Travels with Paddles

a sea kayaking journal

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

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Angle at Sea again

Never before I have been so busy in Anglesey than this year. I am back home after a bit more than two weeks in Anglesey.
The week that Nico and I ran for the NKB (Dutch Canoe Union) was full of challenges for us as well as for the participants. This year, the weather was not too cooperative, but we managed to paddle every day. A rough day at the Stacks that had everything in it on assessing paddling conditions, tidal planning, group control and incident management. All that I had learned over the years and especially in the committing Anglesey tidal environment came together on that day. Thank you Garreth for keeping an extra eye out on that day. A day later we enjoyed a beautiful crossing to the Skerries. For all who don't know it already: the sun ALLWAYS shines on the Skerries; at least when I am on it. A great day to finish the week with.
The 25th edition of the Anglesey Sea Kayak Symposium had the biggest attendance ever, that is, the attendance was capped at 120 participants. In the weekend Fiona, James and I ran moving water skills sessions. The Monday started with thick fog and considerable swell. Heading from Porth Dafarch towards Trearddur Bay was quite interesting at times. Just making out headlands until at one time I saw the headland move... Navigating more on swell height than on compass and after a zigzag course, we made it to the leeward side off Porth Diana. Not knowing to turn either left or right along the cliffs to find the small bay, I was considering just long enough to see the fog lift a bit and see the whole string of mooring buoys in Porth Diana. Lucky shot! On the way back from lunch, the sun burned the fog away and the swell dropped considerably and we enjoyed great rock-hopping back to Porth Dafarch.
In the week after the symposium there where lots of BCU courses to choose from. The biggest draw was the new BCU 4*. Effectively it is designed to bridge the gap between the old 4* and the unchanged 5*. The new 4* involves leadership in moderate conditions. Where the old 4* was 'just' a skills award, the new 4* is a leadership award. The new 3* is now what the old 4* was. Thus BCU 'messed about' with the numbering system and many people will for some time be confused about the star awards. But I think it is a change for the better, albeit a bit disappointing for all those aspiring to 5* for which it must feel that they have an extra hurdle to take.
It is interesting to observe that the changes that the Dutch Sea Kayaking committee made on their sea proficiency (leadership) awards in the last five years tie-in quite well with the changes the BCU have been making. There is no coordination between BCU and NKB on any level, but it must be that 'common sense' on sea kayaking is largely 'universal'.
Anglesey, the playground where (it) all come(s) together.


Anonymous said...

nice stuff and I enjoyed reading it very much. I have a friend in Rijswijk namede Rina Bakker, very into African drumming and singing. Dank je wel,Groetjes Greg

derrick said...

sounds like it was a fun year. :)