Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Shakedowns and Stirfry

I took the boat out on the Willamette up by Sellwood park on Monday night, and we went out to Henry Hagg lake yesterday. Cruising up and down the Willamette the other night was pretty cool. I was out on the water as the sun was setting, and so the view of the West hills was very nice. There was some sort of regatta going on off of the west bank. That was fun to watch. Unfortunately, I only had my IPhone with me, and took some craptastic photos. Not much to see in the photos. Oh well. The boat tracks well, the drive system is easy to use, and getting up to a decent cruising speed takes very little effort.

Out on Hagg lake I basically ran a shakedown of the boat. Tested out launching and landing in shallow water, casting from the boat, sitting sideways, and accessing hatches. I am trying to figure out rod storage for surf launches and landings – having rods above deck may be my only option, as I was unable to stow m 6’6” trout set up using the center hatch. Of course, I didn’t bother to break the rod down, but from the little practice that I got yesterday changing the terminal rigging, I don’t know that I would want to do that. Having to re-thread the guides would be my biggest concern. A little more practice and I should have the solution worked out.

Dropping and retrieving a crayfish trap was pretty easy, which I hope will translate into crab pots in a couple of weeks. I have a Hobie livewell for my boat. Basically it is a big bucket that has a water pump in it. Since the use of livebait is a no-no on inland water systems in Oregon, my plans for it are as dry storage, or on the days when I drop traps, as a holding tank for crabs or crayfish. So I think I have the handling of live pinchies taken care of.

I think I may take another shakedown cruise or two to really figure out the mechanics of moving around the boat, but the overall ergonomics of the Outback are good.

High on my list of add-ons will be extended rod holders, a fishfinder/GPS combo, and an anchor system. But those are projects down the road, and for another post.

While on the subject of shakedowns, I want to touch on the burn that I got yesterday. I burn pretty easily, and I know it. Being on the water makes the burn even more likely. Not only are you contending with the Sun beating down on you, you also are dealing with the reflection of the Sun bouncing up at you. So even if you are wearing a nice wide brim sun hat, you may end up with a bad burn on your face, because of the reflection. Here in Oregon, the hours between 11am and 2pm at the height of the summer are when sunlight is at its most intense. If you are going to burn, chances are those four hours are when it will happen. But even in the late afternoon – or perhaps I should say, especially in the late afternoon, the risk of a burn while on or near the water is high. Now the sun is coming in at you from a very shallow angle, and so you get both the direct rays and the bounce, often times in the same area of your body.

Yesterday out on Hagg lake I kept all of this in mind. UV blocking sunglasses, brimmed hat to cut glare and help protect my face from direct exposure, and SPF 35 sunblock liberally applied to every exposed body part every 35-40 minutes. And I still got burned. Not terribly, but enough to remind me.

Of course, the burn is on my legs. Which are not normally exposed to the sun, as I tend to wear long legged trousers on a regular basis. Yesterday I chose shorts. So my whiter than white legs got an enormous amount of sun exposure compared to what they normally get.

Wear your sunblock, and limit your exposure.

More soon,

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