Thursday, May 20, 2010
My TCS (Time Compression Syndrome) is flaring up again and I'm being prodded to get my ass in gear as the VOR, GalwayGuy, and I are headed for Grand Marais, MN and the Sauna and/or Susie Islands very shortly. I figured I'd better get a few sentences in on the new boat purchases however, before its actually an old boat. I'm tempted to call it a used boat since it really is a demo from last year. The main reason for that is when I tried to register the thing, the Minnesota DNR informed me that I owed them the difference in taxes between Wisconsin's 5.5% and Minnesota's 7%. Some sort of trade protectionism for MN dealers or, more likely extra dedicated funds to maintain and increase the extensive network of kayak launches on our 10,000 lakes. Yeah, right.
ChrisG of Boreal Shores Kayak up in Bayfield, WI offered RonO and I the use of an Explorer and Romany Surf a couple weeks ago over fishing opener. I think it was a cool, cold blooded, and calculated ploy to get us hooked. His insidious plot worked to perfection. We abused both boats in a number of different conditions and really loved the handling and stability. They both surf pretty good as well. Chris made us an offer we couldn't refuse, as Don Corleone would say, and we both decided to pull the trigger. I think they call that an impulse purchase. Both boats were tested once again, this time loaded, on the first Apostle trip of the season. They performed very well and no buyers remorse was experienced. The only couple of minor whines were that you can't see where your skeg is positioned by looking down because the skeg control is hidden on the left side. On the other hand, I never hit my thumb on the damn thing like I have on the Valley boats with my low profile Greenland paddling style. The knee bumps grazed a thumb or two but after about a quarter mile the muscle memory kicked in and I adjusted my stroke slightly to take care of that little issue. The main problem is those tiny 10" hatches. Anyone who ventures into the woods without a dutch oven for baking, roasting, and frying is a jack pine cultural barbarian in my opinion, but they make 8" ovens and I'm not adverse to placing my 10' oven in the cockpit.
Other than those minor things, we are both loving the NDK Explorer. The plan this weekend is to hit the north shore, an island or two, and maybe do a bit of rolling up on Devils Track Lake north of Grand Marais. More to follow on that and more on the boat as I put it through its paces. Pigeon Point has waves and nasty clapotis equal to Blake Point on Isle Royale. I hope to experience it sometime during the long weekend.