Thursday, December 31, 2009

Top Ten Count Down to 2010

Funny enough, we will not end the year on the water, but will begin 2010 with a New Year's paddle to Little Tybee. The forecast is for a 45' air temp, and a 64' water temp, so it will be a steamy 'Polar Plunge' at the beach on Friday.

It has been an interesting ten years.. which for us started out in a canoe with all our worldly possessions.

Here's a quick Top Ten for a life in the decade of SC&K.

10/ Ten years ago we were in New Orleans half way through a grand 3000 mile canoe trip. "Wouldn't it be great if we could do this for a living" we thought.

9/ After almost two years living on Tybee Island and working for Dale at SKG, we bought a house on the east side of Savannah.

8/ After an eight month spell working for a state run 'Hoods in the Woods' program, Kristin says, "Maybe it's time you start your own guiding service?". SC&K is born. We borrow boats from friends on the way to the 'put in' to meet clients. For one class I borrowed Dave White's kayak and the client capsized a record 13 times.

7/ In a risky move Kristin leaves the Savannah Bee Company and joins SC&K full time. From now on 100% of our income would come from paddling. 7 seasons later we have close to 50 boats for sea, surf and river exploration.

6/ In 2005, Nigel joins the P&H sea kayak team, but unable to find a suitable boat of size and proportion, he leaves in 2006 and forms Team Savannah Canoe & Kayak.
In Feb '06 we launch our on-line store.

5/ Jan '07. Our first shipment of Mega kayaks arrive heralding in a new branch at SC&K. We are now the No 1 dealer for Mega and have the best selection of surf kayaks available in the U.S. We have satisfied customers in Argentina, Mexico, The Bahamas, Senegal, Israel, Thailand, and New Zealand.

4/ Oct '08. After several years of sometimes painful tutelage and training under various surf masters, Nigel is certified ACA Surf Kayak Instructor Trainer.

3/ April '09. Tiderace Kayaks arrive at SC&K. After many years of looking and waiting for a suitable production sea kayak, we think the Tiderace line suits the needs of competent and accomplished sea kayakers.

2/ The Tybee Surf Kayak Competition is resurrected as the Tybee Surf Paddle Jam, a fun-based event designed to introduce paddlers to competitive surfing.

1/ Dec 30th. Kristin spends a record 5.5 hours on the phone to technical support in the Philippines.

0/ Zero is the number of friends we have on Facebook.

Here are some pictures from 2009

And the Surf Jam
Pictures thanks to M.Robinson and R.Davis.

Footnote: This is the 2001st Blog entry for 2009, giving us an average of 1 blog entry every 1.8 days.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Birthday J.C.


May all Beings be Happy, Be Peaceful, Be Liberated.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Christmas Wish List

All I want for Christmas is..

5/ Woolly Undies. Traditionally worn at sea, wool has been given a 21st century make over by the likes of Ibex, Icebreaker and Patagonia. Providing a great warmth to weight ratio, highly wicking and odour free it makes for a great base layer. Downside is it's not very hard wearing and the moths still love it. Check out the Ibex Runner shorts for men or women.

4/ 5 Star Surf Kayak Certification. After pursuing this award for three years, we now realise it ain't gonna happen. Since it's re-vamp several years ago, the BCU is still in a pickle and in our opinion, a non-starter in the U.S.
Now that the Brits have realised that a canoe is not a kayak, they are feverishly pushing that genre of the sport. Our advice... for kayaking, train in Britain and get certified in the U.S.
For canoeing, with Bob Foote and Karen Knight here, why go anywhere else?
And for surf... who the hell needs a 5 star when you have Santa Cruz?

3/ Tiderace Xplore s in Carbon It's fast, it's hot and it's black and it costs a mere $5050.
Tiderace continues to improve and advance the kayak construction business with well made, up to the minute techniques and design features. Aled Williams, the conceptualizer of Tiderace, is on a mission to produce the best open water sea kayak available on the market to date. Alas, his own carbon Xcite was stolen from his back yard earlier this year.
If the price tag is a little high, why not go for the new Xtec Mega Boost. Weighing in at just under 20lbs you'll be carrying this sucker around town as a fashion accessory.

2/ 10 Day Spiritual retreat in India followed by two weeks R&R on the beach in Goa. This ain't gonna happen either, not this year. More likely, a work weekend at the Vipassana Center in Jessup followed by an afternoon canoe trip to Little Tybee.

1/ A new pair of back legs for Joey. He's been on the kayak scene for nearly ten years, has appeared in several kayak videos, the latest of which was Eastern Horizons, and he gets more well wishes than anybody else at SC&K. Joey the Boxer was rescued from a life of neglect and suffering, and has been a constant source of joy and entertainment ever since. In this last year he has showed quite quickly the signs of old age, most notably his wobbly hind quarters.
He is currently undergoing extensive acupuncture treatments and extra ham slices.

Merry Christmas to everybody. May all of your dreams be realized, may all beings be happy, may all beings be liberated.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Not So Merry Christmas 145 Years Ago.

Sherman's army marched into Savannah on December 22. The next day, Sherman telegraphed President Lincoln with the message "I beg to present you as a Christmas-gift the city of Savannah, with one hundred and fifty heavy guns and plenty of ammunition, also about twenty-five thousand bales of cotton.."

1864.Sherman's "scorched earth" campaign began on November 15th when he cut the last telegraph wire that linked him to his superiors in the North. He left Atlanta in flames and pointed his army south. No word would be heard from him for the next five weeks. Unbeknownst to his enemy, Sherman's objective was the port of Savannah. His army of 65,000 cut a broad swath as it lumbered towards its destination. Plantations were burned, crops destroyed and stores of food pillaged.
After a two week seige of Savannah, and fearing the destruction of the town, Confederate General Hardee withdrew his forces across the Savannah River on a hastily constructed pontoon bridge. It was the beginning of the end for the Confederacy. Sherman stayed in Savannah until the end of January. He set up temporary headquarters in the Green-Meldrin House which can be toured today.
He then continued his scorched earth campaign through the Carolinas.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

First-ever Census of Marine Life

Comprehensive data will aid in ocean conservation
Scientists have identified nearly a quarter of a million marine species to date, and 1,400 more are discovered every year. A decade ago, the world's leading ichthyologists, funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, embarked on a seemingly impossible task: to create a list of all known ocean species, showing where they live and how many of them exist. The Census of Marine Life (CoML) was born.
The project has swelled into a collaboration involving over 2,000 scientists from more than 80 nations that investigates marine inhabitants from the past, present and future, approximates how many of each species exist, where they live and the ocean's overall biodiversity. CoML will come to fruition on October 4, 2010, when the results will be made public at the Royal Institution of Great Britain in London.
CoML scientists have built computer models to predict the future of the oceans' ecosystems, examining how biodiversity shrinks every year, when species will disappear if current rates of over-fishing continue, and when coral reefs may die out as a result of ocean acidification and climate change. Much of the research is done using newer technologies, including powerful sonar that can detect shrimp nearly two miles underwater, satellite tags that show tuna crossing the Pacific Ocean three times in less than a year, and DNA analysis that can rapidly monitor changes in the oceans' biodiversity.
Scientists will use the findings to guide conservation policy and to help manage fisheries. Although CoML hasn't sparked any bills in the U.S., it has influenced the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the only legal framework that aims to protect the open ocean and deep sea. Before CoML, these laws were held back because of the lack of hard data, but now the information rolling in from the project is informing global legislative agendas. And it's working. As a direct result of the census, vast areas of the world's most vulnerable oceans have been closed to fishing. - B.B.

Popular Science, Jan 2010

Monday, December 14, 2009

Paddle 2009 - Year of the Ox

And what a fantastic year it was...much love to the Ox.
Here are some video highlights of the '09 season.

A more comprehensive photo slide show will be coming soon.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

North Pole Ice Free by 2030

The dramatic loss of Arctic sea ice in recent years has created a fundamental new change in the atmospheric circulation in the Northern Hemisphere that has sped up sea ice loss and is affecting fall and winter weather across most of the Northern Hemisphere, according to several recent studies.

Arctic sea ice loss peaks in September and October, exposing a large area of open water that heats the air above it. This extra heat has helped drive September - November air temperatures in the Arctic to 1°C (1.8°F) or more above average over about half of the depth of the lower atmosphere. This deep layer of warm air has grown less dense and expanded, pushing the top of the troposphere (the lower atmosphere) higher. The result has been a decrease in the pressure gradient (the difference in pressure) between the North Pole and mid-latitudes. With not as much difference in pressure to try and equalize, the jet stream has slowed down in the Arctic, creating a major change in the atmospheric circulation for the Northern Hemisphere.

Arctic sea ice loss appears to have created a new atmospheric circulation pattern that brings more warm air in the Arctic, creating a positive feedback loop that causes even more sea ice loss. This feedback loop increases the likelihood that an ice-free Arctic in the summer will indeed come by 2030, as many Arctic experts are predicting. It's worth noting that such an atmospheric circulation shift was not predicted by the climate models. Indeed, the loss of Arctic sea ice over the past three years exceeds what any of our models were predicting. While we can rightly criticize these models for their inaccuracy, we should realize that they are just as capable of making errors not in our favor as they are of making errors in our favor.

From Jeff Masters Weather Blog.

Friday, December 11, 2009

OMG's - This Week in Hawaii

Many surfers and surf watchers were already calling this year’s inaugural winter swells the biggest Hawaii surf they’d seen in decades.

At Maui’s north shore Peahi Beach—more ominously known as “Jaws” by big wave riders for its massive winter surf—surfers yesterday boasted of riding swells of up to 50 feet from crest to trough.

Over the weekend, weather forecasters had predicted similar wave heights for the North Shore of Oahu beginning yesterday. But by late Monday morning, wave heights at Sunset Beach and Waimea Bay—two of the most prominent surf spots along the North Shore—was peaking at 20 feet. Waimea Bay swells (pictured here) eventually climbed to 25 to 35 feet Monday afternoon, but were kept from larger heights by choppy waters and strong northerly winds, which tend to break up larger waves.
Many surfers and surf watchers were already calling this year’s inaugural winter swells the biggest Hawaii surf they’d seen in decades. At Maui’s north shore Peahi Beach—more ominously known as “Jaws” by big wave riders for its massive winter surf—surfers yesterday boasted of riding swells of up to 50 feet from crest to trough.

Over the weekend, weather forecasters had predicted similar wave heights for the North Shore of Oahu beginning yesterday. But by late Monday morning, wave heights at Sunset Beach and Waimea Bay—two of the most prominent surf spots along the North Shore—was peaking at 20 feet. Waimea Bay swells (pictured here) eventually climbed to 25 to 35 feet Monday afternoon, but were kept from larger heights by choppy waters and strong northerly winds, which tend to break up larger waves.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Don Starkell - You Da Man !.

It was Don Starkell who got us into this whole mess in the first place.
I read his book 'Paddle To the Amazon' 15 years ago, while myself was on a planetary walk-about. His determination and total abandonment of fear and all things earthly left a deep impression. I can't believe he is still slogging through the wilds on his quest for who knows what. But you have to admire his single mindedness/ madness. For some,there is only one path.

According to Bartley Kives, a reporter of the Winnipeg Free Press, “the 76-year-old Starkell is 456 kilometres away from a lifetime paddling mark of 120,226 kilometres, a distance equal to three times the circumference of the planet.”

Starkell accumulated many of the kilometers on lengthy expeditions such as the 1967 race from the Rockies to Montreal, a father and son canoe expedition from Winnipeg, Canada to Belem, Brazil, and a kayak adventure through the Northwest Passage.
A daily 22-kilometer paddle, along the Red River and the Assiniboine River, has also added up. “Most days, he gets up at 2:45 a.m., leaves his East Kildonan home and hits the water by 4 a.m,” remarks Kives.

“He has documented his paddles in a pair of hand-noted ledgers, one noting the distance paddled each day and the other noting the mileage he's racked up every year of his life since he paddled eight scant kilometres in 1945,” observes Kives.
This summer, Starkell found it harder to paddle. Missing fingers, from a frostbite injury sustained on his 1991-92 Northwest Passage expedition, Starkell’s hand are prone to being cold. But at 76-years-old and with 64 years of adventurous paddling under your belt, it’s understandable. And despite everything, he keeps on going.

Paddle To the Amazon By Don Starkell, makes a great Christmas gift.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Mega Surf Kayak Demo

Give us a ring on 912 341 9502 if you want to try a Mega surf kayak. The conditions look favorable for a good 'try before you buy' session at the New Smyrna break.

3 Day Island Exploration of St. Catherine's Area

Photos by Larry Dixon

The chaps are back after a three day exploration of the island's beaches and waterways.
Registered as a National Historic Landmark in 1970, St. Catherine's was a favorite hunting ground of the Indians. A settlement, called Guale, in the center of the island served as headquarters for their chief, also named Guale. The Guale were the last in a long line of Indians stretching back 4,000 years that appreciated the island's natural resources. Here, the Spanish also established a mission and garrison called Santa Catalina de Guale, from which the island takes it's name. Button Gwinnett, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, established a plantation on the island. After the Civil War, the capital of a black separatist sea island kingdom was established here.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Ogeechee Audubon Holiday Party - Tuesday, Dec. 8

Please join the Ogeechee Audubon on Tuesday, December 8th, for their annual program and pot luck dinner. Diana Churchill, Ogeechee Audubon President, expert birder, and author of the 'Birder's Eye View' column for the Savannah Morning News will present a slide show on identifying ducks. They will also be selling books and gently used feeders donated by Wild Birds Unlimited. Proceeds will benefit the Ogeechee Audubon and Orphaned Bird Care. The Potluck Dinner is at 6:00 PM, followed by the program at 7:00 PM, and will be held at The First Presbyterian Church, 520 E. Washington Avenue, Savannah. The event is free and everyone is welcome. Bring your favorite dish, salad, or dessert to share with 8-10 people. Please coordinate the food dish you plan to bring by phoning Beth (912)598-1980 in advance of the meeting. Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Kayak Anna and the Palindrome Creek

A great kids' book for a great cause..
Lina Lukashevich has written a new children’s book to share her love of kayaking with the next generation of paddlers. 'Kayak Anna and the Palindrome Creek' is a splashing eco-adventure for readers ages 9 to 13. It’s a novel about a girl who cleans up the pollution of her neighborhood creek while learning about forgiveness, environmental activism and ravenous trolls! All profits from Kayak Anna are donated to Living Water International to provide safe, clean drinking water for children around the world. To purchase a copy for only $9.99, visit or .

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Thanks for Your Donations.

Thanks to the kind support and generosity of our customers we were able to pass on to Dan Lockwood over $1200 worth of paddling gear and cash.
Dan L, an annual competitor in the Everglades Challenge lost almost everything when fire swept through his Tybee residence while he was out paddling on Little Tybee. Dan had an eclectic collection of adventure kayaks and sailing canoes which he used in many locations around the planet. Dan gave a lecture here last year on his paddling and travelling philosophy. Only a week prior to the devastating blaze, Dan was the Time Keeper at our kayak surfing competition...Tybee Surf + Jam.
We asked Dan what he needed most and he said "paddling gear".
As well as a few sizable cash donations, we received Life jackets, spray skirts and paddle clothing.
Dan is currently staying at Jim F's place on Tybee while he looks for a new place to live.
A big 'Thanks' from Dan and us to the paddling community for your support when it's needed most.