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Thread: This is what I want to do...

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    Member Ripface's Avatar
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    Default This is what I want to do...

    I don't have much experience at all with inflatables, as I've been using kayaks and canoes for my river and lake paddlings all of my life. But now I want a raft and I've been looking and reading around quite a bit. I would want something that meets these criteria:

    1. I can operate solo in a river up to Class 3
    2. I can have 3, maybe 4, people on it while just floating the Kenai, or other relatively mild river.
    3. I want to be able to hunt moose with another person with the boat (and probably have up to 2 bagged moose).
    4. I want oars.
    5. I want responsive manuverability.
    6. I want to fish like a maniac from it.
    7. Cost is not an issue.

    Would you guys recommend a model or two that you would get for these purposes, and can I attain all of these criteria in one boat? It can be any company, and model, just so long as you think it would be something useful for what I want to use it for. Thanks.
    "Wine can of their wits the wise beguile, Make the sage frolic, and the serious smile." - Homer, Odyssey

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Raft Recommendation

    RF,

    You might have a look at an AIRE Leopard, rigged by Alaska Raft and Kayak in Anchorage. Together the two companies (AIRE and ARK) make a boat and frame combination that will accomplish everything on your list.

    As an experienced waterman, you already know the importance of using enough boat. The Leopard has the capacity to haul four anglers and gear or two hunters and moose without too much trouble.

    CAT PROS AND CONS

    On the positive side, cats track well, are very aerodynamic (making them superior in stiff headwinds), and work very well with outboard motors. There are folks using cats rigged up with remote steering and half-tops, like any other power boat, and trolling saltwater. So the sky is the limit on what you can do in a powered application. They also work well on streams where you may need to straddle obstacles such as exposed rocks, brush, etc. where a round boat requires the entire width of the boat as a clear channel. Another positive is that cats are roomy compared to round boats. You have plenty of space to stretch out and put your gear where YOU want it, not where the boat says it has to go. This usually means less time wasted digging for things and more time fishing or doing whatever you got on the river to do.

    On the negative side, cats are easily overloaded. In fact, this is the most common complaint of one-time cat users. On an eighteen-foot cataraft, you have over twice the available square footage for loading than a comparable round boat (for reference, an 18' cat has about the same load capacity as a 14.5' self-bailing round boat). Folks commonly mistake this extra room for extra capacity and end up overloading the boat. If you stay well within the limits of your cat, I believe it will out-perform a round boat in most situations. Another negative is that cats require a lot more setup time than a round boat, because the frames are a lot more complex. The ARK frames incorporate break-downs on the longer bars, to accommodate loading in small aircraft for hunting. These bars will have to be reassembled in the field. You will also need a flooring system. In my case I use a trampoline floor for flyout trips and floor boards for road trips on rivers such as the upper Kenai. I prefer floor boards because I like something solid to stand on. But they take up more room in the airplane, so I bring the mesh floor on flyout trips and toss in a couple of cedar floorboards for heavier items like my outboard fuel tank or a bag of salt for capes and hides.

    I'm attaching a photo of my Leopard frame so you can get an idea of what I'm talking about. The ARK frames are slightly different. I would recommend going down there and looking at what they have. Talk to Jeff or Tracey and they'll fill you in on the details.

    COMPARED TO ROUND BOATS

    Another consideration is that round boats are generally better on tight, brushy rivers because they tend to slide around obstacles such as projecting trees, sweepers, etc, whereas a cat will tend to hang up on such obstacles. The tip of the tubes project out and can occasionally snag on stuff.

    OPTIONS

    I would make sure you add passenger seating to your boat. One of the better options are the Fish-On seats made by Tempress. These seats have a quick-disconnect which makes them convenient to remove (a feature that has resulted in seats being stolen off of boats, I'm told. Be sure to bolt yours down). Nothing like a nice seat with a backrest when you're floating the river all day.

    I would also consider a transom for a small kicker. Even something up to a 9.9 H.P. outboard can make all the difference on a float hunt. As you probably know, many of our rivers flatten out and slow down at the lower end. An outboard can really save your bacon in those situations.

    If you go with a cat and you're fishing road-accessible streams, I would most certainly recommend a trailer. The boats take about an hour or more to set up (figure on two hours). Don't waste your fishing time or tie up the boat ramp on the upper Kenai while you're getting rigged up. Get a trailer and be done with it!

    CONCLUSIONS

    There are many more points to be made about round boats versus catarafts, but hopefully these are helpful in your decision.

    Best Regards,

    -Mike
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    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  3. #3
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Default Weight

    A couple of moose will work out to about 1,500 lbs with meat, cape, antlers. 2 average guys will weigh 200 lbs each, that includes your bino's, leatherman, pocket full of candy, jacket, gloves, hat, waders or boots you know stuff you have on you at all times,, and food 50 to 100 lbs,or more.. add extra for pop and Oly pop..... guns 30 lbs with case and ammo for 2..., Oars, frame 80 to 120 lbs or more.. tent and tarps 30 to 50 lbs ... camping gear including stoves pots pans , hatchets coolers etc will be anouther 100 plus and personel gear sleeping bag, pad and clothes will be anouther 120 lbs for 2, and some other stuff I forgot so add 50 more lbs, lol.. anyway you will be ending up with between 2,200 lbs and 2,500 lbs on the raft when you are done with your successful two moose trip.
    and this is if you are traveling pretty light and eating dehy meals.
    that works out to about 2 fully loaded Beaver airplane on floats out.
    and one beaver to drop you off.
    the 207 cessna on wheels is the same story. as they limit out at 1,200 lbs per load.
    I like the idea of the space and comfort of a cat on ONLY deep rivers with no gravel bars, and the use of the boat motor is a plus.
    I like the idea of a round raft for shallow rivers with braids and gravel bars.
    I just got back from a trip over at Dillingham where I Floated the upper Nush, and specifically the King Salmon river into the nush.
    we had a Round 14 ft raft and a 18 ft cat with 2 people per craft.
    due to the shallow parts of the river and gravel bars, we ended up putting most of the weight on the round raft so the Cat would not get caught on the gravel bars. when the river was deep enough the Cat did great, but when we got into a braid and ran out of water, we had to stop the round raft. walk back up thru the shallow water and help our pardners drag the cat. ( alot ). The reason the Cat drags is because it does not have as much displacement due to having no center floor touching the water... the inflated center floor on a round raft gives you hundreds of more square inch's of displacement and kicks in more and more the heavier the boat becomes with the Game you are hopfully taking along the way.... When we hit the big river " Nush" the cat did fine.
    We ended up with 2/3 of all the gear on the round raft so the Cat could keep up on the shallow river.
    It would be nice to have both kinds of Rafts if money is not a problem, so you can have the big deck and the Boat motor addition for the Cat, and the Round raft for getting into those places that are not Cat friendly.
    This fall I went up to jims and floated down the canyon to Skilak.
    When I got to Skilak I pulled out a 10 by 12 tarp and slid it under the bottom of the round raft. I tied the tarp to the D rings , and made sure I had the tarp forward on the up-end of the front of the raft. this took about 5 minutes..
    I put my little Mud motor on the homemade transom and away I went.
    The forward motion pushed the tarp against the bottom of the raft and stopped the water from comming into the raft via the self bailing holes.
    I went accross Skilak in no time and overtook a drift boat that was mushing along at a slower pace.
    with the use of the Mud Motor ( MUD BUDDY ) and the tarp, I have cured the problems I have had with Motors on Self Bailers.
    The mud motors are inexpensive too, and under $1,800.00 for a new 4 stroke 6.5 hp and they weigh about 60 lbs total.
    Just some of my ideas
    Max

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    Default Try this

    Check out the Pristine Ventures page and the Oar Saddle.

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Not big enough!

    Quote Originally Posted by averageguy View Post
    Check out the Pristine Ventures page and the Oar Saddle.
    AG,

    I would not recommend the Pro Pioneer for two hunters and two moose, Oar Saddle or not! This boat certainly has it's place, but if you put that kind of load in it, you're gonna run out of room AND load capacity real quick. You can read my review of the Pro Pioneer and other inflatable canoes at THIS LINK.

    Just for reference, I say this with the qualifications of nearly 20 years of float hunting experience behind me (including a number of years as a commercial hunting guide specializing in float hunting in Alaska), as well as having taught float hunting for close to fifteen years to literally thousands of hunters. That doesn't make me the foremost expert on the subject, but it does make me a fairly qualified user.

    No offense intended.

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

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    Member Ripface's Avatar
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    Default

    With the Leopard model, can you expect to get wet from splash-up? I'm leaning towards this model anyways, and hell, I may end up getting two eventually. Mike, how far down do you think the pontoons will be under water when it's fully loaded? And for that matter, how far under water would a comparable "round" raft be under water, fully loaded (same weight capacity boat)?
    "Wine can of their wits the wise beguile, Make the sage frolic, and the serious smile." - Homer, Odyssey

  7. #7
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Leopard info

    Quote Originally Posted by Ripface View Post
    With the Leopard model, can you expect to get wet from splash-up? I'm leaning towards this model anyways, and hell, I may end up getting two eventually. Mike, how far down do you think the pontoons will be under water when it's fully loaded? And for that matter, how far under water would a comparable "round" raft be under water, fully loaded (same weight capacity boat)?
    RF,

    You should draw three or four inches loaded, but you could end up with more or less of that depending on who and what is on board. Splash isn't really an issue if you're using a floor system. The floor on mine sits about 6" off the water or so.

    Max hit the nail on the head as far as displacement is concerned, which is the same thing I was trying to say (he did a better job of it though). You have to watch your load on all inflatables, but the illusion with cats is that they can haul more. That's simply not true if the boat is to perform properly.

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

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    Member Ripface's Avatar
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    Default

    I have a 15-horse Johnson outboard. Would that be a bit too big for the Leopard? Also, would the anchor system be a plus, or would just a rope and anchor work?
    "Wine can of their wits the wise beguile, Make the sage frolic, and the serious smile." - Homer, Odyssey

  9. #9
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Outboards and cats

    Quote Originally Posted by Ripface View Post
    I have a 15-horse Johnson outboard. Would that be a bit too big for the Leopard? Also, would the anchor system be a plus, or would just a rope and anchor work?
    Your 15-horse should work fine. I use an eight, but there have been times when I've had to backpack it up to three miles to get to remote rivers. The fifteen will allow you to go faster, and will open up the possibility of floating downstream of Jim's Landing on the upper Kenai, because you have to motor about fifteen miles to the upper Skilak boat launch once you get to the lake. Good call.

    If you plan to anchor, I would recommend ARK's anchor system over just a line and a rock tossed over the side. It's much safer in moving water and easier to use.

    And to answer your other question, the one posed by Nietzsche... neither. But such questions reveal how foolish the intellect of man can be. He speaks as if there are only two alternatives, thereby revealing his ignorance of the Christian faith. A third possibility is that man blundered so badly, yet was of such immense worth, that God was willing to pull him out of the mess he was in by taking the consequences upon Himself. All blunders aside, I'll take the free gift that has been offered. And I'd be willing to bet that Nietzsche would too, now that his education is complete.

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

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    Member AKMarmot's Avatar
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    Default leivitator

    I think average guy might have been talking about the Levitator ( self bailing round raft ) with the oar saddles on pristine ventures sight.
    It is rated capacity of the 3000 lbs & will fit two people & moose on it if loaded correctly.

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    Default SOAR Levitator

    Check out the SOAR Levitator. Again, from Pristine Ventures.

  12. #12

    Default weight and draft between a raft and a Cat

    In the list of criteria Ripface listed for him choosing a new Inflatable boat. Two hunters, gear and 2 moose is the most demanding item on the list.

    I think Max hit it right on the head with his 2500-pound estimation for this type of use.

    With 2500 pounds a 14’ long, 7’ wide round raft with a 20” Tube, (such as an Alaska Series 420SB) will draft less water then a pair of Cataraft tubes that have a 26” diameter and 10’ long water line, (such as the 16’6” Alaska Series Freighty Cataraft or the 18’ Aire Leopard). When it comes to the load and the amount of draft between these Cataraft tubes, and this size Round Raft the formula is pretty simple the more weight you add the difference in draft will about 2 to 1.

    It’s all about the surface area on the water.

    A Cataraft tube that’s 26” in diameter drawing 3 inches of water will sink to where it has 16.7 inches of its width in the water. If you multiply that by the tubes water line of 120 inches you get 2004sq inches in the water per tube. Then double that so you account for the two tubes in the water you have a displacement of 4008 sq inches on the water.

    A 14’ long 7' wide round raft has a 3” water line of 107 inches long and 80 inches wide giving you 8560 square inches on the water.

    That's more then twice the displacement

    The reason a Round Raft does so much better in the shallows then a Cataraft has as much to do with the surface area on the water as it does the draft of the boat.
    When a boat gets hung up in the shallows, the water tends to pillow up on the upstream side of the boat and under the boat. The additional surface area of the floor in a round raft gives the Round Raft the lift it needs to ride this pillow of water through the shallows where a Cataraft has nothing for the power of the water to lift. This is why a round raft will glide through the shallows where the Cataraft will hang up meaning you will need to be lightened the load by the crew getting out and dragging their boat through the shallow until there’s enough water to float the craft. Every boat has a place where it shines and the shallows of a braided river are where a round raft will out perform everything else.

    I hope this helps.

    Good Boating

    Jim King

    Alaska Series Inflatable Boats, Commercial quality at Wholesale prices River Rafts, Catarafts, Inflatable Kayaks, Inflatable Canoes, Inflatable Sport Boats, Inflatable Jet Boats, Tenders and Dinghies. WWW.alaskaseries.com (907) 248-2900
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    Member Ripface's Avatar
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    Default

    I'm going to wait until next spring to get one, so I'll be doing alot of calling and asking during the winter. I'm not ruling anything out, and I think I'll give the Alaska Series guy(s) a call fairly soon, or stop by there. The SOAR looks very nice as well, and I may need to narrow my criteria down...or just buy two inflatables. Thanks for the input so far.
    "Wine can of their wits the wise beguile, Make the sage frolic, and the serious smile." - Homer, Odyssey

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    Default

    Most of my rafting has been with cats, and find them a lot of fun when loaded light and used in the right places, but I use them for everything included overloaded trips on shallow rivers. Yuk! I used a 30 HP outboard on one for a while. I could get it up on step and found that the water spray required the use of a drysuit. It was fun though. I agree with MIke, 15 HP would be fine on a cat. A bit too much on a round boat though.

    However, for an all around fishing, hunting, floating boat a 14' self bailer would be my craft of choice. It's smaller than the large cat, but hauls as much, and is so much faster to set up. I find that for large cats a trailer to pack them around fully set up is the only reasonable way to use them. Cats pack down into tighter bundles for loading on a small plane, but you can get a 14' SB into just about anything that flys, they weigh less, and set up with a foot pump. The cat requires a lot of time. And as Max said, the round boat drafts less water, and for a lot of Alaska rivers that means more than anything. It's a personal preference, but after 12 years living with cats, I prefer round boats for general use.

    What cats do well is track straight and fast. They are not so quick to turn when loaded though, and that can work against you in tight quarters. The best use for cats is extreme white water with a lighty loaded boat. They are more stable and bail faster than any self bailer could hope for. For Sixmile Creek, give me a cat. This is what they were designed for. But for general use I find a selfbailer to be an easier and more comfortable river traveler.

    Still, two guys with gear and two moose would tax any of these, maybe a 16' selfbailer would be better? Naw, they're too heavy.

    What you see here is contrasting opinions from different people. Happens all the time. Aren't you glad God made us all different? I don't think it was a mistake.

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    Default

    Hey Jim King, That's my picture you're posting! Ha. I see I used too much sharpening. That's a picture of Ted Coats on the upper Talkeetna. As I recall, things didn't look so pristine on the other end of the canyon. We took that same boat down Sixmile Creek a bunch of times too. Tough little boat, and my experience with it is one of the reason I prefer to use a 14' SB now. You can see more pictures of Ted and his boat all crossed up in Staircase on my website; http://paddling.jimstrutz.com

  16. #16

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    AG,

    I would not recommend the Pro Pioneer for two hunters and two moose, Oar Saddle or not! This boat certainly has it's place, but if you put that kind of load in it, you're gonna run out of room AND load capacity real quick. You can read my review of the Pro Pioneer and other inflatable canoes at THIS LINK.

    Just for reference, I say this with the qualifications of nearly 20 years of float hunting experience behind me (including a number of years as a commercial hunting guide specializing in float hunting in Alaska), as well as having taught float hunting for close to fifteen years to literally thousands of hunters. That doesn't make me the foremost expert on the subject, but it does make me a fairly qualified user.

    No offense intended.

    -Mike
    Mike, he didn't recommend the Pro Pioneer, he recommended that he check that website. Ripface, take a look at the Levitator, it will hold 3-4 people for floating the Kenai or 2 hunters and 2 moose quite easily and the Oar Saddles work great with that thing. I used that same setup on my moose hunt last week and it worked awesome.

  17. #17
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Correctomundo!

    Quote Originally Posted by AkHunter45 View Post
    Mike, he didn't recommend the Pro Pioneer, he recommended that he check that website. Ripface, take a look at the Levitator, it will hold 3-4 people for floating the Kenai or 2 hunters and 2 moose quite easily and the Oar Saddles work great with that thing. I used that same setup on my moose hunt last week and it worked awesome.
    AKH,

    Thanks for the sharp eye; right you are. Whenever someone mentions PV, I almost automatically think of the Pro Pioneer. My mistake.

    I might add that there's a significant performance difference between plastic fabric (urethane and PVC) and rubber fabrics (Hypalon and neoprene). My personal preference for float hunting is plastic, because it can withstand higher air pressures. This makes it somewhat easier to slide over the rocks when it has a heavy load on it. The material has less "give" to it than rubber.

    I saw your hunt pics; congratulations! Looks like you guys had a great time.

    Regards,

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  18. #18

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    WHile on that float we slammed into a log jam, I could see it coming and could do nothing to stop it, thought for sure one of othe chambers would get punctured but it didn't happen. We got off the log jam and pressed on with no more incidents. The Levitator can take some serious punishment!

  19. #19
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Comments on the SOAR boats

    Quote Originally Posted by AkHunter45 View Post
    WHile on that float we slammed into a log jam, I could see it coming and could do nothing to stop it, thought for sure one of othe chambers would get punctured but it didn't happen. We got off the log jam and pressed on with no more incidents. The Levitator can take some serious punishment!
    AKH,

    Could you post a picture of the boat here? It's a unique craft, and I think some folks would be interested.

    The only concern I have about the Levitator is it's length to width ratio, and concerns about flipping as a result (if you broadsided an obstacle, for example). At the same time, I applaud the significant investment Larry has made in experimenting with new designs and such, and I hope he will continue to look for ways of improving on what's out there.

    As to the Oar Saddles, I think they're an excellent addition to an inflatable canoe, but with the serious torque and leverage involved with larger inflatables and longer oars, I'm not real comfortable with them on conventional round boats. What's your opinion on that?

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  20. #20
    Member Ripface's Avatar
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    Default

    Mike, how many rafts do you have? You seem to have encountered nearly every possible rafting experience, and I'm just curious to know how many rafts you think one should have to meet all circumstances...not necessarily bad circumstances, but recreational as well. And which ones do you have?
    "Wine can of their wits the wise beguile, Make the sage frolic, and the serious smile." - Homer, Odyssey

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