Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Headlamps - Joining the Modern Era

Thanks to Badger Paddles & Algonquin Outfitters, I have a new headlamp coming my way!

For 15 years or so I have been using a Petzl Zoom Zora, a large headlamp that can use either a halogen or standard bulb, and has a 6 volt battery that is strapped onto the back of your head. Although I've been satisfied enough over the past years with the headlamp, a perpetual problem has been that the headlamp gets turned on in the pack (the lens rotates to turn it on and off) and the battery is quickly drained. So, for trip use, I need to bring at least a couple of the flat 6V batteries (which are getting more expensive) along, just in case. Also, because the bulbs are conventional bulbs, they eat batteries even through normal use (especially the halogen bulb), when compared to the LED lights that are available today.

So, after seeing a promotion recently on the Algonquin Outfitters blog, I realised that a new LED headlamp was the perfect thing to spend my $50 gift card on. The gift card was recently won in the "Badger High Water Marks" contest that I took the top prize in (see my winning blog post here). After going through the Petzl web site, I decided that the Tikka Plus2 was the perfect one for me. It has a bright white LED bulb with various output settings, plus a red LED so that I can maintain my night vision & not blind my camp mates. Batteries should last MUCH longer than on my old Zoom Zora and hopefully it does not turn on accidentally quite so easily. The long battery life will be especially appreciated since I seem to have folks around (ie, kids) that like to borrow my flashlights. Another nice feature to further reduce my battery consumption is that I can later add the Petzl "Core" rechargeable battery system if I choose to.

I also wanted to mention the fantastic service that Gord at AO gave me. He has little to gain by going out of his way for me since, with me in Saskatchewan & they in Ontario, I am unlikely to become a regular customer. However, not only was he very friendly by phone and email, he went out of his way to help me through my indecision (I was initially thinking of spending the gift card on a pot set) and to get the Tikka Plus2 on it's way to me, just in time for my upcoming kayak course in BC! By rights, he should have charged me a good ten bucks for taxes and shipping, above the value of what my gift card covered. However, he chose to simplify things and called it square. So, this post is my small way of repaying those good vibes.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

World Water Day

Today, March 22nd, is World Water Day. What are you doing to celebrate?

Water in the air, water in the river. Otter Rapids in the early morning fog.

Solid, liquid, gas - this picture should be cover the bases for World Water Day. Nistowiak Falls from February 2010.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

TC Vessel Registration Update

A few weeks ago I wrote about the new regulations from Transport Canada regarding the registration of canoes & kayaks. Well, it seems that they have backpedaled (back paddled?) just a bit from the earlier registration requirements.

At the Transport Canada Procedures for Registration of Small Non-Pleasure Vessels in Canada web page, there is a link that reads "Note for human-powered non-pleasure vessels (e.g. canoes or kayaks)." Following the link brings you to a page which includes the following statement:
Note: Transport Canada is currently reviewing the Vessel Registration and Tonnage Regulations for human-powered non-pleasure vessels and examining the feasibility of exemptions for certain groups, so that registration is sensible, efficient and fair for all Canadian boaters.
So, it would seem that everything is on hold for the moment until they get things sorted out.  It looks like the efforts of Ralph, Alan, and numerous other folks at the forums of and have been effective in bringing this issue and their concerns to the fore. They seem to have gotten the attention of not only the media, but also the Minister of Transportation. However, that doesn't mean that the issue is done with, not yet.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Surge Narrows, Here I Come!

Five weeks from now I'll be at Discovery Islands Lodge, on Quadra Island at Surge Narrows for a Level 2 kayak course. Looks like fun!!!!!! (p.s. Watch in HD, if you can.)

Coincidentally, also posted just this afternoon another video from Surge Narrows. Check it out at the link.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

My New Paddle is Coming!

My new paddle is on it's way here! You may recall that late last fall I entered and won the Badger Paddles High Water Marks contest with a posting about myself on this blog. I just received the following from Fiona at Badger Paddles:
Hi Bryan!
Just wanted to let you know that your paddle finally shipped today! I do apologize for the delay in getting it to you but things have been truly hectic around here and your paddle got a little lost in all the melee.  Badger is in great demand... so I thank you for your patience!!! .... I have also attached a photo to this email for you.
I truly hope you "dig" your Sliver, Bryan!!! Thanks so much for your online support from the very beginning (you were the first person to ever mention Badger in a blog!) and please know that we wish you many safe and happy voyages! And the best of luck in winning the trip with, the Happy Camper, Kevin Callan!
All the best to you and yours,
My new "sliver" from Badger Paddles!
Now I just need the weather to warm up a tad! (It's currently -18°C which is a good 10° warmer than it was at 9 am this morning when I was walking the kids to school.)