Yes, I know it’s January but I can’t help thinking about “yakking”. The adventure of exploring new places and old places alike. I have added so many new birds to my life list these past few years. The peacefulness of floating under the trees with a good pair of binoculars and my camera is amazing.

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My dream is to one day paddle Greenland or Iceland. I know..it’s odd but beautiful. Realistically, one day I’m going to take my gear to B.C., specifically Campbell River on Vancouver Island. I can see my Sis, her husband and two beautiful boys and my Bro and his wife while having an amazing adventure kayaking some of the sites.

Every year I get some new gear so that eventually I’ll have everything I need to achieve my goals. This spring I’m thinking about this:

yakjacket

Spring paddling can be very chilly. I have been wearing an old Dickie Dee’s freezer jacket. As you can imagine, it does hold the water and is really cold when it gets wet and it certainly doesn’t dry very quickly. BRRRRRR.

So far I’ve found that Paragon Sports has the best price which is $100 less than other places. WOW. I love the style but I think I’ll go with the navy blue. Here’s the link:

My kayak is a Stearns Spree inflatable. Everyone’s situation is different. I wanted to be able to take my kayak anywhere without too much fuss. I don’t have the budget for a good hardshell and roof racks, etc… This kayak is my baby. And it takes me where I want to go, either a nice paddle up the river to birdwatch or a 30km round trip. Yah.. that’s right 30KM! It was great! We paddled Lake Erie from Port Bruce to Hawk’s Cliff just east of Port Stanley.
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Last year I invested in a good paddling PFD, a paddle and a hat. For the pfd I chose a Salus Gjoa:

mypfd

I’m a plus sized woman and find it hard to get gear that fits comfortably. This PFD is excellent. Comfortable, fully adjustable. Most importantly it works! Trust me, on Lake Erie the waves are wicked at times and the undertow is REALLY strong. I’ve pushed my toes off the bottom a few times, but that’s another story. GRIN I’ve spent MANY hours in this vest and have no complaints. It really does pay to research, research, research before you buy.

My paddle is an Aquabound Sting Ray:

paddle

Having a good paddle makes a big difference in comfort and stamina. My old paddle was a really cheap, all purpose type. The Aquabound is much smoother to use and you get much better distance per stroke.

And last but not least, my hat. I’ve never spent so much money on a hat. And probably wouldn’t have if my In-Laws hadn’t given me a gift certificate from The London Paddle Shop for Christmas last year. I mulled it over and decided I needed a good hat. Baseball caps just don’t provide enough protection from the sun and they get HOT! Not to forget the fact that quite often baseball caps, as well as various other styles SINK. I spent some time researching and decided on a red Seabird Sport paddling hat:

myhat

Yet again, I am glad I researched. This hat is lightweight, durable and FLOATS! I’ve never had such a comfortable hat in my life. I wear it in the summer for much more than paddling. Love it!

Currently I have a really old pair of 10×50 binoculars. Not sure what brand because the name is worn off them. LOL! They are heavy and NOT waterproof so I have to be really careful with them. I think it’s time for something better. Not sure it’ll happen this year but I found a good deal on a pair of Nikon
8×42 Monarch ATB Waterproof

:
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According to the reviews these are the best in their category. They are lightweight, crisp and clear…. And…WATERPROOF! Both will be a blessing. No more stiff neck.

I just can’t wait for the season to start. Stay tuned for some brush-ups on technique, gear, navigation, safety and trip planning.

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