kayak train

what is a kayak train? That is when you tie a number of kayaks together bow to stern with ropes and have someone ie: my husband, affectionately known around Lucas Boatworks as Crazy Steve, pull the kayaks down the river and back! Here we are yesterday . . .


Dave Lucas says, "We have the record well in hand for the International Briggs and Stratton powered old timey African Queen type boats towing a string of kayaks and canoes award." He is referring to our boat Chelsea, that pulled the kayaks. Yes, it has a lawn mower Briggs & Stratton engine and was hand built at Lucas Boatworks. You can see me sitting in it below as we are readying to tie the kayaks to the boat and take off down the river.



That is our friend Red Sears relaxing in the front, he was the first kayak behind Chelsea. Steven moved the boat up in front of him when it was time to go. As you see the kayaks stretching around the corner . . . there were 28 boats in all. we think it's a world's record kayak train!

More from Dave Lucas: It was a great day and something we'll talk about for a while. Ernie and Donna were in Beauty Berry the safety boat and had to rescue two fallouts on the way back home, I think the beer may have gotten to them. This doesn't need much comment except how we got this long train hooked up and off the beach. You'll see in some of the early pictures a guy walking out across the lagoon; that's me. I started with the first boat and started walking out into the wind and as they came off the beach the next one was tied on. It worked very well, the line was pretty easy to pull. We figure that this train of boats was about 750 feet long. I made it out to the sand bar where I tied on to Chelsea with Steve and Lenna and the dogs inside. I waited on the bar for my kayak to come by; some of the gang gave me beers for my effort.

Simon Lew took a video! He was closer near the back of the kayak train and had a totally different view than I did in the boat pulling all the kayaks. The direct link to the video in case you do not see it embedded is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nu7-aH_3RLA. He has speeded it up a bit and added music so it's quite fun.



Here is what my husband wrote about it: Prior to this trip Dave and company had a total of 17 boats towed by Chelsea (which Lenna and I own now). This record breaking trip was planned by Dave and we had no idea how many people would show up on Saturday morning. We spent Friday cleaning all the available kayaks and canoes at Lucas Boatworks, which was about 21 boats including three of my canoes. On Saturday morning we got people showing up from hours away and many brought their own boats. The tide was supposed to be high and a half foot over normal by noon but at 10:30am it was still kinda low. This was because we had a 15 to 20 knot north wind and wind can make a big difference on tides around the Tampa Bay area. We decided to launch anyway, though. Logistics was a big problem – how to get 29 people in 28 boats and keep it all under control. In normal non-windy conditions it wouldn't have been a problem but I couldn't keep Chelsea pointed in the right direction while they were tying boats on and that’s when Dave decided to just drag the sting of boats across the bay. He’s a genius – it worked really well. Once we were tied on and moving the plan was to drag all the boats right past Dave and he'd hop into his from the shallow sand bar, but the boats weren't behaving like we've been used to in the past. With only a dozen boats behind Chelsea they follow the leader perfectly and the Chelsea pilot can make incredibly sharp turns and the kayaks follow the same path – not cutting the corner at all. But with 28 kayaks the first 10 boats got dragged whichever direction Chelsea steered. Dave was able to get into his boat OK but I realized (as the Chelsea pilot) that we had a problem. The original plan was to go all the way down the Braden River to the Rt. 64 bridge, then turn and come up the other channel through some really cool mangrove channels. It was obvious to me we wouldn't be able to make the turns without dragging people through mangrove branches. Also, with 28 kayaks towing Chelsea at full throttle could only pull them at about 1 knot. The original trip plan was 3 miles down and 3 miles back so that would take about 7 days. After going about 1 mile down river I did a turn back at the widest part of the river and 2 people tipped over just after the turn. I had to slow down to let them try to get back into their boats and the wind pushed the train into the mangroves. We got it all straightened out but it was slightly hairy for a bit. Also, during the turn you can see that we totally blocked the entire river. One boat was coming down river but thank god the operator was experienced and not drunk and he stopped way far away from us. Dave calls me Crazy Steve but he’s the crazy person that comes up with this stuff. Very fun day though.

Probably more than you ever needed to know about a kayak train, but . . .  it was unusual and fun and a little scary being in the boat pulling everyone! I just had to document it even though I am really tired and have to get to bed! One more thing, if you are interested, I have some still photos up here in a flickr album that give a more close up look. Enjoy! This kayak train was really just for fun, like a boat "messabout" that Lucas Boatworks often organizes.

Nia training is good, but lots of movement and learning and the days are from 8-6:30. I am not used to that! more on that later, take care, lenna

Adventure is worthwhile in itself.
   ~ Amelia Earhart

float and dance

Last Wednesday Steven and I joined my friends from Conscious Movement and Nia for a sunset cruise on America's only floating chapel. Below is a photo of my friend Cheryl Wilson in front of the chapel on Sarasota bay . . .
Cheryl is obviously very happy to have received the kayak paddle Steven created for her,
painted in pretty mermaid colors (the top one)

Yes, the chapel floats and we all boarded! 
This boat/ chapel cruises the beautiful Intra-coastal waterways between Sarasota and Anna Maria Island on the gulf coast of Florida where there are beautiful sunsets. We danced into the sunset on the only floating chapel in this Hemisphere -the other floating chapel is in Australia, wow!

I have created 3 very short videos from this event with the help of my husband Steven, who filmed 2 of them. 
You can find all three of them on my You Tube page: www.youtube.com/creativelenna.
My favorite is the 3 minute one titled: The Floating Chapel, dance and float!
My friend Frieda told me it had her dancing in her studio in Scotland! 
We are cruising into the sunset as "Shout! You make me want to shout!" is playing.
~ such fun. 

Thanks for tuning in . . . more art to come.

You never know what you can do till you try.
  ~ William Cobbett



family time on the bayou

My sister Kathy is visiting from Connecticut, whoo hoo!
We took a walk together at DeSoto Memorial this morning with Asia and Chloe.




Later when Steven got back home from making kayak paddles we went over to my mom's house and took kathy & my mom out in our little boat Chelsea for a cocktail cruise on the bayou. Because the boat is handmade and looks like the African Queen - a gem among all the usual motorboats, we get lots of people waving to us from shore, so fun! It is a slow and peaceful ride with a briggs & stratton lawn mower engine powering us along, putt-putt-putt!


(http://www.flickr.com//photos/creativelenna/sets/72157629701222468/show/)

happy mother's day to all the mom's out there . . . .
and all of you who "mother others" like pets and friends!



Trust you own instinct. Your mistakes might as well be your own, instead of someone else's.
  ~ Billy Wilder

where I've been . . .

I have been busy! First, I was away with my husband for a 'small boat meet' last weekend, then this week, I have been writing a guest blog post for Julie Balzer. I believe it will be published next Friday - 5/18. On Tuesday, I took a video of my friend Kathy's Nia class on the beach and edited/published it -use the link above the view it on YouTube. I am quite proud of it!
I'm ready now for Helga Strauss to share the backgrounds I made for her wood shapes -she'll do that on 5/16, also giving a blog post tour of my studio at the same time. So, as far as press, when it rains it pours! : ) Plus, I've been going to physical therapy twice a week to heal my frozen shoulder, geeze. But, I just could not stay away any longer. Last Friday we traveled 3 hours north to beautiful Cedar Key and I took lots of photos, starting with some of the Sunshine Skyway bridge, which spans Tampa Bay and is over 21,000 feet long . . . click on any photo for details!




It really is quite amazing. We got to Cedar Key in good time even though we were towing a boat. Cedar Key is a beautiful little fishing village surrounded by other keys on the gulf side and the home of the Small Boat Meet the first weekend in May. This is the second year Steven and I have gone. This year, we towed our launch Chelsea and Steven tied the single-man canoe my dad made onto the roof of the car. My favorite part of the weekend I'd say, besides taking photos of the boat meet was staying in the beautiful Cedar Key bed and breakfast! This B and B is so lovely -- highly recommended.



See the 2nd floor balcony? That was our room - the Tree House! 
It was outstanding and Alice's breakfasts delicious. 

Here are a few favorite photos I took from the Small Boat Meet!
The Lucas Boatworks "gang" -My husband Steve on the far right

click for more details 


Stan in his puddleduck racer - the blue saill

Steven in Chelsea giving Howard and Phil a tow back to the island (currents)

Doug and Kristan christened their new boat, Ransom II with champagne! 

Doug carved this horse in honor of Kristan's horse, which the boat is named after. 

I love the look of this photo I took. It is like something out of a movie! 
The small canoe in the front is Steven's wee lassie, made by my dad, for him.

boats, boats and more boats, all different kinds from all over!

Steven heading back to Atsena Otie Key (island)
after dropping me back at the B and B!

I took about 300 photos and the majority of them are up on my flickr account if you are wanting to see more. I have had about 675 visits to my set of photos from Saturday because Dave Lucas of Lucas Boatworks included the link in his "boatnuts" email. (That is a lot of visits!) I was also featured on the DoryMan blog which is so cool! So my photos must be okay!! I will leave you with a very very short video I took of Rex Payne, Dave Lucas and my husband having a conversatioon at the boat meet that made me feel like they were speaking another language - Yes, it is a "boat" language I think!




When an artist explains what he is doing, he usually has to do one of two things: either scrap what he has explained, or make his work fit in with the explanation.
   ~ Alexander Calder

a sunday drive

A sunday drive, out in our boat chelsea. It's docked on the davits (so it hangs out of the water) at my mom's house on the bayou . . . A full view of this boat hanging is here.


Chelsea was hand-built by the guys at Lucas Boatworks here in Bradenton, FL. It uses a riding lawn-mower engine for it's power and since we go so slow, Steven says it only "sips" gas.


 Steven is using a baster -yes, like a turkey baster, to flush the engine with water 
and get the cooling system running!

 Asia is ready to go! It looks like she might be volunteering to steer . . . click on 
any photo for details. Yes, that is a hand-built steering wheel.


Miss Chloe, so happy to be along for the ride.
She is the star of my blipfoto journal today . . . with a different, beautiful close-up.


I love this high deck built for looking out over the bayou. The silver palms are one of my favorites too.

 Some kids on shore told us they lost their ball in the water -could we go get it for them? At first we didn't understand over the sound of the motor (put-put-put) but when we saw this orange ball floating downstream in the water, we understood! Steven steered the boat, grabbed the ball . . . .


 Yeah!! Thank you!!

 me & chloe


 headin down another bayou . . .


 love the reflections . . .

 and the sunshine . . .

 Headin back to the dock at mom's . . .

 I really enjoyed this time "away" with steven . . .

The initials on Chelsea's flag above, stand for Florida Gulf Coast Traditional Small Craft Association. The boats hand built at Lucas boatworks are traditional small craft. Steven has been helping with the finishing work for many of these beautiful boats, but his passion at the moment is crafting dripless, lightweight kayak paddles. As for me, I have been creating a few projects for Gauche Alchemy as I will be their guest designer for the month of April! I need to wait to share those with you here, but in due time you can see them on the Gauche Alchemy blog and also here. My paper and fabric bead swap just ended Saturday and soon, I will be exchanging the 340 beads (or so) that came in!!! There is a second part of the swap where I will give everyone a chance to create something with their swapped beads and then share a link to a photo of it on the creative swaps blog. I will let you know when that happens as it should be really fun & inspiring! I am continuing with my abstract art class on Monday afternoons through April . . . with the beach traffic/Spring Break it is had to get there sometimes, but I made it just fine last week. The class is out on a barrier island, past some prime beaches. I just leave early now! It seems like there is a lot going on with me but sometimes I don't get to write about it . . . I do post a photo and short journal entry most everyday to my blipfoto journal, so please visit me there anytime. Hope you all are doing well!


sunday goodness

Sunday morning my husband got a phone call. It was kayak Kathy, wondering where the paddle that Steven made for her granddaughter was? whoops! He had brought it to the Botanical Gardens as part of the handmade boat exhibit on Saturday and it was still in his car! No problem to run down there quick with it as the family was already at Lucas Boatworks ready to go out on the river. Below is a photo of the paddle reunited with the granddaughter. She's in a kayak handmade especially for her by her grandfather. Gorgeous!

The look on her face is probably because her grandparents were trying to get her to give up the paddle Steven made for her and she really, really did not want to!! I think she loved the purple & pink Lumiere paint job ; ) When Steven made this paddle it was estimated how long a kayak paddle for a 4 year old should be . . . and this one was a little too short. It is currently being modified.

Here is Dave Lucas checking out the paddle at the Festival where both he and Steven showed off their handmade boats. 

Top: A kid-size kayak paddle
Bottom: A mangrove canoe paddle
(Both painted with my Lumiere paint!)

Later in the afternoon, I stopped by Lucas Boatworks. Who did I find in the Tiki Hut? Seated L-R: Dave Lucas, Stan Tyrel, and my husband Steve -or crazy steve- according to Dave! He calls him that for building a schooner out of an 11 1/2ft wee lassie canoe! 

Stan built this beautiful little boat, including the sail.This is a puddle duck racer or PDR and it's a sailboat that anyone can build inexpensively in their garage. They are built for races and family fun, but you can just enjoy sailing it, as these guys did on Sunday afternoon. I took a video of Stan sailing it Sunday: http://youtu.be/NHZT_JqKfPo 
Dave Lucas is doing the commentary and there is a cameo appearance at the end by Steven!
Stan gave it a great name. Remember it is a puddle duck and he named it the "Florida Quacker"! 

Steven photographing Dave Lucas trying it out

Dave *likes* to make it tip!!!

That is Dave's wife Helen, Stan, Dave (behind Steve in the red shirt), Steven and me on the dock at Lucas Boatworks. Helen had picked up Karen Eckmeier - a quilt artist from Connecticut (!! our old home state) at the airport to do a couple of workshops at Helen's quilt guild. Karen took this photo, then sent it to me this morning labeled, "Relaxing, Florida style"  : ) 
Check  out Karen's site linked to her name above, I look forward to exploring it more. 

sunny Florida wishes to you & yours! 


my family is visiting!

my son Dallas and my daughter in law Liz . . . 
we went to my Mom's house today to visit and to take our boat out.

Tina and my oldest son Decklin ; ^ )

our boat Chelsea, hand built at Lucas Boatworks.
Larger photos if you click on them!

Chelsea is run on a lawn mower engine!!! (by Captain Steve)

Off we go! 

It was a beautiful day for this . . . 

hand built at Lucas boatworks

me and my hubby : )

Our "kids"


Back at Oma's, the sweet oranges were calling my boys . . . 
Steven & Dallas hang from the branch while Decklin 
uses the orange picker to get some down! 

Dallas was successful as well! YummY! 

Later at home after dinner we had a fire in the 
moon & stars fire pit

It was great to just hang out and talk

we are happy!! 

 -the kids got here late last night and are here until tuesday. so if I am scarce, that's why.
They do all have computers or ipads though, so I am sure I will get here some!!

xo best to you and yours