Saturday, March 28, 2009
The Kodiak has been built, boxed and shipped! Brilliant! Hopefully it will arrive before the ice breaks up so I can transport it home on the sledge - saves on the price of a taxi!
You might be wondering why I need the kayak so far in advance of the actual expedition - summer 2010? Well, the water becomes extremely cold and full of slush ice already in late September and October. Add to that the rapid loss of daylight and the paddling season becomes very short indeed. We typically have sea ice from January/February until May/June leaving very little time before the planned departure in late June 2010 to try out the boat on a shakedown cruise. David and I arranged that the Kodiak be sent already this Spring so that I might try it out in July/August this year when the conditions are favourable.
To see more of the Kodiak being built check out David's photos here.
If you have found this blog while looking for the Seven Settlements solo kayak expedition then be assured it is moving here soon. After many html snags I have decided to start over, again. So this is it, the final location for the blog that will document the solo kayak expedition to visit all seven settlements of the Uummannaq fjord area of north west Greenland, summer 2010.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
David from Folbot has sent me some photos of the Kodiak being sewn/built for the TSS 2010 expedition. You can see more pictures by following the link to David's Twitpic.
It's interesting to see the hull and deck of the Kodiak being sewn together, just like the skin of the traditional Greenland Kayak is sewn together - albeit by needle and thread. There are of course many similarities between the design of the two kayak types and you can clearly see the legacy of the Inuit in the kayaks of today, especially the folding kayaks combining the skin and frame construction of the original kayaks.
A while ago I took some photos of the Folbot Cooper on a rack together with the Greenland Kayaks paddled by local people from the town of Uummannaq. Modern materials met traditional designs that day.
It's easy to see how the original kayaks are better suited to rolling than their chunky descendants. Of course, I'll still give rolling a go later this year when the water isn't quite so hard. When looking at the differences between the old and new you might think that the Folbots are like barges compared. Definitely. But then I haven't found a Greenlandic kayak I can fit into yet and they are certainly not built to carry provisions. I really enjoy the modern skin on frame kayak in production, and what it enables me to do in terms of multi-day kayaking trips, but you can't beat the original Greenland kayak for its beautiful lines and efficiency in the water!
The last picture is of the Folbot Greenland II configured for a single paddler. Behind my brother-in-law is one of the feature attractions of Uummannaq fjord - ice!
Monday, March 16, 2009
I received a great email from David AvRutick at Folbot the other day, the Kodiak for the expedition is on the building schedule! Fantastic!
What I love about Folbot - I already own two boats - is it feels like you are buying a boat, a yacht, a ship, whatever ... you get an email that tells you your kayak is to be "built". In a very small "boys own adventure" kind of way, it could feel like Fridtjof Nansen getting a telegram from Colin Archer saying that Fram is now under construction. Okay, a very small way!
As we have sea ice covering the fjord at the moment there is zero paddling to be done. That, however, is okay as it means my Greenland Dogs are camped out on the ice and running. I guess that is why I am torn between thinking about paddling and getting out there with the dogs. There will be time for everything, and while winter is for the dogs and sledging the summer is all about getting on the water. I am fortunate to live in an area with just two seasons: sledging and paddling!
When not working or sledging I have found time to play with the Kodiak - in Photoshop. Just how many decklines do I think I need? : )
Posted by Chris
16. martsi 2009
Thursday, March 12, 2009
In connection with planning the expedition I have been surfing the net a lot and I have discovered that the settlement of Illorsuit figures heavily in kayak lore. Rather than repeat the kayak history of Illorsuit I would like to write a little about my experience there and encourage you to follow the links below to read what others have written so well.
You can find plans and photos of replicas of the Illorsuit kayak at Bryan Hansel's website here and further information about the history behind the kayak and the Greenlander who built it in Duncan Winning's article on Seakayaker here.
My own visit to Illorsuit was far less interesting and far quicker than any that have been described in the links above. My wife and I were on our way from Uummannaq to Nugatsiaq and Illorsuit is the settlement where we were to have a mini-layover of 15 minutes or so as post and passengers were loaded and unloaded. We met a some of my students from 10th and 11th grade while we waited at the grass and gravel helipad and admired the view.
When I return in 2010 I plan to explore the settlement properly and hopefully get to know more of the people and learn more of the history of Illorsuit. As I intend to write much more about the settlements at a later date, this will just have to be a "teaser" until then.
Posted by Chris
12. martsi 2009