Sunday, 11 June 2017

Jersey Jaunts

Having not been on my blog for so long, I had decided to update it a wee bit when I came across this post - in draft! So rather than dump it, I'm posting, albeit nearly 10 months late!

Having eventually got the house sort of emptied and the car all packed, we were off!
After a long, long drive, we eventually arrived in Poole, parked up in the ferry carpark and closed our eyes. When we surfaced a couple of hours later,  another 2 cars had appeared, obviously having the same idea as us, driving down overnight. It was Lori and Antje, Anne and Alan all down from Scotland as well.

Where's the sun?

Thankfully the ferry crossing this year was less eventful than 2 years ago. They were a bit surprised and unprepared for so many kayaks boarding and not desperately helpful with it!
Our first paddle of the symposium was a day trip round the north of the island with Natalie, Mikeal and Eric. It was also great meeting up with Doris and Felix again. We were putting in at St Catherine's with it's massive breakwater, then heading round the coast to Greve de Lecq for lunch. We had the chance to explore lots of caves, cuts, a waterfall and a gloup.

In the gloupe

After lunch we were now heading round the west side of Jersey, past my "incident gap", past Stinky bay along the long bay at L'Etacq and Le Braye then round to Corbierre, our get out. A lovely paddle covering some of the island we missed the last time.

 When we go to symposiums, I always think it's good to take the chance of trying new activities, as does Ken - but quite why I let him talk me into this days activities, I'm not too sure.



 Cliffs and Caves! We made our way over to the next bay at St Brelade where we were kitted out with wetsuits, helmets and double sit on tops. A sit on top is bad enough, a double is worse, a double shared with Ken is worse yet! However off we went, across to the cliffs, where we jumped off the boats, clambered up the rocks and looked over the edge. Now I realise we were starting small, but to me this was big! Kevin gave us our instructions on how to jump, then proceeded to do a demo making it look so easy! When it came to my turn, I realised, I don't mind swimming around in swooshy, frothy water, I don't mind clambering up all sorts of rocks, but it's that bit, where your feet leave solid ground that I'm not happy doing! I did do a couple, but other than that, I would clamber up for a look, but that was enough. I was full of admiration to those who could just "take that step!" As for the caves part of the trip, the tide was out too far, so really it was just cliffs! Having chickened out of some of the jumps, I did still have a great day!

Day three, we were out Rock Gardening. This is likely to be the only type of gardening Ken is ever likely to do! Once again we were down at Corbierre Lighthouse. It really is a stunning location for paddling! This time Gordon split us up into smaller groups, my one being led by fellow Scot, Callum. We were practising timing - not my strong point!, then taking turns leading our wee groups round the rocks.
What was really surprising here was how many daft folks listen to the siren, the warning that the tide is about to cover the causeway, yet they still risk running across so they don't get wet feet!
In the afternoon we were down at St Brelade again. This time with a good Scottish turnout! Janet, Sandy, Alan, Anne, Lorri, Antje, Ken and myself all having a good giggle on the SUP's. We all had a great time, but I can't see the point on standing on one of those when you can have a nice seat in a kayak!

Lots of good wet fun!

A  SUP chain

This sunny afternoon was rounded off in the best way possible. Sitting on the beach eating icecream, before heading back to the hotel for a lovely cold beer!

One more go!

Day 4, surf's up! down at Le Braye. What a great time, always do with the surf. Don't know if I'll ever be really good at it, but who cares, it's fun! After that, we all piled into El Tico for eats.

Time for Tour de Rozel, the tiderace, next. This is a very fast bit of water zooming through between the headland and a rock. There just seemed to be kayaks going in all sorts of directions, all at great speed. Getting out was exhilarating, just don't like so  many boats close together. After an exhausting morning, we had pleasant, dry afternoon at the Orchid foundation.
Day 6, Ken obviously hadn't had enough zooming water the day before, so headed out to the tour again. Antje and I opted for a more gentle paddle, before going shopping in damp neoprenes for BBQ food for the evening BBQ at Greve de Lecq.

Unfortunately, we were now on our last day. There was a walk organised, however Ken, Julie and I went for a wee paddle out from St Brelade, round to Corbierre and back again.

A nice gentle paddle finished off a fantastic week, out with good friends, just fine!

Sunday, 12 June 2016

How to destress my way!

Well, I have to say, it's absolutely ages since I have visited my blog! There have been various reasons for this, mainly, since retiring I have very little time to myself now!
The last few months have been a bit stressfull. Amongst other things we were wanting to do some alterations on our house, so set about getting an architect, well one that would actually do the work! Easier said than done. The plans were eventually drawn up and put in to the council, planning permission wasn't too bad to get, however getting a building warrant was a different ball game. Change of architect (the one that actually wanted the work!) eventually the warrant came through.
To keep sane during all this time, we found that locking the door, packing the car and going off paddling was the best destress we could get and as we seemed to have had more than our fair share of hassle, we have managed to probably have more than our fair share of paddling!
Since Orkney, I've managed to fit in my 4* OC training, not sure I'll ever be up to scratch for the assessment!
OC rescue practise

Next was a special paddle. I took the Kayakey Kid for his first sea "trip" in his own boat. He was delighted to be visited by a seal. 
A very happy Kayakey Kid
We've had a wonderful weekend paddling from Easdale, battling the currents, through the Corryvreckan, battling the wind, through the Cuan sounds, generally a bumpy, refreshing, but great time weekend!
The bridge over the Atlantic

It was an exhausting trip!

A weekend up on Skye doing rescue scenarios ended up with me only having half a set of spare splits - not happy! Tried to contact Celtic paddles to see if I could buy a replacement half, didn't even get a reply!
Me 'n' He having fun

Then there was the Scottish open canoe symposium up at Glenmore - more paddling up at Knockando, great weekend!
More OC rescues

More fun

Next we were up at Ratagan with the Lothian club, out round by Plockton, then a play down at Kylerhea. Another excellent weekend!

After the, we needed a wee warm up off in Florida. We did manage out in the Everglades for some paddling, however, there had been a lot of rain just before we arrived, as a result there were masses of hungry mozzies. We also managed to get a bit of diving down on the Keys with Turtles, Nurse shark, Barracuda, lots more. Fantastic holiday.

A couple of our paddling companions

Coming back from the lovely heat of Florida, we went straight up to be final sweepers for the Tay Descent. I have decided this is about the most soul destroying job of the Descent. We left after everyone, including the racers. We paddle the full course of 23 miles to make sure no one has been left behind or injured and never saw any other paddlers at all.
Glad to have finished!

It didn't seem long before we were now into the New Year which of course meant our New Year's day paddle. It was certainly breezy enough to blow away even the most stubborn of cobwebs, but good to be out again.
Our New Year's day jaunt
Out again on the 2nd, Inchcolm this time.

Still January, up at St Andrews this time where I managed to have a battle with a barnacle covered rock, the rock won!

February was pretty much taken up with our son's wedding, there are certain times even we don't go paddling!

Not a drysuit in sight! With No.3 Grandchild

In March we had a beautiful days paddling on Loch Lomond, stopped for lunch on Inchconnachan, spotted a Wallaby, then on to Luss for what else, but icecream!
Loch Lomond Wallaby

The following weekend was a SSKEG trip up on the Moray coast with Zoe. Big and bumpy conditions meant we couldn't get close in to the shoreline. Day 2 saw us having a great time with a surf session.

Into April with another SSKEG trip, our one this time, out to the May Isle, unfortunately a bit too early for the Puffins to have landed.

Rounding the May

Next weekend we had fun under the Forth Bridge playing in the faster flows with "An introduction to moving water" session.
Even more rescue practise!

The following weekend, we were back up at Ratagan, seeing the Leopard man's bothy, then stopping at Eilean Donan for icecream, where they thoughtfully put up a "wet floor" sign behind us!
Inside the Leopard man's bothy

Eilean Donan for ice cream

Still in April, we were up at Glenmore again for the CVC, this time I took up my river kayak and ended up on the middle Findhorn, then had a fabulous surf session the next day up at Sandend.

Time to warm up again, so off to Tenerife, no paddling, but we did get out diving, lots of Turtles and rays.

Me 'n' he again 

Going up!

So as you can see, we've had an extremely stressful few months! However, now that the building warrant has come through, the real stress begins! House has to be cleared again, quite how we have managed to fill it with so much junk already, I'll never know - we're never at home! At the end of May, the builders were starting. First off, walls were getting knocked down, so what did we do? We went paddling! This time to the Jersey seakayak symposium!