FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)
1. Our monthly meetings are held the first Tuesday of every month at 7:00 p.m. at the Five Rivers Delta Resource Center. Anybody and everybody is welcome to attend. There is no charge. The typical meeting lasts less than two hours. We start with a review of the previous month’s paddles, continue with plans for and announcements of paddles for the next month, and end with a presentation. Presentations may include slide shows of past paddling trips by club members, member reviews of paddling gear, and safety and skills presentations.
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2. Mass emailing of club activities typically occurs through our Yahoo Groups site. We encourage all members to consider joining the Yahoo Groups as the mass e-mails may be more timely than the website. However, the webmaster makes every effort to place all information pertaining to the club on the website, so please check the website often for late breaking news. To join the Yahoo Group, go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mbcakc/ and select the Join This Group button.
3. We regularly post “want ads” for individuals seeking and selling used boats. E-mail a description of the boat desired or for sale (type, make, model, length, weight, age, condition, accessories included, etc.) to the webmaster listed at the top right hand column of the website and they will post your “want ad” to the website. We get a lot of inquiries about where to buy a used boat – the answer is that if we know about a used boat for sale, we post it on the website. If it’s not posted, we don’t know about it.
4. Apart from “want ads” from individuals, we don’t advertise. We mention a few businesses in these FAQs because those businesses actively support our club, are owned by and employ club members, and/or are the only local sources we know about for particular paddling products.
5. People frequently ask “where is a good place to paddle?” The answer is “just about anywhere.” The best single source of print information about put-ins and paddling trips in this area is this club’s separate website for paddle reports, http://www.paddlereport.blogspot.com/. The best way to get acquainted with local paddling destinations is to come paddling with us. Keith Map Service in Mobile is the most comprehensive source of maps and charts, but Fairhope Boat Co. and Pensacola Kayak and Sail also carry some maps and charts.
6. Another FAQ is “where can I buy or rent a boat?” Sunshine Canoes in Mobile rent kayaks and canoes. Fairhope Boat Company (251)928-3417, Five Rivers Outfitters (251)626-8464, and Pensacola Kayak and Sail (850)456-5856 sell and rent boats.
7. We are a group of people who enjoy paddling and sharing our experiences with others. We are not a formal organization. There are no dues, no application forms, no membership lists. All you have to do to "join" our "club" is show up at a paddle, come to a meeting, or just decide you're a member.
8. We have over 200 interested people locally who actively participate, or occasionally paddle, or just come to meetings or picnics. We receive dozens of inquiries from newbies and journalists via e-mail each month about our club, where to paddle, where to buy a boat, etc. So please be patient with us if we can’t respond in detail to every e-mail we get. But if whatever you need to know is not in these FAQs, please feel free to e-mail the webmaster with any additional questions you may have. If they can't answer your question, they will try to find somebody who can.
9. Our intention is for safety to always be the first priority. It is up to each individual to decide for him/herself whether the paddling conditions for each event are within their enjoyment and skill range. Each person is responsible for their own decision about whether to participate in each event. The leader of any given paddle can tell you about the expected paddling conditions, duration, level of difficulty, etc. However, always remember that the weather and other conditions can, and quite often do, change both quickly and dramatically. (In other words, paddle at your own risk.)
10. It is usually a good idea to contact the trip leader for any paddling trip to let them know if you plan to join the paddle and to get directions to the meeting place and/or put-in. If they don’t know you are coming, trip leaders cannot contact you with changes in plans or cancellations, and you may find yourself waiting alone in a parking lot while the rest of us are off having fun somewhere else.
11. What should you bring? You should bring a PFD and drinking water on every paddle. You should also bring whatever you think you’ll need in the way of snacks or meals, if anything. If we will be on the water after dark, you are required by law to bring a single, white light. (But don’t turn it on unless you need it for safety and/or the trip leader tells you to. White lights ruin night vision.) We also appreciate paddlers who choose to carry a trash bag to collect litter along the way. They make it nicer for everyone.
HOW TO COMMUNICATE WITH US
The volume of information and e-mails we receive in connection with the club websites and e-mails is very high. Here are some ways you can make all our paddling lives a little easier. :-)
Checklist for announcing paddling trips
We suggest you print the following checklist, keep it near your computer, and bring it to meetings so you can refer to it if you plan to announce a paddle at that meeting.
If you e-mail a trip announcement to us, and if that trip announcement is longer than three sentences, please list the requested information in the following order so we don't have to sift through your creative writing to find the basic information we need to know to join your paddle. Items marked with an asterisk/star are always "required." The last few, un-starred items of information are not "required," but it helps all of us if you let us know whether they are relevant to your particular paddling plans.
We encourage anyone who can paddle a boat to lead trips consistent with their skill level, but it helps everybody if you communicate your plans clearly -- regardless of how skilled you are! (Remember, paddlers on all club paddles always paddle "at their own risk." Each club member is responsible for getting the information they need to make their own decision whether they will enjoy or can safely participate in any given trip, based on their personal paddling skills.)
*Date: [And day of the week.]
*Time: [Or, just say a general time of day (afternoon, evening, and "Call the trip leader for the exact time." Some trip leaders like to do this so all participants will have to contact them and they will know for sure who is planning to come.]
*Place: [Meeting place, put-in, and/or destination, described in such a way that people either know how to get there or know they should call you for driving directions. If you don't write out your driving directions or explain them at the monthly meeting, we won't publish any driving directions.]
*Fee: [If you are launching from a private facility that charges a nominal fee for launching kayaks.]
*Contact/Leader: [Regardless of whether you want folks to let you know they are coming, we need your phone number and/or e-mail address so we won't be bombarded with questions members should be asking you.]
Length: [Give a rough estimate or a firm deadline, as you please. If you don't know (or care) how long the paddle will last, just say so! It will save us a lot of questions.]
Directions: [Provide directions to the launch site, address, or request that paddlers contact you as trip leader for more info.]
Skill level: [Beginner, moderate, or strenuous? Big-boy or sissy :-)? Speed/training or leisurely? Are any special skills required, such as self- or assisted-rescue? A minimum speed? A maximum speed :-)? Is there anything folks might like to know about the expected conditions or environment? If you don't know (or care) about the expected skill-level, just say so! It will save us a lot of questions.]
Special gear or supplies: [--If any. You don't have to tell us about the "usual" gear. The "usual" gear is a boat, a paddle, a PFD, and drinking water. But if the paddle should not be undertaken without a touring boat and spray-skirt, or if paddlers should bring self-rescue devices, swimsuits, sleeping gear, hiking boots, lights, lunch, potluck, etc., please say so.]
Comments: [--If any. This is where you get to include all the "creative writing" you want -- at the end of the paddle announcement, please. Do you want to brag about any expected highlights of the paddle (the x-flowers are in bloom, the current is swift, the water is clear, it was fun last time, we've never paddled here before, etc.)? Dinner plans for after the paddle? Is it likely you will make a last-minute changes in paddling plans? Is there a limit on the number of paddlers who can participate (due to camping space or leader preference)?]
Please don't be offended if we change the first-person singular ("I") to plural ("we") or third-person ("Ellen led a paddle here last month"). Readers tend to assume that a written "I" refers to me (Brint), then they correspond with me instead of with you, which is a hassle for everybody. We will do our best to convey trip leaders' enthusiasm and details while maintaining a consistent editorial style. We recommend against your saying "I" when you write paddle announcements.
We are happy to fix spelling, grammar, structure, and formatting but anything you can do in the way of saving us some work in this regard is always appreciated. We try to keep the editorial style of the websites and e-mails fairly consistent for the sake of overall appearance and as a courtesy to our readers, so please don't take it personally if we don't publish exactly what you write.
We love fan mail! Keep those letters and raves about the kayaking experience coming. We treasure this club, the paddling experience, and correspondence with you. Please forgive us, however, if we don't respond to or publish all the dozens of e-mails we get each week from our 200+ members. You'd probably be surprised by how many judgment calls we have to make each week about whether club correspondents intend to communicate with personally, or with the club as a whole. It helps if you tell Brint, when you e-mail him, whether your e-mail is intended for publication to the club.
We will remove any special formatting, such as hard returns, hanging indents, tab stops, fancy fonts, colors, graphics, tables, etc., so do us a favor and leave them out in the first place. The reasons? (1) Special formatting just doesn't work on our websites, which we diligently strive to keep as low-tech as possible, so people with low-end computers can read them. (2) Many of our members don't have the technology for high-bandwidth e-mails, many members' ISP spam filters reject attachments, and not all members have compatible text-editing/word-processing software.
We appreciate plain-text e-mails, HTML e-mails, rich-text attachments, MS Word attachments, or WordPerfect attachments -- all with minimal formatting. If I don't have the software with which you write your e-mail attachment, I can't read it, and I can't pass it on to the membership.
We prefer that you send us links to photo's hosted on a separate website, many of our members have a dial-up connection. If you send photos to be attached to a trip report or for sale advertisement, do not be surprised if the photo is cropped and reduced in size, if it is included at all.
Don't hesitate to ask the webmaster, if they don't have an answer, they will try to find someone who does. Remember that trip leaders can always tell you more about a particular trip than the webmaster. Please ask the trip leader any questions you have about any particular paddle.
CONTACT LIST AND LINKS:
Click here to go to the MBCAKC’s weblog of “trip reports” on past paddles. You are encouraged to submit trip reports of whatever genre, as well as your favorite links. Also, check individual club members' blogs, which are listed below, for trip reports.
CLUB MEMBER BLOGS
Brint Adams, http://www.kayakadams.blogspot.com/.
Ian Brosnan, http://www.out2sea03.blogspot.com/
It would be great if more club members would start individual blogs and group blogs about their paddling adventures. Send your blog address to the webmaster for inclusion on the website.
HOW TO GET A PERMIT TO PADDLE BOILING CREEK
To apply for or to renew your Eglin Air Force Base Recreation Permit, here is the information. You can obtain the permit by mail (recommended) or you can apply in person at the Jackson Guard at Eglin (you will be required to watch a movie about unexploded ordnance). Please call the the number listed below to confirm that you enclose everything they need in your request. If you hear anything other than what is posted below, please let me know!
Please note that permits are valid from Oct.1 thru Sept. 30 of each year. When ordering permits by mail, please allow three weeks for delivery (ed. note, I usually see them in about a week). Send your requests to:
Eglin Air Force Base
Natural Resources Division, ACC/EMSN
107 Highway 85N
Niceville, FL 32578
Specify the number and type of permits desired together with the proper payment and proper identification, or a copy of anything with a date of birth on it, or your old permit. Payment of $10 should be made by money order, certified or cashier's check payable to AFO Eglin AFB, Florida. Personal checks are also accepted, with proper identification.The Natural Resources Branch of Eglin is open Monday through Thursday from 7:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. only. They are closed on Sundays and all Federal Holidays. Information may be obtained by calling Jackson Guard at (850) 882-4164.