Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it – no matter if I have said it! – except it agree with your own reason and your own common sense.” – Siddhartha Gautama, a.k.a. the Buddha

Posts tagged “Yaks

Stop hovering,,,

Thats been my issue of late. Been hovering over issues so far out of my control, that they start controlling me.

I think its fairly safe to say, that no matter whats approaching through the fall out of 2020’s shenanigans, they will be nearly glacial in speed reaching everyday people. Or as Hemingway put it “Slowly, then all at once” (refering to going bankrupt, but financial bankruptcy is a good analogy to societal bankruptcy) Watch a utoob vid of a glacier calving, and you see what I mean.

I spent 24 hours with friends New Years day into the second. Spent hours monkeying with kayaks, talking kayaks, white water skills, describing long boating and explaining the differences to one who has never paddled a long boat. 24 hours of ZERO World Crisis. One short point where I was asked about Christmas Booms and my opinion. But that was it. The rest was good food, good people, good (but not in excess 😉) drink, and KAYAKY STUFF!!!

I needed the break. Oh did I need that break.

Sadly, the river run we had scheduled canceled with an illness. One of the key people felt ill and backed out. And that started an avalanche of same. B and I (more me than B) decided to hold off for lack of support. Kayaking is inherently risky from word ‘go’ (kinda like flying,,, take offs are optional, landings are mandatory. ) and I know I am the weak link that will likely need someone to save my ass in fast moving water. I didn’t want to burden a single person to that reponsibility, among other reasons. 🥶 A larger group is one mitigant to that risk.

Rolling classes are opening back up soon: indoor pool, good instructors, and small class sizes. Let the PTwB play their games, none of us can stop the juggernaut they have created; I will do what I need to lessen my burden on others, doing one of the things I love. I still don’t ‘know’ that WW kayaking is my thing, but the skills needed to handle a wild river are very applicable to heavy seas, and I DO want to play in oceans, wide open lakes and such. Rivers can help me build my skills and they are a lot more plentiful here than open water.

A short vid of where we were supposed to ‘play’ Saturday.


Monday, write prompts

I don’t normally do write prompts since I tend to write several times a day without being prompted.  My brain never stops churning and there are times where the writing muse takes over and I ‘stop everything’ long enough to set down some notes.  If I don’t,  the idea scatters like a murder of Crows in a corn field being shot at. (You did know that a group of crows is called a murder, right?)

Todays writing prompt that I don’t use (🤪) was inspired by a short conversation on FB.  “When did the kayak bug strike you?” 

Well, it wasn’t in July of 2018, though that was the first time I owned one.  The real bug bite was in ’92, when I lived in O-side Kaliforniastan.  I lived across the street from a custom surfboard shop and the owner lived above it.  I liked the atmosphere of the shop and would hang out when Shem, my GF, was in her creative phase and a complete terror to be near. He was getting out of the shortboard craze and going back to long boards when one of his customers came in, wanting a repair for a sea kayak.  When they showed up with it, I was lost.  Those lines and curves, just bedazzled me.  Then I saw that same kayak out in the surf off La Jolla, near seal rock.  I watched it out there for two hours, skimming the waves, backsurfing, rolling under breakers to come up the other side and get back out in the swells. I was in awe.

I wanted one.

A short spurt of shopping.

Hope sank like the Titanic with TWO holes in it.  There was no way I could even consider $4000 for a boat that only held one person and was twice as long as my car (not quite, but I was driving a Fiat X/1-9 then.  Where do you strap a kayak to a two seater sportscar?  )  (and as I have found, the intial cost of boat/lathe/car/house, is just the admission fee, its the add-ons that get ya!)

26 years later, serendipity dropped the Carolina in my lap and the ramp up began.  2 years later ,,,

Have to clear the work space

Three skin on frame kayaks, two white water yaks, and a stripbuilt expedition boat in process. And I have more investment in the peripheral gear than the boats themselves. Spray skirts, PFDs, wetsuits, dry tops, dry bags, floatbags, etc. I can outfit another paddler my size without stretching things and two if one has their own PFD.

And like I saw another person say, “I’m still on the swim team” meaning. I haven’t learned to roll yet. Oh, but so so close. Just need more seat time and a couple more sessions with someone in the know. B swears I only need one more session and I’ll be rollin’, but I am a pessimist. I know how stubborn I can be. I practice the different motions so the muscles know the routine, and keep the dialogue in my head. Soon,,,,

But that was the day I knew I wanted to kayak. I can even tell you the make and the designers name. It was a P&H Biadarka designed by Derek Hutchinson. I knew NOTHING about either the boat or Derek until recent years, but I remember the owner being VERY proud of his boat and who designed it. Now, I own books written by Derek, made a paddle based on one of his designs, and used some of his lines when designing Serena.

Talk about a long gestation period for a bug!!! LOL. It was just one of those things that kept getting shuffled to the side or to the back burner to simmer a bit longer. It was never a priority in my world, but it NEVER went away either.

I’ll be back at the running commentary of this Asylum we call 2020 tomorrow.

Sunday funday

Had to take a break from all the hoopla.

Took Serena out on Saturday for her one year birthday float. She is one year old this week.

Her christening float one year ago.

Then I took out both of the plastiYaks; Betty and Jefe. Water isn’t flowing well enough to realy get them playing, but I was able to stretch some techniques and push my comfort levels. Jefe is strange to me. Initial stability is great, secondary is great and its there you hit a wall. Trying to get that boat over on its side is a fight unless you throw your upper body at. Then she’ll slip right over. Hip flicks are different to: I can feel that hump between secondary and over . Almost like a cam action going on. All of the other boats are smooth so the difference is noticable. Some are so smooth (Duh!kee, Betty) that they will bring you up and BACK over the other side if you get too energetic.

Honestly, I need to spend an hour or two in a kayak everyday, or minimal every other day. When I sat in Serena, I was twitchy and nervous¤. After playing for an hour, I settled down and was able to start pushing it a bit. Edging, stern draws, slicing into and out of eddy lines. Even went through some rougher water. Did some fast water ferrying, even went up stream and only had to portage once.

Then taking the plastiyaks out, not one issue. No twitchyness, no anxiety, other than the ‘dont really want to get wet’, but I was able to get in Jefe and just head out. No hanging in the shallows ‘adjusting’. Played for an hour or so, then went and grabbed Betty off the truck and same thing (recall, she is just as tippy as Duh!kee is and Duhk has tried to kill me: LOL.) No issues! I was even playing with getting her to dive while headed upstream in the narrows. She didn’t dive, but she did get her decks washed off. I think the water needs to be faster to get a dive,

But, I feel MUCH better than I did. My shoulder isn’t achy, my lower back is feeling supple again, and my anger is blunted for the time being. (And I am shopping for a 7mm wet suit; that water is COLD. I may just breakdown and go full drysuit, but I’m still choking on their price tags.)

Oh, and if anyone took offense at my last post. NOT SORRY. I’m sick n tired of tippy-toeing around peoples feelings, this year has whittled my tolerances to the nubs. If you were offended, ya might want to reflect on why. Use a mirror, it might help.

¤Water temps are sitting mid 40s right now. Will chill a body quick. I DO dress for the water but still have no desire to be in it. The gear is my insurance “just in case”.

Fall? winter? Urk!!!

Its 33°f outside right now.  Fire in its place and the house is comfortably warm as a snoring dog and buzzy cat will attest.

And the beginnings of cabin fever are already kicking in.

Must be a symptom of an already f@ck€d up year.  Its not even December  and I’m itchin’ to do “sumpthin!”

Projects aside, and I could be working on any one of them, my body is wanting things more physical and demanding.  I have a book to complete(yes Bruce, Its in process), i have another kayak to build (still need to get the log to the mill, but there are other aspects I could have fun with),,,

But.  But.  But.

Yeah, I HATE cold weather, shortened days, and having an accelerated metabolism.  I mean, I’m 52, 6’2″ and still under 200#.  My body despises ‘sitting still’ (and why I dont hunt or fish very often, unless I can stalk my quarrie.).

But Dio, you’re sittin’ still when you’re kayaking!

No, actually I am not.  I may be in a seated position, but kayaking uses muscle groups from your head all the way down to your feet.  Do a short run in WW and you’ll feel it tomorrow in places you’ve forgotten about.   The first time I paddled 15 miles, I was sore for a  week and not just in my shoulders and arms, but in my abs, hips and thighs: almost like I had been running.

Since I started kayaking, my waist line has been steadily shrinking and the love handles are melting off.  My endurance is better and my back doesn’t ache like it used to.

And I still haven’t rolled successfully 🤬. Working on that, maybe I need water time with some chill to encourage getting upright, ,🥶 . I posted a short vid of my dryland practice and that is getting perfect, but its not IN water so,,, but my muscle memory is building, and I find myself getting upright with little to no effort now. I even noted in a hipflick practice that I came upright without realizing it when someone had asked me a question. (Small distraction syndrome/zen moment.) My biggest issue is just what I told another kayaker when we were out for the moonlight float: “my issue is in my head.” I need to follow Bruce’s advice and just go inverted and chat with the fish a few times, some wet exits, and just get used to being upside down. I know I can get out of all of my boats with ease, some better than others (Duh!k likes to trip me and snag shoes. And why I paddle her barefoot) so the exit is not my hang-up; my hangup is in being upside down underwater. Yeah, I gotta work on that.

But it’s stinking cold out, and I’m making oodles of excuses in my head, and creating a mixed bag of angst in my psyche. Fact is, NOW is the time when one really wants the rolling skill down pat; ‘Bombproof’ as the white water types like to call it.

Excuses are like A$$h♤les, every body has one and knows another.

I need to be the bear

Be the Bear!!! Maybe thats what I need. Kit up with cold water gear and just dive in, swim around a bit, THEN get in the kayak and do what I need. Only (legit) excuse I have there is ‘No partner’. Kinda don’t wanna risk things without a backup on hand. (I don’t enjoy soloing like I did. Funny being an introvert and lone wolf type wanting to ‘herd up’ 😝)

Nothing else I could do, so I went kayaking,


Have to clear the work space

Thats the strongback I made up for this little effort…

Expedition Single top

These are the patterns that I will lay all the little strips out on. Tape/staples to hold in place, glue between and they will make the shape. Not difficult, but tedious.

Once all thats done, (I’m exaggerating a touch, there are lots of little details in the middle) layer the fiberglass and epoxy and she will be a 19′ sea kayak.

What I find so cool is being able to ‘see’ the final form in notation on the strongback.

And so begins Dios descent into (yet further) madness. 🤣🤣🤣

Mehbe a little addicted

Its All Hallows Eve, a full moon night, and the clocks reset tonight.

Some are thinking this may be the reboot to the horrid year that was kicked off back March with the clocks moving forward on a full moon night.

I dunno. But its slated to be a nice night with minimal cloud cover, and I did that whole Fakebook promo for a moonlight float on a local lake. Lots of thumbs up but only a couple ‘I’ll be there”s. It’s all good. Its a kiddies night more than anything. I’m single with an empty nest: I can go have some fun of my own.🎃🛶🌕👍

New arrows in the quiver.

And one yet to be born.

Its there in the upper right of that pic. Those are the forms and the two ‘horses’ will hold the strongback while I assemble things.

Going a different route this time’round. Strip built,not skin boat.

19′ expedition craft from Guillemot kayaks. Using coffeewood for the strips. Lighter than WRC and seems to hold up better as well. (All of my WRC paddles have split and cracked in short order, while my CW paddles just flex and bounce. ) The log is already cut and waiting for a trip to the mill, then I will begin building.

But I’m gonna have to find somewhere else to put all of these boats!!! LOL the porch is 8’x24′ and its getting just a might crowded.

I may be adding a small out building near the driveway as a kayak house. Doesn’t need to be much, just keep the sun and rain off ’em. I prefer the porch since snakes don’t frequent there, and I know from experiance that snakes will harbor in boats if they think its safe. But, space,,,

Yeah, theres a bit of addiction here. Its not like any one kayak will fill all the roles I play in. White water boats dont like open waters and distance, sea kayaks can handle rough stuff but dont do the tight twists and turns of river running very well. And the skinboats will do most all of it to some extent, and handle waves like a living creature, but they aren’t built like tanks like the WW boats are. They are also built around the hunting tool concept: not built for comfort so to speak.

The new WW boat is a trial of sorts. Its a creeker boat, meant for fast wild water. Similar in use to Betty Boof, but shorter and higher volume. Larger steeper bow shape to ride over any crazy stuff where Betty will submarine.

I don’t know that this is the direction I want to go in, but if I dont at least try it,,,,

I do know I want wide open living water in my future so the strip boat is a definitely on course. If I find I don’t want to follow a serious WW route, the Jefe is marketable. (Betty won’t be as she is 24 years old and ‘old skool’, and I like the way she fits me and the little rivers I do run.)

6 kayaks. One pilot. 3 totally different use-niches. A truck that may be able to haul 3 possibly 4 of those boats at any one time, but it works. I can haul a set of choices and decide by conditions what I’ll be playing in. Or load up a pair if partnering up in something specific.

(And I hear my ol-man grumbling “ya can only paddle one at a time,,,”) 🤣


Another first in a strange year.

But this one was fun.

Been a few years since I’ve been near salt water and never with a kayak. Didn’t accomplish much but learned a ton. Next time, Serena makes the trip and we’re gonna see what she really knows and I need to learn.

Still paying the bill

All of that is now this.

I won’t try to emulate the Late Great Remus, but thats my woodpile report for now. Three more loads like that last and I will be full up for the winter. I still had half a row left from last year, but this one is looking to be a doozy with an earlier start. I have another shed, half this size, I may end up filling if our cold snap carries out much further. Added insurance you could say.

And my kayaks are feeling quite neglected this week. Will next week too since I have to make a run back to my old stomping grounds of yore to help family out. I may drag Betty

along in the off chance I can get in some paddle time on my ol neighborhood river. Nothing wild about it, some dull class one stuff and a lot of open slow moving areas, but its cleaned up a ton since I was a kid and any seat time is a welcome addition right now. Most rivers hereabouts are dragging hulls low and I am betting the same applies up there, so, Betty is the only choice if I get that shot. She rides higher and has that thick-skinned whitewater hull to take some abuse.

But its back to the grind(er) and burning metal tomorrow. A week behind as usual but steadily gaining to the end of that (current) list. (It always hits in loads that need done yesterday it seems) There is ALWAYS more after that, even if its just some strange shuffle of tool bags and a different hat to wear for a day. “The price of being good” is what the bossman said to me once.

The beginning of fall

Quiet swishing from my PFD as the paddle passes left and right, biting the water, pushing towards any random destination today. Rain pattering all around me, washing sweat from my face leaving a salty taste on the edge of my lips. The rain helps now, knocking the heat down. We round a bend and there on the shore, a Blue Heron scoping the water. A doe and her two yearlings watching us, twitching ears, but no signs of distress. One of the yearlings steps towards the shore line, but mama twitches her tail as warning and the little one stops. Still no signs of fear, just caution.

The maples aren’t turning yet, but the poplar are and I see a few oak are starting to shift shades of green. In another month, if we have a hard frost, all of them will be bare and the landscape will take on that somber, almost bleak look.

Paddling season isn’t over; it never really quits, I just change apparel needed. Out come the wetsuits, drytop and fleecewear; in the box go the quickdry shirts and shorts. Booties instead of barefeet or sandals, pogies on the paddle, and out we go again. Paddling in the cold is sometimes my favorite time as the quiet and solitude are far more intense. Lake time isn’t drowned out by powerboat noise, or the thump, thump, thump, of someone blasting thier stereo.

Like today, rainy, and not just a drizzle, and the boats are staying close to their slips, or on their trailers. Here we are with water dripping off our noses, watching life that has no clue, nor care, about Trumps or Bidens or dollar-bills or even utility bills. The little one just wants mama to explain what kind of ugly duck that is out on the water.

It puts a different perspective on ‘the real world’. One almost doesn’t want to go back: just keep paddling, the river knows the way.


When the world is topseyturvey and normality is asleep in the trunk of an old lead sled careening out of control without brakes?

Build a flippin paddle. Thats my answer anyways. Weather is just as crazy as the rest of the world right now with the remnants of a hurricane breaking over us, so paddling is out (its not the rain, its the electricity in the air that stops me)

Here are the pics.

Same length as my older paddle, same loom but I decided to try a shoulderless design this round.

Not finished, still a lot of shaping to do and sanding, sanding, sanding. I plan on glassing the lower section of the blade, more as protection than looks, from beating anti-social rocks into submission. The loom will be a linseed oil and beeswax mix I found works great and doesn’t tear waterlogged hands to ribbons.

Alright, thats that for the weekend.

A question to all the readers, please respond in comments. Do you feel something in your soul right now? A kind of ‘impatiently waiting’ feeling?

No need to elaborate in comments (unless ya really wanna) a simple thumbs up or down will suffice.

The Tuttle Twins - a child's foundation of freedom

Somedays, the bear gets you

This ‘bear’ has been creeping up on me for awhile. Not real certain how it came to be, or if there is even a ‘fix’. But the problem is very obvious now.

The gunwales in Serena have warped and the entire boat now has a noticable twist from bow to stern. Seen on deck the bow leans to port where the stern deck leans to starboard. At the hull, the keel, which when I first skinned her was dead straight, now has an obvious ‘S’ shape and the cutwaters are leaning at odds to each other. Last time I had her on water was for rolling practice and she was quite damp inside after the fact. Being tied down to the rack probably helped keep things from being worse than they are (and a possible clue to a fix, maybe,,,)

She can be paddled, she will roll, but she is no longer the “Expedition class ” kayak. Sure, you could do it, and after a 1/2 mile, the correcting strokes would be as absent minded as my ex-wife, but you would feel it the next day. And getting into a ‘good’ boat would have you flustered in seconds until your hind-brain adapted again.

I’m tempted to try this and see if it fixes the issue. Fill her with water and let it soak in for a period of days/week. Drain it out and clamp in the rafters of an out building over the winter. Let the frame ‘relax’ by being wet then ‘train it’ with the clamping. Over the winter because the humidity slowly shifts from “scuba req’d” summer months to “dry out a mummy” winter chills.

That will likely be my course of action as I have time and money tied up in her . If it doesn’t work, I’ll strip the frame, clean it up and put in on the market as a conversation piece. I’ve seen yak frames in th Rafters of seafood places a time or two, and if she isn’t a good boat afloat, she can be a great wallflower for others to enjoy seeing.

The Tuttle Twins - a child's foundation of freedom

A strange thing

Went out today with Serena and Shorty (nickname of the new to me Pirouette). Scouted 5 places to put in and not one “inspired” me. The water at Laurel Lake was down 4′ from when I was last there and wave action was abrupt and short lived. A river put in below the dam was out for similar reasons, low water. Went further on where Laurel meets the Cumberland and it was so low and mucky,,

Just was not feeling it today. Strange,

May be I just need a paddling partner.

Gah! I’m impossible

I get frustrated with myself at times.  Seriously, FRUSTRATED.

Why?  ‘Cus I am perpetually driven in the quest to KNOW THINGS.  Not anything in particular, but EVERYTHING I come into contact with.

I have just spent DAYS and an unknown amount of data researching building, floating paddling all sorts of DIY kayaks, canoes and rowers.   From fuselage type builds, woodstrip, skin on frame, to hardcore Fiberglass construction, I have been digging in? Here is one of the places I have spent a LOT of time at.   Check out this video of one of his builds. (link, can’t seem to embed it)


WHY? you may ask. (and I occasionally frequently ask myself the same damned thing)

It’s not like I have any intention of actually building one of these boats, I have one that I am quite comfortable with and does what I want it to do.  I really have no intention of serious whitewater life, though later on I may do the coastal thing on a vacation or two, but that’s two different animals.  I know that this boat can handle class II water, likely even class III, and I have zero intention of anything higher than 2.2  .


Ah, that’s the side of me that gets others frustrated (my dad).   It’s an inherent part of my personality.   I need to know as much as I can about whatever I am getting into, because I like prefer being self-sufficient in all of my endeavors.  It may be trivial information at best, but the fact that “trivial” information frequently becomes “useful” information isn’t a bad thing.    I gotta learn, and learn, and learn.   I may not build a boat, but by god the techniques will come in handy for other things.   And knowing that its possible opens up other possibilities along the way.

And who knows: knowing how to make a kayak from wood strips and skins made a couple of indigenous people into a survivor group in climates that kill normal people with a quickness.   That’s a skill set that can’t be bad to have.