Monday, August 31, 2009

Paddling in Venice, Italy

(Rialto Bridge and gondola. Photo: René Seindal)

Ok, so it took me a while to get these pics up, but here they are.

During our honeymoon, we visited Venice, Italy, where we took a kayaking tour of the canals with René Seindal of Venice Kayak (www.venicekayak.com).

René was a fantastic guide, that really knows the history of the region, and hearing these stories was fascinating. It was also nice to know that he knew the rules of the "road" in the busy waterways. I was amazed at the amount of boat traffic. Coming from a small fishing village in Newfoundland, where there is next to no boat traffic, only the scatter fishing boat, it was crazy to see all these ferries, gondolas, personal boats, water taxis, etc.... It seemed like chaos, but when i thought about it, they were much like any city street; busy with traffic, but somewhat organized if the drivers know what they are doing.

If you ever end up in this part of the world, it is well worth your while to do this. It is truly a unique way to see the city. It gets you away from the crowded piazza's and streets, and is something different than the traditional gondolas.

Piazza San Marco, Campanile (bell tower) and Doges Palace. (photo: René Seindal)


This one really shows the amount of traffic (photo: René Seindal)







Parking in Venice :-)



Rialto Bridge on the Grand Canal


On the Grand Canal






"It was a fine day for hanging clothes"


Me and Rene

Parking the kayaks for a coffee break


The shade here was really nice


Behind Angie is the Venice Cemetary. We learned that even the hearses are boats here!

It was an interesting setup to get into and out of our kayaks, but Rene came up with a workable solution, a floating beach and a ladder. It seemed a bit dodgy at first, but it works quite effectively.

Rock over London, Rock on Chicago

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Dolphins Video

My first Video Post! A short clip of the dolphins I saw on Saturday:
video

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Whales and Dolphins

Yesterday was my first ever solo paddle on the ocean. I have paddled solo on ponds and lakes by myself, but never on salt water. Well yesterday was a banner day, or as we'd say here a "large" day, 27C with no wind. I couldn't have asked for any better.

As I left Spreadeagle, I paddled past the eagles nest, where I saw two adult eagles and one young eagle. I kept seeing these 3 all day.

Once I got over into Chapel Arm I saw 2 humpbacks and while I was watching them I noticed on the other side of the arm there were 50+ dolphins making their way out of the arm. So I paddled like hell until I was over among them. WOW, it was crazy, dolphins were jumping about everywhere. It was hard to get a sensible picture, and every time I got near they'd dive and circle around me.

After they left the arm, I went back to where I saw the humpbacks. I got to within 100ft of one, and sat there and watched him for about 20 minutes. It was lying around on the surface of the water, and every now and then it would dive. Very amazing experience and when it dove, I got pretty nervous about where it was going to come up. You can see in one of the pictures the big splash from it thrashing its tail on the surface

After a lunch on the beach at Little Ridge, I made my way back to Spreadeagle, and saw 2 more humpbacks and at least 3 pothead whales.

It was a large day indeed!

Rock over London, Rock on Chicago
Brian