Another Newbie!

AE1007-R(2005-Present), AE1004-R(2002-2004)

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Daddy-O
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Another Newbie!

Post by Daddy-O » Thu Nov 27, 2008 6:14 pm

I've been looking at these for more or less a year now. I have finally decided to purchase my first one. I am hoping that I love this kayak. If I do, I will purchase two more. I bought mine from West Marine. They were holding a 15% off sale, so I bought the Advanced Frame Double Touring Kayak (it has the same specs as the AF Convertible and looks just like it (only it's a different color), so I guess that is what it is). I also bought the backbone for it.

I need some advice before it gets here. I have two fairly good paddles, pfds and other safety equipment. I was hoping to get some advice about other items I would want to get to make it more enjoyable. I don't live in the states, so it takes a while for me to get stuff from the states. It's important, therefore, that I get everything I might need (or want) now.

We will mainly be using this as a tandem kayak. This will be used in the Caribbean Sea (starting out in our cove). I weigh 280lbs and am 6 foot. I am very athletic for my size (play all sports except basketball....I never did very well at basketball). Everyone else in the family is 150 or less.

1. What accessories should I get for us?
2. Should I sit in the front or in the rear (since I am the heaviest)?

Thank you for your help.
***EDIT*** I finally got some pictures up on page three of this thread.
Last edited by Daddy-O on Mon Mar 30, 2009 1:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Daddy-O
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Post by Daddy-O » Fri Nov 28, 2008 10:23 am

Is the deck cover highly recommended? If so, could you please state why you believe we should have it. It seems like we should have some foot bracing also. Is the optional inflatable foot brace the preferred foot brace? Has anyone used a certain dry bag or other cushioning that they are happy with to give foot support? Thank you.
Daddy-O

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PJohanson
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Post by PJohanson » Fri Nov 28, 2008 10:33 am

Accessories: I'd recommend a small drybag, for a Dunk Bag. A drybag seals up to keep out water. It should be big enough to hold 15 litres or quarts. Into it put a spare set of clothes, a couple of energy bars/granola bars/fruit bars, envelope of instant cocoa, firelighting kit and candle, steel or enamel mug (for heating water over the candle) and maybe a small first aid kit. If you wear glasses, get a spare pair of cheap cheaters ($3 at a dollar store) and put 'em in.
The Dunk Bag is a great thing to keep in your car trunk. It's wonderful to have on a kayak outing, in the boat on a long paddle outing or on the shore for a short shoreline doddle. The idea is, if you get dunked, you've got dry pants and shirt, a bite to eat and a way to heat water. A Dunk Bag can be a lifesaver -- or it can be a quick source of comfort for your sweetheart or kid who will then feel the day doesn't suck as much after all and you really are taking good care of them.
As for where the biggest paddler sits: back or front. Take a beginner's lesson so you will learn how to steer, then sit in the back where you will do the steering.

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Daddy-O
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Post by Daddy-O » Fri Nov 28, 2008 12:51 pm

Thanks for the ideas on the "Dunk bag". It sounds like a wise item. I was an avid canoe river man for many years (on the rivers of Missouri). I was out every week. I have also paddled a couple of kayaks on some rivers and one lake in the past (but not frequently). I think I can stear it pretty well. I'll take the back then.

What about the foot stops? Anything come to mind that I might want to make the trip more comfortable, a different seat or cushion, the top deck?

Thanks.

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Daddy-O
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Post by Daddy-O » Mon Dec 01, 2008 2:33 pm

I'm still asking for a list of things that you think I might want to go along with my Convertible Kayak. I thought I'd update you on the kayak situation though. Instead of being the proud owner of just one Convertible, I am now the proud owner of 2 Convertible kayaks. My kids are going to be thrilled! That means that 4 of us can go out on the water together. Rei.com had a 20% off coupon for one item to it's members that I just couldn't pass up. We still need on more Convertible to get the whole family out (well, almost). I'm going to hold off on the third one for now though.
Just to update you then,
2 Convertibles
whistles for everyone
pfds for everyone
compasses for everyone
throw bags for both kayaks
1 backbone
1 - 2 person deck cover
2 paddles with 1 spare for one kayak (I still need to purchase 2 paddles and a spare for the second kayak)
I've got the 15liter dry bags coming to make our "dunk bags".
What else do I want or need to make these things enjoyable for us.
We will be using them on the Caribbean Sea off of the southern coast of the Dominican Republic. This will be for touring the coastline (mostly). I may take them with us to Samana Bay in February. The Humpback whales go into the bay from January to March. I think it would be cool to paddle out and do some whale watching in our kayaks. Is that advisable? I've seen some videos of people doing this, but am nervous about it myself. It would be fun though.
Anyway, I'm looking for suggestions as to what we need to keep things fun for the family on the water (and safe).
Daddy-O

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Daddy-O
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Post by Daddy-O » Tue Dec 02, 2008 4:45 am

71 views and only one reply. :(
Daddy-O

JCOOLEY
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Post by JCOOLEY » Tue Dec 02, 2008 10:32 am

Sounds like you have a good idea of everything that you need. Great deal by the way through REI. Can't get the kayak for that price anywhere else unless it is more than likely used. If you check out the Advanced Elements photo group on Flickr, there is a group that has done quite a bit of coastal paddling in warm waters. You may want to join the group and shoot them a message to see if there is anything they may suggest that you bring along with you.
http://www.flickr.com/groups/585246@N21/
Their screen names in Flickr are ashleyps and scar ve.
ashleyps is also a member here on the forum and I think that scar ve is too but is listed under scartervt.

Jeremy
8)

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Daddy-O
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Post by Daddy-O » Wed Dec 03, 2008 10:18 pm

Jeremy,
Thank you for your comments. I am trying to cover all of the bases. I read in a different post about the tear repair kit that I might want to keep with me, so I picked that up at West Marine. I picked up two more paddles for the second kayak also.

How do most of you carry drinking water with you? Do you have a cooler or just put it into some old bottles and throw it in a bag? I guess I'm just looking for some ideas about how to pack things.

I also wanted to ask if most people used a gps while kayaking? It seems like it might be a plus to have out in the ocean, but I imagine that it wouldn't be too hard to find our way back. Should I get some charts of the island or anything like that? I've taken a couple of courses in map reading, but I know there are some special symbols on nautical charts that I will need to become familiar with.

BTW, we are (will be) the only kayakers I know of on the island (other than a few that do some white water river kayaking in another part of the island). We do not, therefore, have the option of trying anything out before we buy or jump in the boat. That's why I must rely on the advice I receive here.

Daddy-O

JCOOLEY
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Post by JCOOLEY » Thu Dec 04, 2008 10:38 am

Daddy-O wrote:
How do most of you carry drinking water with you? Do you have a cooler or just put it into some old bottles and throw it in a bag? I guess I'm just looking for some ideas about how to pack things.

I also wanted to ask if most people used a gps while kayaking? It seems like it might be a plus to have out in the ocean, but I imagine that it wouldn't be too hard to find our way back. Should I get some charts of the island or anything like that? I've taken a couple of courses in map reading, but I know there are some special symbols on nautical charts that I will need to become familiar with.

Daddy-O
SOme people use a camelback that you can store under the bungee lacing or attach to the D-rings. If it has a long hose, it will be helpful so that you don't need to constantly grab a bottle or the pak itself. You can also store it behind you behind the seat or attach it to the D-rings on the back as well.

A GPS is nice because you can see what your approx. speed is and also where you are going. Charts are a good idea so that you can plot your course before you go. It is always a good idea to stay close to the coastline so if anything was to happen, you can get safely to shore. A cellphone or other means of being able to contact somebody such as a GPS locater is also a good idea in case you were to get lost or if something was to happen.

As I mentioned before, try to contact those other members who have done these kind of trips. I am sure they have some helpful advice.

Jeremy
8)

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Daddy-O
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Post by Daddy-O » Thu Dec 04, 2008 7:06 pm

Any suggestions for a good (inexpensive, but not cheap) gps for the water?
Daddy-O
**EDIT** What I mean is that I know people get these things, sometimes, with so many bells and whistles that they never even use. Why pay extra for something we won't use or need? The Garmin Foretrex 101 looks like a good basic gps unit. The etrex H might be a better unit (and a little cheaper also). Any thoughts?

slurch
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Post by slurch » Fri Dec 05, 2008 8:21 am

I guess your funds are limited having just bought all the kit, but I use a Garmin GPSmap 60CSx loaded with Garmin charts and it is absolutely perfect. If you want to get something less expensive any of the Garmins which take memory card maps would be suitable. If you buy something that can not take charts in 6 months time you will almost certainly want to upgrade. The other advantage of buying a GPS which you can load maps onto means you have a SAT Nav for the car.

Hope this is of some help to you. You will come to love your kayak as you get used to it they are fantastic especially on the sea where they come alive in the waves.

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Daddy-O
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Post by Daddy-O » Fri Dec 05, 2008 9:49 am

Thanks for the help Slurch. I was looking at that exact gps last night. Since I am not a self-made millionaire, finances are always a concern. I am looking for something that will do what I need, without paying extra for a lot of glitter, bells and whistles that I will probably never use. I would be glad to get that gps is it is what I will use. I agree with you about the map features. I know that I can get the charts on the gps itself, which seem like it would be a huge benefit. Maybe one of my first choices wasn't ideal. BTW, that gps you mentioned is about $400.00 at rei.com, but you can pick one up on ebay for about $300.00 new and about $250.00 refurbished. Anyone else have any thoughts on this or another gps? I really appreciate the advice guys, please keep it coming.

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PJohanson
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Post by PJohanson » Sat Dec 06, 2008 10:21 pm

Sounds like you have good safety gear for your kayaks!
Sorry I haven't posted a reply sooner; was finishing a book on deadline for my editor.
Have you checked out any currents in the places you plan to paddle? Local kayakers and yacht owners will know, and small charts should be marked with currents. I recommend that until you and your kids become really familiar with your kayaks, stick to safe & sheltered waters. Gradual increases in daring are better than heading out from shore or crossing to islands half a mile away the first month you own the kayaks. (The Convertible model kayaks can handle such trips -- especially as part of a group of three or four boats -- but experience will help you be confident crossing currents and predicting tides & weather from forecasts. Better to have safe increases in your challenges, than to ever have an accident, eh?)
A GPS is fun but not necessary. Learn to use a compass first, and practise on ordinary days so you're ready when a fogbank rolls in.
I don't own a GPS but two of my paddle group do, out of eight of us. That feels about right, especially as they are more daring than me. Two of us own VHF radios to send and receive radio messages. Three of us carry cell phones **inside waterproof cellphone drybags** --Remember, a cellphone with no ID memory card in it can still call 911 even if it can't call anyone else.
I am buying a SPOT personal emergency device for a Christmas present for my husband/paddlepartner and me. This is a waterproof emergency locator beacon that clips to a PFD or backpack. They have a website at http://international.findmespot.com -- and it's reviewed at www.wavelengthmagazine.com/2008/spring2 ... saging.pdf Sorry that sounds like I'm advertising the SPOT, but it is a good device by all reports and has already been used in four rescues this year. It has three buttons to push to send messages you've written ahead of time: an "OK" button that tells up to ten cell phones or e-mail @ddresses that you're ok with a website link showing your location, a "Help" button that tells your ten people you need a hand, and a "911" button that calls the emergency rescue services.
I won't need the SPOT for most of my safe little outings on small lakes and inside the bay. It's for my husband's week-long hiking trip on a rugged wilderness marine trail, and for our two-week long trip down the Red Deer River next summer.

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Daddy-O
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Post by Daddy-O » Sun Dec 07, 2008 4:22 am

Thanks for all of the advice, PJohanson. I always enjoy reading your posts on here. I have noticed that you always suggest talking to local kayakers and taking lessons, but we don't have anything like that where we live. I do believe that is the best way, however, to get started, so keep on saying it. We don't have any local kayakers or yachts. As a matter of fact, I don't think we have any non-local kayakers either. :) I live in a third world country. We do have some local fishermen who have small 16 foot wooden row boats that row out a little ways from shore to cast some nets by hand in hopes to catch some fish to sell in the market. Maybe I'll talk with them. They will not have any technical advice, but they do have experience fishing in our bay.

The currents and tides are a concern of mine, but I live in a tropical climate, and we have never had any fog here. The people would think the devil was after them or the world was coming to an end if they ever experienced a thick fog here. It's never been seen personally by anyone here. We are in our winter months now, and it is about 87 degrees F each day. The nights do drop down to a chilly 80 degrees or so, thank the good Lord for blankets.

I think that is great advice about staying in closed waters at first. I will do that. I live in a bay, and we will stay in that bay for a while. I'm looking forward to the day we round the point of the bay, however, and head for a couple of small islands not too far away. We will mostly stay close to the coast until we get a good handle on things, then only stray out a little bit at a time. We have extremely deep waters not too far off shore here. We also have a coral reef fairly close, and I would eventually like to do some snorkeling out of the kayaks in that area.

I think I would like to have a gps. I might spend the $300.00 on ebay and get the one mentioned above. The problem is that I would have to (or want to) spend an extra $100.00 for the bluechart maps of our island. I hate to spend the extra $100.00. Any other gps suggestions is appreciated. We will take a cell phone along with us also, but I don't think we will get coverage. I lose coverage almost immediately when I leave our small city by road.

Your SPOT emergency device sounds like a great piece of equipment for anyone heading off shore in a kayak. You never know when an emergency may come up, and it is always best to be prepared. Thank you for mentioning it here. That's the first time I've heard anything about it.

Daddy-O

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PJohanson
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SPOT

Post by PJohanson » Sun Dec 07, 2008 3:25 pm

You've got the right idea, talking to local fishermen!

There should be charts available through the government. In Canada, the Queen's Printer carries them. You may be able to download charts off the internet, but the charts may say "Not To Be Used For Navigation." Is there a University you can approach? They often have local maps and charts.

What I like about the SPOT is that it contacts satellites, so it should have coverage in most parts of the world. Their website will help you figure if it should be reliable in the Dominican Republic.

I also like being the idea of being able to send OK messages as well as call the Coastguard or Search & Rescue. The ability to call for a buddy's help is a stroke of genius. Lots of times a person needs just a friend's help, not a real rescue. There are some paddlers in North America setting up websites to post their OK messages so that lots of their friends can track a journey day by day. The SPOT is no substitute for paddling safely and learning how to anticipate weather and tidal currents. But it does seem like a fun toy and a useful emergency signal.

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