Saturday, February 25, 2012

Greetings from the Great White North! Awesome X-Country Skiing in Gatineau Park, Quebec, Canada

It's that time of year once again. To beg forgiveness of our diehard "must paddle winter" paddle buddies for parking our awesome sea kayaks and GPs (Greenland paddles) and picking up the ski poles instead.

I say, this is a better idea in winter! But hey, whatever floats your boat.

Good news! It's still not too late to convert from the "stick" (Greenland paddle) to the ski pole this winter. The sales are on and the snow is back! At least around here in the National Capital Region of Canada (Ottawa, Ontario/Gatineau, Quebec).

For last year's tempting plea for more diehard winter paddlers to convert to the slopes see:  Paddlers who don't know they love cross-country skiing yet . . . but will!

Or check out what you're missing again this year. Join us! Hit the slopes! I'm just sayin' Let's Ski! We'll paddle again when stuff thaws out.
Ski to a day cabin in Gatineau Park. Pretty awesome.
Gatineau Park cabins are cute from any angle.
Inside a cabin. Get comfy.
Heat up lunch in some Aluminium foil on top of the wood stove. Don't bring anything drippy! Grilled cheese sandwiches are great.
I love woodpeckers!
Here's another woodpecker at a Gatineau Park bird feeder.
Gatineau Park red squirrels love to play peek-a-boo. They dig tunnels under the deep snow to the bird feeders in Gatineau Park. So cool! And so cute! Do you see a hole to the tunnel at the left of this picture? It leads to the bird feeder. One squirrel keeps watch, while the others eat. There were 5 at the bird feeder today. A family? Yep, they squabble at times. And watch out for each other. So must be!
I'll admit. I love the red squirrels in Gatineau Park. So beautiful!
Happy ski and paddle trails! Stay warm.
The BaffinPaddler

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Maine Events: Lobster Industry Litter

Rusting lobster traps and broken lobster buoys washed ashore on an island in the Deer Isle Archipelago, off Stonington, Maine, USA
Well, this probably isn’t going to be a very popular post. But it is important.

As paddlers, we see things from a different perspective sometimes. At a slower pace. We tend to spend more time wherever we are. It takes us longer to get there in a kayak! Maybe that's why some of us become sea kayakers. We take a deeper look. Like it or not.

The words, “Lobster Industry Litter” ran through my head so many times while paddling the Deer Isle Archipelago off Stonington, Maine last August that I became confused about eating seafood, and especially lobster.

When I looked at how much effort and resources are expended and how much industry litter lobster harvesting causes, I wondered how I could justify looking at a bright red lobster that was brown before it was boiled alive – now sitting on my plate.

And the answer was. I couldn’t.

But then, you could say the same thing about many other industries as well. It’s just that I don’t always stop to think about it.

Traveling and paddling have made me stop and think and see differently sometimes.  I’m just sayin’!

As paddlers, we can show you a lot of pretty pictures, but there is also another side to what we see.

While visiting islands like Gooseberry, Russ, Sand, and Green, in the Deer Isle Archipelago, I wondered if as much effort to harvest and sell lobsters was being spent to also clean up the mess the lobster industry leaves behind?
Rusting lobster traps on an island in the Deer Isle Archipelago, off Stonington, Maine, USA.
Who is responsible for cleaning up all this Lobster Industry Litter on land and in the sea?

Apparently your tax dollars, if you pay U.S. taxes, and volunteers who didn’t create the mess in the first place, along with the lobster industry.

Hmmm, that doesn’t sound fair or right to me. But, maybe like me, you weren’t aware.

Guess what? There’s a lot more of this Lobster Industry Litter causing all kinds of problems underwater.

What you see washed up on islands and on the mainland is just the tip of the iceberg. There is much more Lobster Industry Litter down below, rusting, rotting, and destroying ocean habitat for other species. Or roaming around loose causing navigational hazards for boats and whales.

There are efforts to retrieve some of the lost Lobster Industry Litter. They like to call it “gear”.

What is salvaged each year is nothing compared to what is still left behind, and more is lost each year than is ever recovered.

Lobster Industry Litter keeps accumulating at an alarming rate.

Even if you don't eat lobster, it is costing more and more money to fund lobster harvesting clean up. And it costs the environment a whole lot more.

Now, how much is that red lobster sitting on your plate really costing you and the rest of the planet?

For more information see Bangor Daily News in Maine, USA and related articles within these stories:

$2.3M eyed to retrieve lost lobster traps
Lobster Trap Clean Up
Lobster Traps Adrift

What's this all about?
See the first Maine Events

Happy paddles!
The BaffinPaddler

Monday, February 20, 2012

Maine Events: The Forbidden Fruit . . .

Maine lobster buoy on Gooseberry Island granite, Deer Isle Archipelago, Stonington, Maine, USA, August
Paddle partner: “Look at this one. So perfect! I’m taking it home with me!”

Me: “Are you nuts! You aren’t supposed to touch those things. Not even if they are abandoned on an island.”

Paddle partner: “I wonder if it will fit in one of my kayak hatches?”

Me: “No way. Not in a Maelstrom Vaag 174 sea kayak.”

Paddle partner: “I’ll strap it on the back deck.”
Maelstrom Vital 166, Maelstrom Vaag 174, Gooseberry Island, Deer Isle Archipelago, off Stoninton, Maine, USA
Me: “What! Not if you paddle with us. You’ll be target practice . . . what if they miss!”

Maine paddle buddies: Standing there in complete silence.

Everyone knows, you don’t mess with the lobstermen’s buoys or traps, on land or sea.

But we were in a minefield of “Forbidden Fruit”. It was everywhere. So tempting!

“Maybe just one, just once?”

Then it hit me too . . . I picked up a lost lobster buoy on Russ Island.
“Look at this one. It’s so nice. A real Maine lobster buoy. Maybe it will fit in the hatch of my Maelstrom Vital 166 sea kayak.”

Maine paddle buddies: Still standing there in complete silence, smiling quietly, wondering what disease had suddenly befallen their Canadian paddle mates and destroyed their common sense.

We were in the heart of Maine lobster territory in the Deer Isle Archipelago, just off Stonington on the Atlantic Ocean during the busy harvesting season in August.

We were not prepared for the temptation.

Paddle partner: “Wouldn’t this one look nice hanging up in our living room . . . ?”

Suddenly the fog in my head cleared.

What! Hanging up somewhere in our house . . . ! This big Styrofoam thing! It’s cute now, but . . .

Me: “How about we just take a picture of you with it instead and leave it here?"

"It doesn’t belong to us. Someone may come to fetch it. Like the lobster boat that owns it!”

Maine paddle buddies: “Now, that’s a fine idea.”

I’ve named this disease “The Maine lobster buoy forbidden fruit virus”.

It’s a deadly and highly contagious disease.

But, there is a cure! Here it comes!!!

What’s this all about?
See the first Maine Events

Happy Paddles
(c) The BaffinPaddler

Friday, February 17, 2012

Maine Events: A Beautiful Thing

Gooseberry Island, Deer Isle Archipelago, near Stonington, Maine USA paddling with Penobscotpaddles
The oneness of each, makes the paddle pod a beautiful thing.
Sharing . . .
Discovering . . .
Finding . . .
Together. It’s a beautiful thing.
I love how a kayak can take you there. Time and time again!
What’s this all about? 
See the first Maine Events

Happy paddles!
The BaffinPaddler

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Maine Events: Happy Valentine’s Day!

Ahhhh, those passionate moments, the ones you love to remember, and can’t seem to forget.

I love those impromptu moments of discovery, like this special moment I was lucky to steal last August while paddling the Deer Isle Archipelago, off Stonington, Maine, USA.
This hidden little beach on Sand Island, shows up during low tide.
If your timing is right . . . you might just get lucky and meet up with it too.

A fleeting moment. I wish I could have stayed longer.

If your one true love, or best love, is secretly your awesome sea kayak and favorite Greenland paddle, you probably aren’t alone! And it's probably not a secret! I’m just sayin’: HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!  
BaffinPaddler in the awesome Maelstrom Vital 166 sea kayak with favorite Greenland paddle.

What’s this all about?
See the first Maine Events

Happy paddle trails!
The BaffinPaddler

Monday, February 13, 2012

Maine Events: Bear Hugs

Why not? A little bear hug to warm up for a great meal of Maine’s awesome crabmeat stew, lobster rolls, and coleslaw at Dockside Restaurant in Belfast, Maine, while en route to Stonington, Maine to paddle the Deer Isle Archipelago last August with Maine paddle buddies.

“How come we can’t get this stuff in Canada!”

"Yeah, they make it, but Maine does it best!"

That's me thinking out loud and paddle partner agreeing in between bites. 

But hey. Why is the angle of this post’s photograph so bent out of shape? And why is there a big red dump truck barreling down the street?

Here’s a clue . . .

Me: “Here, take the camera.”

Paddle partner:
“Not this again.”

Me: “Got the picture?”

Paddle partner: “I’m HUNGRY!”

Me: “Take a picture please.”

Paddle partner: “Do we have to do this now?”

Me: “Thanks.”

Note to self: Always feed paddle partner first before requesting a photo. Seems paddle partners can’t see straight when hungry.

Here’s another shot after a good feeding.


What’s this all about?

See the first Maine Events

Happy trails!
The BaffinPaddler

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Maine Events: Nature's Conversations

Toadstool and animal skull on Gooseberry Island, Deer Isle Archipelago, Stonington, Maine, USA
Toadstool: Hey, Bill. How's it going?

Animal skull: Pretty good Sue. My contract has been extended.

Toadstool: Great news!

Animal skull: My client loves my work.
Toadstool: Awesome!

Animal skull: But I haven't done anything yet.

Toadstool: Keep up the good work!

What's this all about?
See the first Maine Events

Happy paddles!
The BaffinPaddler
(C) All rights reserved

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Maine Events: Playing hooky from school

5 Cormorants on a big rock somewhere in the Deer Isle Archipelago, near Stonington, Maine, USA
Cormorant 1: “This looks like a good hooky hang out to me.”

Cormorant 2:
“Honestly, I couldn’t stand to look at one more “algaeabraic” equation!  All that x and y stuff drives me crazy! 42y4 + 21xy − 14x3 + 42xy2 − 42y2 + 6 = 0”

Cormorant 3:
“No offence Hank, but I think you spelled it wrong. It’s a-l-g-e-b-r-a-i-c. Just say algebra.”

Cormorant 2:
“Why would anyone care about that stuff!?”

Cormorant 3:  “Uh dunno, maybe Einstein’s Theory of Relativity can make some sense of it?”

Cormorant 4: “No one will notice us way up here, right Ed?”

Cormorant 2: “What about those kayakers down there. Are they going to be a problem?”
Cormorant 5: “Nah. They’re too busy dodging lobster boats!”

Cormorant 2: “WATCHOUT! Here comes that Jonathan Livingston Seagull wannabe freak! He's out to set another free-fall record!”

Cormorant 1:
"Hey, what's the name of this big rock anyway, so we can put it on his epitaph!"

What’s this all about?
See the first Maine Events

Happy paddles!
The BaffinPaddler

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Maine Events: Lobster Boats

Working lobster boat "Tyrant", Deer Isle Archipelago, Stonington, Maine, USA, August 2011
"We eat kayakers for lunch!"

No, not really.

But the name of this Maine lobster boat: "Tyrant", freaked me out a bit when I saw it suddenly come round the bend close to an island where our group of four were paddling last August!

As kayakers, we often think it's safer to hug a shoreline when bigger boats are in the vicinity  But a lot of lobster traps are set close to islands with enough depth to set a trap in the Deer Isle Archipelago, off Stonington, Maine, USA.
 
It was a surprising learning experience for me when padding in waters with a lot of actively working lobster boats.

You can see the lobster buoys floating on top of the water, and you know there is a lobster trap below. But you don't know when a lobster boat will show up to check the trap. They work fast! It will keep you alert in the Deer Isle Archipelago if you are a paddler!

Now, for the obvious. Maybe you should grab for the paddle instead of the camera when a lobster boat with a name like this suddenly shows up?

Too tempting! But, use the zoom! Not fate.

Lobster boats are working boats. While they stop and work the traps, the boat still moves. As a paddler, you have to watch out and try to anticipate their next move and stay out of the way.

What's this all about?

See the first Maine Events

More to come . . .

Happy and safe paddles!
The BaffinPaddler

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Maine Events: Only $6 for a pint!

A pint of draught for $6 at Fisherman's Friend Restaurant, Stonington, Maine, USA, last August
Well, well. Does it get any better than this for a paddler?

After an awesome day of paddling the chilly Atlantic Ocean, and dodging the lobster boats working around the Deer Isle Archipelago from the enchanting village of Stonington, Maine, USA with newfound Maine paddle buddies last August, this is what we had to endure.

Great company, good service, perfect weather, and Maine's tasty chow and brew! Yaaa! 
Fish n' chips and cornbread!
Sorry. I took this shot of my awesome lunch after I dug into everything a bit, including the wine! But, did you notice? I'm saving the cornbread for last! I love it!

What’s this all about?
See the first Maine Events

More to come . . .

Happy memories of your best paddles and planning your next . . . !
The BaffinPaddler

Friday, February 3, 2012

Maine Events: Tugs!

Tug boats in Belfast, Maine, USA
Paddle partner: “Where are you going now?”

Me: “I’ll just be a minute.”

Paddle partner: “It’s lunch time! We have to get a table!”

Me: “I’ll just be a minute.”

Paddle partner: “I’m hungry!”

Me: “I’ll just be a minute.”

Paddle partner: “What are you doing!”

Me: “I’ll just be a minute.”

Paddle partner: “Don’t you see the line!”

Me: “Why don’t you get in line without me. I’ll catch up. I’m only 10 steps away!”

Paddle partner: “Do you have a table for two?”

Restaurant manager: “We have a 2-hour wait. We’re short on staff!”

Me thinking: “HA, HA!!!!!!” (You wouldn’t dare say this out loud to a hungry paddle partner who has the keys to the car with two kayaks strapped on top and you’re 8 hours away from home.)

Paddle partner: “Hey, that’s a really awesome shot of those two red tugs. When did you take that picture?”

Me: “Huh?”

I’ll be posting a series of snippets called “Maine Events” inspired from photographs of an awesome paddle trip to Stonington, Maine, USA, last August.

We have lots of events in our lives. Things happen in little bits n’ pieces. Snippets! You can relate . . . ? Are these riddles?

This is the first snippet: Maine Events: Tugs!


I hope you enjoy it. It’s one of my favorites!

Later, when I resume my series of Stonington Stories, you may find some of the images in these Maine Events snippets woven into a larger story. Fun, eh?

Happy paddles!
The BaffinPaddler