus. I hope then to fly up to Scotland to meet up with some other old friends, and maybe kayak, though also maybe just enjoy a journey without lugging all my gear around. Traveling light is a wonderful experience; having lugged 60 kgs of gear around beforehand makes it even more so! Sea kayaking in Scotland looks amazing though and the storm paddling could be great in October, so we will see what shapes up!
Planning this next stint has been a bit of a fluster, as all my spare time over the last few months went into the Lofoten Trip I just got back from with my two great clients Lyn and Denise. I have spent a lot of time on the computer in the last 40 hours looking at what I want to do and trying to find the best schedule of flights, fairs, departure points, arrival points, bus times ,cost and time analysis of flights versus ground transport ,etc, though it seems to be all working out well. I find it a real novelty how flights in England can be far cheaper and of course quicker than taking a bus!
I had big plans for Europe (as some of you may remember), though time, money, personal life and the looming and exciting 4 month kayak trip along the east coast of New Zealand starting in December, have created a conservative view in my head now. I want to have quality experiences in Croatia and the UK, and not try and fit in Spain and Morocco and Greece and........ You can see where this is going. It is so easy to bite of more than you can chew and you never get the taste of what you are eating.
After Europe I will head back to British Columbia on the 19th October and begin my training for my NZ Expedition which will be a very challenging 4 month trip along exposed surf battered coastline. The scale of the challenge is now hitting me and all I can now think about is preparing for it. BC in the fall and winter will provide a great training ground for me, with great surf beaches to train on, cold weather, storms, and expansive places to try out my gear and ideas on with loaded multi day trips. This environment should hopefully make the summer environment I will face in NZ quite enjoyable and have me prepared for the more challenging southern stretches on the NZ coast I will be hitting in the southern autumn.
The Site for the NZ expedition is up www.kayakdownundernz.blogspot.com, telling all the details so far of what the trip is planned to be, who could be involved. It will develop more as things come together so check it out regularly. I will also have updates posted to my “World Wild Adventure” blog and the “Yak’ About the World” Blog and my Face Book pages. Oh and if any of you would like to join me on the trip or part of it, let me know and we may be able to make it happen.
Keep dreaming, it’s what influences reality!
Monday, September 13, 2010
We had another corporate group trip to run the next weekend after the last; this one was for a local oil rig engineering company called Axess. It would be a family trip for their employees. They are quite a cool company, everyone who works for them are hard core into outdoor sports, primarily climbing, they work on testing standards of rigs and doing maintenance and repairs, via industrial abseiling. Most of them are engineers. The company gives the employees many corporate events with DID adventure every year and the employees are also free to take of as much time as they like to pursue outdoor adventures and expeditions. For this trip we were heading to Remen Valley; or Raumsdalen.
This valley is stunning, it is carved deep into the mountains by the Glaciers of ice ages gone, and the vertical rocks faces and peaks loom up on either side. On the way to our camp site for the weekend we passed under the Troll Veggen or Troll Wall, the highest vertical cliff in Northern Europe. It is a Mecca for Base jumping, though also the only illegal natural feature to Jump in Norway! Some have climbed the wall, but to stand directly below it is to be in awe!
|The Troll Wall|
Read More Here www.onayakabout.blogspot.com
Sunday, September 12, 2010
I headed out fishing With Lise and her brother, Andreas (who is a real Norwegian fisherman), on his commercial fishing boat. Was a lot of fun, fishing until 12 at night and the sun only just then dipped below the horizon? I both Lise and I caught big fishes, but not many all together unlike the day before where they showed me pictures of the boat filled with fish.
Back at port we cleaned the fish and I was given a lot of it to take home (very nice). Then Andreas asked if I wanted to go for a drink. Sure I said, not wanting to miss a chance to socialise, though I was taken back when we pulled up outside a Milkshake Stand!
“You know Andreas!” I stated with a smirk, “fishermen where I come from Drink beer! You guys are a funny bread of working man here in Norway!”
Andreas just laughed.