Paddles with an Anas acuta...... unashamedly biased toward the sea kayak of that name (actually the voyages of two boats, one 'traffic over gold', one 'quill')

Monday, 17 October 2016

Playing around in Langstone Harbour Entrance

Who could resist it?
Spring tides, high water -2, with the water pouring into the Harbour to cover the mudflats.
A spot of wind to whip up the sea.
Sunshine and warm water.
Just wholesome good fun!

Monday, 26 September 2016

A where is it and a what is it.

 Easy to recognise this spot, but did you find the lighthouse keepers well nearby, did the pine marten gambol around your tent, did you find the massive stone age midden in the dry cave nearby.
Near the entrance of Loch Nevis this pavement caught my eye. I'd seen similar arrangements in Greenland made by ice and frost more recently -only the icebergs were missing from the loch.

Two months in Scotland -Crowlin

 The three Crowlins are small, especially the northern most, but you could spend weeks there and still find something new every day.
 A place where even the Bonxies are pretty laid back, this one let me look at its nest as it was sitting a few feet away with a quizzical rather than an angry look.
 Camping spots are tight on the wave cut ledges just above HW, you can circumnavigate at this level with a bit of scrambling. Indeed clambering into the interior can be hard work. I had to re-open an old well for drinking water near the lighthouse.
 Eiders have an odd shaped egg and an eye for camouflage such a pity that plastic scraps are so universal just above the tide line the birds feel obliged to use them in order to fit in.
 The beach near the old village on the largest island has water and a spot for a tent
 It looks a nice place to have lived.
Not too many sheep so space for wild flowers.

Lunching on a beach, a raven caught my eye. It was watching over an apparently dead sheep, but the sheep, wedged upside down in the rocks, moved a leg so I went to have a look. It was alive but very weak and with its wool saturated was too heavy to move. Using some driftwood wedges I slowly managed to turn it. However, it only staggered a couple of metres dragging its hind quarters then sunk down again. I diagnosed a broken back and was sad to leave it to die, but happy for the ravens who were no doubt already planning a new family with the prospect of easy food. Next day it had vanished, so must have got feeling back and been able to move off.

These young Hoodies near my tent seemed to be expecting me to feed them if the parents were not around -very noisy kids!

Home waters Lymington to the Needles

A steady F5 on the nose slowed us down, despite it being neaps the tide almost balanced the wind in places but never-the-less we were only making about 1.5kt on average. Eventually we ran out of tide still short of the Needles. Once it turned against us the only thing to do was to enjoy the blast back through the Hurst narrows. Warm and sunny, the sea would have looked more threatening if it had been cold and grey. A great day out on the water.

Friday, 29 July 2016

Two months indolent solitary paddling and mountain walking in Scotland

My route through May and June and into July, time to watch the ring plovers and oyster catcher chicks from a twinkle in their parents eye to independent teenagers. With only myself to please I spent a lot of time watching wildlife. Time becoming more and more irrelevant, only the tides marking the passage of the day.
 Part 1 Moidart to Sleat
 Sparkling water
 and rough weather on Sgurr na Ciche
 After the wind, calm as only a deep loch can be
 crossing to Rum, 10nm running downwind
 A minke's paw collected by a raven
 Idyllic camping
Approaching Sleat from Eigg, pleased to be back in shelter after a bumpy sea for 2 hours and a close encounter with a Calmac ferry resolved by a chat on the VHF as I was hidden in the ocean billows.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Winter waders

 Whirling flocks of aerial acrobatics, I fine show by winter waders in Chichester Harbour last Sunday

 A bumpy looking harbour mouth with wind against tide and some residual swell
 That swell catching the 'detonator' bar

 A capsize and swim
 followed by a slick rescue by a pair of Anas acutas

Culverts -love them or hate them

 On the run from day after day of gales we took to the local canal

A really enjoyable day out!

Sunday, 31 January 2016

VE Paddle workout

We had a training session on the sea front today. Wind cross-shore force 5-7, sea flat but a wind blown chop to 1m and a dumping shore-break strong enough to knock you off your feet. Did I mention the 1.5 to 2kt tide running with the wind? Equals very hard work making way uptide and upwind, keeping in the shore break was the best bet but with always a chance of a bongo slide onto dryland. VE paddles have kindly lent us a range of their touring paddles to try out. A range of carbon Aircore Explorers and an experimental pre-production 'Voyager' with a longer thinner blade. Here is the 'VE Voyager' with my greenland stick and Liz's favourite the Epic Relaxed.
Once launched we could mess about upwind, downwind, round and round, surfing. I found the carbon VE Explorers too stiff and powerful for me (1.7m, 63kg 30 nm a day without tidal assistance paddler). However, I got to like the 'Voyager' on a glass shaft.
Here it is in the hands of another club member, the 'aircore' construction gives a sort of bladder (think bladder wrack) you will see here if you click to enlarge, making the blade very stiff and strong and floaty. Great for braces, rolling, self rescues......
 We gave them a good work out.
Even, I must confess to VE, catching a bit of shingle when flirting with the shore dump. Not a sign of a scrape or damage, these are very solidly made despite being very lightweight.

The prototype 'Voyager' is apparently about 650 sqcm area so similar to many medium touring paddles like the Epics. I would like to try a smaller area in the same shape 600 or even less as it had bags of power, no flutter so could probably be cut to an even more elongated shape to give a tendon saving gentle 'catch'.

VE has established a name in WW blades and there is every chance of their touring blades catching on. Liked it!