Sunday, 28 April 2013

Snake Island (Wilsons Prom)

I'm a Commodore now ... just in case you haven't been keeping up with all the big news in the sea kayaking world.

The view from the cockpit of a Commodore's Vessel.
In fact, as I just learnt at this weekends inaugural Australian Sea Kayaking Clubs Summit (yes, this was a real event and I do have the T-Shirt to prove it), I'm the only Commodore of a Sea Kayaking club in Australia.

T-Shirt Proof ... so it must have happened.
Apparently, and much to my own shock, the rest of the club leaders just make do with the title "President".

This little discrepancy came to light even before we had left Melbourne, and thus was made the inaugural decision, at the inaugural meeting of sea kayaking clubs around Australia ....

All those present agreed that we should standardise our titles so that none of us are first amongst equals, (ie. Commodores amongst Presidents) and so that we didn't waste the next four days arguing whether the title should be Commodore or President like they do at these save the world carbon summits, we decided we should just settle on a new title with no history. 

"Admiral" seemed appropriate.

Admiral Dawson ... I kind of like that, and let's face it ...  how cool would the Summit T-Shirts (I mean jackets) be if we were all Admirals ...

OK, so I'm getting distracted.  I went to Victoria over the Anzac Day weekend, because my club, the Tasmanian Sea Canoeing Club, in their complete ignorance of how bad and intermittent paddler I really am, chose to elect me as their new Commodore, and as such I got to go along and represent the club at the already mentioned inaugural meeting of Australian Sea Kayaking clubs which was organised and hosted by the Victorian Sea Kayaking Club.

The fact that they were hosting it on an island off Wilsons Promitory and offered to pay half our airfares to boot had absolutely nothing to do with creating a certain level of enthusiasm amongst the other clubs to attend this little jaunt.  None at all.  Nope we were all there to work hard for our clubs ...

I now call the first meeting to order ...
Yep, our only thought was to paddle on down to our meeting venue, work hard all weekend and paddle back.  Honest ... the photos below are just random photos I found on a camera.

Actually, one part of what I typed above was at least sort of true ... it was hard work paddling down and paddling back as we had something like 20 knot headwinds both ways, but that was about where the hard work ended.

Truth be told it was an awesome weekend of getting to know each other and sharing our respective (and remarkably similar) stories and issues between the clubs.

We even had (as you probably noticed in the photos above) the cattlemen (and women) who own the cattleman's huts we were staying in turn up on the third night leading to much fun as we learnt to crack whips (a potentially important skill for sea kayaking) after drinking what wine we had left around the campfire.

I guess I'll have to write a more formal report about the trip for the club members (sigh) so I won't bore you with any more details than to say ... I got to go paddling in Victoria with the coolest group of paddlers at a very cool location, and it didn't cost me a cent (OK, other than the wine and food).

And to think no-one else wanted the job!

Signing off for now ...

Admiral Rambler.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013


This scene made me so happy when I wandered in to check on Baldrick and Teresa last night  ...

B&T packing for their next flight ...
No, not because Teresa and Baldrick were packing up and leaving ... (that actually made me a bit sad, but don't let them know) .

What made me smile to the very tips of my toes was the fact that at 10pm, the night before getting on their plane, all their gear was strewn from one end of the room to the other in what looked like disorganised chaos.

This means it's not just me that puts these things off to the last second, and that's worth a big smile.

What doesn't make me smile is that they've still got five months of adventures ahead of them before returning home ... I on the other hand had better stop doing this quick blog and get back to what they pay me to do ... sigh.

Happy onwards travels you two.

Sunday, 21 April 2013


It's official ... I am no longer in that minority group of Tasmanians who haven't yet been to MONA ...

Yep, after many years of half-heartedly meaning to go, but never actually getting there, some friends of mine (Baldrick and Teresa), arrived in Hobart this weekend and they wanted to go, so we went.

I have to say it was kind of cool, though first impressions weren't that good - the first exhibit was a heart rate pulse light room thing which transfers your heart beat into a flashing light buld.  It proved what I already knew, but had been able to hide from most others up until now ... I'm heartless.

Yep there was one light bulb travelling through that room that was just off all the time... and it was all mine.

Once I got past that disappointment though, I liked lots of the other exhibits, especially the word waterfall  ... the symbology of it just touched me.  However, after a bit of reflection I've decided the exhibit which has stuck in my mind the most is this one...

I think it was called the White Library and what consumes me about it is the idea that somewhere in one of those books the artist may have written something to explain it all ... but I'm not allowed to go through them all and search for what it might be.  That just rips me apart.

Fortunately, there are plenty of other things in life to distract me ... like explaining how a monkey bar should be used to a Glaswegian Parkour addict and his wonderful partner ...

But ... it doesn't work ... it's too small!
See ... this is how you do it.
Yep, I guess some things are just meant to be a mystery ... like what's inside an artist's mind and how to use kiddies monkey bars at Fern Tree, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't still be explored.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Hellfire's Out - Kellevie 6Hr Enduro

So I was standing at the start line of the Hellfire's Out fundraising 6hr enduro with Matt and John discussing our teams while we waited for our first stage riders to take off and I came out with a comment something along the line of "Although I'll be slower this time, I'm not worried as I've brought my secret weapon ... Kim and she's getting faster and faster".

Secret Weapon ... those legs are in training for a marathon.
How could we go wrong!
  In perfect symphony with my my comment,  the starters gun went off ...

...  and so I attentively checked to see where Kim had placed herself for her knockout first loop ... uhmmm ... there she is ... actually no.

Ahh ... here? ... no

Uhm ... here?  Still no.

Here (there was a note of desperation in my mind at this time as I see how few riders are yet to pass me) ... but ... no.

I finally put my camera down thinking I'd missed her, but at that exact moment ... there she was ... 4th from last out of nearly 200 riders.  Oh yay, that's not going to cause a problem when they hit the single track.

My secret weapon hadn't fired ... it was a dud!

But fortunately that was pretty much the only misadventure for the day.  Like last time we did four laps each, which we were pleased about because they'd extended the course out to 11kms, however we were helped by the fact that they'd reversed the second section back to the 'proper' way which was much easier and faster than last time.

I, however, had it in my mind that we only did three laps each last time and therefore rode the first two laps thinking I only had to punch out one more after that and because of this belief I actually lapped slightly quicker than Kim on those two laps (about 45 minutes vs 48 minutes) but then the truth hit me and whilst Kim maintained her 48 to 49 minute laps times, I slipped back to 49 minutes and then 53 minutes on my last laps.

It was amazing to see how fast 'real' cyclists are ... the winners in our division did 11 laps ... that's 33 kms more than us in the same time.  Gulp.

This is what fast people look like  ...
Another fast person (he goes up hills faster than I go down).

However, there is an up side to my being a slow arse ... because I'm slow (and unfit) I stop and take lots of photos when I go riding, and if I didn't do that (and enjoy writing stupid stories) then this blog and wouldn't exist, and given I'm continuing to get lots of positive comments  from most cyclists on, then I see it as my duty to remain slow.

On the not so happy front, remember yesterdays post on the cost of servicing my fox shocks?

Well, 44kms, and just 3 hours of riding later ...

Check out the oil leaks on both sides of the forks.

Seriously ....  WHAT THE FOX?

Saturday, 13 April 2013

What The Fox.?

So whilst getting my bike fixed up at Sprung the other day I found out a rather terrifying piece of news, you know these things ...

They're called forks, and prior to my visit to Sprung they were something I just assumed worked until the bike died or you did something really stupid.

Apparently this isn't so ... you see (and you might want to sit down here) apparently you are supposed to service your fox forks after every 20 hours of riding.

OK, this may place you in one of three frames of mind:

  1. You made me sit down for that, so what?
  2. Oh, that does sound like a lot, but good to know.
  3. WTF?
Now, there is only actually one correct emotional response to this little snippet of information ... but I may not have given you all the information to get there yet.  Here's the rest of the information ... the average 20 hour service will cost you between $120 and $200 ... and here's my bill to prove it ...

... and just so you don't miss the point ...

Now, I don't know about you, but I can knock over 20 hours of riding in under a month without too much effort, and that means that on top of the $90 worth of brake pads I go through every couple of months,  if I now service my forks to specification, I'm up for another $120 - $200 a month ... 

Heck, that's $6 to $10 an hour.  I'm in shock.

Suddenly I'm thinking of pulling out of Kellevive 6 Hour Enduro tomorrow because it's too expensive to run my bike ... maybe I'll just do one lap as quickly as I can and then pull out.  that should save me up to $50 in fork running expenses.

Which brings me back to the title of this blog and the correct answer to how I feel about this.

Seriously, What The Fox?

Monday, 8 April 2013

The Hopping Dead ...

My Laissez Faire approach to giving my friends access to my house definitely has it's advantages.

For example in May 2008 (No, it can't be that long ago? - Ed) whilst Christie and I were cycling around Europe for three months, Stephan offered to renovate and tile my whole bathroom for me  ... and he just let himself in and did it ... well almost. There were a couple of sections that he didn't quite get around to finishing ...

... until this weekend that is, because, yes,  I'm thrilled to say that last weekend, just under five years after we started this little project, and again while I was away, Stephan let himself in and finished the job.

Go Stephan!

The only downside I can see arising from this completion is that it may now make our conversations a bit more stilted given our three conversational staples are (1) when am I going to lose weight, (2) when am I going to get serious about my paddling and (3) when is he going to finish my tiling.  As you can probably guess, he brings up the first two at which point I bring up the last one as a deflection, and this means I no longer have a deflection.  However, in the scheme of things my bathroom is finished and that's BRILLIANT...

Now ... onto the kitchen.

However, that is all just a very long and off topic introduction to the story of this post  (I couldn't help it I was so excited to have my tiling finished I had to share it with someone).  You see this post is actually meant to be about my rather sad and irrational fear of zombies, access to my house and of course ... Easter Bunnies.

You see, I didn't get any Easter Eggs for Easter (probably because Stephan told everyone I need to lose weight and go paddling more).  Actually, what I should say is that I didn't get any easter eggs until a bit after Easter when my mother took pity on me and gave me one of her excess Easter Eggs ...

Which was very cool.

So Kim comes around to stay one night not long after Easter Bunny comes into my life, and we set off on a marathon watching of The Walking Dead, during which she asks if there's any chocolate in the house, and only having one piece of chocolate in the house ... namely my newly acquired Easter Bunny ... I offered to share it with her, but I made the mistake of doing this by tossing it to her without uttering the sentence  "here, you can share my one and only Easter Bunny" and because of this a predictable thing happened ...

Kim immediately assumed this was now her Easter Bunny, and decided to keep it for herself until later.

Despite my very unsubtle prompts over the next three episodes of The Walking Dead to crack this little rabbit open and partake in it's innards (including rolling it around the house trying to break it and throwing it into bed),  Kim stoutly resisted my attempts to get her to share.

Then at work the next day, my 'share' of the Easter Bunny appeared on my desk ...

Bunny was eaten from the inside out and all I got was the wrapper and bell.

This is where it gets spooky ... I mean eating something from the inside out - sound familiar? (and yes, that is my attempt at creating suspense).

I forget all about bunnie until I got home on Friday, walked into my kitchen and saw something out of the corner of my eye... Bunny Rabbit was back ... and he had brought a herd of other rabbits with him ...

Now this is not some trick ... Bunny Rabbit had definitely died and been consumed ... but there he was on my breakfast bar, and I could think of only one logical explanation for this ...


Fortunately for us all (and the only reason I am alive writing this now) is that being the zombie expert that I am (take that non believers), I knew exactly what to do ...  I texted Kim.

... with that sorted, I jumped in my car and fled into the wilderness (well Launceston and North East Tasmania which is close enough) safe in the knowledge that Kim would bring to bear the only power on earth that might have a chance of beating these bunny zombies ...

The Monsters ...


Don't let their apparent cuteness fool you, these monsters would chew Chucky up for breakfast and still be hungry afterwards and sure enough, within twenty four hours I got a text message telling me it was all safe ...

The monsters had done there thing and when I returned to my house on Sunday I found everything sorted just nicely ...

Which brings me back to where I started with all of this ... the advantages of allowing laissez faire access to my house ... zombie rabbits killed and my bathroom tiled in one weekend while I'm out riding new trails on my bike.  How good do I have it?

... now if I could just figure how to keep the zombies out ...

RIP, my little bunny ..