Silver Springs


Different kayakers I had met in other parts of Florida had told me about Silver Springs, usually describing it as the premier springs in Florida. Needless to say, I decided to go. I was pleasantly surprised to arrive at the put-in on a Sunday morning to see a dozen or…

Bahia Honda Key


A time-lapse video of me kayaking in the channel to the west of Bahia Honda under the old and new US-1 bridges: A video of some tarpons swimming under my kayak in deep water: They get over 5 feet long and over 120 lbs. I first saw them in deep…

Key Largo


A time-lapse video of me kayaking at the mangroves at John Pennekamp State Park: The sped up video makes it seem like I am practicing some sort of martial arts ;) Another video of me doing a paddle float re-entry - I am getting better at them:

Rainbow Springs Florida


Based on the advice of some kayakers I met in Crystal River (the same ones whose fervent praise of my kayak almost made me blush) I decided to visit Rainbow Springs which is about 45 minutes north and east of Crystal River. I camped the night at the state park…

Crystal River Florida


I stopped for a night's rest and a day of paddling at Crystal River, Florida, about an hour and a half north of Tampa. It is the year-round home of manatees although they are more prevalent in winter. Nonetheless, I was lucky enough to encounter perhaps a dozen of these…

Little Talbot Island


I stayed the night at Little Talbot Island near Jacksonville, Florida. It is a beautiful place, but the camping was a little pricey at $26 per night for tent camping. I did a little kayaking in the morning in the estuary right behind my campsite. The following is a time-lapse…

Pocomoke River


I am visiting my brother Chuck in Maryland for a few weeks. We decided to do some kayaking while I am here, first exploring a stream that feeds off of the pond that Chuck's house sits on. We paddled across the pond and then portaged over the road to enter…

Snorkeling Arnos Vale


Here is another compiled video of some snorkeling highlights at beautiful Arnos Vale, Tobago taken during my last two days on the island: There were huge schools of small fishes that gathered in bands or swam past you for minutes at a time. We also saw the resident school of…

Snorkeling


The snorkeling in Tobago is pretty spectacular. From Buccoo reef near Pigeon Point on the southwest end of Tobago to Arnos Vale and Castara on the north coast to Speyside on the northeast end of the island, there is a lot of variety. I've seen cuttlefish in two different locations…

Valle de Cirios


This valley extends for miles through the mountains north of Guerrero Negro. The terrain is very similar to that of Joshua Tree National Park and there even are a few odd joshua trees present, but the namesake cirio tree is the real star. I think it is indigenous to this…

Guerrero Negro


I finally got a chance to see some gray whales in the Laguna Ojo de Liebre near Guerrero Negro. I had tried in both Magdalena Bay and the Laguna de San Ignacio, but it was too early in the season. Here in the laguna, we saw perhaps a dozen different…

Cabo San Lucas


This is a panorama from a point near the marina in Cabo San Lucas - use the scroll bar to see the whole photo. $("div.scroll4").scrollLeft(600); Some photos and a video from Cabo San Lucas, Baja California. My internet connection is pretty slow, so I'll let them speak for themselves for…

Islas Coronados Kayak Trip


This is a panorama of a nice white sandy beach on the island - use the scroll bar to see the whole photo. $("div.scroll3").scrollLeft(1100); Below are some photos and a video from my kayak trip to Islas Coronados, Baja California Sur. I launched from a beach about 7 miles north…

Bahía Concepción Kayak Trip


This is a panorama of my last campsite at sunrise - use the scroll bar to see the whole photo. $("div.scroll1").scrollLeft(950); Below are some photos and videos from my four-day kayak/camping trip in Bahía Concepción, Baja California Sur. I started from the town of Mulegé, from the river of the…

Deck varnish


This morning, I flipped the kayak over and used a tack cloth on the deck surface and then proceeded to varnish the deck. I avoided having any "non-wet" edges by working both sides of the cockpit alternately. It worked, but I had to rush it a bit and I ended…

Varnish time at last!


It's been a few days since my last post and no, I have not been idle, just too lazy to post an update. I finished the installation of the footbraces. I epoxied the rails into the kayak (I had to remove the front bulkhead to allow access) with thickened epoxy.…

Maiden Voyage Video


A video my room-mate Chris took for me of my maiden voyage on the Monongahela river in Pittsburgh. I don't know how fast the barges go downstream in this river, but I can out-pace them at least for a short time. I am guessing about 6 knots.

And a bag of chips


Busy day today. To summarize, I removed the foot braces and cleaned up the epoxy mounting points, I carved the minicell foam seat, I cut the paddle shaft skarf joint and glued the two halves together, I prepped the deck and hull interiors for epoxying, I taped the exterior of…

Cutting the hatches


I began making the hatches today. I made a template for half of each hatch with paper and transferred the shape to the deck on masking tape. I masked both inside and out to prevent scratches and de-lamination of the fiber-glass. I used a Japanese Bonsai saw which is very…

Paddle Blade


I began to fair the hull interior today and made some good progress, but as always, I quickly tired of that strenuous work. So I decided to begin working on my paddle. In his book, Nick Schade describes a a couple of methods for building a paddle. I am using…

‘Glassing the cockpit coaming


So today I 'glassed the cockpit coaming. The deck interior was tack-free this morning, so I trimmed the excess fiber-glass around the perimeter and then sanded it smooth. I took extra care around the cockpit, making sure to have a smooth radius on the transition from deck to coaming. Then…

Fiber-glassing the deck interior


It's been a while since I've updated the blog. I was on vacation with my family for most of that time, which was wonderful. Since the last posting, I finished sanding the coaming lip and then sanded the interior of the kayak deck which took two days (my back could…

‘Glassing the coaming


Once the glue dried on the coaming, it was time to remove any hot-glue and then sand the outer surface to prepare for the fiber-glass. My helper and I used sanding blocks to fair out the outside and also rough up about two inches of the adjacent fiber-glass on the…

Fiber-glassing the deck


Today, I sealed the deck with epoxy and put a fill-coat on the two reinforcement layers on the hull. Once the deck was tack-free, I fiber-glassed it in the same manner as the hull. I used Gawker on my MacBook Pro again to record a time-lapse of it. This is…

Reinforcing the hull


Today, I reinforced the hull with two more layers of fiber-glass in the center. The first one basically fills the section between the two strips of maple and the second one fill the section between the two strips of dark wenge. I did them one at a time in the…

‘Glassing the hull


Well, after about 6 or 7 hours, the epoxy I used to seal the wood had become tack-free (at least mostly.) So, I began to unroll the fiber-glass onto it. I am using 50" wide cloth giving me plenty of room, so the most efficient way is to have the…

Sealing the hull


I was finally able to get started on the fiber-glassing phase today. Before putting on any fiber-glass, however, it is recommended to seal the wood with epoxy. This is supposed to make it easier to ensure the correct amount of epoxy is in the fiber-glass once it is installed. Otherwise…

Fairing the hull


Today I faired most of the remainder of the hull using the fairing board. It is very satisfying seeing the hull transform from a rough shape with glue runs and mismatched edges into a smooth, fair surface. The wood takes on an even matte finish and the graceful curves of…

The end of the ends?


Today I finished the ends. I ripped some wenge to about 1/16th of an inch thick and laminated three strips on the each of the ends, using a heat gun to bend them around the tight radii (see video.) I also did some more fairing of the deck using the…

Break-Out!


Busy day today. First, I broke the deck and hull free of the stations. I started by cutting through the hot-glue that I had put periodically between the deck shear strip and the hull shear strip. Next, I pried that joint open enough to fit a screw driver in between…

Tapering the ends


The strips I have been installing today required both ends to be tapered. I decided to include a video on one way to quickly make an accurate taper. I can't take credit for this method as I have seen it (or variations) in more than one place, but I can…

Time-Lapse video


I decided to do a time-lapse video on my Mac today using a free program called Gawker. This video represents over 4 hours of work. Despite being sped up greatly, I think it shows how quickly the strips can be installed once you have your technique mastered. In four hours…

Subsequent strips


Each subsequent strip is installed in the same manner as the second strip, except that most will require some planing to make a tight joint. The angle of the edge needs to change along the length of the strip. This is called a rolling bevel. It is quite easy and…

Installing the second strip


The second strip is glued to the first strip and hot glued to the stations.  The hot glue holds it in place while the normal glue dries.  You only need a small drop to hold sufficiently. Make sure to use glue sticks made for wood. I found mine online at…

Cutting the stations


Once my plans arrived, I set off for my sister Deb's house in Ohio. Russ, my brother-in-law, has a nice workshop in the basement and a band-saw that I knew I would need. Vaclav Stejskal of One Ocean Kayaks provides full size plans so there is no need to piece…

Milling the strips


I stayed at brother Chuck's house in Maryland after OkumeFest and found a local source of wood. I had decided upon western red cedar for the hull and palownia for the deck along with some dark colored wood for trim lines. I ordered two 2x4x18' of cedar and was delighted…

OkumeFest


I attended a wooden boat festival called OkumeFest in Annapolis, Maryland on May 14 and 15, 2010.  Okume is the type of plywood used by many boat builders, but they had lots of strip-built boats which were what I was interested in seeing.  There were some beautiful boat examples as…