Tag Archives: Featured

Safety equipment for sea kayakers (Norwegian only, sorry)

For mange er det å dra på padletur utenfor allfarvei noe av det mest givende og spennende en kan holde på med. Det blir imidlertid fort alvor når uhellet skjer og turen ikke går som planlagt. Hva bør du ha med deg i kajakk og vest av sikkerhetsutstyr? Dette er et stort tema og hva du trenger kan variere avhengig av hvor du er og hvor lenge du skal være på tur. Det finnes dermed ingen fasit og du bør bruke det utstyret du selv synes fungerer bra. Hold utstyret enkelt og øv på å bruke det.

Tiden går fort ved hendelser. Har du det du trenger for å overleve et døgn ute med skadet padler?

Ifølge en undersøkelse NRK gjorde i 2014, kan utryknings- og reisetid for et legehelikopter ta opp til 90 minutter avhengig av hvor i landet du er. I løpet av denne tiden må du som turleder eller turkamerat kunne passe på den som trenger profesjonell hjelp. Det finnes mye bra utstyr der ute men du kan også lett lage eget utstyr til å reparere utstyr og mennesker.

Noe alle må ha med seg er førstehjelpsutstyr. Bruk gjerne en vanntett pakke kjøpt på apotek eller lignende. Ta imidlertid ut innholdet og gjør deg kjent med det. Jeg har med meg en større boks som ligger i kajakken og en liten pose som jeg har i vesten. I vesten har jeg bandasje, elektriker tape og en munn til munn maske. Bandasjen er til blødninger på hender og hodet, elektriker tape er til sår på hender mens munn til munn masken er for egen sikkerhet hvis hjerte-lungeredning er nødvendig.

Har du det nødvendige utstyret til å fikse skadet padler og kajakk ute på havet?

I den større boksen med førstehjelp som ligger i kajakken har jeg:
– Bandasjer til å stoppe blødninger
– Sportstape, dette kan det gå veldig mye av i en reel situasjon, ha med flere ruller
– Sterile kompresser til å legge over sår før bandasjen settes på
– Trekanttørkler til å lage fatle eller bruke som bandasje
– Skylleveske og pyrisept til sårvask
– Sårvask servietter til rensing av sår og egne hender
– Plaster til små sår
– Førstehjelpssaks
– Hansker i latex eller plast
– Samsplint spjelk til bruk ved benbrudd eller vrikking av ledd
– Et sortiment av smertestillende som Ibux og Paracet

Et triks er å ha ekstra hodelykt, fyrstikker, batterier og varmeposer i førstehjelpsskrinet. Varmeposene er gode å ha når faren for hypotermi er til stede og de kan også brukes til å holde liv i en smarttelefon når det virkelig gjelder.

I tillegg til dette har jeg en vindsekk til å søke ly fra elementene. Vindsekken har plass til flere personer eller det kan brukes til å pakke inn en skadet person i en slags “taco-wrap”. Vindsekken er laget for å reflektere varme og sammen med et liggeunderlag er dette livreddende utstyr. Ikke bare er dette livreddende utstyr, men det er også riktig trivelig å bruke den ved matpauser på land.

Førstehjelpsutstyret skal hovedsakelig stoppe blødninger og holde en person varm til hjelp utenifra kommer.

Når du venter på hjelp utenfra må du si i fra hvor du befinner deg. Telefon og VHF kan brukes for å oppgi kartkoordinater eller stedsnavn. Det finnes også apper som oppgir koordinatene du befinner deg på. Det er kanskje unødvendig å si det, men telefoner kan gå tomme for strøm, mangle dekning eller bli så kalde at de ikke fungerer. Kart og kompass imidlertid krever kun at du følger med på hvor du er og at du kan lese stedsnavn eller koordinater. Har du veldig lyst så kan du skaffe deg en nødpeilesender. Denne kan sende melding til alarmsentraler via satellitt om hvor du befinner deg.

For å løse hendelser ute på vannet må du ha med deg en utstyr festet på kajakken eller i vesten. Noe de fleste har er taueline. Gjør deg kjent med denne ved å teste den ved jevne mellomrom. Tauelina fungerte kanskje godt for et år siden, men det er ingen garanti for at den fortsatt gjør det. Tauelina skal være klar til å festes på en annen kajakk i løpet av noen sekunder. Er den ikke det bør du finne ut av hvorfor og utføre utbedringer. I tillegg til lang taueline bør du ha med en kort taueline med to karabinkroker som er festet foran på dekk eller som en cow tail festet til vesten. Denne skal bl.a. brukes til å raskt taue kajakk eller menneske bort fra en fare. Igjen gjør deg kjent med utstyret og bruk det regelmessig.

 

Reparasjonsutstyret skal kunne midlertidig fikse problemer som hull i kajakk og ødelagt senkekjøl.

Man kan utføre mange midlertidige reparasjoner av kajakk og utstyr på vannet. Dette er veldig praktisk hvis det å lande er umulig p.g.a. vær eller fordi det ikke finnes landingssteder der du er. Har du følgende i vesten kan du løse mye på vannet:
– Denso tape. Laget for å tette vannrør. Tapen fungerer i det våte element og kan midlertidig tette lekkasjer i kajakken.
– Nøttepirker. Brukt av klatrere for å pirke ut sikringer. Kan også brukes til å pirke ut senkekjøler som har låst seg fast.
– En stropp. Brukes til å tvinge inn en senkekjøl som har låst seg fast i ut-posisjon.
– Vanntett duk og strikk. Brukes hvis man mister en luke. Fest duken over luka og stram strikken rundt.
– Plast folie. Del en rull med plastfolie i passende størrelse. Kan brukes til å surre rundt en kajakk for å tette en luke eller små lekkasjer i skroget. Kan også brukes til, blødninger, brannsår, fatle eller lage tau.

Selv om jeg har dette i vesten tar jeg også med et større reparasjonskit i kajakken til bruk på land. Her har jeg:
– Hurtigepoksi
– Glassfiber
– Skiftenøkkel
– Superlim
– Sandpapir
– Gelcoat
– Gaffatape
– Multiverktøy
– Skruer og muttere

Selv med alt dette utstyret har du god plass til alt du trenger for overnatte ute, mat og drikke, klær, fotoutstyr og mye mer. Jeg har fått bruk for nesten alt reparasjonsutstyret på turene mine. Førstehjelpsutstyret har jeg heldigvis sjeldent fått bruk for, men det er uansett alltid med da jeg vet jeg kommer til å få bruk for det før eller siden.

PFD (personal floatation device) contents

The contents in your PFD, paddle west, is something that can make or break a sticky situation on the water. Whether you are a leader or a participant on the water, you should consider your contents and have a purpose with it. If you have the right tools in your PFD it is possible to fix or temporarily fix a lot of issues with sea kayaks and people. This means you are not dependent on digging out stuff from your kayak nor landing your kayak to fix stuff. Both can be tricky or impossible given rough enough conditions.

Below is what I choose to have in my PFD. I am using the Palm Kaikoura PFD, as it has plenty of space for all the things I want to bring.

Click to enlarge
  1. A piece of string to tie stuff together. Has a large number of applications.
  2. Nut tool for getting stuck skegs out.
  3. Hand held flare, for signalling.
  4. Whistle, for signalling.
  5. Knife to cut rope
  6. Cling wrap. First aid: Open wounds, sling. Boat repair: Lost hatch, small cracks in kayak.
  7. Sun factor stick, prevents sun burn.
  8. Spare carabiner. In case loss of primary carabiner used for towing and coupling sea kayaks.
  9. Ferro rod. Used in combination with knife to create sparks to ignite fire. With this in your west you can possibly create a fire within a minute of exiting your kayak. Seal ferro rod with tape to prevent salt water degradation.
  10. Wet notes. A waterproof notebook.
  11. Electrical tape, for cuts on fingers and hands.
  12. Compression bandage. For cuts on head and hands.
  13. Mouth to mouth protector. For own safety when performing mouth to mouth.
  14. Means of communication. Either a VHF radio or a mobile phone in waterproof case.
  15. Denso tape. Used by plumbers to repair leaking pipes. Works in wet environment. Allows temporary, on the water,  fix of leaking kayak (sold here).
  16. Strap. To fix skeg stuck in the out position. Simply tighten strap around kayak and skeg to force stuck skeg in.
  17. A piece of waterproof tarp and bungie cord. To fix lost hatch.
  18. Compass.
  19. Watch with stopwatch. To tell time and to keep track of distance travelled when night navigating.
  20. Light. A shoulder mounted light to signal other boats and kayakers.

 

I always find it useful to learn from other sea kayakers, so heres what sea kayak coach and guide Matt Skuse has  in his PFD.

 Flares, whistle and VHF for communications. Plastic sheet, shock cord and a beach ball for replacing lost hatch cover. Denzo tape and wax to patch holes. Nut key for clearing jammed skegs. Tape and crab for towing harnesses and providing tail drag. Knife, compass, lip-salve and sun cream. Aquatherm hood.

Feel free to comment and say what you think should be in a PFD for sea kayakers.

BCU 4 Star Leader

If you are going for the BCU 4 assessment these notes may give you an indication of what you may need to prioritise in order to pass.

Remit:
Remember the latest relevant remit for this course. When I took it, it was:
– Leading 4 participants.
– Sea state 4: 1,25 – 2,5 m. waves (moderate sea state).
– Wind, Beaufort 4: Moderate breeze 16 kn, 8 m/s.
– In an area where tide is not moving faster than 2 kn, according to available resources (tidal atlas).
– Landing spots no longer than 1 mile away from where you are. So 2 miles open crossing or 2 miles of steep terrain is possible.
– Surf landings 1 meter.

Repair kit:
You must be able to fix common boat problems such as:
– Lost hatch (bungee and tarp)
– Skeg stuck up or down (strap, nut tool)
– Hole in boat (gaffa tape, denso tape, cling wrap, soft wax)

Paddling skills:
Confidence above remit should be achieved before assessment, so that you have the capacity to lead within remit.

Leadership:
Learn the relevant rule of thumbs for briefing and leading your group, CLAP (communication, line of sight, avoidance of danger, positioning), SAFER (stop, assess, formulate a plan, execute plan, review), SHEETS (Safety, human, equipment, environment, time, signals).

Delegate tasks to participants so you can maintain an overview of the situation. If convenient/fastest, perform detailed task (rescue etc.) yourself, otherwise delegate. Show initiative and decisiveness when a serious rescue occurs at assessment. Do not be afraid to bring out the whip on the participants if someone is simulating an injury during the assessment. If you require external help, use VHF to simulate a coast guard call. Pan-Pan for serious but not life threatening situations (shoulder out of socket) and mayday for life threatening situations (unconscious or serious injuries).

Leadership is also about giving the participants a great experience. Do not be afraid of pushing them close to the remit, remember they are 3 star paddlers and they hired you for a fun afternoon! Give them some fun, get them inside caves, surf, rockhopping etc. Use CLAP to show you can handle the risk and take care of the participants.

You may be put in a situation in which you will have to say:  “Stop, this is above remit”. Keep remit in mind all the time.

Prioritise yourself, group and then swimmer/casuality. Show you understand that safety for yourself and the group must first be organised before a rescue is to be performed.

Surf landings:
Brief the group, skeg up and helmets on. Go in first, stand on beach and bring them in one at a time. Use hand signals to help them paddle faster or slower, right or left. Reverse this process when going out ( you are the last one going out).

Navigation:
Need to know your lat and long and OS map coordinates. Chart symbols, tide tables and weather resources.

In conclusion, be prepared to argue your logic of your A and B plan at assessment. My impression is that if you have a well thought out logic for a plan, piece of equipment or procedure the assessor will simply say: “Show me”. If it works, it works. Furthermore technical paddling skills is important but in the larger picture it is a smaller piece. Planning, Leadership, navigation and tidal awerness is perhaps equally as important.

Finally, assessment is your chance to shine and show you know what is required. Communicate this to the assessor by explaining and speaking whenever you can and by actions whenever you can. Fortunately the assessor is not a mind reader!

Lofoten

Lofoten is one of the most exciting sea kayak destinations to explore in Norway.

During July 2014 Tomasz Furmanek (www.furmanek.com) and I had the opportunity to paddle from the small island of Vaeroy up along the uninhabited west coast of Lofoten to the small town of Ramberg.

Screen Shot 2014-08-16 at 16.24.59

The plan was to paddle from Værøy, cross the Mosken tidal current and explore the exposed west coast of Lofoten.

Værøy is a beautiful island with many sea eagles, puffins, numerous other kind of birds and lots of fish. There are white beaches with no one on them, awesome campsites and fantastic mountain peaks from where you can see Røst to the south and Moskenes island to the North.

IMG_7588
Campsite on Værøy
IMG_7658
Exploring Værøy on foot as the midnight sun is shining
DCIM118GOPRO
From a peak on Værøy, looking south.
DCIM117GOPRO
Værøy padling

 

On day 2 we had nearly circumnavigated Værøy island and we were ready to begin the crossing of the Mosken tidal current north of Vaeroy. However, the weather had other plans for us, as thick fog and strong wind moved in from the west. Visibility was poor and unacceptable for crossing this tidal current. We had to pitch our tents and wait another 12 hours before conditions were acceptable.

DCIM118GOPRO
Landing in thick fog

 

The word maelstrom originates from the Norse word of male, which means to grind. The Moskenstraumen or Mosken tidal current, was in the old days marked on maps with enormous whirlpools and dragons. The phenomenon has also been described by poets, explorers and authors as something very dangerous. It seems this may have created an undeserving reputation, as it is possible to cross it with a sea kayak.
The Mosken tidal current forms between the small island of Mosken and the larger island of Moskenes. As the tide pulls and push a large amount of water through the narrow and shallow Mosken strait, the water speeds up through this overfall. At its strongest the tidal current forms a system of eddies and currents which, given rough conditions, is risky to cross with a sea kayak. However, given low waves, low wind, good visibility and good weather the tidal current can be crossed fairly easily.

DCIM118GOPRO
Approaching the Mosken island in the middle of the Moskenes strait.

 

Given that all the risks above are eliminated, there only remains the risk created by the tidal current itself. So how is it possible to eliminate this remaining risk? It is essential to understand how tide and this specific tidal current works.

IMG_7624
Looking over to Mosken island and Moskenes Island from Værøy island. The Mosken tidal current is between the Mosken island and Moskenes island.

 

The tide moves in and out with an interval of 6 hours. So after high tide, low tide occurs after 6 hours.

The flow (speed) of the tide increases with 1/12 of the total difference between low and high tide in the first hour.
The second hour = 2/12.
The third hour = 3/12.
Fourth hour = 3/12.
Fifth hour = 2/12.
Sixth hour = 1/12.

DCIM118GOPRO
Landing on the small Mosken island for a break.

 

In Lofoten the total difference between low and high tide is about 3 meters. So in the first hour after high tide, the water level decreases with 1/12 of 3 meters. So the water level will decrease in the following manner:

First hour: 1/12 of 3 meters = 25 cm
Second hour 2/12 of 3 meters = 50 cm
Third hour: 3/12 of 3 meters = 75 cm
Fourth hour: 3/12 of 3 meters = 75 cm
Fifth hour: 2/12 of 3 meters = 50 cm
Sixth hour: 1/12 of 3 meters = 25 cm

So, knowing this we can see that the third and fourth hour is when the flow of the tide is the fastest, while the first and sixth hour is the slowest. The first and sixth hour is of course when the tide is turning, and hence there will be a brief moment when the tide is standing still before it starts moving in the opposite direction again.

Knowing this we have to find out how the tide behaves locally at the Mosken tidal current. There is a Norwegian Pilot guide (a rather large PDF document, see page 234) which describes in Norwegian the Mosken tidal current in detail. According to the pilot guide, the Mosken tidal current turns 1,5 hours before high tide and 4,5 hours after high tide. Knowing this we can use the tide chart for Bodø and plan to be in the middle of the tidal current either 1,5 hours before high tide or 4,5 hours after high tide.

DCIM118GOPRO
In the middle of the Mosken tidal current, low tide.

 

We left Værøy at 10 am and paddled over to the small Mosken island in the middle of the Moskenes strait. At Mosken island we took a long break waiting for the optimal time to make the crossing to Moskenes island.

The crossing itself went fine as all the risks above had been eliminated with careful planning and favourable conditions. The crossing would not have been attempted if any of the above risks had been unacceptable. This place can kill you and it is certainly not worth risking anything, to cross this tidal current. As we were crossing we noticed that waves were moving in a very gentle current. There were a few hotspots where eddies and stronger currents formed. I can imagine these hotspots will be rough when the flow is at its strongest in the third and fourth hour. The waves were mostly 0,5 meters with some 1 meter waves. All in all it went well and we felt in control.

After arriving on the uninhabited and exposed west coast of Moskenes island we landed at Refsvika for a snack and a rest.

 

IMG_7840
Refsvika

 

Our aim, due to pretty much perfect conditions, was to paddle as far as we could in order to avoid being stuck due to bad conditions. So we paddled on towards Bunes beach, which we knew had water and a possible escape by portage to civilisation if conditions turned ugly.

DCIM119GOPRO
Reaching Moskenes island after crossing over from Mosken island.

 

The west coast is wild and truly an awesome place to be. There are several large caves and tall, steep, craggy mountains all along the coast.

DCIM120GOPRO
One of several caves along the west coast of Lofoten.

 

We arrrived at Bunes beach 11 hours after leaving Vaeroy island. The midnight sun was shining from a blue sky and we were two very happy and tired paddlers sipping whiskey and soaking up the atmosphere.

DCIM120GOPRO
Approaching the Bunes beach,
DCIM120GOPRO
Campsite at Bunes beach.
DCIM120GOPRO
Enjoying the midnight sun view.

 

The next day, fog was forecasted to set in at 3 pm. We knew that part of the trip would be encased in fog, so we started early towards Ramberg.

IMG_0972
We just had to stop at the Horseid beach, it is awesome.
DCIM120GOPRO
The fog moved fast at 3 pm, exactly as forecasted.
DCIM120GOPRO
Staying close to land due to fog

 

After a couple of hours in the fog, it cleared as the wind picked up. We ended the journey with some following wind and waves, allowing us to surf towards our destination. A great end to a fantastic, challenging and most memorable kayaking experience.

DCIM120GOPRO

Surfing towards our destination in Ramberg.

 

Here’s a video from the trip:

 

And here´s a video from a trip done in July 2015 in the same area:

 

Today view: 3 - Total View: 5567