Travels with Paddles

a sea kayaking journal

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

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Winter Surf

Today went kayaking in the surf at Cemaes Bay with Roger (from Coastal Spirit), Barry & Justine. Offshore wind force 6 and 'bloody cold'. I am not used to paddling in rough conditions with pogies on. So I used them intermittendly to warm the other hand and surfed without them. The velcro on the pogies was strong enough to not sweep them off my paddle. For the rest I was comfortable in 3 bottom layers and 4 top layers under my dry-suit and a fleece-lined Kokatat Balaclava under my helmet. Hearing was seriously impaired as the wind sounded like a force ten through the holes in my helmet.
On my way out the first time, I only stopped paddling when I was out of the surf zone completely. Only to find the rest much further back in the surf zone. Heading back in again was in a controlled fashion as surely any surf-ride here would end up in a loop. Turning in the wind was off-course extremely difficult and most rides ended in a 'refreshing' bongo slide. The surf subsided and around 14:00 we went back ashore.
Is it coincidence that my more recent encounters with rough water start with the roughest of the day and subsiding thereafter? Thus no gentle 'breaking-in' and build-up for confidence building.
Tomorrow I am traveling back to the Netherlands to be back again in Anglesey end of April.
If you not already have noticed the buzz on Justine's great new film "Kayaking the Aleutians", be sure to check out the trailer and pre-order at CackleTV (or Zeekajak.NL) before the 14 february release date.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Lively Day

R&R after wipe-out at Penrhyn Mawr and continued towards South Stack & North stack and back. With Justine, Laura & Mirco. A lively Day.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Saturday Club

Today I joined the 'Saturday Club' for a paddle out of Rhoscolyn. I arrived in North Wales yesterday in grey rainy weather. Today it is extremely nice weather; blue skies, max. force 4 Beaufort winds and not too cold. No pogies needed!! Unbelievable nice Winter paddling conditions.
With a group of 14 we set out to Rhosolyn Beacon. There was big swell but it was hard to catch the waves. Justine managed a pop-out though. I am in my old trusty Tweety Explorer again that I could use from SKUK for during my stay.
After lunch we headed rock-hopping towards Cymyran beach where there was nice surf to play in.
I tried to remember names... Barry, Justine, Aby, Ed, Gwyn, Jimsky, Mirco, and with a little help: Marc, Laura, Claire, Kirsty, Rich and Paul.
Upon return to Rhoscoly Beach my car would not open with my remote key. Cursing modern key technology first... At least the car door still has a keyhole. Flat battery; I had left my lights on. Jump starting no-go. Push starting no-go. Anyway, this emergency was quickly sorted by the AA and I could join the club again for dinner at the White Eagle. Not before I had to race as fast as I could across Holy Island to recharge my car battery within the shortest possible half hour as advised by the guy from the AA.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Functional Crossings

Fred is a Mechanics lecturer at Delft Technical University. He is also an avid sea kayaker. Fred invited me as a guest to a "Functionals Workshop" for his students. One of the two examples he used was the mathematical approach of crossing a river with current. The other was a mechanics example of a string connected between two points. Both examples heavily relied on integration and differentiation and culminating into the same 'functionals' theory.

Integration and differentiation went way over my head when I was in school, losing most of my hair in the process. My maths only got partially 'repaired' as part of my IT studies in College. My one year in Econometrics there was a real nightmare though, fortunately not mandatory and it did not stand in the way of my IT-carreer. Integration, differentiation and Pythagoras, forever lost on me I thought, until today.

So in short, I was already glad that I could barely follow the 'magic' involved in transposing one formula into another. Lots of aha moments of remembering that I actually have been tought the basics all those years ago. Stored in dark crevasses of my mind. The river crossing 'metaphor' helped. As for the string I could only think of 'resonating bridges'. Highly complex things made 'calculable' by... maths...

So the shortest time to cross a river with current (not minding where you end up) is in a straight line [correction] on a straight course perpendicular to the river (omega is zero). Easy, but formally mathematically explained, not so, but very much simplified and useful.

Friday a recap and the shortest time for a crossing with variations in current but ending up at a specific point. Forget about the tidal vectors in the sea kayak navigation books. This will be 'hardcore' maths. Simplified 'formulated' math problems will find it's way off the paper and into the real world, be it in vectors or a real crossing.

I am looking forward to my next crossing to the Skerries with Fred in May. There might actually be a fourth way of doing this crossing. I am learning.

Saturday, January 03, 2015

New for 2015

Combine your garden sea kayak storage with this exquisite piece of Art. Positioning this Designer garden furniture at the waters' edge allows for care free launching. An add-on pully system can be used to haul the kayak out of the water into it's bay. Batteries and kayak not included. For safety reasons, when not in use, one should keep an eye out for playing children that could take this for a slide. Shipping options and shipping cost are to be confirmed.

Happy New Year!