Archive for the ‘published’ Category

published in Canoe News, Summer 2011, Vol 44 No 2, p.6

Working at a college gives me the benefit of a two week vacation from Dec 18th to Jan  2nd, so one would think that I got a lot of kayak camping in.  Unfortunately, I spent more time on land catching up on the basic day to day stuff.  But the time I did get out to camp was perfect.

Sean and I camped out on an island on two separate nights¬† Dec 23rd to the 24th and Dec 30th to the 31st.¬† Both times we parked at the west side of Tom Stuart Causeway north of the drawbridge.¬† It is not well lit at night and it is also a dog park, thus walking at night with a kayak to the water’s edge can be a smelly and squishy event.¬† Never the less, the location is a good place to launch.

Before getting on the water I outfitted my kayak with two deck lights on the stern.¬† The smaller one has a suction cup on it; where as, the taller light has a bungee and locking cam to keep it on the deck.¬† Kayalu makes the taller light “Kayalite”.¬† I have had it for about nine months and used it on several types of kayaks.¬† It is a good piece of kit.¬† (A detailed review is now available).

On December 23rd we paddled east into Boca Ciega Bay to Archie’s Island.¬† It was mild and in the upper 40’s F.¬† The moon was almost full and the tide was unusually high.¬† When we got to Archie’s there was a group also camping on the island.¬† We saw their powerboat on the east side of the island and gave them plenty of space.¬† We set up our tents behind some brush and started boiling water for dinner.

We went simple and ate Pad Thai by Backpacker’s Pantry, hot coco, and Freeze-Dried Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream.¬† Yum.

We could hear the wind howl during the night.¬† And for a moment I thought I hear our neighbor’s powerboat engine come on.¬† In the morning there was so much sea foam on the shore it looked like mini icebergs.¬† But that was not the most surprising thing we saw.

The people who were camping on the east side of the island did move their boat.¬† And they anchored it like amateur boaters.¬† The Carolina Skiff was high and dry with the Yamaha engine’s propeller locked and buried vertical into the shell encrusted beach.¬† Ouch.

On December 30th we paddled west into the inter coastal waterway to Travestine Island.  We took our time getting to the island.  We looked at the Christmas lights on the local condos and meandered through some mangrove tunnels near an island.  This was tricky at night and we had to paddle backwards after entering a tunnel.  When we got on to Travestine we also discovered we had a neighbor so we gave kayaker some distance.

We set up camp and started boiling water for dinner.  Sean and I both received some new pieces of kit during Christmas.  And it was time to test it out.  I got a Snowpeak GigaPower Stove, and Sean got a GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Dualist Cook System. 

I always cook with a bunsen burner pad to distribute the heat.¬† And this worked great with the Snowpeak.¬† The only thing I now want to add to my kit is a Snowpeak windscreen.¬† Because I can see cooking on a beach without one could be a problem.¬†¬† Sean’s GSI Cook System worked great, but I still prefer my GSI kettle, Sea to Summit collapsible X-Mug, and Snowpeak chopsticks.

In the morning there was evidence on the shore of the effects of cold water.  There were several juvenile horseshoe crabs dead and washed up under a dead tree.

Before breaking down camp we fired up the stove to have some coffee.  Sean was a little skeptical about trying Starbucks VIA Ready Brew coffee.  We had the Italian Roast and it was great!

As we were paddling back to Tom Stuart Causeway we saw our neighbor on the water.  He was sailing his Hobie kayak.  He was having fun in that boat.  Given the chance, I would try sailing that type of kayak.


Published on

The unusual things make memories.

Before paddling in the Florida Keys, my memorable stories of past events have been about rogue water features, the confused aquatic life, or a memorable time at the boat launch. Well one night during an attempt to paddle around the Florida Keys several four legged mammals made the evening something to remember.

On the third night, we made camp at a designated kayak camping key. It looked as if we were the first people to have ever camped there. My two friends hung their hammocks and I pitched my tent. It was just a normal evening. Although, as the sun disappeared into the horizon, we began to hear a commotion down by our kayaks. We walked down to the only sandy part of the beach thinking that we could help some fellow paddlers land their kayaks.

There was no sign of life on the small sandy beach. The idea of a raccoon scurrying seemed like a possible idea, but I saw no tracks. We still put rocks on top of the hatches and returned to camp. Just in case we were sharing the small island with some four legged friends we placed our food into a bear-bag and suspended it in a tree.

By this time, the sun was gone but not the sound of activity coming from the trees. Then tiny eyes appeared. Rats were the owners of this island. Well they kept an eye on us, and we gave them little thought as we went to bed. The three of us believed there was nothing in camp that would be of an interest to them.

Well we were wrong. The three of us did have something that rats found interesting. For a while, the symphony of snoring from my paddling friends lulled me to sleep until an excited rat started having fun. The rat ran up the side of my tent and slid down the tarp. All night the rats played on the guidelines over the hammocks and sliding down our tarps. I guess they were board.

They never got into the food. Nor did they do any damage to our gear. And they left us with a cool story to tell.

Written by: Jeffrey Fabiszewski – St Petersburg, FL., 02-03-2010

Illustration by ©2010 Inc.

Paddle vs Power so what are we to do?

Posted: October 2, 2008 by Jeff Fabiszewski in Florida Kayaking, Kayak Safety, published

I have many friends in the paddling community and the theory of coexisting with motor boats always comes up.  This topic is more volatile than talking about politics, religion, and sex.  Very few people ever agree with a common solution.  So what are we to do?  Well, I think coexisting with motor boats is possible on the rivers, in the bay and gulf, and as fellow anglers.  Knowing the official rules of the water and the preconceived notions on paddling etiquette will lessen our paddle rage.

Rage is a way of dealing with fear or frustration.  Moreover, the idea of being run-over or overturned by boat wake fits the profile of fear. Surprisingly a motorboat produces a great deal of boat wake when they quickly slow down and drop off plane.  And they produce wake when moving at a high speed on a river. So what are we to do?

When crossing the channel, wait until there are no motor boats.  Depending on the time of year and location, boaters might be sightseeing or they may be competing for thousands of dollars in a fishing event.  On any navigable body of water such as a marked channel, it is inappropriate for kayakers to expect them to slow down.

If No Wake signs are posted and a speeding motorboat disrupts your day it could mean trouble to even politely remind them of the restrictions.  Instead, record their FL numbers from the side of the boat then phone in the violation to FWC.

Regardless of who is the violator, it is always safer to yield to the larger boats. ¬†Let them have the space to navigate the channel so they can go on their merry way. ¬†¬†‚ėĽ

For local FWC phone numbers to report a No Wake or No Motor violation, please log onto

Published in Florida Outdoor Adventures Magazine – July 2006 – pages 30

Copyright © 2006   Florida Outdoor Adventures Magazine and the respective author.

In deep water stow the rod and the Scotty's mount in to the bow hatch of your Ocean Kayak (or use a flush mount)

I am in the water, so now what do I do? That is a common question that anglers have if they come off their sit on top kayak in deep water. The angler should really be more concerned about the story of the fish that got away than worrying about how to get back on their kayak. After all, it is easy to reenter a sit on top kayak with a general understanding of how to do it. And it is difficult to create an original and interesting big fish tale to tell to our friends. Besides, who wants to hear about how we swam back onto the kayak.

If the swimming angler has a leash on their paddle and they are wearing a Personal Flotation Device then they will have less to concern themselves. The paddle will not float away. Moreover, the P.F.D. (life jacket) helps with flipping the kayak and swimming back onto it.

It is just a matter of relaxing to right a flipped sit on top. One only has to float on their back to get the task done. The angler should face the middle side of their kayak. Then float on their back with their legs going under the kayak and their toes pointing towards the sky on the opposite side of the boat. The hands rest on the kayak. Then to roll over the kayak the floating angler extends their arms up and the kayak will right itself. Just

The feet float and the hands grip the non stretch deck lines

remember to keep the arms up in case of the kayak does not successfully roll over the first time. The wearing of the P.F.D. makes this so effortless. The anglers needs little arm strength and their head remains out of water as they flip the kayak over all due to the buoyancy of the P.F.D.

To get back onto the kayak without assistance the angler only has to think about dolphins. At marine water, parks there are usually trained dolphin swimming on to a platform. An angler also gracefully glides onto their sit on top kayak. The P.F.D. also helps with getting out of the water. With hands on the side of the kayak, the angler prepares to float on their chest. Their feet should float near the surface of the water. To get out of the water the floating angler should then reach across the kayak and do a swimming kick. With chest on the kayak, rotate to face the back of the kayak. This action saves energy and lessens the chance of flipping again. All that remains is for the kayaker to move around on to their but. The movement is just like rolling around between the bed sheets.

Now I have to get my rod from within the hatch

If the angler has a friend paddling with them, they can parallel park their kayak to help. Two kayaks rafted next to each other shall make both boats more stable. All of the movements are the same to get back onto the kayak. Anglers only need to remember to relax, float, swim, and keep low to get into their kayak. This way an untimely roll will not prevent anyone from not getting back onto his or her kayak to catch that winning fish. ‚ėĽ

Published in Onshore Offshore Magazine – July 2006 – pages 8-9