Goodbye Edna - Hello Carmen

posted Jun 8, 2011, 1:54 PM by Richard Sevenich   [ updated Jun 9, 2011, 8:26 PM ]
The kayak season in North Idaho is underway. The damp, cool spring plus the unusually deep snowpack raise the possibility of flooding around the lake in the coming weeks. It's sandbag time i.e. to hold the docks in place. Rumor has it that one dock (with boat still attached) made its way to the Albeni Falls Dam.

On May 14 and 15, Eli and I attended the Ladysmith Paddlefest (Vancouver Island). On the first day, we were among the ~100 paddlers in a flotilla celebrating the grand opening of the BC Marine Trail Network. On the second day I demoed several kayaks - the Valley Avocet, the Maelstrom Vaag, and the Atlantic Spartan. The first two were of interest since I was considering getting a more maneuverable boat (sacrificing some tracking). We also took a workshop entitled 'Intermediate Strokes'.

Once back in Sandpoint, things got worse. I sold Edna, my stalwart Seaward Endeavor, and committed to a well seasoned North Shore Calypso, a kayak quite uncommon in the states. Further it was a long distance negotiation, WHICH DIDN'T INCLUDE TRYING OUT THE BOAT, in marked conflict with my own advice on buying boats. Obviously, the price was very seductive - suggesting the newly acquired but well used kayak be named Carmen. From what I can glean from the web, this kayak is for smaller paddlers, features enough rocker to be maneuverable, but does track when suitably persuaded. The hull is a fiberglass diolen composite. Diolen is the poor man's kevlar and, when used in clothing, is known as (gasp from wife) polyester. North Shore kayaks (British) of that vintage were well designed and of high quality construction, but renowned for unattractive color schemes and unfashionable graphics - probably choices made to minimize the likelihood of theft. I'll take possession in early July, give it a sincere go, and report here subsequently.

On Sunday June 5,, (with Edna gone and Carmen not yet arrived), I joined a group of five other paddlers (including Eli) for a couple of hours on the lake. Bob Pekarek loaned me his good kayak (NDK Explorer HV) while he put up with his spare, a Dagger Savannah. The Explorer was big on me, but still fun. I paddled conservatively; the lake must still be at or below 50 degrees Fahrenheit as the snow melt surges in. The amount of snow we could still see on Schweitzer, was amazing at this late date.

Mountains north of Schweitzer were also still a bright white.