Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Final Holiday Message.

From Luke, one of our young sea kayak customers in the army who recently shipped out to Iraq.
Hello Friends and Family,
I figured it was about time for an update from Iraq, so here is the latest news. Things are going pretty well for us right now. We have been running the operations we will be running for the next few months for over a week now. We're slowly developing a routine for how things are going to run.
For those of you who are still under the impression that the the war in Iraq is a gun fight on the streets, well, its not. We killed the dumb ones (those that thought they could defeat us in a straight gun fight) years ago. The "war" that we are waging now is against things like corruption in the government, police, Iraqi army. One of the primary missions that we have assumed control of is to try and crack down on corruption in a business here in our AO (area of operations). Details of which I cannot share, sorry. Granted occasionally guys are getting into firefights, and getting hit by IEDs, but for the most part Iraq is safe. However, our lives are still in danger, so please continue to pray for the protection and safety for all of us over here.
My Thanksgiving wasn't bad at all. They served us a rather tasty meal of the traditional Thanksgiving affiliation. Turkey, ham, stuffing. The whole works, with exception of pumpkin pie. The meal was pretty good, but kind of strange. Everybody kind of sat there in silence, nothing really to talk about. I'm guessing we were all wishing we were back home with our family and loved ones. Not to fret, being separated from families is just another part of the job. Something that took me months to adjust to, but all is well now. I've adapted to being on my own and have learned to live with it.
Iraq is most certainly a very foreign country. I've had the blessings to experience the cultures of a hand full of countries around the world, and Iraq is without a doubt the strangest and most foreign place I have ever been to. There is no semblance to western culture or thought here. The people are very withdrawn and keep to themselves, only concerning themselves in the affairs of their families, which are massive. They aren't friendly or open at all. No where near approachable, just to talk to someone we basically have to corner them. The women don't look you in the eye and the men are the only person you deal with. The thought of talking to an Iraqi woman is absurd. We aren't even allowed to look at them. The only smiling faces are the kids, but most of the time they are just looking for handouts or doing some reconnaissance for daddy bomb maker. The children here are the eyes and ears of our enemy. When we go to burn our trash the kids swarm us. They are all down there picking through the trash looking for food and throw aways. If we are heading out to burn trash I usually fill my vest with suckers and tootsies rolls. I get a little jostling from my platoon mates for being to friendly with the kids but I cant help my self. It breaks my heart when I look at them because the only thing I think about is how these children have known nothing but war their entire lives. Any child between the ages of 1 week to 13 years old, have known nothing but big scary white men with guns in their streets and homes.
I appreciate all your thoughts and prayers, and your care packages. Christmas is just around the corner, so I'm just waiting for a wave of packages, because I know the folks back home are looking out for me during my time here. I love you all and can't wait to return home to share with you the memories and stories that will come out of this experience.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Day of Days

We continue to implement our policy...all requests through the 'Off Season' months will be taken care of and receive the same quality of service as in the 'On Season'. There will be no slacking !

Therefore when two people want to kayak early Thanksgiving morning, and the elements are good, so be it.

On the drive out, I pass a major utility work crew on the causeway replacing a telegraph pole. I get to Tybee and the lights are out. About 2pm last night somebody took out the pole in their truck. About six people have died on this road this year...all from very bad driving technique, not always their own.

The young married couple on my tour are from India, but have been living/working in Atlanta for two years. It's a beautiful morning. Quiet and calm. They paddle very slowly, talking a lot to each other in Hindi or Urdu, not sure which. They do not see a dolphin deep dive 15 yards away. We take a walk on Little Tybee beach. They take photos of each other. I take a photo of them together. "Send this one to your mother", I tell them. We are all smiling and walking. They are from a small town outside Mumbai. "About 8 million." Small! As it turns out, we learn that we have both been to the same meditation school in India. They are a nice couple and really enjoyed the trip, as I did.

Back at the ramp I meet a spiffy old geezer in a Nordkapp. He's with his wife, from Florida, and wanting some guide information. I oblige him. He is originally from Somerset, close to my home in Dorset, England. He came to the States in 1959... 50 years ago!
"I'm 'fresh off the boat' with only 15 years", I reply. I tell him I can show him the best places for sand, surf, and scenery in 4 hours and that the tide looks good for tomorrow. They look like a cool couple to paddle with.

Then a chap approaches and introduces himself to me...'Brian something'. He tells me his son just read our book after checking it out from the library. 'He loved it'. I tell Brian I hope it inspires his son to do the same. "I do too", he replies.

Still at the ramp, I bump into Confederate Jerry. I hardly recognise him. He's grown a beard and looks somewhere between Kenny Rogers and Grandpa Clampit. Man, can Jerry talk....mostly about "them damn yankees."

Carla and Jim, a local couple, show up. Carla is an Army Doctor. She was just about to be shipped out to Iraq, when during her physical exam they found a tumour in her jaw. They removed 4 inches of jaw bone and replaced it with titanium and bone tissue from her thigh. They did that three weeks ago and she looked great. She is now not going to Iraq and retires next year.

We had a great turkey dinner at a friend's house this afternoon. We ate and laughed, but most of all we thanked each other, we thanked ourselves, and we thanked the universe for being so weird and wonderful.
But really, just another day on this side of the globe.

To the Best Customers

From Nigel & Kristin...A very happy Thanksgiving to all of our customers. You are all by far the best clients a business could have and we very much appreciate your continued and constant support.
May we all spend more time paddling the beautiful waterways of our planet.
May we all continue to enjoy the privileged and abundant lives that the Western world provides. May we all strive to improve the balance and harmony of those less fortunate.
May all beings be happy.
May all beings be peaceful.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Outdoor Research Study 2009

A Special Report on Paddlesports is based on extended analysis of data collected for the Outdoor Recreation Participation Report, produced annually by The Outdoor Foundation. The report uses the responses of over 40,000 Americans ages six and older captured in an on-line survey covering 114 different activities. The survey is the largest of its type examining participation in sports and outdoor activities.

• 17.8 million Americans ages 6 and older participated in kayaking, canoeing, and rafting in 2008.
• 9.9 million Americans participated in canoeing in 2008. 7.8 million Americans participated in kayaking and 4.7 million in rafting.
• Paddling participants made 174 million outings in 2008, averaging 10 days per participant.

Kayaking has enjoyed steady growth since 2006, climbing to 2.8 percent of Americans ages 6 and older in 2008.
• Recreational kayaking is the most popular type of kayaking followed – by a significant margin – by sea/tour kayaking and whitewater kayaking.
• 47 percent of kayakers get out 1 to 3 times per year.
• Most kayakers live in states bordering the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean – the Middle Atlantic, South Atlantic and Pacific regions.

Canoeing is the most popular type of paddling. 3.6 percent of Americans age 6 and older participated in canoeing in 2008.
• Canoeing participants make an average of 7 outings per year. Despite the activities greater popularity, canoers make fewer annual outings than kayakers – 77.4 million compared to 69.5 million.
• Geographically, most canoers – over 40 percent of all participants – are located in the East North Central and South Atlantic regions of the US, those states bordering the great Lakes and Atlantic Ocean.

Motivations and Barriers
Friends and parents are the most influential in introducing paddlers to outdoor activities.
• Relaxation is the top reason cited for participation in outdoor activities by kayakers and rafters while fun is the top reason cited among canoers.
• A lack of time is the number one reason camping participants don’t get out more often. A lack of money for equipment is also a commonly cited reason.

So there it's now official.
Canoeing and Kayaking is a contributing factor to the health and wellness of the American public.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tiderace Kayaks and News

Paddling his shiney new Xcite, Paul Kuthe makes the Tiderace website.
We are glad to see the Tiderace website continues to be maintained and updated as does the Tiderace U.S Team Paddlers Rostrum.
As well as the young and the old with Paul K and Dale W (he's gonna kill me for that), it looks like we will be getting the 'good' in the shape of Sheri P and Turner W.
After paddling the Xplore S, Turner commented..
"It's the best kayak I have ever paddled that I did not make myself."
Not sure what that means exactly, but knowing Turner, it's probably very good.
And with his 'Moses Style' appearance he could take over the 'old' title from Dale.

So, two spots open for 'bad' and 'ugly'.
We would strongly push for Lil Nick Scovill, the winner of the Surf Jam - Sea Kayak division. He is ripping in just about anything in the surf zone these days. But alas, he is neither bad or ugly, but he is young and could maybe push Paul into the 'bad' category.
Suggestions on a postcard for the 'Ugly' Tiderace team member. Must be hot as well as ugly. Photo proof required.

Dave White above showing some secret love for Tiderace.
New Tiderace models will be arriving at Savannah Canoe and Kayak in about two weeks time.
Tiderace Classic Xcite and Xcite'S make great presents at $3650, and the Xplore, Xplore'S and Xplore X at a mere $3700.
If you need anything else from NYC for Christmas drop it on a postcard.

Other News....
Talking of updated websites, we still wait with baited breath for the re-vamped Valley website. 'Any day now'... two weeks later and counting.
Are we finally going to get the specs for the Valley Storm ?
Will this be the kick in the P&H pants to get them to maintain and update their website also ?
The Brits do hold themselves to a high standard, but they sure are slow on the uptake. One things for sure..It's all good for the customer.

Lendal Paddles was recently acquired from Johnnson OD by Nigel Dennis.
We could not get any answers from Nige about his plans for the company, but we think it's a positive move for the flailing Scottish classic.

Monday, November 23, 2009

New Mega Boosts Here Soon.

The latest offering form Mega Surf Kayaks International will be arriving at SC&K in January and Man, do they LOOK HOT!.

The Boost is essentially the updated version of the very successful RV, but combines design characteristics of several other mega kayaks, particularly the Mega Merlin. The Boost will only be available in S lite and Xtec layups, both of which will be available at Savannah Canoe.
"We loved the Merlin for how quickly it released in the tail atop the wave, and bottomed turned on the rail back up the wave. It looked so gosh, darn crazy with all that nose rocker. Absolutely punk ! A first class, dynamic, steep wave ripper. " said SC&K test pilot Flight Commander Johnny 'Ginger' Bigglesworth.
So, basically what we will have from the Boost will be the excellent paddle out ability and very fast down the line speed of the RV combined with the very responsive tail movements similar to the Reflex and Merlin.
Here's a quick first impression from Glyn Brackenbury.
I recently got one for my fourteen year old son, he's mumbled some teenage words which I didn't understand but the general jist was that it's brilliant. . It's got a lower cockpit profile so you can really crank over into a turn without dragging your knee in the wave face. If it's the right size for you it's a really great boat.
Of course, there is way more to it that, so you had better sign up for one of our demo sessions in Tybee and Florida this winter.
Dates and locations to be announced soon.
Boats are avialable to reserve now for delivery in January.
$2250 for S lite. Red and White. And All Black.
$2550 Xtec - No Gel Coat.

7'6" X 24.5"

Friday, November 20, 2009

News From My Home Town

Europe's first artificial surf reef is days away from completion, tourism chiefs in Dorset have confirmed. It is due to be the jewel in the crown of a multi-million pound project to rebrand a less than glamorous part of the Dorset coast.
The reef, off Boscombe, in Bournemouth, will aim to improve surf conditions in a project which cost £3m - nearly double the original price.
The reef is part of an £11m ongoing regeneration of Boscombe's seafront.
The council hopes the regeneration will boost the economy by £3m a year and that the underwater construction will attract up to 10,000 surfers.
The reef has been built with 55 sand-filled "geotextile bags", which will cover an area the size of a football pitch underwater.
It will be one of a number of similar artificial reefs of its type worldwide, including developments in Narrowneck, Queensland, Western Australia and Mount Maunganui, New Zealand.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Red Bay Trees Losing Battle.

Mortality of red bay trees (Persea borbonia) in coastal locations in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida is spreading rapidly, resulting in the death of nearly all red bays and sassafras trees in the infected areas.
The cause of the disease is a fungus (Ophiostoma sp.) vectored by an Asian ambrosia beetle (Xyleborus glabratus). Both the beetle and fungus are recent introductions into the United States. At the present time, there is no known method to halt the spread of this disease. The Beetle was first discovered in palets at Port Wentworth, Savannah, back in 2003 and probably came from China or Thailand.
Just before Steve and myself reached Cumberland Island earlier this month, rangers and forestry workers had been out on the island collecting Red Bay seeds for the Federal Seed Bank. This is not a good sign as is means there is nothing that can be done to stop the spread of this deadly disease.
Red bay trees extend from Virginia to Louisiana on the coastal plain. A member of the laurel (Lauraceae) family, it is closely related to swamp bays and silk bays.Also in the Lauraceae family are: 1. pondspice (Litsea aestivalis); 2. avocados; 3. sassafras; and 4. pondberry or southern spicebush (Lindera melissifolia), a federally endangered species. Currently red bays and sassafras are confirmed to be susceptible to this wilt disease. It is unclear if other members of the laurel family can serve as hosts to this disease. Since it is suspected that several members of the family may be impacted, the proposed name for the disease is “Laurel Wilt Disease”.
Red bays have limited commercial use. The wood is sometimes used in cabinetry and boat building and the trees are occasionally used in landscaping. The seeds of red bay are eaten by turkeys, quail, deer, songbirds and bears. Leaves are used in Southern cooking to flavor gumbos.
Red bays are host plants to three butterflies: palamedes, Schaus and spicebush swallowtails. The palamedes is obligate to the red bay as the eggs are laid on the leaves and the emerging caterpillar eats the leaves.
The disease continues to spread unabated.

Summary prepared by: Richard M. Bryant

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Dr Paul Fleischman in Town

The Scientific World View and Vipassana Meditation
A lecture by Dr Paul Fleischman, Psychiatrist and Author.
Tuesday, November 17th @ 6pm - The Morris Center, 10 E Broad, Sav. FREE.

During the 20th century, revolutions in physics and biology transformed our vision of the world and of ourselves, creating increased insight into the scientific basis for Vipassana Meditation practice....a practice for living a balanced life through a technique originally taught by Gotema the Bhudda.

Meditation has gone from unknown, to wildly popular in the Western Hemisphere in only about thirty years. (In contrast, it has been well known in India for about two thousand five hundred years.) This has led to confusion about what meditation really is, how it works, and in what ways it helps people. Vipassana Meditation is an ancient, non-sectarian Indian technique that was designed to guide a realistic and compassionate lifestyle. Western science rocketed forward in the Twentieth Century, describing a testable vision of reality that reaches from minute electron-probability waves, to the Big Bang, from the evolution of DNA as the basis of biological information, to the hubbub of metabolic interactions within each living cell. The new scientific narratives provide increased understanding of the realizations that informed the discovery of Vipassana, why it practiced as it is, and how it helps people. Vipassana focuses on neutral, systematic, evidence-based observation of oneself as a changing process in a lawful universe. It catalyzes realistic experiences from which one can steer both a practical and profound life. Vipassana is not primarily a healing technique, but a window into multiple dimensions within our selves. Meditation is intended to be a mirror of conduct, to lessen attachment to narrow perspectives, and to align our selves with reality as it is, in order to live a more harmonious and contributory life. Based upon the guided curriculum designed by Mr. S.N. Goenka, of Igatpuri, India, Vipassana is taught for free, on a voluntary donation basis, in ten-day residential courses, in scores of meditation centers around the world. Approximately one million students have successfully completed these courses. Vipassana Teachers also teach for free, and the practice is not connected to any profession, or treatment.

Click the 'Dhamma' link on the left to find out more about courses in this area.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Surf Jam Video.

Thanks again to everyone who came out and supported this event, even the sympo sea kayakers, who had no concept of the 'competition zone'. Overall it was a great day at the beach with surfing, fishing and kayaking all going off. If you were from out of town that day you really would think that Tybee was the healthiest town on the east coast...hey, for some of us, it is.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Ga Coastal Expedition - A Rivoting Success

Kristin: So, tell us, Nigel, in your opinion, what was the highlight of your trip?

Nigel: Apart from the weather and the great changing scenery on my right side, paddling across the Altamaha delta was a treat. It seemed to lie in the middle, an equal distance from nowhere as real Georgia Coast back country. The delta consists of a very changeable area, strong currents, huge amounts of sand deposits, lots of accretion and great geomorphology.

Kristin: Was that day then your favorite day?

Nigel: My favorite day was the second day. We left Beach Hammock and crossed three sounds. The wind had been steady out of the Northeast for several days already. The boats were fully loaded and the decks were awash as we went surfing past empty beaches under grey skies.

Kristin: Was there any thing in particular about the journey that you found disappointing?

Nigel: No.It was the best trip of the year. We will do it again next year.

Kristin: No? What did you do with my husband? And which island then was your favorite for natural beauty?

Nigel: Seeing the frontside of St. Catherine's was another highlight of the trip. It has a mysterious feel to it.. in addition to being shrouded in fog for half of the day. It seems to be the most unreachable and private of the islands. Nobody really knows what happens there.

Kristin: How about something else more tangible that came as a surprise to you?

Nigel: That would be a shipwreck that we came upon on the beach of Little St. Simon's Island. It was a tug boat and looked like something straight out of a movie, something for Captain Jack Sparrow.

Kristin: Did you come to especially appreciate any pieces of gear?

Nigel: Yes, my boat and my paddle. I paddled the Tiderace Explore S. At 17.6 feet long it was fast and excellent for such a trip. I also stayed dry in the boat every day which came as a real blessing. All the hatches were completely dry also. I used my Greenland paddle, which proved a great choice for such a trip. It allowed me to alter my stance as needed each day, for instance by altering the length and depth of each stroke. This can be very useful as the sea states change and as your fatigue level changes. Lastly I am also glad that I took along my secret weapon, the C-Tug kayak cart. It was very handy for transporting heavy boats to and from the campsites.

Kristin: Lucky you. How come we didn't have one of those on our canoe trip?

Nigel: Funny.

Kristin: What then would you have done differently?

Nigel: Not much, it was a good plan. I wouldn't have carried quite as much water and definitely more milk for tea. I brought 17 liters which lasted until Cumberland. I could have refilled on Sapelo which would have helped to lighten my load. I also would have carried more chocolate. No, more chocolate cookies to be exact. I had those Ginger Snaps. Them Ginger Snaps made me mad! Several times I thought to myself, "These damn Ginger Snaps are driving me crazy!"

Kristin: Guess I better ask for the hardest day as well..?

Nigel: That would have been Day 3...Halloween. After a long second day, the wind kicked around to the West, then South. It was foggy, then hot. At the end, the take out was at Cabretta, which was difficult. There was a group of witches from Atlanta at the campground who did not want us there. It was a tiresome day.

Kristin: All and all it sounds like a fantastic experience paddling and camping along some breathtaking coastline.

Nigel: I'd say so. Yep. A fantastic bit of the coast of the U.S. What's for dinner?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Lucas Theater - Thurs. 2:30

Letter from Jim Darby:

You may know that every year I attend as many of the SCAD Film Festival showings as I can. This morning I saw a truly great environmental documentary named "So Right, So Smart." The SCAD program describes it as "As environmental awareness increases in customers, business leaders like Ray Anderson are learning that sustainability is an ethical imperative for the future; in the process, they're finding that money just might grow on trees."

The SCAD description doen't do the movie justice. Ray Anderson ran a carpet square company and had an environmental epithany that he could do the right thing and still make money. He did and is spreading the word throughout the business world. This is the company that laid a pipeline from the land fill to their factory in La Grange to capture and use the methane gas. Every environmentalist in Georgia paticularly should know about this guy.

Most environmental documentaries start off telling you how the bad guys are polluting, nobody is stopping them and you leave the theater depressed. With this one I left the theater feeling good.

I spoke to the director in the lobby. The movie will be shown again at the Lucas on Thursday at 2:30. I encourage you to come see it. If you have somethng else planned, reschedule or cancel it. Take a few hours off work. You will not regret it. I'd love for our environmental community to be able to see this at perhaps our only opportunity.


Jim Darby

Cumberland! The Eagles Have Landed.

Update from the field... Nigel and Steve paddled 16 miles Monday, leaving from the north end of Jekyll and arriving on the north end of Cumberland Island. Cumberland is the final island in the chain of Georgia's barrier islands and marks the end of their coastal journey. They will spend 3 days exploring Cumberland.. camping first at Brick Hill Bluff Monday and then paddling southward 11 miles to set up at Sea Camp for Tuesday and Wednesday. Breaking news... Nigel has found the snack bag!(amazing what a person can lose in the bow of their boat!) Thursday morning will be the last paddle of the 8 day expedition.. 6.5 miles back to St. Mary's for the unload and pick up. With 110 miles under their belts and a smile on their faces, I'm sure it will be a bitter sweet finale. Well done.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Lockwood Family Donations

Donations to assist Dan and his family can be sent to us here at SC&K. We'll make sure he gets them. Specifically Dan has asked for any old paddling gear, and also for some old bicycles for his kids - Sammy (age 11) and Jesse (a tall 13). Thanks to the paddling community for coming together on this one.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Lockwood Family Fire

Our dear friends, Dan Lockwood and family, suffered a terrible loss yesterday as a fire destroyed their home on Tybee Island. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers. We will post a location to send any donations as soon as we hear.

WTOC Video Link:

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Report from the Field...

Update on the 2009 Georgia Coast Expedition..
Nigel and Steve are doing well, arriving on Jekyll Island today a full day ahead of schedule. Nigel reported that yesterday proved to be a long day... a thick fog and southerly wind set in as they paddled 13 miles from St. Catherine's Island to Sapelo Island. Today's paddle was 22 miles, crossing through the mouth of the Altamaha River and sandbars of Little St. Simon's, through St. Simon's Sound to the north end of Jekyll. Although it was longer in distance, they were blessed with light west winds and smooth seas. As for tomorrow, it will be 6 miles along Jekyll, 5 miles crossing over to the last of the barrier islands, Cumberland, followed by 4 miles to the Brick Hill Bluff campsite, for a total of 15. Let's all hope for a northern blow to push them along! Well done, boys... one more to go.
Photo: St. Catherine's Island Panorama - Larry Dixon

Happy Halloween from Little Tybee

Photo: Larry Dixon