Monday, September 5, 2016

Baptizing the "Blue Mind" -- my new Kayak....

"Believe me. my young friend, there is nothing -- absolutely nothing -- half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats."
 -- Kenneth Grahme

Well it certainly didn't take me very long, did it? Frankly, with the exception of Kay, my amazing wife of nearly 41 years, I don't believe that I have fallen in love with anything quite so fast as kayaking. Being on the water -- more like part of the water -- is an amazing experience. So I wanted more of that experience.

My new Hurricane Skimmer 116

Joe Butler at Black Creek Outfitters in Jacksonville made me a deal I couldn't refuse on a new 2016 Hurricane Skimmer 116 sit-on-top kayak. 11 1/2 feet and 42 pounds of sleek Trylon. And quite an adjustment (in a good way) it has been.  (VIDEO AT THE END OF THIS POST)

She has to be roof-racked on the truck (the 8 footers fit in the bed of our Honda Ridgeline), and in the water she initially felt less stable than the small boats. But after giving the "Blue Mind" a good workout this morning on the Saint Johns river I am totally comfortable and utterly pleased with this kayak.

Kay and me setting out off of Mandarin Point of the Saint Johns River...

The boat is fast and tracks true. When we launched at just after 9:00 am on this Labor Day the waters at the County Dock ramp were smooth as silk. We were at low tide with virtually no wind. We ventured out into open water and back in to a residential canal, joined by beautiful Great Egrets and a number of Belted King Fishers. A few mullet jumped nearby. I headed out on a solo stretch and into a second canal, spooking a school of shiners on my way out...

Shiners jumping just ahead (below by paddle blade)

My Routie app says that I average 2.0 mph for the entire morning with a top speed of 3.3 mph. That was with no effort. Blue is so buoyant and light that I estimate I use about half the energy per stroke as I did with the Lifetime Daylight. So I came back around the docks that punctuate the Mandarin peninsula and met Kay for a mid-morning granola bar snack...

A highly choreographed snack bar hand off from Kay to me...

After paddling around and practicing turns (Blue turns on a dime for an 11.5 ft. boat), we headed back in as the tide started doing in and the wind kicked up to about 10mph out of the north. Kay then took Blue out for her first ride in the bigger boat -- I think she liked it. The VIDEO immediately below is about 4 1/2 minute of the hour+ of video I shot with my GoPro mounted to the stern of the Blue Mind, including Kay's outing. Should give you a sense of her speed and stability. What an amazing kayak!

See you soon -- with some information on our experience transporting our kayaks ( yes, thats a piece of Styrofoam junk that I plucked out of the river)... Keep on paddling!

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on the maiden voyage! She's a beauty!