KayakVagabond

the website of Greg Stamer

Archive for July, 2009

This Little Piggy… Vibram FiveFingers Gear Review

Posted by Greg on July 26, 2009

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Vibram FiveFingers (KSO Model)
Greg’s Gear Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

I am often asked “backchannel” for gear reviews on the equipment that I use on both my expeditions and for everyday paddling trips. Please watch my blog for future reviews and send me email if you wish to see a particular item reviewed. I will indicate any conflicts of interest (sponsorships, etc) and do my best to provide an informative review.

The Good

  • Low volume fit is great for SOF kayaks and other tight boats.
  • Models with an instep strap stay “stuck” to your feet (even in thick muck).
  • Razor-cut soles offer excellent traction, even on wet surfaces.
  • Soles are thick enough for common hazards yet thin enough for dexterity (such as operating butterfly rudder controls)
  • Walking “barefoot” while in public feels sinfully good (you even leave a nice “barefoot” footprint).

The Bad

  • Sand is bad news. When walking in water, fine suspended sand can pack tightly around your toes and badly abrade your skin if not removed.
  • Due to the toe pockets you can’t use the shoes with any kind of drysuit that features integral socks.

Chocolate Elvis….

Posted by Greg on July 18, 2009

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Today I biked 32 miles, getting up early to beat the afternoon heat and the intense thunderstorms that define the sub-tropics of central Florida. My favorite trail winds around low rolling hills and orange groves and past huge oaks draped with beards of Spanish moss that sway in the hot breeze. Hidden among the hills are an amazing number of lakes.  Today’s ride was unremarkable, although I did have to swerve to miss a six-foot corn snake that was fully stretched across the path to absorb the intense heat.

Each year I have to become re acclimated to the heat of Florida.  It was really bad in past years when I returned from my circumnavigations of Iceland and Newfoundland, being adapted to much cooler weather,  to face the August Florida heat.  In mid-summer it stays hot even at night, although the mornings and frequent rain showers provide some relief. The heat wraps around you and saturates you. It almost suffocates you.  When I finish a good paddle or ride, I can literally ring the sweat out of my clothes.

Paying the Piper — On Finding Meaningful Work

Posted by Greg on July 4, 2009

Newfoundland in June 09
Back in Newfoundland for a visit, June 2009, retracing some of the steps from my circumnavigation.
Long trips are great but you eventually have to go home…

I love long kayaking expeditions. On such a trip you fully live each day and live for the moment. However, you can’t spend your entire life on what amounts to a glorified vacation. Eventually you have to return home and pay the piper.

One of my biggest challenges has been finding meaningful work. By that I mean work that pays well, work that stokes passion and leaves you energized instead of drained, and allows ample time for adventures, be that hiking the AT or paddling around some large land mass. Some people search for such a “calling” their entire life. Some lucky people find it or, more likely, stumble upon it — probably since few of us understand what we *really* need.  If you do know, then you are miles ahead of the pack.

If you follow my blog you know that I walked away from a comfortable salary working as a software engineer/project manager, to find the right blend of kayaking, teaching, sales, helping people, and application of my software/managerial skills, that would ignite all of my passions. I also knew that I would always have regrets if I did not pursue long kayaking expeditions.