New Exploring Vessel

February 12, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

Hey Everyone! I hope today finds you healthy and safe. Most every year I usually get myself something camera or photography related. But this year I decided to add something to my exploring adventures that didn't have anything to do with photography. I wanted to expand my exploring not just to land travels but to water travels also.  I have been doing a lot of research and decided to get a canoe. I didn't want to get a boat that was on a trailer I had to haul around because it would be too much trouble. I wanted something that I could load and unload off of my truck by myself. Now, I needed something that was lightweight, because I'm not getting any younger.  I also needed something that could handle me! LOL I'm not getting any smaller. The canoe was a perfect choice. But which one?  The search started, and let me tell you, there is a lot more to canoes than you think. First is the size. I wanted something large enough to carry Forrest and me comfortably and that could haul our things. But I also wanted something small enough so I could carry it by myself. So that meant a solo canoe. I found out that a new one ran from $700 to thousands of dollars and that they can be made out of all kinds of materials, like Kevlar, Carbon Fiber, thick plastic, Royalx, and all kinds of materials. Usually the lighter the canoe, the more expensive and fragile.  I also found that the hull shape also made a difference. The flatter the hull, the more stable the canoe, and the more rounded the hull, the less stable the canoe. Rounder, more curvy hulls are for rapids and not for long cruising, which I hope to do. Then there is the length of the boat. The longer the canoe, the truer it is in the water (it will stay in a straight line longer), and the shorter the canoe, the less true. So my research for the perfect boat began, and I decided that I wanted a boat that I could handle, lightweight with a flat bottom.  I decided that I wanted to buy a used one, so I started looking on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and places on the internet that specialize in finding used canoes and kayaks.  I searched for a few months and found a few, but they got bought up before I could get a hold of them. It seems that larger and heavier canoes are easy to find and fairly cheap. But solo ones are hard to come by.  A friend of mine has an Old Town 12-foot pack canoe made out of Royalx material. It weighs 35 lbs, and Royalx is almost indestructible. And of course, they don't make Royalx anymore. These are very hard to come by and go used for over $1,000.  Brand new they only cost around $500, and you could get them at REI. But now supply and demand make them a very valued boat. Now, I have been saving for quite a while and have looked for quite a while for a boat and finally got tired of waiting for that perfect used boat to show up, so I decided to go new. I had it narrowed down to three boats: an Old Town Discovery 119 (119 is 11feet 9 inches), The Old Town Next, and the Esquif Adirondack. They ranged in length from 11-13 feet and weighed from 37 lbs to almost 70 lbs. They were all good boats, but the choice was easy after I saw them. It was the Esquif Adirondack canoe that is 12 foot long, weighs 37 lbs, and can carry over 500 lbs in cargo. So me and a buddy of mine went to Virginia to a paddle company, Appomattox River Company, and got my boat. So let me tell you a little about my new Exploring Vessel.

The Esquif Adirondack boat is made in Canada. Now, if you don't know, in Canada the canoe is what the horse was to us in discovery out west. We went out west in wagon trains and on horseback, and they went on canoes through the rivers and lakes of our northern neighbor. Now, if you remember, earlier I said that they don't make Royalx anymore, the material that is light and almost indestructible. When they quit manufacturing the material, Esquif decided to make their own material that is very similar to or even better than Royalx, and it is called T-Formex.  They even sell this material to other companies that used to make Royalx boats.  So anyway, the hull of my new boat is made from T-Formex, which is lightweight and durable.  The boat is 12-feet long and almost an exact copy of the the Old Town Pack canoe that I spoke of earlier that they don't make anymore. The Esquif pretty much replaced the void of the Old Town Pack when Old Town quit making the Pack canoe because of the lack of Royalx. The Esquif is a very basic canoe, and I have already made some adjustments to it. I added some bungee cord in the back, or stern, of the boat to hold cargo in place when I go on canoe camping trips. I put in a new seat that goes over the existing seat to give me some back support. I installed an accessory rack so I could install things like a Go-Pro camera mount or a rod holder or paddle holder. I plan on doing a few other things to customize the boat for me.  I'm sure there will be more blogs to come on the modifications and adventures I make with this new acquisition. 

Now that I have talked about the boat, let me tell you what I plan on doing with it. As you know, I am primarily a landscape photographer, backpacker, and hiker.  I love to explore and see new places and take photographs along the way to share with you. My project this year is to explore the national forests of North Carolina, and that also includes the lakes and rivers that run through them. This year my main goal with the boat is to get used to it, learn all of the ins and outs of paddling, and also do a little exploring.  In the next year or so, I may be doing a project on the rivers of North Carolina. I am looking forward to having many adventures with the new canoe and can't wait to share them with you. Until next time, please stay safe and healthy, and get outside, explore, and shoot!


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