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Three-week BC solo trip in AdvancedFrame Convertible in 2009

Posted: Fri May 21, 2010 12:29 am
by Mikhail
I have posted on my website a photo diary of my three-week solo trip in the AdvancedFrame Convertible that I completed last summer. This was in the straits off North Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada.

http://www.focusonwild.com/Writing/Kaya ... ntent.html

With the last year experience and after introducing some improvements in my gear I hope to return to the same area this summer and explore more remote destinations.

Posted: Fri May 21, 2010 10:11 am
by krystofr
This is a pretty impressive trip report! It must have been a pretty surreal experience to be out for 21 days solo. I enjoyed your photographs, especially the bald eagles. I always love when kayakers get a photo of one, because it's a great testament to the efforts of bringing them back from the brink of extinction. I'm looking forward to a time when my sons are old enough to go on a multi-day expedition (although we'll likely stick to a weekend!)

Posted: Fri May 21, 2010 11:47 am
by Mikhail
krystofr -- thank you for your kind comments.

The solo trip was partially out of necessity: I had to move slow, to dedicate enough time to my photography -- I doubt I would have found anyone patient enough for a company.

The bald eagles are numerous here on the island. I think that they stick to their own territories most of the year. However, they congregate in large numbers during the salmon runs, although I have yet to find a place where I can reliably photograph them "up, close and personal".

In the second half of summer, various marine wildlife concentrates in Johnstone Strait to feed on salmon returning to the spawning grounds. This is in case you will decide to take your kids up here, once they grow up. A weekend would be a bit too short -- I would suggest at least a week. You can bring your own kayaks or rent them locally, and paddle along the Vancouver Island shore or camp on smaller islands. I am sure your boys will enjoy the experience.

Look forward to seeing you on the island!

Posted: Sat May 22, 2010 6:04 pm
by borisf
Hi Mikhail,
Fantastic trip, fantastic pictures! Congratulations! Your experience inspires others and shows advantages of Advanced Frame Kayaks once again. I myself put everything needed for two of us for the overnight trip into my AF Convertible (West Marine too), but your pictures showing numerous bags which all were packed into your Convertible are really impressive.
I also often go solo on it and I like it very much.
I appreciate very much both your highly professional pictures and practical suggestions on the long trip in inflatable. And in addition to any wilderness we have here in Ontario you fought tides, salt water and giant ship traffic. It's real challenge.
I like your site and will obviously recommend it to my friends.
Some pictures of my trips on AF Convertible are at:
http://yaktraveller.blogspot.com/2010/0 ... e-and.html
It's interesting that even before reading your report I was going to try Georgian Bay this long weekend which is considered a "sea kayaking" in Ontario.
With best regards,
Boris

Posted: Sat May 22, 2010 6:24 pm
by borisf
P.S. Mikhail, look at these sites. It's not about kayaking, but about photography. Andrei is an old friend of mine.
http://www.serdcesayan.ru
http://www.katunskiy.ru

Posted: Sat May 22, 2010 7:03 pm
by Pearly
Mikhail,

I've been reading your trip report all morning! Fascinating with superb photography. I was amazed how much stuff you took on your journey! There are so many good ideas in there and I really appreciated your what worked and what didn't section.

Superb!

Many thanks for sharing.

Ian

Posted: Sun May 23, 2010 12:16 am
by Mikhail
Boris – many thanks for your feedback. My biggest concern during this trip was the motorboat traffic; everything else (the tides, the weather etc.) were to some extend predictable and therefore manageable. However, it was hard to predict how fellow human beings would behave on water.

I have checked your site – very impressive trips! Also liked your sailing video: it looks like a well-designed sail for a kayak, low positioned and therefore much safer than many competing products. By the way, you have mentioned that you can pack inside your kayak everything for an overnight trip for two. During your next trip, could take some pictures? I would like to learn your way of packing and to borrow some ideas.

Thank you for the photo links: great pictures, fantastic places to visit! Maybe one day...

Hope you will have a safe and enjoyable Georgian Bay trip. It is a large piece of water: I hope that the weather will cooperate.

Posted: Sun May 23, 2010 1:34 am
by Mikhail
Ian - many thanks for your comments. Glad that you liked the pictures and the story. Before buying my kayak, I had researched the AdvancedElements forums and found tons of great information and recommendations. I wanted to share my experience in a hope that my story would also be useful to the fellow kayakers.

Regarding the amount of stuff that I had with me: some of it was inevitable -- the camping gear, the food, the water etc. Some was for the photography -- two DSLR cameras plus the lenses and other photo gear, including the tripod. Some I could have left onshore, if I had a place to store it -- for example, I had to carry with me four large empty duffel bags, taking quite a bit of space. I also had one “luxury itemâ€￾: a portable fish smoker, similar to a thick book in size. However, I would tightly pack it with food and kitchen utensils, so it did not require significant extra space. Looking back, I realize that I could have managed without certain items, hiking boots being one example, so next time I hope to reduce my load to some extend.

Happy paddling!

Mikhail

Camping gear

Posted: Sat Aug 07, 2010 12:48 pm
by MDO
Mikhail - Fantastic trip, and web site-log. I too loved the pic of the bald eagle, and also of the Minke whale.

I was curious - or could not find it on the page - what type of camping gear tent, pad you chose.

Cheers,

Mireille

Re: Camping Gear

Posted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 12:02 am
by Mikhail
Mireille - apologies for a delayed reply -- I just came back from another solo kayaking trip, this time a month-long. It was also in BC, but a bit up north, with more open water and rougher conditions. I will post an illustrated diary as soon as I finish typing it up and processing the pictures, hopefully within a month.

As to the camping gear, I have been using a very simple one-person Wenzel tent:

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Wenzel-Starli ... 2259114849

The main reason for choosing this particular model was that I had it already. It is small, light and cheap. The BC coast summers are usually reasonably warm and dry, so I did not really need anything more sophisticated. However, the condensation was an issue (I think it is a common problem for single-wall tents). Another issue, as I had discovered over this year trip, was that its netting was not no-see-um proof.

The tent would always go on top of a ground sheet, to protect its bottom from abrasion and punctures. If rains were a potential issue, I would have also taken a tarp for covering the tent, if necessary, and a cooking area.

I have used a Thermarest 3/4 length self-inflating mattress, also because I already had it. It packed smaller than the full-size alternatives. When sleeping, I would keep the kayak seat (if it was dry) in the foot area, to extend the pad to almost the full length of my tent. If the seat was wet, I would still place something in the foot area, to create an isolation layer, for example empty dry bags, my paddling jacket and pants, if they were dry, etc.

My sleeping bag for this type of trips is an ultra-light Lafuma 1.2 kg mummy version, rated to +7 C for comfort. It is warm enough for me, for the BC summers. When I felt cold on a couple of occasions, I slept in a layer of thermal underwear. The sleeping bags lose lots of insulation when washed, so I would always sleep inside a cotton insert to minimize direct contacts of my body with the bag.

For the pillow I use a synthetic bag stuffed with my clothes. Mine has a layer of fleece on one side, for a more pleasant feeling when sleeping.

The sleeping pad, the sleeping bag with the insert, the pillow and my warm fleece jacket would fit in into the front deck bag, with some spare space left.

Hope that this helps.

Mikhail