Re: Sit on top design?

Posted by Laszlo on Jan 26, 2005

John,

Thanks for the info, I'll be looking forward to it.

Mac,

The kayak pictures are on film and waiting to be developed (I didn't want to risk the digital camera at sea). The report is very short - it was our 25th anniversary celebration and the kayaking was only a 4-hour bit of it. We also did other snorkeling, rode a tour submarine down to 150 ft, hiked across the Kilauea caldera to the Halemaumau crater and across the seaside lava plain to see the lava coming from the Pu`u `O`o crater that has been erupting since 1983.

The sea kaya bit was a tour with Kelii's Kayaks that promised us guaranteed sea turtles. We launched through the surf at Makena Landing in Maui (which is basically a parking lot and a channel between lava rocks and coral around the point from Tiger Woods' place) and went out about a mile to see if we could spot any whales. I spotted one spouting about 5 miles away and that's as close as we got to them.

The sea state was 4-ft swells with a 20 kt wind at right angles, so we had a lot of up & down & corkscrew rolling and whitecaps. The tupperware actually handled it pretty well - never had any feeling of being out of control.

After the whale attempt, we went back to dive on a reef. Then we landed through the surf for lunch and to let the 2 people who'd gotten violently seasick leave.

Finally, we went out again for more diving at another reef and returned for the day. It was at this reef that I saw the turtles. There was one big old guy with lots of barnacles and a couple of youngsters, probably females (and in case anyone other than another sea turtle cares, you can tell by the shape of the shell). After watching them from the surface for a while, I dove down to swim with them. BTW, that's another advantage of an inflatable PFD, you can free-dive while wearing one. All the other paddlers were stuck up on top. On the other hand, we did have to lug them 9,500 miles round trip and the TSA opened the bags every time they saw the CO2 cartridges on the x-ray. Anyway, there I was swimming with the female turtle. Since they're an endangered species, we weren't allowed to touch them or get too close, so I stayed 4-5 feet away. As I was running out of air, I began to surface and at the last possible instant saw something approaching out of the corner of my eye. It was the old male approaching me from above. I took evasive action and got to the surface OK, but if I hadn't spotted him I would have slammed my head right into a big mass of barnacles on the bottom of his shell. Fortunately, the law doesn't care how close the animal approaches you, only how close you approach the animal. In the meantime, since sound carries for miles underwater, everytime we went under and equalized our ears, we could hear the humpbacks singing. It sounded just like the nature shows, except that we could hear the other underwater sounds, too. The whale songs were omnidirectional since our ears our too close together. Occasionally we'd even get caught in one of their sonar beams.

While I had a great time, I was not impressed with Keliis Kayaks and could not recommend them. The equipment was pretty shabby and worn - the boats leaked, the paddle ferrules were loose and the snorkelling equipment had definitely seen better days - and the guide was apathetic and unprofessional. When one of the seasick paddlers fell behind and capsized, he only noticed when we yelled at him and pointed it out. He was too busy chatting up one of the female customers. The capsized paddler got back safely, BTW.

Kurt,

I understand your feeling about sit on tops, it's the same as mine was before our trip. However, if you ever want to go snorkeling from a kayak (which I guess considering the gators and such where you live is pretty unlikely), that's the kind of boat you need. Those sleek pencil hot rods are just not gonna cut it.

Now that I've had a chance to try them out, I feel that the problem is the execution, not the idea. Those clorox bottle tupperware jobs were way too heavy and not shaped quite right because of the need to extract them from a mold. But, with intelligent design and the choice of materials biased for performance instead of cheap manufacture, there's no reason why all the ills could not be fixed. With careful attention to stability curves and loading, there's no reason they'd have to be bathtubs. I'm really looking froward to what CLC comes up with.

Laszlo

In Response to: Sit on top design? by Laszlo on Jan 25, 2005

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