This is a blog featuring my personal stories of food, gardening, yachting, photography, travel and life.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Our New Advanced Elements Kayaks

Advanced Elements Advanced Frame 1012
 Meet our most recent purchases and additions to our cruising the Pacific Northwest. Last summer during our 5-week cruise into Canadian waters, our cruise buddies, Mike and Sarah McEvoy had two of the Advanced Elements Advanced Frame model 1012  (that's the orange one). Leslie went out several times with Sarah in the rather calm waters in coves, bays and inlets we'd anchored in for a day or two. She fell in love with it. I chose not to try it out since the kayak looked to be a bit small for my size. 

We came back from the trip and started researching the Advanced Elements line of inflatable kayaks. These seemed like a good idea but I was weary of how well they might hold up over time. They are inflatable. I also wondered whether I could find a model that would handle my height and girth. 

After looking on-line reviews of inflatables in general, the Advanced Elements line kept coming to the top, consistently getting the highest ratings from everyone I found, even making certain to mention their quality despite there being an inflatable. They didn't see that as a particular disadvantage. 
4-part travel paddle breaks down and stores in the travel bag.

Next to figure out, where is the best deal available. I tried the usual--Amazon, REI, West Marine. No matter where I looked on-line, no one under cut a local dealer in Anacortes, Marine ServiceCenter, the dealer Mike and Sarah had bought their kayaks last year. 

They had purchased theirs at the Seattle Boat Show where they got a free paddle and the upgraded inflatable lumbar seat that offers much better support--a great deal.

We decided we'd wait until this year's boat show to make our move and so for the past several months we've been waiting for the show. When it finally arrived I called the store to find out if I could get the same deal as Mike and Sarah had, the answer was no. That was an introductory offer with a new line of products. This year the offer is just a free paddle. 

The model 1009 Y
It still seemed like a good deal and so, just the other day, we headed down to Anacortes to make the purchase. when we got there I had my first opportunity to actually sit in one of them--that orange model our friends had. Too small! My legs were too long and it would have been quite a feat to extricate myself from it when the time came.
The salesperson suggested I would do better to try on the Advanced Frame Expedition model 1009Y (that's the yellow one). It fit considerably better. Its length is 13" compared with the 10 1/2 feet length of the 1012. The 1009 has the same 32" beam and only weighs 6 pounds more than the 1012. Yet the maximum weight capacity on the yellow 1009 is 150 pounds greater than the 1012. Just about right for me.

The yellow 1009 does cost quite a bit more than the 1012, the the 1009 come with the inflatable lumbar seat standard--a nice plus. But true to her persuasive ability, Leslie managed to talk the salesperson into throwing in the inflatable lumbar seat on her kayak as well.
The inflatable lumbar seat option

So in the end we managed to walk out with exactly what we hoped for. 

Next summer we will mount the kayaks to either the bow stanchions or to the stanchions on the upper deck depending on where they best fit to stay out of the way when underway and anchoring procedures. Either way these kayaks are going to open up some fun and interesting opportunities to more intimately explore our anchorages. We also hope to drop them in Lake Whatcom or other area waterways.

Because they easily deflate and fold down to store in a handy carrying case, they can also be carried on airlines and taken to some of the places we travel. I can see them being handy when we visit our friends in Florida or on road trips.

Now to start getting myself in better shape so I have an easier time getting in and out of my kayak.    Here is a link to a video about the model 1009:

Been a While

It has been quite a while, I know. I didn't mean for it to have taken so long since my last entry. Lost interest, time, life. I guess those will have to be my excuses. A lot has happened since then.

The biggest event has been the discovery that at any minute rhe phone will ring and we will hear the voice of our daughter or our son in law announcing they have become parents. Today is the due date--February 10, 2015. When that call comes it will mean of course, that we will have become grandparents. We are a good deal more excited than this narrative might indicate but it has been many months since we were initially told and the baby has so far been mostly just a growing bump, a trip to Target to purchase a crib and a baby shower hosted by long-time friends of our daughter and her husband. The reality for me will really kick in when we get that call to come to Seattle to meet the newest member of the family--our grandbaby.

It has mostly been a concept so far. Far distant when compared to our own experience becoming parents some 30+ years ago. That was real. We lived everyday of it. The doctor visits, the living with the experience everyday. It was close up and intimate on a level that can only be that for the couple going through it. It seems so long ago. Almost another life.

I've thought back a lot to our own experience with those precious moments. Like a slide show, for those who remember the Kodak carousel projectors. Each succeeding clunk of the projector flashes another frame of life up on the wall of our memory. Clunk. The moment in the Good Earth restaurant in Santa Clara, California, a few blocks from where I worked at the time, where we met my wife's parents and announced that they were going to be grandparents. Clunk. Spooning in bed late at night and feeling the first movements our daughter made in mama's tummy. Clunk. The photo of a very healthy and pregnant wife sitting in the sunshine at an outdoor concert a few weeks before the birth. Then there was the realization that this was all about to get really serious when we headed for the hospital. Those two people looked so young, were young, too young to become parents. So long ago.

So, we wait because there is nothing else to do for us but wait. Anticipation. A sort of nervous excitement is what I feel when I think about this new phase of life.  Is it a boy? Is it a girl? What name will we use when we greet this little one into the world? What name will we hear when this little one calls out to us? What experiences are ahead for us together. More photos flash in my mind. Clunk. Raking leaves in grandma's front yard. Clunk. A cozy bedroom filled with silly doo-dads. Clunk. Christmas mornings to remember. Clunk. Playing school. Reading bedtime stories on the white polka dotted sky blue couch with the smell of her clean wet  hair and that flannel night gown, those tiny toes sticking out the bottom. Trips to Disneyland. Tide pool adventures at Asilomar. What  memories will our grand baby look back on, will we look back on? I'll get back to you on that when we've made a few memories of our own.