Category Archives: Uncategorized

Trials and Tribulations 2

Earlier this year I posted a tale of woe about how my life has taken a turn for the disastrous. This is an official press release update for my  readers and fans. You both know who you are.

Dad died in April. I put him to bed as normal and he couldn’t settle. I went in to check on him and he had a heart attack. I quickly called 000 and commenced CPR. During this, broke nearly all his ribs and knew that recovery was both impossible and undesirable but as instructed I continued till the Ambos got there. It was all over in a few minutes. I was calm and clear through the whole thing but the adrenaline was certainly pumping. The Ambos and police were quick and very professional. I can’t heap enough praise on them.

With Dad gone, life had completely changed again. I was completely alone for the first time ever and for months was daunted by the prospect of this. I stopped training and felt completely lost. It was clear the separation with Samantha was final and although she was a great help throughout the funeral, she entered into a new relationship with someone and moved out of our family home with him. I’ve never felt this isolated and depression looked like overtaking me so I absorbed myself into my work and traveled throughout the state. For some time I was on the road working every day and living in country hotels. I drank a lot and my fitness slumped.

Now, there’s that scene in the Terminator when they think they’ve killed it and it re-routes its internal power and fires back up again. This happens to me all the time. I have an internal black box with an optimism drive that kicks in when the chips are down. Gradually, I started to become accustomed to the solitude. After all, despite being married for 24 years, I have been on my own for most of it. Solitude is OK as long as it doesn’t get confused with loneliness. I eventually realized that I wasn’t really lonely and settled into a working relationship with my house and my cat. The need to replace Samantha dissipated and now I quite enjoy my routines. My kids turn up at various times, stay for however long they like, destroy the place and eat all my food. I am wealthier now than ever before and spend money on whatever takes my fancy.

Divorce is never pleasant but with some distance now since separation, I see the benefits. Samantha is obviously happier. I will progress toward that quite soon, the kids have adjusted to it. I can focus on my goals which were pipe-dreams while I was married and that is a pretty big thing when you are months away from 50. There’s nothing more debilitating than living your life unfulfilled and knowing that you will never will. The secret to a successful divorce is compromise. Sam and I made a pact that we would negotiate everything and we did. Not once did we fight over material things. I paid my way in child maintenance and she never complained. She took some material assets and I took others. The result is that we both have our stuff and functional lives and lawyers got nothing.

So that is how things are now. I have emerged from a horrible period and about to embark on some pretty decent adventures. I have no idea what is going to happen to me and that’s how I like it. Apart from cancer. That’s another story though. I promise that from now on it will be about kayaking and adventures.





Posted by on October 9, 2012 in Uncategorized


Cameras for Kayakers

Almost a good camera

Almost a good camera

Derrick has posted about the pitfalls of waterproof photography for kayakers. Read his post here. This is pretty timely as there has been recent discussion on the club forum and I just ditched my Olympus Mju850. The Olympus was as tough as nails. It copped all the abuse I could hurl at it and it looked as good as the day I bought it. I bummed around Bali with it, took it to Rock ‘n’ Roll, many trips and it never let me down. However, it didn’t survice my son Conor whose response to and XD card not going in backwards was to shove it harder in until it wouldn’t come out. When I eventually extrated it, all the pins were bent and twisted in the slot so I realised that it was game over the the Mju. With nothing to lose, I decided to pull it apart but to my surprise the tiny screws holding it together were corroded in their holes. When it did come apart, the interior was corroded and the lens blind was rusted. Copper corrosion was underway around various circuits and I just knew that even without Conor’s intervention, the camera was on borrowed time. Pretty disappointing since it was only less than a year old.

Compared to the Pentax, and many kayakers have already claimed to have had repeat failures with them, the Olympus’ image quality is very ordinary. This is characteristic of all Olympus compacts and to a lesser extent their SLRs. Clipped highlights, poor dynamic range and average metering are all constant failings of Olympus compacts.

Cheap underwater solution. But is it worth it?

Cheap underwater solution. But is it worth it?

I recently bought a Fujifilm J15 which comes with a waterproof case. This camera is superbasic with pretty poor handling even without the case. I bought it for my daughter Maddie but also a bit for me too. We have had it at the beach already and it is impossible to see the LCD in the Australian sun and the shutter lag is appalling but I think it has the best chance of survival. I think I will give it a year or so and if the case works out, I’ll buy a decent Canon with a real underwater housing and start getting good photos.


Posted by on January 6, 2009 in Uncategorized


Kayak designs and opinions.


Impex Assateague

Impex Assateague

The trade aspects of RnR were disappointing. The three main suppliers were Expedition Kaykas, Gudu Kayaks and Rafta Kayaks. I know Australis were there but made no attempt to display themselves. There were sponsors like Roaring 40’s who don’t really have much to put in a show tent but all in all it was a great opportunity missed for vendors. They could really use some Retail Intelligence! Anyway…


Mark Sundin

Mark Sundin

I met up with Mark Sundin and Rob Mercer from Expedition Kayaks who sell Impex and Valley boats. Mark is very animated and great to talk to and he had certain views about kayak designs. Nigel Dennis was the star guest and he had some very strong opinions about Australian boats that caused a stir in some circles. His view is that if a kayak needs a rudder to be turned then it is either a bad design or contains a bad paddler. Mark echoed these views and naturally I’ve read these things before but here was Nigel Dennis right in front of us and slamming our boats. Given the preponderance of Mirages it’s no wonder there was lengthy discussion. 

Mark urged me to take the Impex Assateague out on a trip which I did. I gave him a full description of the problems I was having with Eco and he felt sure the Assateague would fix this. Henry van der Kolk led a trip up Cullendulla Creek which gave me a great opportunity to test the Assateague. It performed exactly as Mark said it would. Straight tracking, awesome secondary stability, comfortable. I paddled with skeg up most of the time and this boat can spin on it’s axis – almost. We left the creek and went to sea in a gentle 1 metre swell. I felt in control and much more skillful than in Eco. It is clearly a superior boat. It’s not as fast as the Mirages I was with but who cares? This boat can easily out handle a Mirage and an Eco Bezhig. I want one.


Rjimlad and Assateague.


I also talked to Laurie Geoghan about his Nadgee expedition boats. They are beautifully made with some impressive design elements like a recessed rudder which both protects it and allows the full length of the rudder to be in the water. Still, it’s a rudder and I already have one on Eco. He has really good skeg options as well but unfortunately I didn’t get to paddle one. The Nadgee is a dedicated expedition craft and I don’t think I’ll ever do a big expedition.

Bob from Rafta was there with the new Sea Leopard. This is a boat with a famous Australian pedigree and a popular choice for Tasmanians and Victorians. It’s built for speed and high sea stability. I could barely fit in the thing though. Once again I didn’t get to paddle it. A shame.

I am firmly convinced now of the need for a rudderless boat. I know it will be the Assateague but to be fair I will test others. I’ll keep Eco because it has it’s advantages but I believe it when Mark said many paddlers who buy Mirages find their skill level plateaus and they become lazy. You can’t help it. The integrated rudder of the Mirage means it is always on. At least in a pull-up rudder you can go rudderless. Nigel Dennis ruffled a few feathers but he has convinced me. 

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Posted by on April 10, 2008 in Uncategorized


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