Wednesday, April 04, 2012

A Greenland paddle, the Rule of Twelfths, and a prohibition on power tools...

Our two "home offices" - both perform superbly on the ocean.
Power tools:

So let's begin with the power tools. I am absolutely in awe (truly, in awe!) of you folks out there who can, with your own hands, build such things as decks, cabinets, spare rooms, and skin-on-frame (SOF) kayaks. To me, that stuff is rocket science. In terms of the "order of complexity", it would be tantamount to being asked by NASA to figure out an outbound trajectory, through an incoming meteor shower, for a mission to Mars. It may be a left brain / right brain thing. But that's probably being a little optimistic.

And even if I did agree to read the instructions or the owner's manuals, Joan remains cautious about allowing me the use of certain power tools. It probably goes back to an incident, years ago, when we were living on the military base in Cold Lake. I wanted, for Christmas, nothing more than a wood router. Well, Christmas Day came, my morning pastoral duties concluded, there it was, under the tree - a brand new router and router table. My son (six years old at the time) and I were both overjoyed, thinking about all the creative things we would do together with this high speed rotary cutting tool. Well, nobody actually got hurt, but on the day after Boxing Day, it was returned to the store.

Many years later, in our present location, I decided to make some baseboards. Always supportive of my attempts at DIY projects, Joan went to a local hardware and brought home a simple mitre saw and a wooden mitre box. Hiding, as best as I could, my disappointment that it was hand-powered, I set about to add style and value to our new home with some custom made baseboard. After seeing a significant number of inaccurately cut pieces of wood go flying out of the garage onto the driveway and hearing language coming from me that apparently surprised her, she suggested I call a friend for logistical, technical, and moral support. I did as I was told and the job was completed without further angst.

Strangely, I am permitted my Stihl chain saw - but I am required to wear protective helmet, eye protection, and bright orange, Kevlar leg protectors. I actually look rather smashing.

So, it's difficult to engage in construction projects with such limited abilities (and under such close supervision)...BUT, I do understand the Rule of Twelfths.

The Rule of Twelfths:

We both just completed the five week Seamanship and Trip Planning Course in Nanaimo - weather, tides and currents, navigation, and chart reading. It was challenging but a great deal of fun and Jan Kretz of Adventuress Sea Kayaking is a top notch instructor.

In planning and taking others out on safe, multi-day trips, there can be a little math involved - but it was all made understandable. As sea kayakers, it is helpful to know accurately the height of the tide, as it rises and falls, in any given place. The Rule of Twelfths enables the paddler to make an estimate of the timings of tidal heights before or after the predicted low or high tide - clearly very important for the purposes of navigation, route planning...and camping on remote beaches.

And it certainly made a lot more sense than the router manual.

The Greenland paddle:

One of the cool things about the course was meeting other sea kayaking enthusiasts from around the Island, one of which was Randy, a local Greenland paddle maker. Yep, now have one - made of beautiful red cedar from Malcolm Island. Twenty-five years ago, when we owned a Nautiraid, expedition folding kayak, we used Greenland paddles and loved them. Can't wait to get this new "stick" in the water, hopefully in a few days.

Waiting...patiently, sort of.
From my "home office" to yours.



  1. LOVE the home office! And congrats on heading back to the barefoot running of kayaking (Greenland)!

    I have to say I chuckled at the moldings and router...been there!

  2. Thanks for that, Lee. You will understand now why I so marvelled at your SOF projects - pretty darn impressive. Yeah, I'm thinking that VFFs and a Greenland paddle are a pretty cool land / sea combo. :) D.

  3. Wow a new boat and new paddle...what more could a guy ask for? Joan is a very wise woman to keep you away from power could be more hazardous to your health than a bag of cheezies.
    Sorry you had to spend your day indoors, hope you get out on the water soon.

  4. Hey Duncan, there's a marine version of barefoot running? I'm liking that idea, a lot! Greenland paddle eh? Now just gotta find some water! BfJJ

  5. Hi L, well the paddle is new but the boat is used - it's got "experience marks" to prove how much fun it's had. I still think the cheesies are probably more dangerous! haha! D.

    You bet, BfJJ! I still haven't actually put it in the water yet but soon - review to come. Thanks for taking time to come by. D.