learning navigation,tides ,curents etc

Discussion in 'General Paddling Discussions' started by mbiraman, Aug 31, 2010.

  1. mbiraman

    mbiraman Paddler

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    As a newbie paddler who hasn't done anything on the coast i'm lacking navigation skills, and education about tides , currents etc. What is the best way to start leaning some of these things,,,,books,websites???
     
  2. Pawistik

    Pawistik Paddler

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    I have read most of the predecessor manual to Navigation, Sea State, Weather - Freedom of the Seas Volume 1, written by Michael Pardy, JF Marleau, Andrew Woodford and Piper Harris, Published by SKILS. I don't know how closely the manual I have matches that in the published book, but the manual seems decent and was easy enough for a prairie boy to understand.

    http://www.skils.ca/resources/book-store.html?view=rokquickcart

    [​IMG]

    Bryan
     
  3. ken_vandeburgt

    ken_vandeburgt Paddler

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    Best way to learn what you need to know is to take a boating course from your local Canadian Power and Sail Squadron.

    Not only will you learn about tides and currents but you will learn all sorts of basic seamanship skills.

    The course ought to be mandatory for any recreational boater including kayakers.
     
  4. askye

    askye Paddler

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    Of course, there's no substitute for enquiring with the old timers of a given location.

    I was turned off of that organisation after learning that they withhold and charge a fee for the previously freely available Study Guide for the VHF Restricted Operators Certificate.
     
  5. The GCW

    The GCW Paddler

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    mbiraman,

    I got on the salt for the 1st time at the beginning of August. Here are some observations that may help. I’ll use the example of the San Juan’s since that is where I learned and it’s relavent.

    The book for Navigation is, Simple Kayak Navigation by Ray Killen. Another one although very complex (at times) is Fundamentals of Kayak Navigation by David Birch.

    For tides: Tide is easier to understand than currents. The water goes up, the water comes down. Get a chart which has the tide movement and has a way to add or subtract from those times, depending on exactly where you will be paddling.

    For currents: Learn about how currents move around bodies of water, in the area you will be paddling. Learn how the current moves before and after the tide changes and how there is a time difference associated with the movement of current relative to current movement. Learn how much current there is for the specific are you will be paddling. Learn how they are different one day from another day. How they change from flood to slack. How they may be stronger in one direction compared to the other direction (flood compared to ebb). Learn how they are stronger during new and full moons, and consider as a newer paddler in that environment to paddle inbetween the full and new moons. Learn how to expect winds making waves when the direction of wind opposes current. Learn how the change from high to low tide and flood to ebb current changes at different at different paces during the process.

    As a new salt, Orcas Island was a good destination and a good experience. One of the things that made Orcas a good experience was Jeff (and Tom too) at Shearwater Kayak and Body, Boat and Blade with Leon and Shawna. Those 2 shops are God-awesome and I believe they help people to survive and be safe along with having fun. They helped Me read the info they sell. Buy their stuff because it is important that they remain in business. Buying the stuff by itself isn’t good enough. You want someone to explain how to use them and that will work best in person. For Me it took 4 visits (2 at eeach shop) You may get almost all of it in the 1st visit like I did but find the next morning one part of the concept isn’t clear. So go back at ask about what isn’t clear. Ask another source too because different perspectives and teaching methods compliment each other. With out those 2 shops, My trip may not have happened.

    Another reason for Orcas Is. is because it has good paddling for beginners with Shaw Is., Jones Is. and other paddling near by with shorter crossings.

    The stuff: For Orcas Is. and the San Juan’s in this example.

    Sea Trails Charts # 002 & 004 (for where I was paddling), Captain Jack’s Tide & Current Almanac, Canadian Current Atlas for Juan de Fuca Strait to Strait of Georgia, Washburne’s Tables 2010 (to use with the Current Atlas), Waterproof Chart #43.

    Learn to use Captain Jack’s info with the info on the Sea Trails Chart because it contains the time differences marked on the chart. It also at the same time indicates the amount of current difference for specific area. Some passes may have weaker or stronger currents that what is listed for the area in general. Captain Jacks is a day to day almanac that must be purchased next year for next year.

    For the Current Atlas to work, a paddler should use Washburne’s Tables in conjunction because the tables show which atlas is accurate hour after hour. Washburne’s Tables must be updated every year.

    An intermediate or better salt, may not want or need the redundant stuff that I have. I was solo and wanted everything I could get to be cautous as a beginner / novice. Paddle easy stuff, short water crossings in areas with less current issues etc.

    Before you go on a trip, if you are traveling, be certain the place you are going has the charts etc. and more then one copy so they are not sold out when you arrive. Get there early in the morning and have time to be patient while store personel can also help other customers who don’t need as much time.

    I can not say enough good things about those 2 shops. As an example, I asked in the Anacortes are for info about a day trip after the Orcas trip and they hardly wanted to give any advice.

    This is rambled together and from a beginner. Hopefully some experienced paddlers will add to what I’ve said in order to increase the level of help and maybe even suggest info that will help for the specific area you are paddling.

    I did a day trip from Deer Harbor to Jones Island, then a 4 day trip from West Sound to Jones, around Shaw Is. clockwise to Indian Cove and back to Jones Is. for the 3rd night. That was a reasonable introduction to salt. I also fit in a day paddle in Lake Union but kind of wished I used it in the salt instead.

    I can hardly wait to get back.

    Beginner; have a drysuit and VHF radio etc.

    I could not afford to do the trip and take a course at the same time. If I can afford to not only travel and paddle but take a course, BODY, BOAT AND BLADE is where I would go.

    It's a long term journey.
     
  6. Tootsall

    Tootsall Paddler

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    Location:
    Southern Alberta
    I have to renew my VHF licence, having lost my old one. Can't find anyone with a "free" guide for it (mind you, I got the first licence over 30 years ago and will have to renew if I ever get a mobile for kayaking). The cheapest course I can find runs about $60. Can't blame CPS for that.

    I'm not certain what the current introductory course is but when I took it the charting work was all done in and around Active Pass (on the charts) so even though I was in Ontario at the time we got involved with tides, currents & etc. This course also gives you your now mandatory (for power boats, PWC, or sail under power) Pleasure Craft Operator Licence. (In fact, if you have an old CPS registration you automatically qualify for the licence...just contact the head office for Canadian Power Squadrons with your registration number and for a small fee ($20?) they'll send you a licence).

    The course involves either/or power/sail, basic boat maintenance and safety, charting, tides and currents, weather, collision regulations, Canadian nav aids & etc. (Now is it "red, right, returning"?...) compass work including variation and deviation (as contrasted with inclination). Can't speak too highly of taking it... there is lots of stuff "on the water" that we are generally blissfully ignorant of that is highly hazardous to our health (including staying in the boat while refueling). I know that doesn't bother most kayakers but let's face it, sooner or later most of us will be in the position of being in, or operating, either a power boat or a sailboat under power so it's all "good stuff".
     
  7. SheilaP

    SheilaP Paddler

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    Hey mbiraman,

    Good one you for ever recognizing you need to learn these things! :mrgreen: Where do you live? That may help people recommend places they have learned.

    I strongly recommend the Paddle Canada series of lessons! Level one begins teaching you many of the skills you speak of in a practical manner. I learn only so well with reading, I really need to apply things before I understand them! (And sometimes many times. :lol: ) Here is a list of the kind of things that Paddle Canada teaches in level one:
    http://www.paddlingcanada.com/programs.asp?id=5 You also may meet some great people when taking a course. The courses are designed to take one, then get out there and paddle, gain some more experience, then take the next level if you choose.

    Paddling Clubs are also a great resource for skills! Some clubs even offer lessons at discounted rates. I am part of a club that has a pool of members who are instructors and courses are offered.

    The library is also an AWESOME resource. You can search 'kayaking' online and find many MANY books. Of course they are often out, but can be reserved so you get a turn. In the end I bought the books that helped me the most. Some books get outdated very quickly as well.

    Hope this helps and hope to meet you on the water someday! :cool
     
  8. SheilaP

    SheilaP Paddler

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    West Kootenays huh? Hmmm...
     
  9. mbiraman

    mbiraman Paddler

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    west kootenays
    Thanks everyone for the suggestions . Thanks GCW for your details from a new salt. Thanks Sheila for the kind words. I'm going to phone around to some of the outfitters today and ask about courses, i know there are courses in the swimming pools during winter. I had someone the other day offer to spend some one to one time with me going over my strokes and start to work on a roll. I'm going online to look for the CO2 jet unit that you affix to the the side of your cockpit so in the event that i capsize it auto rights you up (-; . Rolls, i just think of it and i start to breathe a little heavy.
    I've been surprised how many folks i see go out paddling, no skirt, no float, no rope, no leash , yea its a calm day but these lakes can get serious in a short amount of time.. Well, when i flew hang gliders i had the nickname Mr. Cautious. Live for another day.
    Got my first piece of immersion gear yesterday, a pair of FJ's,,i look like a burnt bullfrog but feels warmer already. Had a dry jacket on the other day and was surprised at my claustrophobic response. They will take some getting use to.
    Tomorrow it supposed to be warm again so hope to get out there with my float and practice laying on my side and practicing hip technique.
    If anyone else has any more advice feel free.
     
  10. greg0rn

    greg0rn Paddler

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    Location:
    Victoria

    Have someone in water next to you helping in case you go too far. You will get much better mileage this way.