Sculling a Skerray on Cayuga lake
My name is John Fereira. I'm 45. I did my first paddling about 20 years ago when I bought a 17' Coleman, primarily as a fishing vessel. I paddled it in SF bay area lakes, a couple of coastal estuararies, the harbor in Half Moon Bay and a bunch of trips to high sierra lakes. I sold it after about five years. I live in northern California up until I turned 40 then moved to Ithaca, NY (it was partly initiated through an Internet romance).
A year prior to that I met up with a group of about 25 people from another newsgroup on the Hiwasee river and paddled a Duckie. A year later (after I had moved) the same group met and rafted the Lower Yough. Our raft was the only one in our group of a dozen or so that *didn't* have some take an unintentional swim. We actually got booed during the post-paddle viewing of the video because we weren't supplying any carnage. It was during that trip that I got to see hard boat kayakers playing the river and admired the way they seemed be able to go wherever they wanted in the river instead of essentially just floating down it.
I have always had a strong connection with the water. I got my first fishing rod when I was a mere ute. My uncle was a commercial fisherman his entire life, and I'm Portuguese so it sort of runs in the family. While going to school I spent almost every day during the summers at the high school swimming pool, water skiing in area lakes with my family, or grabbing a fishing rod and heading to a local reservoir. I started flyfishing about 25 years ago and currently own 9 flyrods, three of which I built or refinished myself (two of them are bamboo). It's still my major passion. When I get into a hobby or sport I never do it half-assed. When I played on the company softball team I ended up playing on three separate teams three days a week and was one of the league equipment and Stats manager. I've been downhill skiing since I was 17. While working at Hewlett Packard I joined their racing team and competed for the company for three years. About 8 years ago I picked up a set of darts at a local pub. After a couple of months I joined the pub sponsered team. After a couple of years I was playing on three different teams and in tournaments at least once a week. I've played against a guy that was the first American to throw a perfect game in International team and another that had just beat the number one ranked player in North America. A couple of years ago when I decided to buy a kayak I figured I would become similarly passionate about the sport.
About two years ago I bought an Aquaterra Caspia, thinking it would be a good boat to learn how to paddle and something I could fish out of. A couple of weeks later I took a sea kayaking course through the University and had a chance to paddle several *real* kayaks. One of the instructors asked if I was interested in going paddling the day after the class and I got to try a couple of more. About a month after I bought the Caspia I bought a fiberglass VCP Skerray. Last summer, while driving through the Adirondacks during a long weekend vacation we stopped to use the bathroom at MountainMan outdoors and left a couple of hours later with a new royelex canoe on our car. I bought a used Eskimo Diablo last winter. I attended the LL Bean sea kayaking symposium last summer and had the opportunity to take a class from Derek Hutchinson. The formal instruction and *lots* of reading has helped my skill level improve quickly.
I primarily paddle the Skerray at this point, mostly because of the physical proximity of Cayuga lake. I now keep my sea kayak and canoe at that friend that taught the class's shop right on the water. I hope to get a lot more time this summer in the Diablo and Canoe.
John Fereira Ithaca, NY