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Your yak or mine

August 9, 2011
By Mel the Guide , Pine Island Eagle

Well, we still have not had a chance to paddle as we are up in N.J. and recovering from shoulder surgery. However, we did get a chance to see my oldest granddaughter Cassie Barber graduate high school and see her in her last dance recital before she is off to collage. My wife Adele and I also went to Hershey, Penn., to see my other granddaughter Brielle play in four basketball games they were intense, back and forth point for point. They did not win but came close; maybe next year. I have been going to a rehab place called Accucare in brick town at the Jersey shore. No not for my drinking or over indulgence of food but for my shoulder. For my Jersey paddlers and readers if you ever need rehab this is the place to go, Accucare. The owner Pam really runs a class place; she gives you a good rub down and stretch after the p.t. The reception staff Mary kept my workouts on time and is friendly and pleasant. Stacy and the rest of the help are very friendly and you feel like one of the family, In addition, the therapist Nicole is without a doubt the icing on the cake. After the workout. Nicole puts on her gloves and puts some cooling lotion on the shoulder and just gets in there and kneads all the soreness out, then some stim vibration and ice packs and I feel like I could go out for an all day paddle. We have just a few weeks left of this therapy, then to the surgeon back in Florida to be released.

So that all said, how about kayaking? Kayaking has come a long way from the days of the Eskimo and the Calusa Indians of Florida. There are so many different kinds and materials that they are made of and things that are added to or on them that cost a lot of money. So when I see something that has been made or recycled from something that has been discarded for trash, then made in to something that can be used on the yak, then I say now that's a great idea.

First I would say is the old milk crate. Sure you can go out and buy a nice tackle bag with rod holders and fasteners and space for all your fishing gear, and easily spend close to $200. I know because I have one. Yes, just one. However, the rest of my sit-on tops have the milk crate. I have put some P.V.C. pipes on the side of the crate with some hose clamps and cut a slit 1/2 way down the side of the pipe so it holds the rods in place. I then put some bungee on the side that hold the rods in place and the crate to the kayak. I can put a tackle box in it or a small soft side cooler with lunch, water, and a snack. Now that's a GREAT IDEA.

Another thing you can put in the crate is an old play cooler about a six pack size, hang a battery operated bubbler on a screw on the side and you have a poor man's live well. GREAT IDEA.

Do you have a sit-on top and lost the scupper plugs? Don't go out and spend $19.95 for a set of new ones. Look around the hood and see if some kid has an old Nerf gun that shoots those soft rubber balls. Alternatively, go to the dollar store if you have to and pick up a pack of four. Then take a philip's screw driver and stick a hole in it, then take some old crab line or thin rope and stick it through the hole, tie a knot in it on one end then a loop on the other. You now have a set of scupper plugs should you lose one in the surf. Just stick the ball down in the hole with the loop side up and you can pull it out should you take on a wave so it empties out. Just secure the set to the backrest of the seat and you will have them when you need them. GREAT IDEA.

Being we are on the subject of scupper holes, how about a quick anchor for the yak? Just take an old ski pole and stick it in the scupper hole and the yak will not move in shallow water when you are in the mangroves or back bay fishing. Have a 1/2 of a broken cinder block with rope? Anchor. GREAT IDEA.

Do you have a pump on the kayak to pump out some wave that wound up in the yak? This works well also, a Downey softener bottle, tighten the top, and cut the bottom off, makes a great scoop to move the water out.

Do you have a kayak rack on your car? I know it must have cost a few big bucks. However, how about when you rent a car or use a friends who has no rack? How do you transport the yak? Here's one idea we use at Gulf Coast kayak at least once a week. We have many folks who rent a cottage and then want to rent a kayak and take it to different places to paddle on vacation. Problem - we can't have racks for different cars so we use this great idea that works well. We take a foam pool noodle and cut it in half so as to have two foam logs. We then take some rope (about six feet) and run it through the hole in the noodle. Then take the noodle lay it on the ground and place the kayak on top of that. Then tie the rope in a bow, around the kayak. If you have done this right you now have a kayak with two noodles tied to the yak. Space them so that one is in the front of the roof and the other is on the back. Then just run two straps over the yak and through the doors of the car. You now have a roof rack, and if you want to drive at highway speed, just tie a rope to the bow and bumper and one from the back to a bumper and off you go.

Here's one I saw a little old man had made for his car. It was an older car and had only cross bars on it on the roof. He had taken the back rail of the rack apart and slid a piece of pvc about two feet long over the rail, then put it back together with the pipe on the rack. He now had a roller that he would pick up one end of the kayak on and then walk to the end on the ground and bend his knees and pick up the yak and slide it up on the roof. He also did the same thing in reverse to get it down. GREAT IDEA.

Here's a real recycle deal. Have you a paddle leash on your paddle so it doesn't float away? You don't need to spend 20 bucks for one. Just take the old wire from the old cell phone charger you don't use any more because you have a new phone and put it to use. Take and cut the plugs off. You now have a rubber coated curly wire. Take and make a loop on each end and you have a paddle leash. GREAT IDEA.

Well I have saved the best for last. Do you have a hard plastic hatch cover on the kayak? Measure how wide it is and how deep it goes to the bottom of the kayak. Find your self an old plastic jar that will fit in side of the hatch hole then get some lock tight glue (epoxy) spread some on the top of the jar lid, and then put it on the underside of the hatch cover. When it dries you have a jar you can put you car keys, a small camera, and a pair of binoculars in side off and it's a water tight safe. Now that's a GREAT IDEA.

Well this has just been some GREAT IDEAS I have come across over the years of kayaking and I am sure you have a few also. So send in your GREAT IDEAS to and I will share them with my readers. It feels good to save a few bucks now and then and it can't hurt the planet to recycle either. Thanks for paddling with Mel the guide and hope to see you on the water. Mel the guide gulf coast kayak 239-283-1125.



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