Saturday, 26 March 2011

5* sea training

Broadford Bay, not with the weather for the next few days!
After a quick zoom (Ken was driving) up to Gordon Brown's Skyak Adventures to start our 5* sea training, I was beginning to wonder if I'd made the right decision. I only sat my 4* assessment in November and when Ken and Iain said they were coming up to Skye, it seemed like a good idea to go along with them. I really wanted to further my skills, more so I could help others in bigger water, not so much that I wanted to go as far as the assessment.
After all our introductions, we made a list of what we hoped to get out of the course. At the end of the evening we had a large list of horrible things that no one really wants to do, but at the same time, things we need to be able to do. Just to add pressure to keep smiling, Simon Willis was also there doing some filming for Gordon Browns 2nd DVD. They had most footage for the DVD, but were hoping for some extras.

Ken and Rowland

Next morning we met at 9.00. We went over various bits of kit, whilst listening to the wind and rain get up. After umpteen cups of tea, we got kitted up and headed down to Armadale. There we went over rough water paddling and rough water landing and launching. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, well obviously the sight of my face was telling an absolute epic when I had a go at rough launching. As I set off into the rough water, the waves went out and I was left high and dry with my bow dangling over this huge 8' hole which had appeared. I felt as though I was a goner as I looked down into the jaws of doom! Meantime, Rowland, one of our caring coaches, was almost helpless, hee hawing at me as I sat there stranded. The wave came back in and boy did I paddle hard! We had a few more shots and it did get easier.
Les and Sarah

Dave at the back is still in his boat

Made it

Iain making it look easy
Back at the Broadford backpackers hostel (not the Hilton!), dinner was made and a well deserved beer cracked open.
Next day, 9.00 again, we were spending the morning doing navigation and open water planning.
What way up does the chart go?

In the afternoon we headed out to Kyleakin, where we were doing a bit of towing. We ended up with 8 of us in line towing Gordon, Rowland, Les and Simon with all his camera gear, up into the flow, under the bridge and very slowly across the shipping channel. Those being towed were getting a bit worried by now as there was a large boat coming through! Simon Willis' video clip. We stopped for a bite to eat on the beach until it was dark. We then started our night paddle, across and round the bridge legs. A weird sensation as you knew there was quite a flow, you just couldn't see where it was coming from. Thankfully the wind had died down and it was really quite nice and peaceful.
Back at the Broadford Hilton, spag bol and more beer was the order of the day.
Sunday, 9.00 we were getting ready to get on the water quickly. We headed down to Kyle Rhea to catch a huge wavetrain. We played in the surf here for a while, before heading to the side and doing some more towing. It was then back up to the jetty for a bit of incident management. Gordon was kind enough to put me in charge, the reason being, I was the only one still smiling. Take note, you don't have to be a sour face to go on these courses, just slightly dourer than the guy your standing next to when they're looking for volunteers! Rowland was being an unconscious paddler floating in the water. We radioed the coastguard who was going to be 45mins. Ken , Iain and Dave were attempting a scoop rescue. Rowland did ask later who stated "Christ! He's a heavy Bastard!" Ken, he was only playing at being unconscious! After this it was playtime and self rescues.


Is this how FCAG paddle boats?
We stopped off in Pitlochry on the way home for eats, I've missed my post paddle beer tonight! I hate to think what folks must have thought of us, getting out of the car with varying degrees of creaks, groans and stiffness. I suggested a race to the chippy, last one there was the winner.
I certainly enjoyed everything I have learnt over the weekend. As always, I've had some great laughs and I reckon I must be about the only 5* trainee to get a cuddle from their coach, at least Ken and Iain never got one. Thanks Rowland. Thanks also to Gordon for being such a great, patient, good fun coach.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

The kayakey kid and the storm cag - part 2

Well I've finally gone and done it, I've finished the storm cag! Took ages due to unneccessary disruptions such as work. It's not been broken in yet, but I've no doubt that won't take long. Storm cag no2 is already cut, hopefully I'll get that one made a bit quicker or I can see Ken trying to steal mine.

The Kayakey Kid has been at it again, he's been in training mode for polo. I reckon next season he'll be in Div 1 replacing his Dad, but in the meantime he's taking it easy with Div 2. He doesn't want to show his Grandad up too much!
                                             Can't wait to get on the water

Hey! look at me!