This list was compiled from conversations with Bryn Hammett; watching YouTube videos; and an hour in a zodiac with Bruce Kirby and Dave Quinn on our way into Gwaii Haanas. Talk about cramming. I’ll write a bit more about our fortuitous encounter with Bruce and Dave in my full post (Canada update #4).
Here are the tips:
- Bring a radio, and check the weather daily. Plan your trip around tides and winds.
- Don’t paddle across large waves, the whitecaps will capsize you. Zigzag if you must, even ‘surfing’ the waves back after overshooting your destination.
- Tides flood north, and ebb south, generally. And beware when coming around points, as the tides and wind can really concentrate there.
- When wind is moving against tide current, prepare for gnarly waves.
- If carrying a loaded kayak, lift it under the hull, not by the handles, or it may crack.
- If you capsize, the best way to eject is to try and ‘kiss the boat’.
- If you capsize, don’t try to guide your water-filled kayak onto the beach, because a loaded kayak full of water will easily smash itself to bits on the rocks. Best to bail it out at sea and climb back in.
- If you must land your full kayak on the beach from outside it, don’t get caught between it and the rocks, or you’ll be easily crushed.
- Always eat your best food first. Then the next day, eat your best food again. Every day you’ll be happy because you’re always eating your best food.
- If you find a New Zealand apple floating in the ocean, eat it. It may have even floated all the way across the Pacific. Seriously, this actually happened to me. Hey don’t laugh, if a motorcycle could make the journey.
- Find the surprisingly light driftwood on the beach. It’s cedar, aged like a fine cheese for campfire perfection. To burn, simply split (to expose dry innards), shave (to create fire-starter), or use as found.
- It’s bad luck to paddle without beer. Cans fit marvellously in the narrow ends of the bow/stern. Dave, Bruce: Thanks for the beer!
- Most importantly: You can actually teach yourself to sea-kayak just by watching YouTube and asking experienced people a few questions. Thanks heaps Bryn, Bruce, and Dave.
-Mike, sea-kayaking expert