Travels with Paddles

a sea kayaking journal

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

Sunday, November 25, 2007

End of a continued tradition

Every year in November the Sea Kayak Touring committee of the national Peddelpraat club organises their meeting to plan next years activity calendar.

Activities include day trips, overnight trips, surf kayaking sessions, week-long trips in Scotland and our annual sea kayak instruction week in August. For the last seven years now I have been chairman of this very enthusiastic and 'self-regulating bunch' of trip leaders.

As far as anybody on the committee can remember, the meeting has always been held on a November Saturday in the "Ds. J.L. de Wagemaker" elementary school in Landsmeer where Lex and his wife Mady are teachers. Afterwards we were welcome at their place to have lunch and socialize.

This year has been our last meeting there. After more than 15 years (some say 20 years), a tradition ends. The school will no longer be available for our annual meeting. A very big thank you to Mady and Lex for all those years of hospitality!

But the tradition also continues. Next years' meeting is already planned but no location yet. We WILL remember (and miss) those nice lunches.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Holyhead to Great Orme's Head

Over the weekend I went paddling with Barry and Justine. There was a south-westerly storm all over, so on Saturday we decided to paddle along Penmon and around Puffin Island. We had expected encounters with inquisitive seals off Puffin Island and an unexpected encounter with a group of swimmers 100 meters off-shore from Penmon. They were training for open water swimming races. We are now on 'British Winter Time' and when we arrived back at Penmon at 17:30 it was pitch dark.

Sunday's forecast was still for gale force winds. I asked about how it is to paddle at Great Orme's Head. This name I remember because of the Admiralty Chart of Anglesey: "Holyhead to Great Orme's Head". Off Little Orme ran a little tidal race. Lots of rocks, channels and caves to play with on this coast. Justine supplied us with a massive delicious sandwich, way too much energy for the paddling we are doing, I said. On the way back from Great Orme's Head the wind picked up and we had a bumpy ride back. Against a stiff headwind, and from the cold, we burned off lots of the energy that our lunch had given us. Barry had our attention (and cheers) when he paddled under an overhang and a sudden wave had his stern almost hit the overhang. Winter has arrived, chilly, snow on the Snowdonia mountains.

I did some experiments with filming. Seeing the results, I have to remember for a next time to film longer shots. I do count while filming, but apparently when it gets rougher I count more quickly. Probably the same issue as with people you tell they should count to ten before wet exiting and that come out of their kayak within two seconds...

Click on the above picture to start the movie.

P.S. Justine wrote in her blog entry of the weekend about me checking-out Penrhyn Mawr. This is what I saw from the cliffs above and that I based my judgement upon...

Monday, November 19, 2007


To Jen Kleck for achieving the highest coaching award of the British Canoe Union. She is in fact the first female Level 5 Sea Kayak Coach in the USA and there are only four of them in the whole world (Trys Burke, Claire Knifton & Fiona Whitehead are the others). Overall there are only about 20 Level 5 Sea Kayak Coaches in the world, mainly from the UK. The work and time involved on the road to Level 5 is not to be underestimated. It was clear that Jen was very focussed and her determination resulted yesterday in passing her two-day assessment. Visit her blog for all the details of her road to L5. Well done!

Jen Kleck runs Aqua Adventures Kayak Center in San Diego and hosts the annual Southwest Kayak Symposium in March.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Site Safety Ends Here...

I found this sign posted near the Sea Kayaking UK factory. This and even more signs are hung around an enclosure for road maintenance equipment for the nearby road works. I am in Anglesey to collect new NDK sea kayaks and could not resist taking this picture for my blog. Imagine wanting to go sea kayaking and having to read signs for all the possible safety issues. I, therefore, especially like the "Site Safety Starts Here".

Friday, November 02, 2007

Web Life | Gone Paddling

On the Tuesday evening ferry I overheard a mobile phone conversation of a school girl to one of her friends. Her teacher had returned her school project with the remark that she should check it for typing errors. It would have been adequate if not for the large number of typing errors in it. If she made an effort to correct the errors she could re-submit it with no consequences. What she said next struck me in a way that this conversation made it onto my web log. She said that she did not know what she did wrong because she surely used the spelling checker...

At home I drop into a TV-programme about youths "addicting" to texting, MSN Messaging, on-line gaming and internet in general. YouTube enabled cameras... And parents that have given up to understand what their children are up to. Some teachers are spelling doom, while others say that nothing has changed, only the medium. Anyway, more and more people live their lives on the web and through their mobile phones. Some rarely leave their house anymore...

I am thinking about my blog and what it is different from pre-internet days (that era really existed!). Possibly only the "information overload" increased. There is just way too much out there.

I write this after two days of "web cleanup". Web storage used to come at a premium price. Over the years I used a patch-work of free hosting providers to store my pictures that my logbook pages are linking to. Now it is very cheap (or even free) to get 1024 Mb storage accounts. Unplanned, I reorganized and got rid of the patch-work. I hope I corrected more link errors than I created in that process. By now my website links to a whopping 3500 (!) pictures after 14 years of paddling. More overload?

Why I am typing this anyway? Should my blog not just state (if anything): "Gone Paddling!" ?