In which I muck about in boats - Tactical Ninja
Mar. 3rd, 2014
10:28 am - In which I muck about in boats
Oh look, another weekend has gone past and now it's March, which means it's officially autumn. I noticed this morning there are fewer cicadas making their noises in the trees outside our house. Boo! I would be quite happy for long, warm days to continue for a lot longer. It's not quite dark enough when I get up in the mornings to need a light to make coffee*, but it won't be long.
It also means that to be on the water at daylight on Sunday morning, I had to get up at 5:30am.
Our art thing got postponed because of the wind on Friday, so we ended up doing that on Saturday night. The harbour was glassy and it was still and cool, and I found myself hoping it'd hang in there like that till morning.
As for the art, it was called 'performance arcade' and was a temporary gallery structure thing made mostly in shipping containers. Each one held a work. We (as in, Happy and myself) were supposed to be roaming art, in that we'd wear our various LED things and wander around talking to people. We were the shiniest things there.
I don't know how to put this delicately, but a lot of art that gets featured in these sorts of things takes itself far too seriously, and tips over from Interesting into Pretentious and Boring. There were some things I liked:
- a bathtub with endless hot water that overflowed through slats to create a shower in the container below. You could use either (raincoats provided).
- the Grim Reaper PR department public outreach centre.
- a container that just had loads of strips of cotton fabric that you could tie into cat's cradles, nets or whatever. I wanted to climb on it but figured that probably wasn't good role modelling.
- Kelly Kellective's LED arrows to nowhere.
And that was about it. Unfortunately, the danceable music had been planned for Friday, and Saturday night was classical, drone, and, um, Pretentious and Boring. The last act was good but still not danceable. So we didn't dance, instead walking around and being as approachable as possible, but it was plainly obvious to me that this wasn't a burn event and that in the normal public space, someone dressed like me can be intimidating to approach. Suck.
Hopefully some good pics will come of it.
Meanwhile on Saturday I worked out a system for storing the boat. The place I had originally planned turned out to be too awkward, so instead I've suspended it in the shed, covered in a tarp so that it's not broadcasting its radioactive green existence to the world and screaming "STEAL ME!" It should also protect it from UV.
It's easy enough to get up and down from there, using the ropes to lift one end at a time. And there's a steel cable through one of the scupper holes and looped around a rafter, secured with a padlock. Anyone who wanted to nick it would have to be pretty determined.
I also kitted it out on the lawn and took pics:
For insurance purposes, naturally! It just made me want to get out on the water. Luckily the weather did hold for Sunday morning, I was able to get it up on the car by myself**, and I was on the water by 7am, launching in Balaena Bay just after daylight.
My plan was mainly to practice my paddling and get some hours in to test boat comfort, stability and whatnot. So I was mostly trolling. I took dianavilliers' brother's recommendation and towed a Nuclear Chicken with a fluoro yellow jig head on it.
These things are apparently the goodies. And they definitely worked! I caught 2 kahawai in quick succession just opposite the path entrance to Massey Memorial, and dropped a third, larger one right by the lighthouse there. Look, first blood!
This wee kahawai was actually bigger than my foot, honest. However, he was still too little to keep so I put him back. He thanked me by crapping all over me and the boat as he went over the side.
After that I chugged across the mouth of Evans Bay to test the boat in a side-on swell. It handled it easily - at no point did I feel unstable or unsafe, and by the end the harbour was starting to get a bit whitecappy. I stopped halfway across and discovered that the last fish had nicked my lure (OM NOM NOM) so I replaced it with a shiny one. That didn't achieve anything, so after a lap of the Point Jenningham lighthouse I stopped to put on another nuclear chicken.
While I was faffing with this the shiny lure that was sitting loose in the water got eaten by what turned out to be a blue cod. It was also a bit small, so back it went.
Finally, to test the boat in a following sea I paddled down the inside of Evans Bay to the NIWA base (which is well known to landbased anglers as a good spot), and then tested my paddling into the wind on the way back. The wind was up to about 15 knots and I was starting to get tired by the time I got back to Balaena Bay, and people walking along the Evans Bay road were overtaking me! O.o
Here's a map of where I went. The green arrows are more or less where I caught the fish, and the yellow one is where dinner escaped. In total I covered about 10.2km.
Today my shoulders and central upper back are a little sore, but what hurts most is my bum. I think the rudder footpegs may be a little on the short side, which forces me to sit in a position that throws all the weight on my seat bones when paddling. I'll try adjusting them back a bit, and if that doesn't work I'll have to invest in some foam padding. Eek.
Good news is that my elbow handled it fine. It twinged a couple of times when stroking on the opposite side - with a double ended paddle you're using leverage on the other arm each time you stroke - but as long as I focused on not locking it out it was good.
The verdict? So.Much.Fun. I made a couple of mistakes using the anchor for the first time - like, duh Tats, chucking it out the opposite side to the rig is probably a bit silly, eh? But they weren't disastrous and it all worked like it's supposed to. Next time I'll take some berley and try anchoring up somewhere and trying for a snapper.
And it felt pretty damn good shouldering my boat and putting it on the car in front of a bunch of people, too. I am that shallow.
Oh yeah, here's another sign of autumn - the naked ladies are coming up.
These have the same leaves as agapanthus and I couldn't work out why they were dying off. Now I know - it's because they are naked ladies, so named because the flowers come up first. They remind me of my hometown. But I won't hold that against them.
Oh yeah, while I was out yesterday, my boat named itself. It wants to be Turtle. It's green, it's broad, it goes in the water, and in kayaking terminology turtle is what it's called when you tip your boat over. Hopefully that's not tempting fate - I'm going more for amusingly self-effacing. But there you go. Turtle.
* We have coffee in bed every morning. I started this habit when Dr Wheel moved in. He brings the happy habits. <3
** Kiss my arse, Pink Kayak Maker People.