Letters to the Editor [29]

Dear Editor,

My name is Richard and I went sea kayaking for 6 days with Stormin’ Normin’ (my name for him) into Prince William Sound near the Gulf of Alaska. Don’t aplogize, he was quite harmless though a bit out of his element. Kayaking it seem is a little different “up here” than “down there”.

To begin with it’s common for us to have 12′ to 18′ tides. In fact we have the second highest tides in the world, second only to Nova Scotia, Canada. Poor Norm was constantly either pulling his expedition loaded “yak” higher-up the beach or tugging it down the beach for a paddle. This did frustrate him. Also, it appears the water is much colder here (a few degrees warmer than the huge blue bergie-bits that just calved off the glacier he was paddling nex1 to). Also, we have many different styles of rock beaches, not sand like he kept telling me you have. Isn’t rock an early form of sand?

We saw 5 black bears in 6 days. Two of them, both large adults, were within 100 hundred yards from his tent. This gave Stormin’ Normin’ some concern. The two Sitka White- tailed deer did not. Nor did the I hundreds of seals, otter, eagles, jumping salmon and geese we saw. Nor the fields of wildflowers or dense forest that covered each mountain.

But, the hundreds of piles of bear poop on the other hand did. Go figure. And the nightly ritual of hanging all of our food high into a tree out of a bears reach seemed to wear on him. A clean camp is a bear free camp I told him each night before bed. Norm grunts a lot, and he did so each time I said this.

I On our 3rd night out we made camp in front of an advancing glacier (one of a handful in the world). I warned him as we landed that a glacial surge could sweep the beach and take his boat away. Looking down at the last high tide mark and feeling like he had the hang of things laughed then grunted and ambled up beach to fmd a tent sight for the night (one free of bear poop). Ten minutes later I heard him yell and watched him make fast tracks for the beach. Yes sir, just like I said, a glacier surge swept the beach and took out his boat! In fact it left a nice chunk of blue ice where his kayak used to sit. Thank goodness my “yak” was still at hand for a rescue or one of us would have gone for an icy swim. I did notice that later that night his boat had been dragged way up the beach and tied to a tree.

Who said you couldn’t teach Old Sea Dogs new tricks?

I had a wonderful multi-day paddle with Norm. He was full of wit and humor (between grunts) and a keen paddler. If the rest of you “down under” yakers are as much fun you’re a dangerous lot to hang out with. If your ever up here in northern waters look me up, we’ll go stroke a few miles and watch the whales play in the midnight sun.

Richard Larson

Dear Editor,

I have long objected to the commonly held belief that sea kayakers are a ‘bit behind’ in the sense of humour department -this is simply not true! For instance, at the recent Rock’n’Roll weekend, I secretly planted ‘whoopy cushions’ on the seats of several empty kayaks. Later, when the unsuspecting owners sat in their boats, they got the shock of their lives at the rude “fart” noises that occurred as the air was rapidly expelled out of these clever little devices. It was really funny and we all laughed and laughed !

Dr. A. McD. F.R.A.C.S. Ph D
Dorking, NSW

Dear Ed.,

Whatever happened to Gary Edmond? I can’t believe I’m writing this -but I’m actually starting to miss his ‘fingernails down a blackboard’ literary style. Come back Gary , all is forgiven!

Richmond, NSW

Yes, even I am starting to miss Mr Edmund’s contributions. Unfortunately his scribblings have found a very receptive audience in the NSW Legal fraternity of late. What a disturbed masochistic clique this must be! Hopefully Gary will soon feel the need to ‘return to his roots’ and write something so simple that even us sea-kayaking ‘battlers’ can understand it – Ed.