Although in anything but a hurry, I’ve spoken with the owner of another Seavivor for sale. This kayak’s in need of a repair and I have not yet seen photos. I was able to get some longerons made for the Pionier I owned a few years back, and successfully dealt with tears on my Pouch solo’s deck closure arrangement.
I was able Monday at lunch to speak with the Seavivor’s owner by telephone. He’d already sent photographs by email. The kayak’s beautiful, but at present I cannot justify spending what the Seavivor’s doubtless worth. Still, it was certainly worthwhile to meet, however briefly and by telephone, another folding kayaker.
Back at my desk, I found myself effortlessly and efficiently going about my work-related tasks – paperwork associated with a long, structured interview conducted during the morning hours. In that work, I experienced a sense of inner peace which came as a surprise when I noticed it. Contentment for the time being and living reasonably, well within my means.
I’m thinking about getting another kayak. This, the holy grail of American made kayaks, a Seavivor Greenland Solo. I’m very interested. The kayak’s long at 17’4″, and reputedly fast. It has no sponsons which, I think, is a bonus in terms of skin fit, weight, handling. The Seavivor’s located a long way off, which is logistically maybe a problem. Also, it’ll be heavy compared to my Folbot Aleut, but I may still be strong enough to manage its weight. Anyhow, I want to go far and go fast on the water.
A few things I’ve learned about myself and folding kayaks are: I like to keep them put-together most of the time; my driveway and yard are lousy environments for storing a folding kayak assembled; I tend to dislike assembling at the put-in even when that makes better logistical and kayak-care sense.
My experience with the RZ96 has informed me that the squirrels in my neighborhood pose a hazard to any stationary thing softer than their teeth. My experience with 450s has informed me, to my shame, that even covered, in the yard moisture will wreck wood parts.
The two kayaks I currently own are safely stored disassembled in their bags. I have room for a third. I DARE the local squirrels to take their teeth to my aluminum canoe, which does stay out in the yard.
Last Sunday, my son and I skipped church and floated the Barren Fork River through McMinnville in Warren County. We put in at Smooth Rapids (who shuttled us back for about $11.00) and took out at a concrete ramp in the VFW parking lot – a downstream journey of about six miles. Another father and son team paddled with us; the kids threw rocks in the water, talked, went for a swim, shared snacks. After we got back to the outfitters and put the canoe back on the Cross Country, we had a pretty good lunch at the restaurant the outfitter operates overlooking the riverside launch point. Here are some pictures – I’ll add a few more later as I noticed none of those I’ve posted below are particularly good representations of the river as seen while paddling downstream.
We saw at least three guys paddling sit-on-top purpose designed fishing kayaks not too far downstream from Smooth Rapids put in, and tried to keep our noise to a minimum until we got past. Much later on, we saw three or four guys in what looked like an Oregon drift-boat (only with an outboard motor) – they were also fishing.
We saw numerous turtles along our route sunning themselves on logs.
Some rocky cliff faces with undercuts, as above, in many places to our left as we paddled downstream.
A lot of this kind of water grass we saw during the entirety of our trip downstream.
Got out of the canoes here so the kids could swim and throw rocks into the water. It was here that we picked up a number of rocks, and piled them in the boats so the boys could throw them when we continued. Easy fun, and I was happy to note they didn’t throw them at each other.
Here’s where the Collins River meets the Barren Fork River. On the map, the stream’s marked Collins River past this point.
This point is not too far from the VFW parking lot take out.
Did I mention the Folbot Aleut is slow compared to the kayaks I’ve been used to? It is. Back when I was paddling every available free day I had, was used to traveling fast and a lot farther. This weekend, I’d planned to paddle the river that runs alongside McMinnville, Tennessee, putting in at Smooth Rapids and having them shuttle me back from the VFW lodge – only about 8 miles and maybe four hours, but downstream so the Aleut’s speed limitations wouldn’t bug me as much.
NOAA indicated only 30% of thunderstorms which meant, to me, 70% chance of no thunderstorms. Weather radar imagery was clear. I attached the Folbot to my car’s top, put my overpreparedness gear in a large bag and that bag in the car and set out. You’ll notice what I’d failed to do before driving 30-odd miles – didn’t call the outfitter to make sure they were operating.
The fellow running the place asked, “Are you sure?”
“Why would I need to be sure about this?”
“The river’s at flood stage – we’ve had storms all week.”
“Yeah, the weather has been crap.”
“Whenever we have storms here, we get trees falling across the river.” He went on to mention that two or three people had died during the past couple of months in the area – a kayaker on that stretch of river a couple of weeks ago when his boat capsized caught in a strainer and he panicked, and two swimmers drowned at Rock Island. He said he had no way to tell whether the water was passable. Said the water was about three feet above normal level.
“Would you do it?”
“No,” he said, “and I’ve (paddled those eight miles) a hundred times.”
So, I left and went in search of some other water to paddle. On the way back to I-24, I looked for an access point to Womack Lake, but finding none, I decided to put in at Prairie Plains Road Bridge, on the Elk River in maybe Coffee County, and drove out there.
This time, I’d remembered to take my Magellan Cyclo 505 to measure progress in addition to what my wife considers my usual over-prparedness. It might have been about 11:00 a.m. when I arrived at the put-in. No one else was there, and during my entire paddle upstream and most of my paddle downstream past where I’d launched, I saw no one else on the water.
The furthest point on this image shows where I found a place to eat lunch. The 505 unit shared a PFD pocket with my camera and it’s touchscreen apparently got bumped and it shut itself off. I didn’t get much past this point after eating. A ways into my paddle back downstream I again looked at the unit and recorded part of the downstream paddle.
I did see about 30 turtles sunning themselves on logs, one large snake, also sunning on a log, and three otters swimming fast downstream while I ate my lunch. A few great blue herons, numerous other birds I couldn’t identify, and a flock of swallows swarming around the bridge as I came back downstream.
A few pictures with brief descriptions from start to finish:
Not far upstream from Prairie Plains Road Bridge. It turned out not to be as jammed up with broken trees as it looks here.
So, as I was paddling by I saw what looked like an iguana sunning itself on a log. When I got closer, I saw it was instead a snake curled up, sunning itself on a log. I snapped the picture when I got a little further away using zoom. During the rest of my time on and around the water I remained mindful of the possibility of snakes on over-hanging tree limbs and nearby logs.
This creature landed where you see it and rode with me for about a mile upstream.
My photographic skills and camera failed to capture the bright beauty of these occasional pink flowers I saw from time to time on either bank of the Elk.
Campsis radicans growing on a tree overhead. Also the name of my old Pouch E68 kayak.
The camera got wet; I guess I paddled more vigorously than usual, yesterday.
Here’s where I backed in and ate my lunch – peanut butter and jelly sandwich and one of those wafer-cookie bicyclist snacks – before paddling out and turning left. I made maybe two-tenths of a mile more upstream before I turned back. I’d wasted half the day driving to McMinnville and then trying to find access to that small lake. And the current was stronger the farther upstream I paddled.
On the way back downstream, on my right, I explored a flooded creek that’s normally impassible. I got this far and photographed the flooded vista beyond.
Here’re some of the plants growing under the water on that flooded creek.
And here’s the way back out to the Elk.
As someone has noted on a FoldingKayaks.org forum thread, the Folbot Aleut is stable enough you can sit back put your legs up outside the cockpit. Floating back downstream was lot less trouble than paddling upstream. I ate another pbj sandwich and relaxed a bit.
There’s the bridge beyond which is the dirt ramp where I launched a couple of hours previously. I paddled down farther, toward some of the islands at the top of Woods Reservoir, got repeatedly buzzed by a wasp, whack the snot out of the insect with my paddle, turned around and headed back to the car.
And there’s the car with the kayak on top.
Today, I paddled my new 2003 Anniversary Edition Folbot Aleut for the first time. Most of you know this already, but the Aleut is Folbot’s 12′ single kayak. Here’s a link to information on the Folbot line-up of folding kayaks that I think was current when the company went out of business last year (2016). Weighing about 40#, it’s easy to put on the car’s roof racks. I used a couple of cheap foam blocks to protect the hull. The boat’s aluminum frame, probably aluminum in general, ‘feels’ more fragile to me than my previous folders’ wooden frames. The Aleut’s gothic arch cockpit is huge – it seems even bigger from the inside. I used a bungie cord to keep the seatback in place. I remember reading on the old Folbot Forum that the style seat my kayak’s got consistently annoyed users by falling forward when they entered the cockpit.
The Aleut has zero rocker, is beamy, has a lot of primary stability but I was unsure of its secondary stability so I edged to turn with caution. It was a little breezy today and I found the kayak didn’t turn into the wind much; no rudder today nor was one needed. The kayak seems sturdy, stable, not bothered by boat-wake or small wind-waves.
Compared to Campsis Radicans, my old Pouch E68, the Folbot Aleut is pretty slow. Surely no more than six miles did I paddle this afternoon, but I had no real plan except to put the boat in the water and paddle it around a bit. It took me a mile or two to remember how and begin to paddle efficiently. The kayak’s D-rings for perimeter line are placed where I carelessly and repeatedly whacked them with the paddle. Altering habitual form to avoid that will take at least conscious effort and another excursion to effect. My form today was sufficiently poor that one of my elbows hurts.
As you can see from the pictures, I overprepared – spare paddle, a couple of dry-bags with stuff I might need, a second lunch in case I got hungry, a bilge pump, a bilge sponge, about a gallon of drinking water in a Viet-Nam era military collapsible canteen.
I rode my ’07 Jamis Supernova this morning and again this evening after supper. Being active outside feels good.
Last Sunday afternoon I took my son for his first time on the water in our canoe since he was about two years old. We paddled about an hour and stopped a couple of times so he could jump in the water. Here’re three photos:
Last week, I reaffixed the peeling edges of three of the Aleut’s keelstrips. This weekend, I’m planning to paddle it for the first time. Here it is on my Volvo wagon’s crossbars. I tried to work out how far apart to space them. Got a couple of cheap foam blocks to serve as hull or deck cradles. Dunno yet whether to cartop it hull-down or deck-up. Regarding the deck, I stupidly applied the wrong 303 product to it last week – the UV protectant that’s intended for hull-type material. It doesn’t seem to have harmed the fabric in any easily discernible way. I’ll get some Fabric Guard soon, though.
For those of you who actually know me, my former telephone number ending in 6642 is no longer active. The same area code and prefix with last four digits 1389 is active. Also, with that phone, I can actually send and receive text messages, although my texting skillset is below average.