Wildlife Refuge Water Trails
By Christopher Cunningham
In the early 80s I paddled across the Okefenokee Swamp, starting on the east edge of the swamp and leaving it at the levee that separates the swamp from the headwaters of the Suwannee River. While it may seem an unlikely destination for sea kayaks, it was one of the most interesting places I’ve ever paddled. There are miles and miles of canals bordered by moss-draped cypress trees. The trails were often open water but sometimes the tress, brush and grass closed in so tight that I could hardly see the water that was keeping me afloat.
The Okefenokee’s network of trails was in existence several years before the first of the better recognized water trails was established. If you’ve yet to discover paddling opportunities in the nation’s Wildlife Refuges, they’re worth a look. We’ll be highlighting some of them here in the newsletter. The Refuge system has about 1,000 miles of marked and mapped water trails that provide kayakers with opportunities for wildlife observation, photography, fishing and, sometimes, the option of multi-day camping excursions. We’ll start off with the Okefenokee.
Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, southern Georgia and northern Florida
This vast swamp, one of the country’s best-preserved freshwater systems, is home to alligators, sandhill cranes, red-cockaded woodpeckers, carnivorous plants and many other species. It also contains more than 120 miles of paddling routes. The water trails and platforms allow people to paddle for the day or stay overnight deep within the 354,000 acre wilderness. Permits are required for overnight camping in the refuge. For more information go to http://www.fws.gov/okefenokee/ and for information about all 551 National Wildlife Refuges, visit http://www.fws.gov/refuges/.
By Christopher Cunningham
We introduced novice kayaker Melissa Spangler in the April ‘10 newsletter and she is off to a good start in her first year of paddling. I gave her an introductory lesson to rolling and on April 9th she joined a group of about 25 kayakers for the first leg of the Puget Sound Challenge. The group had clear skies and a brisk tailwind for Melissa’s first outing on salt water. She’s already figuring out a few things about wetsuits, foot braces, skegs and rudders. To catch up on Melissa’s progress and for some tips on sea kayaking basics check out our Getting Started blog.
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June ’10 Issue – On Newsstands Now!
- Crossing the Tasman Sea: An interview with James Castrission
- Newfoundland: Among the islands and inlets of the island’s northeast coast you’ll find history, geology and an opportunity to wander among drifting icebergs.
- The Gulf of Alaska: An Alaskan couple paddles an overlooked stretch of coast that lies between two popular kayaking destinations.
- Safety: A group of guides exploring new routes along the coast of Costa Rica get caught up in a sudden and powerful north wind.
- Gear review: A look at the Ultralight, a new electric motor from Torqeedo designed specifically for kayaks.
- Kayak Reviews:
- Oceanspirit by Tahe Kayaks
- Looksha Elite by Necky Kayaks
Note Cards – New Designs by Shawna Franklin
One of the pleasures of kayaking is paddling close to shore. Sometimes I see a kingfisher swooping down from its perch to snatch prey or turn my head toward noisy, black oystercatchers along the shore. A hawk, looking like a sentinel perches on a telephone pole. Seals often trail behind my kayak curious, but just out of sight.
Shawna Franklin, a biologist, kayaking coach and artist living on Orcas Island, captures these birds and marine mammals with new block print designs
Set of five cards: shoreline and forest birds for $15.95.
Set of six cards: seals, sea turtle and orca whales for $18.95
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T-Shirt Blowout Sale!
Short-Sleeve T-shirts on sale for $9.99 each, size Medium only.
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White short-sleeve T-shirt with green and black graphics of SK logo, kayak and paddle on front. "Experience the world's waterways" Sea Kayaker Magazine on back. Limited quantity.
Black short-sleeve T-shirt with white graphic of a Greenland kayak frame on back and Sea Kayaker on front. Limited quantity.
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One of a Kind
By Steve Gordon
Here’s my latest strip-built kayak, a Petrel designed by Nick Schade of Guillemot kayaks.
I have built a few of Nick’s designs and this is by far the best. The Petrel is described as a rough-water kayak, and I love rough-water kayaking. For surfing it’s outstanding, very easy to catch a wave, great handling and control while surfing and it punches through the swell and waves with ease. Everybody who tries this kayak is amazed at how good it feels.
Click here to read more.
Sea Kayaker Subscription Winners!
Congratulations to the lucky winners of a one-year subscription:
At Canoecopia March 12th -14th Tim B. of Madison, WI and Maruti L. of Madison, WI and at PaddleSport 2010 March 26th-28th, George L. of Cape May Court House, NJ and Al O. of Brockport, NY.
From the Advertising Department
A Generous Soul
By Paul R. Riek
Advertising and Promotions Manager
For the past couple of years we’ve had the pleasure of working with Werner Paddles to hold drawings at kayaking events around the country. The drawing winner gets to walk away with a Werner paddle custom selected and sized using Werner’s Paddle Prescription program.
Josh Hall of Charleston County Parks and Recreation,
Mette Bergvall, SE Rep for Werner Paddles, John Gale (paddle winner),
Paul Riek of Sea Kayaker magazine.
In April we held the drawing at the East Coast Canoe and Kayak Festival in Charleston, SC. It’s the second time we’ve done the drawing there. Last year the winner was Charleston kayaker Tunis Romein. He generously gave the paddle to his brother David’s wife, Lori.
Last September Lori called me with the sad news that Tunis had succumbed to cancer. While I was at the Sea Kayaker booth at this year’s festival in Charleston, David and Lori stopped by. I expressed my condolences while they filled out entries for the drawing. When we held the drawing at the end of the weekend I had a volunteer from the group of drawing entrants pick out the first entry form. It was Lori’s. For our drawing the winner had to be present and unfortunately Lori was not there. My volunteer drew the second name.It was David. He was not present either. We kept drawing names until we had our winner. John Gale was the proud recipient of a new custom-fit Werner paddle.
Tunis Romein at Folley Beach
The folks at Werner Paddles and I couldn’t help but feel Tunis’s generosity was at work again at this year’s drawing. We thought it only fitting that we honor his memory by awarding David and Lori another paddle.
Congratulations to John, and to David and Lori—Tunis is still looking out for you.
Paul Riek, Lori Romein, David Romein, Mette Bergvall
Sea Kayaker magazine, independently owned and operated since 1984