Archive for April, 2009|Monthly archive page

Anclote Key Paddle

In Kayak Trips, Kayaking on April 16, 2009 at 8:00 pm

5/4/09  Okay, Everything is put away and we are now showered and rested… Let me tell you about our adventure…  the Good and the Bad.

The paddle it self is a wonderful paddle.  That is if you like a small open water paddle, for once you commit you are at the mercy of the water.  It is 3 miles between points of land and it is deep water.  It doesn’t take much wind to kick the waves up, but it is one of my favorites.  And when you have a friend with property 3 miles up river (thanks Darry), it makes this a minimum 12 mile paddle round trip.  The first day we paddled 9 miles before setting up camp by going around to the Gulf side.  Weather and water could not have been any better.  Coming home was not bad, but not great.  We had an east wind stirring the water up and had to tack in with 2-3 foot swells.  This would of been great if the boats were empty and you could of played, but with over 80 pounds of gear in each yak, we found ourselves working hard to paddle against wind and water.

We set up our camp on the beach with my tent, Seans hammock, and we even put up a kitchen shade using Seans wonderful tarp.  The sand is very pretty white sand till you camp on it, then you discover it is soooo fine, your tent better be free standing because you wont get a stake in it, and it clings to EVERYTHING!  I’ll take a brown sand beach any day.

The Island is beautiful with White Sand beaches, Many, many birds of all kinds, pretty lagoons, High Surf Gulf water, a Light House, moderate bay waters, Lots of Sea Shells on the gulf side.  And the water was pretty no matter where you were with colors ranging from an Aqua Blue, to Emerald Green depending on depth and location.

Our Yaks on the Beach

Our Yaks on the Beach

Our Lagoon

Our Lagoon

Our camp

Our camp

Now The Bad

For those of you that have not been on the florida coast line we have a tiny little bug that bites known as “NoSeeUms”.  Normally you can just stay in the sun, or use a bug spray to keep them away.  They are at their worst at sunrise and sunset, and hang out at the tree line.  Now let me tell you about the mutant version that lives on Anclote Key.  We are going to call these ravenous creatures “USeeUms” cause you can.  I wore a white long sleeve shirt that turned black.  As the sun was going down the first night they started coming out, so we dug out the first can of bug spray with 21% deet, you could see the little suckers laughing!  So then Sean dug out his can of 29% deet, and they snickered as they all swarmed toward him.  I had enough of these little f**kers and dug out the stuff I brought back from Alaska that was 98.7% deet, and they started partying!!! They drank deet like collage kids drink beer.   Laying inside the tent Sunday morning I decided to wait till the sun came up to chase them off, as I was creeping out on how many were all over the tent trying to break in.  With the sun up, I had to get up and move about, they are hard core “USeeUms”, the sun did not effect them at all.  As Sean is moving his hand along the inside of his bug screen on his hammock, there is a swarm of the blood suckers following it on the outside.

Sean Smiling before the USeeUms attack

Sean Smiling before the USeeUms attack


5/1/09  The truck is packed and the yaks are loaded.  We will be taking off in the morning for what looks to be the best weather we have had on a trip in a year.  Hopefully when we get back, I will have lots of photos of fun times instead of nasty fronts and wild water.  It is nice to see my truck with our yaks ready to go…


I just wish we didn’t have water restrictions in the area.  My truck is dirty!  And no fires allowed on the beach.

May 2nd & 3rd, the near famous Bad Weather Paddling Trio will go for another Kayak camping trip.  It is coming upon the time of year down here to be to hot to tent camp, so this will be our last one till fall.  All the trips we do this summer will be in the comfort of our air conditioned trailer.  You can call us wimps if you want, I prefer to think of us as getting smarter with age.

 This time we are going to try Anclote Key.  Although we have paddled to the Key many times, it is always to the light house.  I have never been to the North end where the camping is.  Again it is primitive camping.  If anyone out there has done this, please let me know what to expect.  I know Sean wants to paddle over to 3 Rooker Island( I have no idea where it is or what is there) while we are out.  I have already filed our plans withthe island Ranger, andwill update this post as more info is decided.  Anyone with comments can write me at kev_th@yahoo.com

After the paddle I will post how the trip was and any pics one of us might take.  And I am sure Sean will post his version on http://liquidrhythmkayaking.wordpress.com/ .

Guillemot L (part 4 in the water)

In Guillemot L, Wood Kayak on April 16, 2009 at 2:50 am

04/19/09  After some modifacations I used this boat for “Water Safety” for a local swim meet.  It started out with a light chop on the water and was a good test on how the yak performs.  Let me tell you, it turns on a dime, is very playful and easy to handle.  The secondary is right on, you know exactly where it is.  And speed?  It has lots!!!   And although when paddling the bow creates a splash, so I was very currious what it would do in waves.  The splash is there, but it is pushed out the side.  No matter how hard this yak crashed down on the back side of a wave, my skirt and PFD remained dry.  I am impressed, I will have to think about making one of these for me…

04/16/09  John of CLC Boats was down here at Gandy Beach a couple of weeks ago doing a demo and I wasn’t quite ready.  But then I decided where would be a more fitting place to try out my new yak than the same place.  Hey John… still looking for that “Anas Acutas” you promised us.

Pics of me playing with it on the Maiden Voyage…  She handles so very well!!!











And now I turn the “SeaHorse over to her owner for approval…


dsc02722Can you see the smiles?



My Guillemot L (part 3 trimming it out)

In Guillemot L, Wood Kayak on April 13, 2009 at 1:06 am

04/12/09 For those of you following my progress, you know that I am trying to move out of the shop I was using and into my garage.  Well, to day I am completely moved out.  I just unloaded the “Seahorse” in my garage ready to trim out with skeg handle, seat, deck lines, hatch straps, etc…


She looks good almost completed sitting under the “King” that is just started.


Once this yak is finished I will be devoting my time to the King, and it should go quickly.  Luckily work is starting to pick up a little so I wont have 8 hour days on it, but I will do something everyday now it is at my house.

It Is Done!

04/14/09  I finished the “SeaHorse” today while it was storming outside.  The following pics are of some of the details I did on this yak.  Tomorrow evening will be the “Virgin Float” and turning it over to it’s rightful owner.  It is like watching one of your kids leave home.  You know it will happen, but it still is hard to give up. LOL






The Handles (homemade), recess fittings, deck line










Seat and foam padding.  The back is from Necky, and the seat is CLC with an added pad





04/14/09  Here it is on my truck getting ready for it’s maiden voyage.  I hope to have lots of pics of it on the water later tonight.  Notice the Redfish King I am starting in front of it.


Peggy, I hope you like this yak.  A lot of Heart & Soul went into this one.

Redfish King (part 1 getting ready)

In Redfish King, Wood Kayak on April 9, 2009 at 4:08 am

04/09/09 While I was away kayaking a revelation hit me.  I strung the forms wrong.  For some reason my yak was coming out 8 inches longer than it was suppose to be.  Well DUH!!!  16 forms each form being 1/2 inch thick, my measurements should be from face to face, not between.  Luckily they are screwed on so I can move them and trim the strong back down.

04/03/09 I made the strongback and mounted the forms to it.  Then I taped the edges to keep the glue from building from sticking to the forms.  The spacing of the forms was a little different on this yak, it was not consistent spacing.  But then this is not your common yak.  It is nice to see the lines of this yak take shape, I know one thing for sure… my fat butt will never fit in it!


The internal stem strips are made and clamped to the end forms awaiting to be screwed down when the glue dries.  Then I will have to glue up the external stems before mounting the ends on to the strongback.


I’m starting it now!!!

04/02/09 I dug out the forms and laid out and cut out for the strong back.  Hey, It’s a start.



03/05/09 Today I went and picked up the padauk I needed to do the job, and while I was there at a wood wholesaler, I picked up the plywood for the strongback and bulkheads, and hatch rims.  All of the strips are piled up and ready to start


02/25/09 Kevin’s wood arrived today, we are getting ready to start.  If you would like to see the specs of this fine craft, just click on this link http://www.redfishkayak.com/king.htm .

My plans have changed, and my next build is for a young man in the great state of Tennessee.  He has chosen a Redfish King as the yak he most wants, and I have received the plans, and forms.  The wood strips of cedar and padauk should be delivered tomorrow.  He has sent the design that he wants and I am looking forward to making this fine yak!  I have never even paddled a fish form yak, let alone made one, so this should be interesting.  His design ideas are very simple, but yet extremely elegant.  This should be one fine kayak when it is done.


Marco Island

In Kayak Trips on April 9, 2009 at 1:24 am

We just got back from a wonderful week of paddling even in lousy weather.  Peggy, Cheryl, & I loaded up our yaks on monday, hooked up the trailer, and we headed South.  The original intentions were to meet up with Mike & Trish on tuesday morning and venture out of Marco Island to Kice Island for an evening of beach camping and paddling, while having our trailer back at Collier/Seminole State Park as a base camp (someplace to shower).  Well once again the weather was not on our side.  A front moved in bringing wind gusts up to 40mph.  So having a base camp set up, we did a couple of day paddles instead.  Cheryl stayed in the Princess Suite of the trailer, and has become the newest of our surrogate children.

As we set up camp Monday evening, I spotted a yak on a car down the loop.  It turned out to be a “Impex Cat 5”.  We introduced ourselves to the owner, a Robert Keeler of Toronto.  He was meeting a group of friends in Everglades City on friday, and was staying here till then.  Talking with him, we discovered we knew some other mutual paddlers.

Tuesday morning  Mike and Trish showed up while the winds were still howling.  We decided it would be better to do some day paddles instead of an overnight paddle.  Safety being our concern.  We decided to go paddle the “Black River” which starts there at the park.  We invited our new friend Robert to join us and off we went.  Because of the late start,  the fact we wanted a long paddle tomorrow, and we were going out with the tide (yes it is a tidal brackish water river), we went about 3 1/2 miles before I turned everyone around to head back up stream.  I thought a 7 mile paddle was a nice warm up for tomorrow.  We noticed that there was no wildlife to speak of out, it kinda surprised us.  I had made Beef Stew for the trip and so we took turns taking showers (there was only one at our part of the park) and then sat around the camp fire eating stew and talking.  Mike & Trish set up their tent in lieu of kicking Cheryl out of the Princess Suite and onto the couch.  Robert said his good nights and went back to to his tent.

Wed morning we invited Robert over for breakfast, and he showed some intrest in joining us for todays paddle.  We drove over to the south end of Marco Island to the marina, our lunches packed and putting Trish in charge of the maps, we headed out for Kice Island.  We managed to paddle for about 15 minutes when 5 of the 6 of us decided we had over dressed and headed for the first beach we could find to shed some clothes!  What can I say?  It was much colder under that tree at the marina than out in the full sun on the water.  The water on the Gulf was still in great turmoil from the front that blew through, so we decided to paddle on the inside of the island chain.  With Trish having the maps, Robert and I having our trusty GPS’s, we found the channel that seperates Kice from Romano Islands and headed out to the Gulf.  Again we were paddling with an outgoing tide and it was a very leisurly paddle.  The channel was about a mile long and what we saw when we reached the end was a surf that would make surfers drool.  Actually, the mouth of the channel had a lot of different types of water conditions.  There was a major washing machine, an eddy, a standing wave, and a major surf break.  We all went through the washing machine, but the others headed out to play in the surf, Peggy & I headed for the beach.  It is not that we cant handle the water for we have been in much worse, but it is not what we enjoy paddling.  Way to much work and you know you are going to get wet.  The water was rough enough that the wave carried us both about 8 feet up onto the beach, and then tried to pull our yaks out from under us while we were getting out.  The others quickly tired of playing and joined us on the beach for lunch. 

Robert & Cheryl eating lunch

Robert & Cheryl eating lunch

 Across the channel was the first wildlife we had seen.  We had a Mama Osprey with a not quite flying baby in the nest that we watched for a while.


Others went for a walk down the beach where Trish found a piece of driftwood she tried to fit in everones hatches, but it was just 2 inches to long.  So she tied it on the back of her yak where it looked like an octopus sitting there. 


Michael pulled out his kite sail and played with the wind


and Trish dug out her fishing pole.  The picture of her record Snook and Redfish  didn’t come out (yes this is a fish story).


Cheryl & Robert went collecting seashells for a craft project that she does for her friends.

We packed up to head back because Mike, Trish, and Cheryl had to head back for work on thursday.  We rode the current into this mess, but Peggy & I had no idea how strong the tide was running out.  When we launched it grabbed us so hard that it took everything we had to get our yaks turned and into the channel.  By the time we were heading the right direction it had carried us back 100 feet.  Then to add insult to misery, the channel was not only flowing the wrong direction, but it was flat!  Neither Peggy’s or my boat likes flat water.  We had to pull our yaks the whole way up that channel and found ourselves behind everyone.  Anyone that knows Peggy & I knows that is not normal for us. 


 Once we rounded the tip of the island into the bay we had 2 foot waves and we took off.  Our prime contitions.  It didn’t take long before we had our relaxed stroke going and was 50 yards ahead in the lead.  While we paddled along a big Sea Turtle came up right in front of Peggy, and that made this whole trip worth everything for her!  We even had a pod of dolphins welcome us back to the marina, where the Osprey escort we picked up in the begining of the bay left us.

Coming back into the marina, the 2 of us decided to make a dock landing rather than trying to get out on the ramp without scraping our yaks on the concrete.  It may not be pretty, but it was effective.  Loading the yaks and gear, we drove the scenic way back to base camp.  Again while everyone showered and loaded gear, Peggy put together a pork chop dinner, cause that is what Peggy does.  She would never let anyone leave on an empty belly.  We said our good byes to Mike, Trish, and Cheryl (our newest children), and kicked back around our final fire talking of the fun we had.

Thursday morning we broke camp, loaded up the trailer and said our good byes to Robert (our newest paddle friend) who was breaking camp as well to continue on his journey.  He told us what a wonderful family we have, and would love to paddle with us again.  I hope he takes it up the next time he is in the Tampa area.  As always, it is sad to come home.

Even though no one replied to my inquiry, we had a great time and would recomend this trip to everyone.


Okay Florida Paddlers

Can anyone help me here?  Some friends and I are looking to go kayak camping down to Marco Island and was wondering if anyone knew of any islands down there that we can paddle to pitch our tents, fix our meals, (have a fire maybe) and perfer it to be all legal.  I know, I take all the fun out of it.

Otherwise we will be going to Collier/ Seminole State Park and driving to Marco to paddle.  If you have any suggestions, just contact me at kev_th@yahoo.com 

Thanks, and stay tuned to see how our trip goes in a couple of weeks….

My Guillemot L (part 2 finishing)

In Guillemot L, Wood Kayak on April 2, 2009 at 1:26 am

04/04/09 Today I put the fifth and final coat of varnish on the deck after spending the day with John Harris of CLC boats (http://www.clcboats.com/) on Gandy Beach here in Saint Petersburg, FL    Wish I would of had this one done to show off, but there will be time.  The next two pics are after the varnish.  I still have to varnish the hull, then rig it out.  Launching will be soon now.



03/16/09 I haven’t posted anything again, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been working.  It just means the work I have been doing is boring.  I have been putting fill coats on the hull, and wet sanded the entire hull.  So even though I have been busy, there really isn’t anything new to see.  The sad part is there wont be for a couple of weeks.  Now the hull is done, I will roll her over and do the same to the deck. then start my varnishing.  Then you will see pics as I am done varnishing, and trimming out the hardware.  Other than the fill coats I have drilled the rear bulkhead for the skeg cable and  and used duct seal on the skeg box and bulkhead to keep things water tight.  I also laid out for my foot pegs and prepped them.

03/10/09 It’s been a couple of days since I posted anything, but I have been working… well kind of.  Sat. I spent about 20min puttying and sealing the sheer line, Mon. I set the ribbon I use on the port side, and today I set the ribbon on the starboard side.  That only takes a couple of hours on each side.



03/06/09 Had a hard time getting motivated, but still managed to get a few things done.  I started with installing both bulkheads, and filleting 3/4s of the way around on one side of each.  Then I moved on to sanding the drain ports for the hatches, and then cutting out and installing the hatch rims, and once that was done I hoisted it back in the air and did a end pour in the bow.


03/05/09 Not an exciting day today, I rolled the yak over and seam taped the other side, and then left to run some errands.  Picking up materials for my next build (Redfish King).  When I came back I lifted the yak up to do an end pour on the stern end.


03/04/09 I started the day by cutting out my hatches, and then started strapping the two halves together and seam taped one side together.  I must say that this is the hardest part of kayak building.  Trying to get the tape & epoxy along the seam from bow to stern is a royal pain.


03/03/09  Coming back from a nice weekend paddle (see Cayo Costa), and suffering through jury duty on Monday, I managed to do a little work on the boat today.  I laid out the recesses for the deck lines, the u-bolts on the ends, and the hatches.  I pre-drilled for the u-bolts and then filled the holes with epoxy to seal the wood from any moisture,


and then I drilled the holes for the deck line recesses and installed them. 


Then I did my final fill coat of epoxy on the inside of the deck.  I also discovered that the foot pegs are going to mount right at the seam line.  So I guess I will have to mount it on blocks instead of using thru bolts. 

02/27/09 Today I installed the combing.  It is really hard to take a saw to the body you have worked so hard to shape.  But taking your time and fitting the combing a dozen times and slowly cutting away what is needed, you end up with a nice tight fit.  Add to that a nice epoxy/wood flour putty along the outside and you end up with a nice product.  Also installed the skeg handle block.



The pile of items left to install before I start the varnish work is getting smaller…


02/26/09  Today I finished with the major glassing… the inside of the deck including reinforcing.  Put a second fill coat on the inside of the hull, and started my idea of wood carry handles.  I like the feel of “Kayak Karry” handles which I can no longer find, so I am constructing my own out of some mahogany veneer I am laminating.

02/25/09  I striped the forms out today, did a little light sanding on the inside of the hull,


and glassed the inside of the hull.  Thanks to my contacts at US Composites ( http://www.uscomposites.com/) for giving me a great deal on the kevlar hybrid material for my cockpit area, I laid the reinforcing cloth as well.


Time to box up the forms till I can make another one of these yaks for me.



02/24/09 Today was productive in a simple kind of way.  I added the reinforcing glass to the bottom of the hull, added my graphics, the boats name and my serial number.











The serial number is on the port stern, the name is on the front of the combing, and my Seahorse graphic of course is on both sides of the bow.

I also took the 14 recess deck plugs and epoxied them to seal them before installation





02/23/09 I split the deck and the hull today, and glassed the outside of the hull.  This is the first layer of glass, and I will add reinforcing tomorrow.


02/22/09 I remembered my camera!!!  And I put a 2nd fill coat of epoxy on the boat.  I remember being told that many thin coats are better than less thick coats, so I am trying to keep them very thin.  I still have the fabric where it is covered but not filled.  I am going to stop here with the outside of the deck and finish the fill coats after installing the skeg handle, deck line recesses, and combing.  Limiting the amount of epoxy used and trying to keep the weight down.


stern to bow

Sorry about the bright sun shinning in on the wet epoxy


bow to stern

I also worked on the combing and glassed the other side of the plywood I am going to use for my bulkheads.

This is after the first coat of epoxy


02/21/09 Well, I went into the shop to clean it and get it ready to start glassing next week.  Well, that went so well, and dust had settled out, so I decided to see if I could glass it by myself.  I picked up a roll of “Boat Mask” wich is a piece of plastic conected to a roll of tape kind of like a masking machine.  After you tape the seam, you can unfold the plastic and it hangs a couple of feet down.  I figured if it came from the local fibreglass dealer, it should work better then painters paper did on my first yak. LOL  We will see.  I dug out the 30″ glass andunrolled it on the deck… I could not stand it, I had to dig out the epoxy and do my first fill.  Peggy came by and I recruited her help spreading epoxy.  The bad news is I didn’t take my camera, so I dont have any pics, but I will take it tomorrow!!!  The colors are looking really nice and rich, it is going to be a pretty yak.