Monday, July 25, 2005

So You Want to Buy a Boat

If you have been out with us, you have seen a few different types of boats. The three types that most Mice paddle are recreational, sit-on-top, and touring.

Sit on tops are easy to pick out of a crowd. There is no cockpit, just a molded seat that you sit in and on. Hopefully, there are holes in the bottom of the boat, making it self bailing. A good sit on top for the type of paddling we do is the Ocean Kayak Scrambler or Scrambler XT. It is rock solid stable, and tracks pretty well. (When a boat tracks well, it goes straight well.) Chris Hoyland has the lime-green Scrambler and loves it. There are other sit on tops around also. Sit on top boats are easy to get in and out of, and never need bailing. if you happen to fall out of one, just flip it back over and climb in! You may find yourself sitting in a little bit of water in your seat- no big deal, unless the water is cold! You are also more exposed to the elements, and may find your season shortened a little.

Recreational boats are basically entry level sit-in kayaks. They have a large cockpit and great stability, and are the least expensive of the sit-in boats. They are often light enough to carry by yourself, and very "user friendly." Bill Larson and Cheri Lewis both have recreational boats. If you don't want a huge investment, but want your own kayak, this may be the way to go. Just remember that the longer the boat, the easier it is to go straight.

Touring kayaks are made for paddling longer distances with ease. The cut through the water easier than the recreational boats or sit-on-tops. The cockpit is generally less roomy, and relatively tougher to get in and out of. Rudders are common, and really help with turning the boat, as most of these kayaks track quite straight. Jerry Schneider and Jeanine St. Romain have touring boats. The Perception Carolina is the most popular, and you will often see more than one at a River Mice paddle. For the paddling that we do, the only real disadvantages to the touring boats are slightly lower stability (still solid), slightly tougher ingress and egress, and expense. A Carolina will run you around $1000 when the bill is totaled.


Wild River Outfitters- Virginia Beach Boulevard and Rosemont.

Appamattox River Company- Oyster Point Road, Newport News

Southeast Expeditions- Sunset Beach, eastern shore

Cool and Eclectic Furniture- Shore Drive or Laskin Road, Virginia Beach
They sell Ocean Kayak sit-on-tops, believe it or not!

River Mice August Paddles


Sunday, July 31st (DATE CHANGE)
10am meet at the Princess Anne Road dock, about a mile east of the Municipal Center in Virginia Beach. We will set a shuttle and make this a one-way paddle.

This is the second leg of the Virginia Beach Scenic Waterway (of 4 legs). By the end of the season we hope to have paddled from Munden Park to the Lesner Bridge. This paddle starts out on a wide creek, then enters a narrow tree-lined channel. If you want to feel isolated, this is the paddle for you. This paddle is about six miles long, so it will be a challenge best met by non-beginners.

Saturday, August 6th
Lafayette River, Norfolk- PARTY AT JOHN SCHONK’S PLACE
Bring your boat to John’s house, which is right on the river. Make a short paddle or two to explore the various creeks that branch off the river, and enjoy a Mogul summer party in the process. Jerry will be bringing his "contraption" to help us get in and out of the water if we need it.

Tuesday, August 16th
This was one of our best paddles last summer. Put in on the Western Branch of the Elizabeth River for a relaxing paddle along the backyards of Portsmouth and Chesapeake. Plenty of wildlife, too!
Put in is at Portsmouth City Park. Take the Victory Boulevard exit of I-264, turn north towards the shopping center, and continue up to Portsmouth Boulevard. Turn left, and go for about a mile to the light at City Park Avenue. Turn right, and follow it into the park. Pass the golf course clubhouse on the left, and look for us on the right at the small craft ramp. If you get to the boat ramp, you’ve gone too far.
This is a beginner-intermediate paddle. It has an easy pace, but the open water of the Western Branch could be just a wee bit intimidating to a first-timer.

Saturday, August 27th
Join us for the third leg of the Virginia Beach Scenic Waterway- West Neck Creek through the heart of the Beach. We will put in at the city dock near the Municipal Center, and paddle around Oceana to the city dock on Virginia Beach Boulevard behind the Pep Boys. We’re trying to do the whole waterway this season, and this is the one leg that we haven’t done even a part of. So come out to explore some new turf!
Put in is about a mile east of the Municipal Center on Princess Anne Road. It is at the bridge about half a mile east of Holland Road on the north side. We will need to set a shuttle, as this is a one-way paddle.
This is an intermediate paddle- about five miles worth. It would be best if you have been out with us once or twice before.

September 9-11
Come join us at Kiptopeke State Park on the Eastern Shore for a weekend of campng and paddling and comraderie as only Mogul can do it. Kiptopeke is a great campground, and the sunsets on the Bay can’t be beat. It is only 40 miles from Downtown Norfolk, but it feels a world away. We will paddle around a barrier island, or some other great location along the shore, and may head out Sunday also.

There will be a few more paddles before the season runs out. Come join us!

As always, if you email Jeff ahead of time, we will wait for you. PFD’s (life vests) are mandatory, and a boat helps also. If you don’t have one, there are always a few rigs we can set you up with. Just let us know!

Email Jeff Harper at for more info. Also check out the River Mice blog at .

Hope to see you on the water!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Owl's Creek Evening, 7-19-05

Owl's Creek Evening, 7-19-05, originally uploaded by jmharper.

ELEVEN Mice came out after work on Tuesday the 19th to paddle Owl's Creek. This was the second evening/night paddle of the season, and we had a great time. Pictured are Jerry, John, Christie, Catherine, Jeanine, Jim's wife, Jim, Charlene, Chris, and already in his boat, Jim H.

The evening paddles are nice because things are a little quieter, and the wildlife seems to come out just before sunset. It is a great way to relax after a stressful day at work. The pace of these paddles is a little slower, and you have a chance to soak in everything around you. We will be doing one in August and September- stay tuned!

Off to Rudee Inlet!

Off to Rudee Inlet!, originally uploaded by jmharper.

It was high tide when eleven of us headed out towards the Rudee Inlet Bridge and the backyards of Croatan. In the foreground you can see Christie, showing good form after only being in a kayak for 5 minutes!

Beginners are welcome on many of our paddles. With enough notice, we can usually outfit you with a boat, paddle, and PFD so you can see what you have been missing. Owl's Creek is a good beginner spot because of the low (and slow) power boat traffic, and short distances to interesting places.

After the round trip to Croatan, we stopped at the Owl's Creek ramp for a break, and to see which direction some far-off lightning was going to go. Once we figured it would be safe to go back in the water, we set out again into the night...

Creature of the Night

Creature of the Night, originally uploaded by jmharper.

Yes, we were out at night! It can get a little creepy, since you have to navigate by shadows, and there are some strange creatures hanging around Owl's Creek. If you are very quiet, and a jet isn't flying overhead, you can hear fish, turtles, and who knows what else! John felt completely at ease on the water.

Look What I Caught!

Look What I Caught!, originally uploaded by jmharper.

You may hear fellow mice talking about how the fish were jumping, and how some almost get inside the boats? This little fish got into a boat during the Owl's Creek paddle. How long before it grows to a foot long or more in the telling?

Monday, July 18, 2005

On the North Branch- Aftermath

On the North Branch- Aftermath, originally uploaded by jmharper.

After 2-1/2 hours and 4-1/2 miles of paddling, Jerry feels good, but looks a little spent. Dehydration is a big concern on these 90-90 days, so bring plenty of water with you!

It was a nice paddle at a new put-in. Hot, but we were able to catch enough breeze and clouds to cool off a little bit. We kept a wary eye on the clouds, but were able to stay safe, and away from the thunderstorms that drenched parts of the area.

This paddle was not scheduled. It was just a quick, last minute gathering set up on the Micemail list. If you feel like paddling, just send out an email. You never know what will happen!

On the North Branch- Jerry Before

Lafayette River 7-16-05, originally uploaded by jmharper.

Near the start of the paddle we were hydrated, happy, and looking forward to fun on the water. Just look at Jerry here, with a smile on his face and paddle at the ready. The fish were even happy to see us, as some big ones jumped out of the water in front of us.

On the North Branch

Lafayette River 7-16-05, originally uploaded by jmharper.

On July 16th, four Mice braved the heat and humidity and heat to paddle the North Branch of the Lafayette River. Jeff, Jerry, Jim and Chris put in at Lakewood Park in Norfolk, and paddled both ways along the river.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Suffolk Paddle Pictures

Top photo - Jerry last one in the water
Left photo - Dave and Jerry lower Jeanine's kayak
Right photo - Mogul flag welcomes kayakers

Suffolk Paddle at Reed's Ferry

Eight mice met in Suffolk on a hot afternoon to explore a new site. Jerry Schneider lead us in this one, and got to the site a half hour early to hang the Mogul banner and engineer the put in. Then along came Dave Shepperd, Peggy Bryant, Jim Hutson, Ron and Nancy Shorn, Jeanine St. Romain, and me. The rig that Jerry created was amazing - worth the price of admission! All mice were rigged into the water without so much as a misplaced ripple. Climbing out should have been a breeze, but impatient Peggy decided to try going for the ladder before we had hold of both ends of her kayak. We all thought she was very clever in cooling off on this hot day! Thanks, Jerry, for a great day!

If you would like a link to the entire set of digital photos, email me at and I will send you an invitation to the kodak photo site where you can view and/or download the photos (at no charge).

Thursday, July 07, 2005

July Paddles

Mogul River Mice July Paddles
Saturday, July 9th (no plans to stop for refreshments, so bring your own)
1:00pm (Looks like rain, so call Jerry H-399-4672; cell-672-7858 Saturday morning to confirm plans)
Jerry Schneider is hosting this one-time only paddle on the Western Branch of the Nansemond River in Suffolk. Follow the winding creek out to the main river, then paddle the Nansemond north or south and explore some new territory! This unique put-in and paddle is complements of one of Jerry’s clients, but the offer is only good for July. Put in is north of Downtown Suffolk, just off Pruden Blvd. (route 10/32). Drive about three miles north from the exit on the Suffolk bypass, then turn right onto Sack Point Road. Make the second right onto Riverfront Drive, then look for Jerry’s “Black Box” on the right. This will be a beginner/intermediate paddle. Put in could be a little tricky, but the paddle should be OK for almost all. Email CHRIS HOYLAND
if you are going on this paddle.

Tuesday, July 19th
BACK, by popular demand,OWL’S CREEK NIGHT PADDLE
7:00pm, Owl’s Creek Boat Ramp, General Booth Boulevard.
The first night paddle was such a success, we decided to do it again! We only covered a small portion of the creeks and byways in the area, but what we saw, we loved. The moon will be full again, so we will have some natural light to go by. Bring a flashlight or other light to mount on yourself or your boat. This will be a very relaxed paddle. The darkness can be a little disorienting to some, but otherwise, this is an easy paddle.Bring a flashlight. (Bring snacks - no dinner plans on this trip)

Sunday, July 31th
10 am
Meet at the Princess Anne Road dock, about a mile east of the Municipal Center in Virginia Beach. We will set a shuttle and make this a one-way paddle. This is the second leg of the Virginia Beach Scenic Waterway (of 4 legs). By the end of the season we hope to have paddled from Munden Park to the Lesner Bridge. This paddle starts out on a wide creek, then enters a narrow tree-lined channel. If you want to feel isolated, this is the paddle for you. This paddle is about six miles long, so it will be a challenge best met by non-beginners. Pack a lunch!

As always, you must have a PFD to paddle with us. A boat helps also. There are always some unused boats among the group, so with a little advanced planning, you can join us and borrow the gear. Let us know you are joining us, and we will wait for you. Email Jeff Harper (except for the July 10th paddle) at if you want to go, or if you want to get on the Micemail email list.