Thursday 22 December 2022

I made a xmas tree

We don't go xmas crazy, but here and there my mom and I will do a xmas tree of sorts. This year, I made us one based on something I've seen around.

As luck would have it, shortly after seeing a tree made in this theme, I found some felled black wattle branches at the dam. It looks like the alien vegetation people had been at work there. I picked up a couple and took them home.

For this tree, I first cut the pieces to size, each level slightly shorter than the one before. Then I drilled 8mm holes through the centre of each. I also cut short rounds from one of the sticks to use in between the 'branches'. These also had to be drilled. I made a longer stem piece and a short 'cap' for the top. Lots of drilling.

For the base, I tried my first cross-lap joint using a 44x44mm square length of timber. It worked a treat.

Then, I got an 8mm steel rod to run through the centre of everything, embedding it in the base. It stands about 840mm high. This is a pretty good take-apart to store tree.

The big bauble decorations are ones that my mom bought for me from Addis Ababa where she was in transit on a trip back from the Seychelles. The lights on the tree are our original xmas lights, which are close to being as old as me - I can remember them from when I was at least six or seven years old. They're different colours (looks one colour in the photo) and they flash.

Santa's Washing Line decorates the lower level of the tree. I knitted this, with thin thread and skinny needles a number of years ago.

Find It Checkpoint Challenge - Xmas edition

 Last night, I organised and hosted a Find It Checkpoint Challenge (a Metrogaine by another name) as part of the GTR December Social Calendar of activities. GTR (Garden Route Trail Running) has coordinated a bunch of 'events' to keep the community vibe going over the festive period.

I had great fun adding onto my custom street map of George, that I first started drawing for the event I hosted in May for World Orienteering Day - the one that went from old South African Post Office postbox-to-postbox.

I then headed out on my bicycle bicycle last week to ride the streets looking for interesting elements to set as clues for the event. 

The response on Facebook was great - I was expecting 45-55 entries of solos, pairs or groups (3s). Looks like there were 46 maps out there and around 100 participants. The start/finish was at the Trail Kiosk at Ground Zero, which is such a great meeting point for runners and cyclists - and events. They've also got a great menu, good food and a super vibe.

My dear friends Tania and Paul and their daughter Sarah are in town for the holidays so they were there. And then Nicholas and Stephanie, with their young son, were staying with family out Plett side and they came through to run the event - which they won (plus pushing their young son in a baby jogger!). Really nice to see them here. (Paul and Sarah were 2nd and Tania in 3rd).

Nic and Stephanie's route

I'm looking forward to offering some navigation coaching sessions next year to get locals sorted with the fundamentals. With the Big 5 O (five-day orienteering event) in this area at the end of December 2023, it would be great to bring more local support. 

I don't have specific plans for other Checkpoint Challenge events, but I'll probably organise another for World Orienteering Day in May 2023.

Wednesday 7 December 2022

Full Moon social paddle

I've coordinated a few monthly social paddle outings this year, created initially for my Vagabond Kayaks kayak owners in the Garden Route, but then expanded to welcome anyone with a recreational kayak - because something like this is really needed.

On these Sunday morning sessions, we've explored the Garden Route Dam, Touws River, Goukamma River, Grootbrak and Klein Brak Rivers. A few months ago, I had what I thought was a good idea for a Full Moon paddle. I didn't get around to making it happen until recently.
Well, it seems like others thought that my idea was a good one too. Best turnout ever!

A good crows of over 40 paddlers, probably closer to 50 with some out of shot and on the water.

Tonight, recreational paddlers from Mosselbay, Sedgefield, Knysna and Waboomskraal joined the first Full Moon paddle on the Touws River. They came with their plastic sit-on-tops, surfskis, inflatable canoes, handcrafted wood canoes and sit-in riverrunners.
It gets dark after 8pm here so we had daylight on the out route to take in the pretty scenery. After a social stop at the 'top', we turned to head back and it was on this return route that we were treated to watching the golden orb of the moon rising from behind the hills surrounding Wilderness, adding its reflection to the water.

My aim for next year with the Kingfisher Social Paddle Group is to see it flourish with more recreational paddlers from our area discovering the paddling abundance that this region offers - with good company on the water.