Saturday, July 20, 2013


I was wiping 303 silicon protectant onto the Esquif Atikamek canoe in preparation for a paddle trip on Calderwood Lake and made a startling discovery.  There were long, deep cracks in the gel coat that covers the kevlar layup.  Good Grief!  I was shocked to say the least!  This canoe is kept in my living room on horses and does not see any temperature differentiation through the seasons.  It basically is stored at room temperature year round.
Look carefully and you'll see the deep cuts emanating from what seems like a central point.  There is nothing I have done that could have caused this.  It appears the gel coat (marine coating) is simply deterioratingThe lines seem to be marks left after the gel coat has shattered.
The above shot is of the bow, where the damage is centralized.  The color is off due to light coming in the front living room window and reflecting off the shiny surface of the canoe.
Above is a shot without the flash.  I am sick over this as the canoe isn't very old and I am super careful with it when on the water and otherwise.  This happened while in the living room turned upside down on building horses.  Its nuts. 
I've had this boat on the water numerous times and there isn't even a scratch on the bottom of the boat.  That's how careful I am with it.  Look at the shot below.  It shows the bottom of the canoe.  That's how careful with this canoe I am.
Look at that bottom.  Smooth as silk without a scratch.  This boat has been on Calderwood Lake twice and the Rankin flood plain four times.  It's been up Abrams Creek four times and there isn't even one scratch on the bottom.  I even put stair runners on the inside to prevent scuffs from my feet when paddling.
Below shows where the boat spends it's off time perfectly safe and secure in my living room.
I'm really sick about this.  I sent the photographs of the damage to Esquif Canoe Company explaining what I just explained in this blog entry.  I haven't heard back yet.  The damage can be fixed, but whats to say it won't occur somewhere else on the canoe later on.  The problem has to be the composition, or application of the gel coat - the exterior coating.  Has to be.  If it were my fault I'd take the boat to a local boat builder and have it refinished.  The damage is a manufacturing issue and I want a new boat. This isn't a $400 canoe.  It's a $3500 canoe.  I think a replacement should be expected.   Esquif is a very reputable company known for standing behind their products.  We'll see what happens.

Today on the lake was HOT!  That's all I can say about it.  Temperatures on the water closed in on 100 degrees without the slightest breeze.  There were very few critters in sight.  Even birds were scarce.  The eagles were out on their limbs but were clinging to positions that offered shade.  Can't blame them.
 Double Crested Cormorant
 Great Blue Heron

I wasn't going to photograph the eagles, but couldn't resist a couple shots of one of the adults.  I let the immature eagle pass.

 He was in a shaded spot and I didn't spend much time trying to get a lighted shot of him.  He was very far away too.  I'm surprised the pictures turned out as well as they did.

Thunder sounded loudly and I looked over my shoulder to see a darkening sky.  The bright sky was being covered in black.
At least the temperature was dropping some.  I had been on the water for 6.5 hours and I thought it wise to get out before the storm hit.  The Holston River section I run on is a 1.5 hour drive from where I live and I'd have over 8 hours invested in today's run if I left now.  The sky opened up as soon as I got the boat on the trailer.  Perfect timing.  The wind and rain doesn't bother me much.  It's the lightning that concerns me.  That's all for today.  The critters were all escaping the heat by staying in their dens and the birds were all perching on limbs close to the tree trunks where the dense growths of leaves on the ends of the limbs would act as a buffer to hard wind and rain that seemed to be on the way..  It was a good day.  Ha - they are all good days.