hải âu phi xứ

text=海鸥飞处&font=1&size=18&color=0000FF

Vô tình nước chảy về đông,
Nghìn năm cánh mộng tang bồng còn bay…

uộc đời tôi cho đến lúc này, chỉ có một ước mơ nhỏ nhoi, đó là được đi về nơi… 海鸥飞处 – hải âu phi xứ (tên một tiểu thuyết của Quỳnh Dao – chỉ mượn cái tên chứ chưa đọc truyện nào của Quỳnh Dao bao giờ 😀). Nơi ấy, chốn hải âu ngày đêm bay lượn trên sóng nước, cuộc sống quy về trong những cặp khái niệm “tối giản” mà bạn có thể nghĩ đến, ví dụ như: wood and water, hoặc là: boat and rice, hay trong một cách diễn đạt Việt Nam dân dã hơn: gạo trắng trăng thanh.

Các nhà văn, nhà thơ, nhạc sĩ… họ đã làm được một việc là phịa ra những điều đẹp đẽ (rất có thể là không thật) và thuyết phục được người khác (trong đó có cả tôi) về những điều đó. Nhưng thực tế thì, rất ít trong số họ thật sự sống được (hay thực sự muốn sống) trong những điều họ đã vẽ nên ấy. Tôi không tài năng và cũng chẳng suy nghĩ được nhiều như họ, nhưng điều tôi nghĩ và làm sẽ luôn luôn song hành làm một. Đến một ngày, một ngày nào đó… tôi sẽ đi, đi về nơi… hải âu phi xứ 😀.

⓵⏎ Câu thơ khắc trên bia đá bên cầu qua sông đào Bạch Yến, phía Tây kinh thành Huế.

giang hồ

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text=江湖&font=1&size=18&color=0000FF

hiều đêm đi chơi xuồng kayak, 4, 5 tiếng đồng hồ một mình chèo trong bóng tối mênh mông, không một ánh điện, không biết đâu là bến bờ, tuyệt nhiên yên tịnh. Hoàn toàn phó theo cảm giác vì không thể nhìn thấy gì, toàn những bóng đen mờ ảo, cũng đã quá thuộc sông nước quanh đây. Quả nhiên không sai đây chính là khung cảnh lửa chài, cây bến còn vương giấc hồ từng chứng kiến bao nhiêu tiền kiếp về trước.

Rồi những đêm rằm trăng sáng rạng ngời, cảnh quang thuyền một lá đông tây lặng ngắt, một vầng trăng trong vắt lòng sông thật hứng thú vô cùng. Chốn này dường tách biệt hẳn với hồng trần thị phi, an nhiên tự tại không còn biết hôm nay là của ngày tháng năm nào nữa. Nhìn lên nghĩ bụng chị Hằng chắc là lạnh lắm, rồi tự hỏi phải chăng đây là cõi trời nguyệt minh tinh hy, ô thước nam phi thủa nào!?

Lại đôi khi gặp phải luồng cá lớn, dài trên hàng cây số, cá rượt đuổi theo song song như muốn đùa vui cùng với chiếc thuyền, hàng ngàn hàng vạn con bé nhỏ vọt lên khỏi mặt nước, réo rắt như một trận mưa rào mùa hạ. Hàng trăm con như những mũi phi tiêu lao qua mui thuyền, nhiều con rớt cả vào trong khoang. Rồi bỗng dưng bắt gặp mình ngâm nga khúc huống ta vớt củi buông câu, lứa đôi tôm cá bạn bầu hươu nai…

Cái sự khoái hoạt, phóng dật trong chốn giang hồ thật không một từ ngữ, không một bút mực nào gột tả hết cho được! Ghi lại vài dòng để còn gợi nhớ đến cảm giác, không gian này! Mở ngoặc nói cho rõ ràng rằng, từ nguyên, giang hồ – 江湖, đơn giản tức là giang – 江 – sông và hồ – 湖 – hồ 😀, nghĩa gốc vốn như thế, chỉ nơi sông nước, nhàn cư, ẩn dật… không phải hiểu theo nghĩa phái sinh của nó.

⓵⏎ Phượng hữu cao ngô, hạc hữu tùng, Ngẫu lai giang ngoại ký hành tung…, trích bài Ngạc Châu ngụ quán Nghiêm Giản trạch – Nguyên Chẩn.

seaduction

hen you complete some deed with very good results, they would say: you’d done it with flying colors, an archaic term originated from the age – of – sail, the maritime tradition of a ship (returning to its home port) flying its colors (flags) to signal that a mission had been accomplished. In contrast, strike the colors is an act of surrender, of giving up. Another term: to nail the colors (to the mast) means: to fight to the bitter end and giving up is not an option, cause flags that have been nailed to the mast can not be stricken (lowered), intentionally or accidentally during a naval battle.

I hoist my coded colors below… 😀

Seaduction: /si’dʌkʃn/ (noun), the act of of being seduced by boats, sails, sea, ocean, air, waves or sand between your toes.

hello world – 3, part 27

Thanh san hoành bắc quách,
Bạch thuỷ nhiễu đông thành…

onna end the series on my Hello World – 3 kayak building & fitting here with some comments on the design. It is an excellent boat in almost every aspects. The outlook is beautiful and attractive, extremely good stabilities (both primary and secondary), good tracking capability, and turning is easy with some slight edging. The hull shape is good for surfing too, it goes into turbulences, water or wind, with great confidence. And it is roomy, having lots of space for gear storage on longer trips.

On another side, the boat is more suitable for bolder paddlers, in order to sustain a higher speed. Me, at 64 kg, belong to the medium – low paddler group. With my inexperiences (still) in building, boat weight is quite large. Everything put together, my whole day sustainable speed with HW – 3 is bounded into the [6.2 ~ 6.5] kmph range, a bit behind my expectation. Of course, my expectation is of my own, some goals set and to be reached, not something to blame on the kayak design.

And maybe my physical excercising has not been hard enough too! Like I’d mentioned earlier, boats are like shoes, you try until you find something that fits your needs, and also like shoes, owning 4, 5 pairs or more is just quite normal for an average person nowadays 😀. Looking back on all my building and boating experiences, the last 2 years is, anyhow a short period of time, for a life – time hobby. I’m still at the beginning of the road, there’re lots of things to be learned and to be accomplished!

Lots of things happened during that less than 2 years time period, at the beginning of which I even can’t tell the (now – obvious) differences between a kayak and a canoe, I didn’t know how to operate a hammer or a block plane, never done any woodworking before (as well as any other real ‘manual’ labour). Started from the most primitive A, B, C… sometimes I’d wished I didn’t have to do everything the hard way like that. Well, things gradually unfold, like the sceneries ahead of your kayak! 😀

hello world – 3, part 26

Bạch đầu lãng lý bạch đầu nhân…

he other day, I was conducting some re – entry tests: supposed that you’re thrown out of the boat by waves, and you need to climb in again, pump the water out to continue paddling before another wave hits you. But the hatches leak so much that re – entry is very difficult, the harder the next tries, as the kayak continues to take water in, it becomes heavy and unstable. This is very dangerous, imagine if this happens on open sea, and I would never want to be in an… “Abandon ship” situation.

I ordered some Beckson deck plates (plus other things) from Amazon.com as a fix to the hatch leaking problem. But it took forever for the ordered packages to be delivered, first from Amazon to a friend in the U.S, then from him to Saigon (some goods can not be shipped directly to Vietnam, so you have to make it via a “freight – forwarder”). Can’t wait the progress, I decided to try another solution: install some rubber washers and tighten the locks to help sealing the hatch better. It works quite well indeed.

The packages arrive today finally! But 2 Beckson screw – in deck plates would be used for the next boat instead, as I’m satisfied with the leaking problem now. Also arrived are some rolls of 2″ – width fiberglass tape, those would be very useful for my next builds, and a spray skirt. A spray skirt is absolutely important for kayaking in rougher conditions. It recalls to me that I was really risking (and was lucky too) when paddling to Vũng Tàu last year with no working water pump, and no spray skirt.

Below are a couple of shots showing the spray skirt in action. On calm rivers and canals, it’s not of pretty much usefulness, but it would become critically important once you enter the steep estuary and coastal sea areas. Also showed is the beautiful lines of my HW – 3, people is all taking photographs or shooting video on the kayak when encountered along my paddling routes these days! Despite some building faults here and there, she looks so gorgeous, almost sexy, doesn’t she!? 😀

il pleut sur… sài gòn

Mais lui il s’en fout bien, mais lui il dort tranquille
Il n’a besoin de rien, il a trouvé son île
Une île de soleil et de vagues et de ciel…

ne vieille mais très très belle chanson sur les marins qui ne reviendras plus jamais, et sur les filles, les femmes, qui seraient toujours l’attendre: Les marins d’Amsterdam, s’mouchent plus dans les étoiles. La Marie qu’a des larmes a noyé un canal… Seules Titine et Madeleine croient qu’il est encore là, elles vont souvent l’attendre au tram 33… Peut-être un peu trop tôt, mais lui il est content, il n’a pas entendu que des milliers de voix, lui chantait “Jacky ne nous quitte pas!”…

Chez ces gens-là (Dalida, Jacques Brel etc…), on n’est jamais parti!

prepositive vs. postpositive

Đến bây giờ anh đã là cánh trắng chim bay xa chân trời
Đến bây giờ em đã là bóng dáng cô liêu trong ngậm ngùi…

ne miscellaneous linguistic notice, except for things borrowed from Chinese, which is largely unpopular to most people in daily, pragmatic uses, the Vietnamese language, in essence, is strictly postpositive, that is an adjective must be placed after a noun / pronoun that it modifies. So the following examples which are prepositive, are extremely rare, to the point of… bizzare, but they’re also very interesting, note the underlined, bold phrases. Add more examples to the list if you would find one! 😀

Chuyện tình yêu - Ngọc Lan (nguyên tác: Histoire d'un amour) 

Đến bây giờ anh đã là cánh trắng chim bay xa chân trời. Đến bây giờ em đã là bóng dáng cô liêu trong ngậm ngùi

Khúc ca muôn thủa - Thái Thanh (nguyên tác: Granada) 

Rằng từ sau khóe mắt xanh bồ câu xâm chiếm tim anh, quên lãng sao đành

Rừng xưa đã khép - Khánh Ly 

Ta thấy em trong tiền kiếp, với cọng buồn cỏ khô.

the pleasure room

aven’t watched the movie (50 shades of grey) yet, nor do I really want to (haven’t gone to the cinema for the last 10 years or so, and I don’t even have a TV at home also), just want to make a little parody! 😀 Having lots of intentions to widen and upgrade my boat – building workshop, and lots of new ideas on boats too, but currently pretty much busy with my works… hope to materialize them in the upcoming months!

hello world – 3, part 25

Lý Bạch thừa chu tương dục hành…

pdates after updates, Hello World – 3 has become quite heavy indeed, now around 30 kg, too heavy to be handled on my back for long distance. Weight has been one of my weakest point in boat building, I’ve always had fears that the boat will not be strong enough, so put more and more materials in, that results into a much heavier boat than originally speculated 😢. This is the most important thing to be improved in my next build (projected to be toward the third quarter of this year).

Want it or not, HW – 3 is my main boat for now, though quite heavy, it’s strong and has the best performance characteristics among my boats. And I’m gonna have some more preparations for my upcoming trips. I added one more mounting point for the light and camera poles, there’re one aft and one forward of the cockpit, so the camera can be mounted in different positions. Also decided that the Canon Powershot D30 would be my sole camera onboard, used for both picture and video shooting.

The Canon Powershot D30 has much better battery life compared to my GoPro Hero 3, and video quality is comparable, though video resolution is not as good. Furthermore, bringing just one camera, one kind of backup batteries would make things simpler, having less to be cared for when on the waterway. I’m not too keen on taking super fine photographs, bringing a DSLR is too bulky and risky for me, so this D30 is already good, an all – round cam: pictures, videos, and can also be used for diving.

I’ve built another cart for my kayak from cheap MDF, made water – resistant using thinned epoxy and paint, it’s smaller and lighter compared to the previous one (which was made of iron tubes). And I reused the two big air – filled tires, you know how it is pulling a heavy load with small solid wheels on a ‘sinking’ sandy beach. There’re some stuffs I originally planned for my kayak, but they turned out to be very troublesome when faced reality. Among such things are the hatches, simply put: they leak too much!

a watery saigon – 2

ack to the normal, procedural routines of: work, paddle, eat, sleep… then repeat those steps… the loop will be going on like that for a while. I’m gonna have some miscellaneous updates for my Hello World – 3, but for now, just more ‘harness’ physical exercising to regain and improve my endurance after a long Tết (new year) holiday. It’s so good to return from mountains to waters, as my lovely kayak is awaiting for more mileage to pass under her keel in the upcoming time.

This season of the year, there’s plenty of wind around, especially around Bình Khánh ferry area, a crossroad that has lots of turbulence. Sometimes it creates enough waves to feel like a surf, riding a long series of running waves is a very interesting experiences, and HW – 3 surfs really well, though it’s a bit harder to control compared to the shorter 14′ HW – 2. When I saw sailors on those big freighters who were all shooting videos of the kayak, I know that SHE IS beautiful and attractive! 😀

Since I haven’t equipped HW – 3 with a spray skirt and an electric water pump (that would be in the next months), I simply carry a small plastic bucket to drain the water out when it rains, it’s starting the rainy season. Continue more and more paddling with HW – 3, to get to really know her, to understand precisely how she would behave in various different conditions: sunny, rainy, windy, wavy, strong current… There’s a long way of practicing since I’m feeling I’m not ready still for longer voyages.