Sunday, 30 May 2010

Going with the Flow

NK paddles but her mind is on packing.

With a NNE F4 -5 we chose a sheltered and wind assisted, if familiar, route today.
A small group of us went from Scapa to St Mary's and enjoyed a lift with the following sea.
A beautiful afternoon spent not fighting the elements.
I played with the settings on my new camera.
NK mulled over whether to take a wet suit or a dry suit to Norway.
Now that would be a nice dilemma to share.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Back indoors

At the moment I am only able to get in a boat for a couple of hours at a time, so I have missed a few interesting journeys lately. However I can practice rolling and rescues and so on, and if that sounds boring, let me tell you no 2 days are ever the same.

NK prepares for re-entry.
I remember hearing or reading somewhere that Cheri Perry began her rolling in earnest since she wanted to stay close to her child on the shore and her options were limited. Since I often paddle in a similar zone with a similar outlook I am trying to make the most of it and I'm using her as a role model.

Is my boat half empty or half full?
Normally this involves practising a bit, getting cold, paddling about a bit to warm up, practising a bit more. So I arranged for some pool time in order to maximise the brain thinking time, rather than the brain freeze time, while hanging upside down and considering what is going right and what is making life difficult.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Camera comparison

We are having our summer here in Orkney, in between the banks of freezing sea fog rolling in.
Dry suits are still 'de rigeur' if you own one but folk seem happier with wet practise at the end of our coaching sessions.
photo taken with the Olympus

photo of the author taken with the Fuji by Malc

Wet suit wearers face dilemmas which curtail practise as folk adjust levels of comfort versus thicknessess of neoprene.

My damaged camera was replaced by Olympus, rather than repaired, so I have an upgrade to an Olympus 'tough'.

It certainly looks tough and it feels heavy and robust.
It survived wet practice tonight unlike NK's camera now lost in Kirkwall Bay.
A few rolls and re-entries later I surfaced without an ice-cream headache!
Summer has arrived!

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Plastic fantastic

Took a leaf out of junior's book and got out the plastic tonight. Its been a while.

The Wilderness and the Valley
The plan was to practice rescues so with that in mind I took the Wilderness Systems Tempest 165.
Its a great boat. Its also a snug fit ( I had a few layers under the dry suit - its been snowing here!) and I noticed how much shorter the cockpit was than the Rockpool Isel when launching,landing and being rescued. Just enough to make a difference.

The southerly wind was creating lovely surf to play and be dumped on the beach in, and then practice getting launched back into the surf.

To maintain the sinus clearing ritual at the end of a session, we finished with a bit of rescue practice  in the flat water behind the pier, though perhaps we should have been working further out on our self rescues...

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Coach yaking mum

A few skills were practised but sometimes you just got to float about and contemplate.

'This is a nice place to be in.'

Plastic fantastic junior rockhopping.

'You wouldn't do this in your boat mum - would you!'

Messing about in boats

This week's coaching session was always going to have a wet finish. To begin with however I got on the water early and got a few rolls in at the start to make sure I wasn't suggesting other folk do anything I wasn't prepared to do myself.

After going through the the skills the boat balancing began. From swapping from one boat to another in a raft, to the good old 'eskimo kiss', everyone got thoroughly wet.  There were lots of laughs, unfortunately not captured on camera (still waiting for my repaired waterproof Olympus to come home) finishing with an old fashioned 'sitting in cockpit on seat and paddling' forward paddle.

If it were not so cold at the moment I would suggest that we start the sessions like this. It is liberating!
Everyone is so much less concerned about getting wet and staying upright that they really take it to the edge when practising skills. As it is though, for May, the weather is disappointingly cold even though the swallows have arrived and wild primroses are blooming.

Great fun and good learning!

Sunday, 2 May 2010

A trip of two halves

passing Hemp Stack

Back on the water after a long winter hiatus, the Menai joined my Isel today for a gentle paddle  from Scapa to St Marys. It was also an opportunity to try the new Werner carbon Corryvrecken paddle.

The longboat leads
 On the first part of the journey, we saw razorbills, cormorants,fulmars, eider duck, longtail duck.
The razorbills did not seem to mind us getting very close.

After a tea break at Deepdale we carried on, hopping through exposed rocks.

Spot the kayak

Difting over rockpools.
Both boats on the water.
Paddle tested and approved.
Mission accomplished.