Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, North Carolina
The Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge is tucked between Albemarle Sound and Pamlico Sound on the inland waters of North Carolina.
The refuge is open all year round during daylight hours and has 15 miles of water trails. The Refuge preserves and protects a unique wetland habitat type, the pocosin—a Native American word meaning ''swamp-on-a-hill''—and its associated wildlife species. The Refuge also has bogs, fresh and brackish water marshes, hardwood swamps, and Atlantic white cedar swamps. Plant species include pitcher plants and sun dews, low bush cranberries, bays, Atlantic white cedar, pond pine, gums, red maple, and a wide variety of herbaceous and shrub species common to the East Coast. The region is one of the last remaining strongholds for black bear on the Eastern Seaboard. There are ducks, geese, and swans, American woodcock, raptors, black bears, American alligators, white-tailed deer, raccoons, rabbits, quail, river otters, red wolves, red-cockaded woodpeckers, and neotropical migrants.
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By Christopher Cunningham
Melissa Spangler first got aboard a kayak this past winter and decided that sea kayaking was something that she wanted to do. We’re tracking her progress to see what she can accomplish in her first year of kayaking.
She recently attended a 5-day kayak training camp and reports: “I can now roll on my left and right side with an empty or fully loaded kayak. I am pleased at the ease of rolling and now I’m hooked!” She hadn’t practiced rolling since I gave her a brief lesson a few months ago. It took just a few more hours of instruction for her to get the hang of it.
Melissa’s quick success at rolling may seem unusual, particularly if you’ve been trying for months or even years to knock off your first roll. The skill isn’t inherently difficult, but learning it has some problems that you don’t encounter with other kayaking techniques. If you can do a sculling brace and a sweep-stroke turn with the kayak edged you have the skills you need to roll. When you practice sculling or sweep strokes you can see what you’re doing with the blade, the boat and your body, but when you practice rolling it’s not so easy to keep track of everything. Going from right side up to upside down and then upright again mixes up left and right and up and down. Ducking under water obscures your vision. So you’re not likely to pick up rolling as quickly as you would any other skills. It isn’t any harder, but it’s a whole lot easier to pick up with some instruction. An instructor can see what you can’t and can guide you through the process, getting you in the setup position and guiding your paddle blade until you get to know how it feels. You may not realize you’re bringing your head up too soon, but an instructor can see that and offer you tips to correct your technique.
If you don’t yet know how to roll, a few hours of instruction may be all that separates you from picking up that important skill. Like Melissa, you’re likely to find that it isn’t that difficult and it’s a lot of fun.
To catch up on Melissa’s progress and for some tips on sea kayaking basics check out our Getting Started blog.
Sea Kayaker Store
August ’10 Issue
- Greenland rolling for touring kayaks
- Safety: A solo kayaker capsizes on an ice-covered Mississippi River
- Paddling Ontario’s Prince Edward County
- “Rite of Passage” A mother’s recollection of kayaking with teens at Lake Superior’s Isle Royale
- Homemade charts from online resources
- Kayak Reviews:
-The Illusion by Sterling’s Kayaks
-Solstice GTS by Current Designs
Jul i Juli! Or, if you’re not Swedish, Christmas in July!
Christmas in July subscription special!
For our subscribers in the southern hemisphere July is usually the month for snow and sleighs, but Santa isn’t due for another six months. Here in Seattle it has been unseasonably cool—we had our last snowfall in the mountains in May—but we're holding firm and we won't put up the Sea Kayaker Christmas tree until December!
McMurdo station in Antarctica always has plenty of ice and snow so when mail used to be delivered by a parachute drop in July, the people stationed there felt the sudden arrival of presents and supplies was just like a visit from Santa. Christmas is still celebrated at the station in July as well as in December!
You can celebrate in July too! Enter code “ChristmasinJuly” and save $4.00 off a subscription or renewal to Sea Kayaker magazine!
Cetus LV Kayak Raffle – And the WINNER is…….
|Congratulations to Kevin Lehner of Madison, WI,
winner of the Sea Kayaker magazine/P&H raffle!
He has won a custom-built Cetus LV from P&H Kayaks.
From the Advertising Department
Freya Hoffmeister’s East Coast and Midwest
By Paul R. Riek
Advertising and Promotions Manager
In January 2009 Freya Hoffmeister, a 46-year-old kayaker from Husum, Germany, set out to paddle around a continent in a sea kayak. In December of that year, 322 days and over 8500 miles later, she had completed a solo circumnavigation of Australia, considered one of, if not the most challenging endeavors in the world of sea kayaking. Many other kayakers have attempted the circumnavigation since Paul Caffyn did it 27 years ago, but all of them stopped well short of the goal. Freya’s “Race Around Australia” was completed in record time and established her as the first woman to complete the journey.
Sea Kayak Club
What made it so formidable? Huge saltwater crocodiles, great white sharks, venomous sea snakes and deadly jelly fish, massive surf, the challenge of coordinating freshwater and food dumps, three 100-mile stretches of sheer cliffs without any landing zones and dangerous cyclones were some of the most daunting threats. As an extra challenge she made an 8-day, 7-night crossing of the 350-mile-wide Gulf of Carpentaria. In spite of the physical toll of paddling in the tropical heat Freya averaged upward of 35 miles per day for nearly a year.
On June 19th, 2010 , Freya begins her speaking tour in Miami, Florida, with stops tentatively scheduled in Tampa, FL; Orlando, FL; Charleston, SC; Virginia Beach, VA; Annapolis, MD; West Brick, NJ; New York, NY; Old Saybrook, CT; Wickford, RI; Boston, MA; Freeport, ME; Grand Marais, MI and Chicago, IL.
Please refer to www.seakayakermag.com, click on the Freya Live! button for an updated speaking schedule.
Sea Kayaker magazine, independently owned and operated since 1984