Travels with Paddles

a sea kayaking journal

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

Monday, September 29, 2008

Transferring rolling skills

Last evening some of us at the course had a go at rolling a bagged-out single canoe with knee straps in the Lodge's swimming pool. Watching Dave rolling, I noticed a strong resemblance of his roll to the Greenland storm roll. Naturally I wanted to give it a go and was surprised (maybe not so) that after two tries I could roll this 'massive' canoe. There where more takers for having a go and within a short time both Biscuit (forgot his real name, but he made sure at the course introduction that his nickname sticks) and Callum nailed it also for their first time.

Click on the picture of Dave and Bisquit, mentally preparing, to see a short video of Dave rolling an open boat.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Coaching Life

I am in Scotland at Glenmore Lodge for my second attendance of a BCU Level 5 training course. It has already been almost three years ago that I did my first one, then at Tollymore in Northern Ireland. Because of the new UKCC scheme I feared then that the course would soon stop running. It was the best (coaching) course that I ever attended. I learned lots and learned even more from applying and experimenting with the things I learned then. After taking the course one has a maximum of three years to prepare for an assessment. Three years have passed quickly. Lots of 'interference' of personal and business nature and I felt there was more to learn. Thus my second attendance now in Scotland. Today, within an hour, I already recognized that this course will not be a 'repeat' from the first one. Some of it is new and other stuff I feel I can much better relate to from personal coaching experience than ever before. I am still on a journey. A journey that won't follow the shortest route to become a BCU Level 5 sea kayak coach. It is not the destination that counts for me, but the long and winding road that takes me there.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Stacks on the flood

This could well have been my last day in Anglesey in this year. Many times I have started at Soldier's Point to run the ebb towards North Stack race and along South Stack ending at Port Dafarch. Phil decided on a Stacks run, but not in the usual way. Now paddling against the flood, tucking into eddies, we paddle along the Hogarth Cliffs. The whole scenery has a different feel to it because of the lower water levels at this stage of the tide. At South Stack we can play in a gentle tide-race. My pictures of it look a bit unfamiliar. Kayaks surfing 'the wrong way'. Surfing South Stack race on the flood.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

In to the deep end

Today I joined Barry and Justine on a paddle around Holy Island. I had never before paddled around it. Barry had planned it anti-clockwise, that is different from the general way of paddling around it. It required paddling against the flood (using eddies) to Silver Bay. And I was wondering if the water level, with this high spring tide, was low enough to get us under through Four Mile Bridge, but we did! Just at the moment when I was committed, thoughts came to my mind about what would happen if I got swept broadside... That was the bit of adrenaline rush for the day. We arrived at Stanley Embankment very early for a long and sunny afternoon break. Barry hopped in a play-boat for his first time surfing the Stanley stopper wave. The more I paddle with Barry, the more I find out that we have a lot in common. Meeting him in Penrhyn Mawr some years ago and today at Stanley... The tide was pouring out of the gap with a group of play boaters providing some skillful entertainment. A few runs at North and South Stack tide-races and by 19:00 we where back at Porth Dafarch.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Tide races in Anglesey

I just finished a week guiding in Anglesey for a group of the Uitgeest kayak club. The week before I was at the NKB Vlieland week (read about it on Hans' blog) and had only a few hours at home re-packing before taking the ferry across to the UK. The wind was weak or moderate all week and with a big September spring tide gave us lots of opportunities to paddle the Anglesey tidal races 'at will'. There are many ways to describe a 'perfect week in Anglesey'. Hitting Penrhyn Mawr during a big spring tide on max flow is maybe less than perfect (just intimidating). Just getting to the lunch spot, to get a breather, proved to be a challenge of it's own. But after a while the tide dropped just enough to a very playful end. And, like it 'always' does, the sun shines on the Skerries!

The Wedge

I noticed some leakage in the rear compartment of my kayak. Turning my kayak around showed the reason why. I remember 'gently' being set on a rock ledge while ferry gliding earlier today. Glass fiber sea kayaks and rocks... Handling this in the way that I learned on my First Aid course: not pulling out anything that is sticking in or out. Covering it (with duct tape) and take it to 'hospital' for further treatment. The wedged rock splinter actually prevented most leakage, plugging the hole.