Monday, July 30, 2012

White Bear Sail

I got the boat in the water for the first time this summer. I've been trying to do that for a month or better. 

 As you can see this boat does not have any mechanical propulsion. You can use skill and knowledge or you can paddle it like a canoe. I always try skill and I win 90% of the time. We'll cruise out and leave others wondering how we made that look easy. We don't have sails on at this point, we are 'bare pole'. I'm going to teach a little bit in this post, if you don't mind. If you do, enjoy the pictures of White Bear Lake and stop reading.
 This is just after we launch. Full sail. The bar over me is the boom, it holds the end of the Main sail. The rope called a Main Sheet controls the Boom. The small rope is called a traveler and it allows the boom to travel across the boat but still be controlled by the Mail Sheet. The stick behind my head is a pole so I can reach the rudder from a distance. It's called a 'hiking stick'.
 The sail in front is the Jib. It helps the Main sail by forcing wind into it. That dangling yellow cord is called a Boom Vang and it holds the boom down when needed. It's not needed now.
 Main Sheet, Traveler, Rudder and you recognized shore. :-)

 These people are racing. White Bear has a history of sailboat racing. They do not have Jibs, the font sail, because it's just one person and a jib needs two people.
 The rope on the right is called a Sheet, Nothing is called a 'rope' on a boat. A "Sheet" controls a sails trim. This being a "Jib Sheet", controls the Jib. The wires in white going almost straight up are "stays" they hold the Main Mast, so they are called Main Stays.
 The rope front left is the Main Sheet, It controls the trim of the main so we can apply wind power to the boats hull. It's counter force (everything has a counter force) is the 4.5 foot long center board. We need 5 feet of water to move or I have to lift the center board but then we lose control.
 Skipper and able crew.
 The 'seat belts' in yellow at the bottom are so you can hook your feet when you 'hike' out to hold the boat from tipping over. Our weight counters the wind, the center board counters 'crabbing' or sliding sideways. If you don't hike and the boat slides, you 'trip' over the center board and go for an unplanned swim. So the Main's counter is the center board, the wind's counter is the crew.

We're done. About 3 hours of sailing. We have lunch while sitting on the rail. 

We had good winds all day. Something like 5 knots, maybe a bit more at times. We sailed from the north east shore to the south west bay and back.

We did not use the big sail called a spinnaker. I should have but played it safe for the first sail of the year. The spinnaker produces a lot of power so you need to control it well or you "go shrimp'n"

We'll fly the spinnaker soon. It's really fun.

Friday, July 27, 2012


My father asked if I ever finished the waterway hike a few weeks ago. I said we did but I didn't post the update so I'm going to throw this out to my Mother and Father.

The next weekend after Meander I'm back from Atlanta and it's hot out so we cruise over to the Meander site and jump in. About 30 minutes later we're at the last exit point. I looked, the monster turtle was gone and that was a little disappointing. I have a few pictures from the first trip that help with the second so the observant will notice a wardrobe change.

We jump in and get to hiking.

Most of the creek is easy going and you can see your feet so footing is quite good. Unlike Giant Salamander you could not see 6 inches.

These are the old school flow rate meters. They read 4 inches. Opposite is the modern electronic meter but it's a PVC pipe and 2 wires so it's nothing to look at. If you want to see what it looks like, peak under your sink, it's about the same.

Open sweepers are fun. They frame the water and are easy to pass. This one is supported on the opposite bank.

It's about 92 degrees and this is Cool Running's. Lots of small fish in the shallows with a few large trout.

The posts must be erosion control. It's the outside of the bend and must have been installed to protect the hiking trail. Down stream the same structure has failed.

Old trash. This has to have been here since the 1940's. I scuba and find these all over. The date is printed on the side so I can't get a year but it's the 8 oz Coke from 1944 or so.

Two very large long legged spiders seeing to it that we have enough long legged spiders. I figure it out after the photo so this is spider porn. Sorry.

WOW, That the largest strainer I've ever run into. It's a no pass. I dig a little but it's totally closed out. We hike upstream and exit river left.

I'm not making this up. I find this just after we get blocked by the downed tree so any effort to pass is messing with the reaper or maybe it's reminding me my buddy 'death rider' should be here? Yep, that must be it.

This is the best exit from the downed Cottonwood Tree. We move slowly about 50 feet inland, upstream and then a steep drop to get back in. We have to work around a deep pool shortly after that would have made me swim under a tree.

I wish I saved the first Coke bottle. I'd like to know if this part fits. It too is an 8 oz bottle from the 1940's. We are about 1/2 mile from the last part.
This is the last photo I took. This is the start of the delta so the muck starts and the smells thicken. We walk a stretch of swamp before getting to hard ground. About an hour hike back and we get to the van. Round trip was close to 3 hours. This would also be fun after a hard rain for tubing.   

There you go dad.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Giant Salamander

I'm going to make this a short post. Death Rider had the idea, I was just the buddy. 

I get a call to show up with a PFD and my fat bike. Having been on a few swims I knew it was going to get rodeo. That means, "Keep your head on a swivel" and when things get nasty, hang on for 8 seconds and you'll make it.

I'd like to caption every photo but I want to get the post up and I don't have the energy to craft anything worth your time to read. I've been busy ever night for some time. Kayaking, River Hikes and Rides but nothing over the top to post about so I'll just throw the pictures up and talk about a few.

Bridges are always cool. Thousands drive over and never think about whats under. We go under and never think about the drivers. 

Old stuff is the best.

It wouldn't be a river ride without a tromp in the cabbage.

The first guy has no idea if it's 10 feet deep or 1 foot. You just cowboy up and go.

Here we are on the Minnesota

Sea weed on your wheels.

Getting our swim on. Death goes first. I wait for him to cross about 2/3 before I go in.

I exit next to a dead Carp and a fisherman that wasn't sure if he should 'fish or cut bait'.

Shore is knee deep clay/mud. You almost have to crawl. 

Some video is always fun.

Riding is hit and miss. You can't see what's your riding into.

Swims are fun but barge traffic makes the long crossing scary in the middle so this is near shore.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


A meander, in general, is a bend in a sinuous watercourse and that is exactly what we expected. Not too long after we Eat Crow I decide maybe I should leave the boat behind and just walk and swim if needed.

 I look at the charts and pick a small creek that I expect is shallow with a lot of bendy bits. It's hot out and this is a hot weather activity.

These two are just above and below. I use an all weather camera so I don't have to worry about cold, sand, mud, water or impact. The black bug on the left was one of hundreds of small dragon fly like bugs hanging out in the sun and the right was my attempt at getting a trout photo. There was a school of 5 or 6 but as you can see I got nothing.

If your not pulling a boat or dealing with neck deep water these things are easy.
Someone likes this stream. I was surprised to see erosion control. Who knows how old it is.

This looks like a mess but it was easy to move through.

If my wife gets to come back in another life she's going to be a duck. I'm hoping for River Otter for myself.

This low dam looks harmless but they can be very dangerous. We take a land trail and avoid the 6 foot deep hole.
Underwater photo: Look at this big fella. His shell is about 18 inch long.
I don't know how we disturbed him but he came out for us.

The rocks are a little slippery but they are only bothersome for short stretches.

I have to fly out for work in a few hours so we hit the trail.
A mile and a half shoe shuttle and we're back to the van.

This was just a short trip to try out waterway hikes. We only had about 2 hours to Meander. It makes up for a miserable bike ride yesterday. We tried to go 50 miles but after 3 flats and other issues we clip some corners and end at 30 miles.