Another reason to use a chart plotter

To discuss safety issues and their direct affects on kayaks and kayak fishing. Do it but do it safely!
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Raptor
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Mon Oct 05, 2015 11:32 pm

We all know they are great for seeing contours and recording drift lines etc. but they are also a very worthwhile safety feature.
I often paddle at night or get back to shore after dark on the longer trips which around Auckland city is not a problem with all the brightly lit landmarks and street lighting to guide you back to your launching point.

Last week I was out off Kaiawa and the fishing was getting hot just on sunset (got my bag limit) so I stayed out until the sun was well and truly set.
When I started heading back to shore I realized there was nothing to see just total blackness, no street lights, no cars at the ramp, no traffic, no house lights and overcast so no moon to help, nothing at all to use as a landmark to show me where the beach, ramp or car was.
The chart plotter however showed me my track from the launching point so I just followed that back and when I got to the end of the track I looked up and there was my car in the torch light 15 mtrs in front.
It was a perfect "instrument landing" so I was pretty happy not to hit the beach and have to go walking to find out where I was.

And yes I do carry a nav light, torches, a head lamp and all manner of night time safety stuff but they don't help you see your car from a km out.
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gibro712
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Tue Oct 06, 2015 7:19 am

Agreed :y:

If you have the option, a compass may also be a worth while tool to complement the chart plotter. If your to assume the worse of your electronics....
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MikeAqua
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Tue Oct 06, 2015 3:06 pm

I bought a compass, but installing it in a readable position the recommended distance away from anything electronic or ferrous proved impossible.

I had to replace my VHF, so I went for one with GPS and compass built in.
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awondering
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Tue Oct 06, 2015 3:17 pm

MikeAqua wrote:
I had to replace my VHF, so I went for one with GPS and compass built in.

What model was that Mike ?

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Schiskafish
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Tue Oct 06, 2015 6:26 pm

Unfortunately my chartplotter doesn't track the big waves coming up your six :lol: landing on the beach at night... That can be a bit of a thriller... Especially when you can't hear them :sweat:
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Raptor
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Tue Oct 06, 2015 10:47 pm

I have always carried a hand held compass in a pocket of my PFD. As it's an emergency backup only if I needed it I would simply stick it under a shock cord on the tackle pod or even hand hold it to check every 50 or so strokes if I could not take a reading to a landmark.
Also have the GPS/Compass on the mobile phone in a waterproof see through bag so double redundancy if things really start to turn to custard.

Yes I have also experienced those big waves sneaking up from behind at night and usually just when you are in a tight spot or about to land. The chart plotter doesn't help a lot with that other than to tell you how fast you surfed until you hit something.

The worst are the huge wakes put out by the container or big cruise ships at night, the ships are often absolutely silent and the waves they put out are fast and nasty. Have sat and watched a huge cruise ship go out before crossing the channel only to to get clobbered 5 minutes later by a huge wave I didn't see or hear and requiring some pretty full on bracing strokes to stay aboard. Learned that lesson real fast.
You also need to be aware that in deep water such as the channels these big wakes travel low and fast but as soon as they hit the shallows around reefs etc. (the good fishing spots) they will often suddenly rise up to two or three times the height and turn into breakers as they trip over the shallow bottom.
It pays to keep an eye on shipping with that in mind so even if the ship itself is not a threat the wake that will arrive a little while later could be.
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MikeAqua
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Wed Oct 07, 2015 2:40 pm

It's a Uniden MHS_235. Neat unit.

GPS
Strobe
IP68
Floats
Can be set to transmit at 6W.

I thought the compass (being GPS based) would be useless when stationary, but it still works. Possibly has a compass chip rather than relying on the GPS.
awondering wrote:
MikeAqua wrote:
I had to replace my VHF, so I went for one with GPS and compass built in.

What model was that Mike ?
"No good story begins with a salad"
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Mac50L
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Wed Oct 07, 2015 8:55 pm

So how did we get on long before GPS and plotters were available?

We were paddling a lake in Nepal, a few decades ago, dark coming on and we had to return the canoe to somewhere. How? I'd mentally sorted out a mark off to one side of our target so heading a bit more to one side, simply paddled until we got to the shore, turned and headed to met our marker and then knew our target was in the direction we were heading.

A trip in the Abel Tasman accompanying a couple of teenage girls who were paddling my double. To get to the top of the park we'd have to paddle at night due to the wind (strong sea breeze) during the day. Just a straight line across Awaroa Bay and the slight loom of the hills on our left. It was easier finding the bay we wanted that time than a few years later in on a winter's afternoon, due to the sun in our eyes blinding our "target".

I'd suggest keeping up the skills to find your way without instruments as reliance on instruments can lead to failures. Note the word "reliance".

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MikeAqua
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Thu Oct 08, 2015 11:14 am

Mac50L wrote:So how did we get on long before GPS and plotters were available?
We didn't have plotters/sounders emitting fields that mess up compasses so we could just use an old fashioned compass.

If I didn't have anything electronic and lots of steel fastenings on my yak, I would still have a compass.

But I don't trust one with all the electronics and ferrous metals on my yak and on my person.

If my plotter and the compass on my VHF fail me, Plan C is to use my eyes/ears to find the shoreline.

If that fails I have a VHF.

If that fails I have an EPIRB.
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Mac50L
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Thu Oct 08, 2015 7:26 pm

MikeAqua wrote:If I didn't have anything electronic and lots of steel fastenings on my yak, I would still have a compass.

But I don't trust one with all the electronics and ferrous metals on my yak and on my person.
Steel, ferrous = rust, rust, rust

Marine SS = non magnetic, no rust

?????

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MikeAqua
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Fri Oct 09, 2015 2:36 pm

SS is steel plus chrome and still magnetic to an extent.

My compass came with brass mounting screws and instructions not to use SS fastenings or have SS within a certain distance of the compass.
Mac50L wrote:
Steel, ferrous = rust, rust, rust

Marine SS = non magnetic, no rust

?????
"No good story begins with a salad"
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Raptor
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Fri Oct 09, 2015 9:55 pm

Before GPS and plotters it would have been just paddle for shore (and hope you don't hit a reef) then take a walk to find out exactly where you are so you then know how far and in what direction you need to walk or paddle to get back to the car.
Done that a few times in the past so no biggie but the chart plotter or GPS does make life a lot easier and a bit safer in those situations.

The only time I did get completely turned around and had to actually rely on a compass (before the days of chart plotters on kayaks) to get back to shore was getting caught out in a heavy mid day rain storm that went on for hours out wide of Urupukapuka island in the Bay of Islands. I could barely see the end of the kayak and certainly no land or landmarks at all and the seas were pretty flat so hard to pick true wave direction. As anyone who has been in a whiteout knows, it is amazing how fast you can end up going around in circles in those conditions. The other concern was that I needed to get away from the shipping lanes fast as there was no way the big ferries or game boats would see me.
The compass I had in my pocket did the job and got me safely to land though it was a little distance from where I wanted to be. Having a chart plotter that could tell me exactly where I was and how far I still had to go would have taken just a bit of the urgency out of the situation.
And yes I did call up on 16 to let boats in the area know to look out for a kayak.
Raptor ZMQ2349

Mad keen kayaker... or perhaps just mad.
- Viking Profish Reload (the rock proof fishing boat)
- Southern Skua (the distance cruiser)
- Squall (Its hers)
- Breaksea Double (doin it together)

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Mental
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Mon Nov 09, 2015 10:20 am

A little bit off topic but had an interesting experience with my Raymarine Dragonfly 7 on the weekend.

Ended up being a longish day on the water - 7:00am to 4:30pm - and I only had an old 7ah battery with me so I never expected it to last all day but rather than just shutting down the whole unit when the battery voltage got low it came up with a message on the screen something like "Supply voltage low, will disable fishfinder soon". Now I read that as great flat battery bye bye electronics... but no, it did actually just turn off the sounder part and the GPS and chart continued to function.

I suppose it's more targeted to the boaties but I did like that it was able to still get me home etc even if it wasn't showing me the fish :y:

Not sure about other brands but my old Humminbird 798 just used to turn the whole unit off...
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Mac50L
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Mon Nov 09, 2015 10:49 pm

Raptor wrote:As anyone who has been in a whiteout knows, it is amazing how fast you can end up going around in circles in those conditions.
About 151 paddle strokes to get round in a circle back to the start, or so one of our paddlers found out when trying it, just to see what would happen.

I've had 3 incidents where I've taken a compass sight on the next mark but not had to use that information as the conditions have cleared in time. One time in Fiji with a rain squall but a channel marker stayed in sight, another time crossing Pelorus Sound but the murk cleared.

There was the time heading up the coast of D'Urville Island in fog and I asked one of group for our compass heading and was given a reciprocal. We'd gone round the top, through Stephens Passage and were now heading down into Port Hardy.

Our intention was to go to the top and then back the way we'd come, down to the Rangitoto Islands for the night. Now being in Port Hardy we decided that we'd circumnavigate D'Urville instead though a couple of days later were caught by a NWer for a few days down the SW corner and eventually were trailered across the island and then paddled across French Pass instead of through it.

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MikeAqua
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Mon Nov 09, 2015 11:28 pm

I had an experience like that on Lake Rotorua in my dinghy as a teenager. Thoroughly lost in pea soup fog for several very cold hours. Couldn't see much past the nose of the boat. I had a handheld compass, but it wasn't steady or I wasn't steering it properly and I ended up going rounds in circles.

Raptor wrote: The only time I did get completely turned around and had to actually rely on a compass (before the days of chart plotters on kayaks) to get back to shore was getting caught out in a heavy mid day rain storm that went on for hours out wide of Urupukapuka island in the Bay of Islands. I could barely see the end of the kayak and certainly no land or landmarks at all and the seas were pretty flat so hard to pick true wave direction.
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MadMike
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Tue Nov 10, 2015 7:57 am

I've been at the 500m mark (about 30NM off shore) in a seriously thick sea fog. Not the most pleasant experience I have had on the water. Couldn't really even see the bow of the boat let alone the water around it. Travelling back in on a GPS was the only way to get anywhere, you didn't know which way was up let alone which way was land.

I've also had it in the harbor in the Yak where me and the old fulla 10m apart couldn't see each other or our lights, again GPS was the only way to navigate anywhere and I still ran into 2 moorings that morning. A mounted compass would have been useless because you wouldn't have been able to see it and even if you could have it's only going to get you back to land not back to your car.
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