Wednesday, 22 February 2012

A day of firsts and hopefully a last.

Heather at Leven
Sunday morning started out in it's usual beautiful freezing cold way. We arrived at Leven to paddle round to St Monance. This was Heather's first sea trip having done a fair bit of paddling in sea kayaks on the loch in some pretty bumpy conditions. The "boys" headed off in the cars to St Monance for the shuttle, whilst Heather and I carted the boats down the beach. When you're the ones left to look after the kit, shuttles always seem to take forever and while waiting for the others to return, we had to haul the boats back up the beach a couple of times.
Passing Silverburn
STILL in Largo bay
 We eventually got out on the water, which was up until now lovely, flat calm. We headed round Largo Bay which seems a never ending one. The wind and the waves were by now picking up with some of the waves hitting us sideways on. This should have told me to stop daydreaming and pay attention, but I had plenty on my mind. What happened next is still a mystery to me (and everyone who was with me). One minute I was upright, away in a wee world of my own, the next I was sharing the wee world of the fishes. My attempt at a roll can only be described as pants! In all my years sea kayaking, other than rescue sessions and surfing, this was only my 3rd swim (rivers are a different story completely), but I still managed to beat myself up about it the rest of the day.

Shell bay

Definate yellow glow here
We paddled on round to Shell bay for a stretch of the legs before carrying on past the Chain walk caves for a bit of a play, then arriving at Earlsferry for lunch. On our way, I spotted a bottle which Hubby dear hauled out. Inside there was a rolled up bit of paper which I thought might just say "bring more beer". We did spread it out later to find a map of "Treasure Island " showing where Pirate city is and a cross presumably marking where the treasure is buried. Another piece of paper listed what we would need to bring with us, including a bottle of rum, parret (optional), shirt (no button) and a bunch of you maties.

X marks the treasure
List of requirements
While having lunch, there was a call over the radios from a RIB supporting divers. Their "starter string" had burst, so they were stranded and couldn't get to the divers who were now in a bit of a current. It was really interesting to see and hear the rescue taking place and certainly makes you appreciate the coastguard with lifeboat crews involved from Kinghorn, Anstruther and Leven.

Arriving at St Monance
Back home, tired after our paddle, I was running a hot bath, chatting to No 3 son when the radio crackled into life. No 3 son thought it was a bit much getting a coastguard weather report for a bath. Hubby dear had forgotten to switch the radio off!

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Thunderbirds are go!

Leaving Kinghorn
A wee Inchkeith in the background
Tracy Island (not)
In all our trips out on the Forth, we had never got out to Inchkeith. Hubby dear coming from Kinghorn has spent the last 50 years looking at Inchkeith. I'm from the next town along and always thought (as did No. 1,2 and 3 sons) that it looked like Tracy Island from the Thunderbirds. So on Saturday evening at the last moment we decided that would be our trip for the next day. The weather said there was little wind, cloudy then sunny - perfect. Next morning we looked outside to see just about everything had vanished, the fog was like pea soup! Our next task was to contact our local forecaster, the mother-in-law who still stays in Kinghorn. She could just make out the island, the trip was still on. We didn't rush too much and by the time we arrived at Kinghorn harbour the tide was out and the fog had turned into a nice haze. We leapt (as you do with boats) over the wall and launched down a loading slip. This area isn't here when the tide is in. We started out towards the island watching for big boat movements. There were a number anchored further out, but not going anywhere.
You're being followed
We got across the shipping channel and were greeted by some very friendly playful seals. They followed us for quite a distance before one decided it would swim along between our two boats. When we stopped for a bit, it was still with us, bobbing around Hubby dear's boat. At one point, it came up and Hubby dear was almost able to tickle it under the chin. It then followed right round to the Island landing. Inchkeith may look like Tracy Island for afar, but up close, my illusions were shattered. Although a very interesting  island, also a very rubbish strewn island. There are lots of old war buildings, but everything bar the lighthouse has been left to rot away.
At last, a lighthouse to match your wellies
The only cave we found
What was interesting was seeing the shipping channel from so high up and also seeing the line the ferry to Brugge took using the island and red marker as their points, way out of the shipping channel and right where we were watching the seals playing not that long ago! Had we still been there we would have been well flattened! Back in the boats, we carried on round to the east where we saw the pilot boat going out to one of the ships sitting further out in the Forth. Remembering the line the ferry took, we weren't in much of a hurry to be anywhere near this monster that was about to come up the river, however, the pilot did thankfully stick to the channel this time.

Tough paddling conditions
Back in Kinghorn
It was an absolutely lovely day, with lots of folks enjoying the sun by the time we turned into Kinghorn harbour. The temp in the car even read 10 Celsius, it could have been summer!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Time for the Tay

It seems ages since I was last out in a boat. Things such as work and flu has kept me off the water, that and going away for Hubby dear's 50th birthday.
Sea kayaker, river kayaker
Surf kayaker

Old kayaker
We did get out for a very quick stint with two surf kayaks we've been trying. When I say very quick, there really were no waves, so it wasn't much fun.
Iain in his crumbly tower
Ken nabbing Iain's boat
So last weekend, we decided a wee jaunt up to the Tay would be in order. We've paddled the Tay further up with river boats plenty of times, but considering the Tay borders Fife to the north, we don't really paddle this area very much, not sure why not, possibly because we have good paddling on the Forth.
Iain's next climbing tower?
Ken, Iain and Niall heading for Dundee
Iain under the road bridge
Niall eyeing up the Discovery
We carried on over to Broughty Ferry, then up the coast to Dundee. After passing underneath the road bridge, we passed the Discovery, but it was blocked in so couldn't pinch it to take it for a wee spin. We then arrived at the rail bridge where we crossed back over to Fife. It was pleasant having a cheery bit of banter with the workmen on the bridge, who I think were a bit surprised to see us, unlike when we were near the Forth rail bridge a couple of years back, where we got chased by an extremely fast boat keeping everyone from stopping underneath.
Ken under the rail bridge
Iain keeping his distance (he really didn't smell of bird poo!)
Back in Fife, it was definitely lunch time (tummy rumbles told me this), although it was a quick stop as the day was still really cold. After lunch, we sped back down with the tide and slight breeze behind us helping us along.
It was great being up on the Tay, I've no doubt we'll be up there more often.