Book Reviews [45]

Sea Kayaking Basics

By David Harrison

ISBN 0-688-12243-4, $31.85 from Boat Books

An excellent book that should be purchased by anyone who is just starting into sea kayaking. Covering all the basics well, this book provides brief yet good and to-the-point information on necessary topics such as kayak selection, necessary equipment, starting out on quiet water, dealing with wind, waves and weather, surf landings, elementary seamanship and trip planning and packing.

One of the best parts of the book is in the appendix – a great “Ocean Kayaking Float Plan” designed to be filled out and left with responsible people when you go on a trip. It lists all the things you should be recording, from the people on the trip, descriptions of their kayaks, camping gear and their likely paddling attire, to trip expectations and details of emergency equipment being carried. The section where you can list weapons being carried was of particular interest to our mad, gun-slinging Editor! Great stuff indeed!

The Aleutian Kayak

by Wolfgang Brinck

ISBN 0-07-007893-9, $41.95 from Boat Books

Again the Editor is drawn towards a book that ignites his fantasy about paddling as an Eskimo in an Arctic kayak, wrapped in furs and silently gliding along, hunting his prey… not much different to what he does on Sydney Harbour actually… if you call the Manly Ferry prey.

Another brilliant book on traditional kayak building, this one goes a step further to explain the intricacies of custom building the skin-on-frame kayak to your own dimensions – how many of you are paddling a kayak that is two armspans, two elbow-to-fingertips, one handspan and one thumb-to-knuckle of middle finger long?

Thankfully this is all simplified into metric and imperial dimensions for those not wishing to ‘design-their-own’, and you’re sure to be wanting to start building before you put the book down.

An Introduction to Sea-Kayaking in Queensland

by Gerrard Effeney

ISBN 0-646-37476-1, $21.95 from Boat Books

Not kayaking because it’s too cold? Well now you have no excuse, for inside this gem of a book you will find details of nine fabulous paddling spots in Queensland, from Moreton Bay to The Whitsundays to Cape York Peninsula.

The book contains pretty standard information on kayaking in the first few chapters, but more importantly it contains useful tips on clothing requirements for tropical paddling and contact details for emergency services in each paddling area, where to get camping permits and numbers for obtaining weather reports. A very useful section provides first aid advice on marine hazards often unique to the northern Australian climate including box jellyfish, stonefish and sea snakes.