the rubber duck

he famous rubber duck is here on Crescent lake, Saigon. Just my curiosity to go there and have some poses with that huge, yellow floating object. To be precise, my childhood was not familiar to this kind of thing, such a toy at my time was consider to be… “luxurious”! The guards did not permit us to pass the floating buoy line, arghh!

Accidentally met this ‘English guy’ on the waterway who said to purchase that Vietnamese – style motorized dinghy to use as his ‘fishing boat’. He complained about the difficulty of obtaining a kayak or canoe for his fitness purpose, and the expensive prices of imported boats. Well, see… we have both two: a canoe and a kayak with us 🙂 !

saigon river

t is not always as calm as in the video below, this time of the year, the monsoon is reversing, causing lots of turbulences. Sometimes waves are so big that I can hardly have anytime for playing around with my GoPro camera, one reckless moment could cause my little kayak to be flooded, or worse, capsized. But many of the times, there’s enough wind and wave to let Hello World – 2 going dancing, drifting and surfing 🙂 . My 20km routine paddling path, passing by Phú Xuân bridge, Nhà Bè fuel reservoirs, Bình Khánh ferry, Hải Minh shipyard… where I can see the CSB – 9001 (a Vietnam maritime police’s search and rescue boat) mooring, next to it are some small Navy (HQ – xxx) gunboats.

In the wet docks are two Navy minesweepers: HQ – 863, HQ – 864 being refitted, I passed by closed enough to see their towed array sonars and their wooden planks (minesweepers are rarely constructed in ferromagnetic materials, often it’s wood or composite). The two hulls: KN – 806, KN – 807 are barely finished with some upper structures, they belong to Kiểm Ngư (Vietnam fisheries resources surveillance) force, whose establishment has just been announced last week. There’re also some other exotic – looking water crafts, which I haven’t been able to identify their designs and roles. No active guard seen for the Navy shipyard, or they don’t even care about my harmless tiny nutshell!

hello world – 1 and 2

ow “operating two boats” 🙂 , I could have more ways to play and have fun with them. Usually, me and one of my friend, each of us would go on a separate canoe / kayak, then exchange them at the midpoint of a paddling trip. It’s extremely hot out there this season, 35° ~ 39° Celsius, but that’s good for our endurence anyhow.

The handling experiences are different from boat to boat, and obviously, Hello World – 2 is lighter and has much better speed compare to Hello World – 1. It can easily give a handicap of more then 1/3 of the way. But despite of that, it’s good to learn how to handle both boats, in various conditions and situations on water.

Below is a video capturing both 2 boats’ actions on water, each as looked from the other. While Hello World – 2 was taking a gentle promenade, Hello World – 1 had to struggle hard to keep up. Jump to 1’36” on the video timeline to see how the kayak made a fast, short impressive sprint to approximately 7 ~ 8 knots! 🙂

hello world – 2

aunched and trialled the kayak this April fool day! Can’t say how much I’m pleased with it, great speed, just like a dart slicing through water! 🙂 It could take some time to learn how to handle this new kayak, the experiences are different between my two boats, but I got the right feeling on how to control it very soon.

The boat gave me a good firm sense that it can be used for longer range. The 2.2 m paddle is too long for this 0.62m – beam kayak, I would need to make a new 1.9 ~ 2.0 m one, but that would be later. I need to try it out thoroughly before deciding what to do to turn it into… an “expeditionary” boat for my up – coming journeys!

Made some longer paddling and realized the boat’s tendency not to track very straight under turbulent flow or wind (in calm conditions, it tracks well), this is tiresome for long voyage. This could be fixed when the kayak is fully loaded, with weight shifts toward the aft, but I decided anyhow to add a retractable skeg to the boat in the coming weeks!