Archive for March, 2012

Just Married!

Mark and I had been watching the weather forecast all week in preparation for our outdoor wedding on March 18. The forecast had been predicting a window of good weather, which had dropped from two days, to two hours in a matter of days.

When we woke on the 18th, the rain was falling, and then the hail arrived. Our kayaking friends had been following the weather radar and seemed confident the sun would arrive in time. Others seemed a little skeptical. Mark and I made our way to the reception hall for final preparations and to get ready. A friend would be driving to the wedding site to meet guests at 11:30 and would send us a text to let us know if we’d be coming to them, or she’d be coming back, and bringing with her 35 dripping wet guests. We got the text that it was a go, and drove along a stunning cliffside to the Luffenholtz Overlook, where we were married at noon on March 18. The sky was crisp and clear, with fluffy clouds, and the ocean that we love to play on danced below us. Once back at the reception hall it started to snow, a rare occurrence in this part of the world.

The wedding was wonderful, the reception was lots of fun and our stay at The Lost Whale Inn was a fantastic end to the day.

Following are some snapshots of the day, taken by Kelly Brannon and Madison Scheafer.

Family waiting for the ceremony to start.

Flower decorations.

The ceremony.

Exchanging rings.

Husband and wife.

Mark and Best Man, Michael Morris.

Mark, Helen and Alex enjoying the day.

The Luffenholtz Overlook.

A decorated skin-on-frame kayak at the reception hall.

Our very tasty wedding cake.

The honeymoon suite at The Lost Whale Inn.

Relaxing after the wedding.



Just Married!

…and we’re taking the week off from writing in the blog. We’ll have pictures of the wedding and reception up next week. Thank you to all who sent cards, gifts and well wishes. See you on the water soon!

– Helen and Mark

Just Married - Luffenholtz Overlook, Trinidad, California. Photo by Kelly Brannon.

Kayak Immersion Weekend (Intermediate/Advanced): June 2 to 3, Crescent City, California

Date: June 2 to 3

Location: Crescent City, California

Description: Join Helen Wilson and Mark Tozer for a full weekend of Yoga for Paddlers, Complicating the Roll, Perfecting the Stroke, Greenland Rope Gymnastics, Complicating the Rescue and Ocean Skills (intermediate/advanced).

Private classes are available on June 1.

Contact: For more information, course fees or to register, e-mail


Kayak Immersion Weekend (Beginner/Intermediate): May 26 to 27, Big Lagoon and Trinidad, California

Date: May 26 to 27

Location: Big Lagoon and Trinidad, California

Description: Join Helen Wilson and Mark Tozer for a full weekend of Yoga for Paddlers, Simplifying the Roll, Performance Paddling Clinic, Greenland Rope Gymnastics, Simplifying the Rescue and Ocean Skills (beginner/intermediate).

Private classes are available on May 25.

Contact: For more information, course fees or to register, e-mail



Foam Masik

Question: I wonder if you could give some advice about creating a masik for my Tahe. Can you point me to any useful advice or descibe what you yourself have done, if anything, to improvise a masik?

Answer: I didn’t use a masik for a long time, and then I made one with a piece of foam. It’s a rectangular chunk of foam with no special carvings. I cut it with a steak knife. Once in the kayak I slide it in and pull it up over my thighs. This makes a very tight fit with lots of contact. Make sure that you can safely wet exit if you make something similar. Some people glue masiks into their kayaks, although I’ve never done this. Lately I haven’t been using my masik, and have the kayak set up exactly the way that I received it.

Combat Rolling: March 8 and 9, Half Moon Bay, California

Date: March 8 and 9

Location: Half Moon Bay, California

Description: This class is for those with a “pool” or “flat water” roll who want to try using it in a more dynamic setting. We’ll begin by looking at our rolls and cleaning up any inconsistencies. Then we’ll move these rolls into a gentle surf zone and become more comfortable rolling in both surf and with obstacles that are often present in a “combat” situation (such as sand or rocks).

Contact: For more information or to book a place, visit the California Canoe and Kayak website.

Winter Wildness

Last Wednesday Mark and I drove up the northern California coastline for a 24-hour vacation in Crescent City. We had planned the trip several days in advance, and our hotel was non-refundable, so despite the forecasted twenty foot swells, gale force winds and hailstorms, we decided to go anyway.

Once there, we struggled to hold onto the car doors as we stepped onto the parking lot. Our heads hung forward to prevent getting hit in the eye by sharp hail and rain that seemed to be moving through the air sideways. As we checked into our room the lights flickered, and outside the kayaks were shaking on the car roof.

A jetty in Crescent City.

The following morning we woke to our first views of the raging ocean. Somewhat procrastinating on putting on our drysuits, we decided to go for a stroll, and battled the wind and hail as we made our way to a tasty breakfast spot on the pier. Sitting at the window we watched the sea lions lounging outside, as they too seemed to be avoiding the stormy ocean.

Rock garden excitement.

Sea lions in the harbor.

With full bellies we visited the Northcoast Marine Mammal Center, saying hello to a seal, and then headed up the hill to Battery Point Lighthouse, which was closed for the season, but the views of the ocean from this high vantage point were amazing. At this point we were getting somewhat lazy, and slowly made our way back down the hill to the Chamber of Commerce and visitor center.

Some days the ocean really does want to be left alone, and we decided that this was one of those days. Seeing the ocean in her majestic nature from the rocks above was well worth the drive, and we decided to head home slowly, stopping at every vantage point we could to watch the incredible force of ocean swell colliding with rocks, beaches and blowholes.

Trinidad State Beach.

Just north of where we live, we stopped at our local playground, Trinidad, and waded around in the sea foam in rubber boots and rainjackets, making sea foam balls and throwing them at each other as if they were snow.

A view of Trinidad Head from the Luffenholtz overlook.

A couple of days later, we did make it out for some fun in the surf at Moonstone Beach. And even though the waves were white and foamy, instead of green and long, the sun was shining, and it actually was a really fun day on the water… but then again… when is a day on the water not fun?

Little River at Moonstone Beach.

Fun in the sun.

Photos by Mark Tozer.

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