Monday, November 22, 2010

made in the shade

Here's a nice moonset photo from my fishing buddy Steve, shot after I left Urbanna the other evening. Pretty nice, don't you think?
And that's his boat. I've always thought the best kind of power boat is one owned by a good friend. This one is just right for me.

Some good gear info from Kiwibird on her blog. Kristen, a veteran EC'er, is a gear-head. She is always on the lookout for new gear that will make life on the water a little bit better. She is not posting very often these days, but scrolling through her blog provides some pretty good information on a lot of different equipment. I've bought a lot of gear based on her recommendations.
This time she is writing about CGEAR Sand Mats. The mats are designed to be thrown out on a beach for camping. The sand falls through the fine mesh of the mat, keeping your feet and camping area sand free.
That seems like a great idea. But I don't camp on the beach - I prefer the smooth, flat and sand free bunk flat of Spartina. Plenty of room there for the bug-free bivy and sleeping bag, there's no need to haul the gear out of the boat to the beach. But what did cross my mind is that these would make a perfect shade tarp to drape over the boom. When I watched CGEAR's video about the sand mats I was very happy to see they in fact suggested using the mats for shade.
They are UV resistant and block about 90% of the sun. They are lightweight, brightly colored (I like the orange, it could come in handy if somebody is trying to locate me) and have d-rings sewn into the corners and along the edges - perfect for bungee cords to attach to the deck cleats while draped over the boom.
The heat, as we found out on day 7 of the Tag Team, can be brutal out on the sounds of North Carolina. There is nowhere to hide from the sun on an open boat. A nice shade tarp would not just be a comfort item, it could be considered a piece of safety gear.

I am pretty selective about adding equipment to Spartina's packing list. Every items needs to "earn" its spot on the boat. I think the sand mat is well worth considering. At $50 for the 6 foot x 6 foot mat, with weighs less than 4 lbs, I think it could be a plus for the boat.
One of the things I want to do next year is a mid-summer walkabout sail on Pamlico Sound, a four or five days exploration out of Pate Boatyard in Hobucken. (Maybe a long fourth of July weekend???) In the heat of the summer, on those sometimes windless days, something to provide protection from the sun would be a good thing to have along.

Thanks for the tip Kiwibird.



Unknown said...

Steve, as you know I've been enjoying your blog for a couple years. I've taken the plunge and started one on our travels. I'd be honored if you'd check it out once in a while. I don't have the expertise you do, so if you have any suggestions, I'd welcome them.

Steve said...

I lived in Baja Oklahoma for several years. I have always regretted not getting involved in canoeing while living in N.E. Texas. It would have been great. Lots of rivers and swamps.
Enjoy your adventures. I'll look forward to reading about them.