Saturday, October 2, 2010

Installing My Hatches

My hatch seals finally arrived. A long black rubber tube with a red flat side to it. A clever person would probably have known what to do with it, but I had to write to Epic and ask them.

The next day, armed with instructions, I went down to the Olympic Marina where my boat is being stored.

I needed super glue, a knife, and a screw driver in order to install my hatch. I had not replaced these items since my gear had been stolen, but since it was a day of national strike and most stores where closed, I could not just go out and buy them. Once at the marina I would see would I could scratch up.

At a desk in the marina offices I paid a minuscule fee for keeping my kayak there for a few days and then set out to the storage area, a 15 minute walk around the marina that would have been a 5 minute swim, if only I had the guts. I was told that the storage garage would not be locked.

On my way I asked a woman on a floating dock if I could borrow some tools. She was happy to volunteer her friend to lend me the tools, which was great, though he didn't seem too pleased about it. He, like many of the boaters at the marina, lived in his boat so I would be able to return the tools any time that afternoon. The woman was hoping to borrow my cell phone for a quick call but I explained to her that I didn't have any credits on my cell phone, however, I might have credits on the ruined cell phone in my boat. We could then switch the sim card to a good phone that would allow her to make her important call.

So we walked to the storage garage together. Along the way she told me a little about living with her daughter in their small boat in the marina. How the boat itself wasn't seaworthy so it never left port, but they got plenty of invitations from friends to go out all the time, and that was nice.

We soon arrived at the storage garage to find that it was locked, but the woman who was looking for a cell phone found one with someone else and was off to her own affairs.

There was an open marine shop near the garage so I bought some supplies like rope for tying stuff down, a sponge, and super glue to complete what I needed to install my hatch seals.

I walked back to the marina office and they where closed. There was a marina employee there who could open the garage for me, but wouldn't without proof that I had paid the storage fees for my boat. Catching the secretary who I had paid earlier walking out of a side door, she confirmed that I had paid. I then walked back around while the dock worker was there way ahead of me, by boat, and had left my kayak next to the garage for me to work on.

My instructions called for two millimeter and five millimeter measurements which I did my best to eyeball. I cleaned off the hatch with some toilet paper and began the careful work of installing the hatch seals. Even a slight imperfection would be bad.

Upon completion, I did other work that needed to be done, like the installation of a paddle leash with some of the elastic rope I bought. Then putting the whole thing into the water, I got in and began to test it.

I wasn't optimistic. I needed to roll the boat and I had previously had a great deal of trouble rolling a kayak with a winged paddle. But I was only a short swim on flat water from the dock so I would be fine. I was also prepared to try a number of different styles of rolls.

I went over on my left side, set up for the sweep, swept, hip flicked, and was up in a heartbeat. If anything it was easier then with a regular paddle, though a different feel. The audience I had acquired was also impressed. I rolled again and again many more times on both sides. I practiced a bunch of other techniques with my new blades to really get a handle on the feel of them and my new boat. All my rolls were fine and I was getting used to the way my paddles handled. I tried a hand roll and was unsuccessful, so I grabbed my paddle to get back up with my C to C roll. Only I couldn't sweep it. The same trouble I had had the other day I was having now. But I also knew now that I could do it, and that it was easy. I rotated the paddle shaft in my hand 180 degrees and tried again and came up without a problem. It turns out, that unlike a regular paddle, with winged paddles you need to have them facing the correct way in order to C to C roll.

There was a shirtless American man watching me with long wild black hair. We talked some and it turns out he's a traveling musician for a punk rock group. Their van was parked near by. He was excited that I would be trying to kayak to Israel since he had his bar mitzva there.

My back hatch seal was good and my front one I need to test some more. There was water in the compartment, but I don't know if it came through the hatch or was already there. I'll have to test it some more on Sunday.

1 comment:

  1. getting close to getting under way?

    it is a good idea to have flotation bags front and rear as an extra precaution. there are also flotation bags that double as dry bags, like I have in my skin on frame kayak.