Travels with Paddles

a sea kayaking journal

Axel Schoevers (Photo: A. de Krook) Name:
Axel Schoevers
Rijswijk, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands

Monday, October 23, 2006

Afternoon Paddle

After three days in the 'office' checking e-mail, doing VAT bookkeeping and selecting pictures to go on my website it was nice to be on the water again. I am staying at the Sea Kayaking UK centre on Anglesey, in-between my travels in the UK. For those who are curious if I am always on 'holiday', I should tell that I am currently working towards further BCU coaching 'development' and that means doing some stuff and courses in alternative disciplines; still learning... Reports on that will follow later. Barry and Chris invited Phil and me to go on an afternoon paddle, joined also by Tara. We started from Soldiers' Point to play in North Stack tide-race. There was hardly any wind but still some swell remaining.

North Stack was great fun. Next could be South Stack tide-race, but we were very careful not to make any overhasty decisions. We paddled the tail end of North Stack tide-race towards South Stack in big clapotis like waves. Tide-race waves from different direction ran into each other, sometimes creating a 'zipper' effect. I am aiming for them and get hit by the biggest of them, partly surfing backwards. Paddling close-in to South Stack we could see that it was not too rough and we played at the edge of the race. No pictures of this, because one of the closure-clips of my waterproof camera housing has broken and the camera would not survive a swim. Anyway, South Stack has a tricky race. When it is safe enough, it gives long and very fast rides! Today it is very good. My last run was the best. Not that I not wanted another go, but crashing down a wave into the 'big hole' in front of me (for a split-second I thought of looping), I went over and had to roll-up again. My cap dangling on it's leash and one half of my spare paddle hanging loose from it's holdings. Time to stop. We had lunch in a rather dodgy swell ridden spot. Tara had the most spectacular landing when a big set came in. We shared our food and drink as no one had really prepared for a full lunch stop. Leaving was potentially even more tricky because now the water level had fallen, exposing even more rocks. But by timing our take-off we made it out more easily than I expected. A great paddling afternoon. In fact the first trip for my new Explorer in Anglesey. Tweety is enjoying quite a big tour around the country, and so am I.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Falls of Lora

Yesterday we played at the Grey Dogs tidal race off Scarba. It was the first day on the water for my new Explorer sea kayak. It left the factory the same day as Justine's new Tiger-skin Romany sea kayak. So I might name my 'dull' yellow-on-white Explorer Tweety...20061005015L
Today all the photo and video camera's are out, except mine :-(( for the Falls of Lora near Oban. It is the biggest spring tide of the year. It soon becomes clear who are the experts on this 'river-like' tidal phenomenon. Nick Cunliffe, Aled Williams and Mike ? are not intimidated by the extreme strong currents, eddies and whirlpools and impress with long surfs on the front wave and excellent active boat control; river paddling in sea kayaks. Nick manages an almost complete pop-out. My adrenaline runs high. Shaking knees after my first runs. I swam three times, rolled some more. But I managed some seconds surfing the front wave. And turned 360 degrees at a 45 degree angle stern-down in a whirlpool; an introduction to vertical bracing...