Sunday, July 26, 2015

fighting the wind

The plan was to paddle to Habonim beach on Friday afternoon,spend the night camping and return the next day. Its not a long distance,about 15km one way and should take our group about 2 to 3 hours. In normal weather that is

Plans are made to be changed, and the weather plays a big part in this decision. So when the time came to depart we had to make up our minds. The wind was Northerly about 15 to 25K, the kites were having a blast and the sea was getting exciting.

In the end the decision was made to paddle against the wind and see how far we could go. There were plenty of camping options on the way so if the going got too tough we could stop almost anywhere for the night

The going got tough right from the beginning, the sea was building and the waves were getting bigger, it was very difficult to paddle against the strong wind but we  carried on regardless. Our usual landmarks came and went but the time to get there was more than double. It was very difficult paddling against such a strong wind and  after about 3 hours we decided to call it a day

Even paddling the double was difficult in such conditions and I found myself loosing ground all the time. Eventually we decided on a tow to help us keep up with the rest of the group

We reached Pigeon Island at abouit 6.45 in the evening and had a well earned rest hidden from the wind

It was a good time for some well earned bladder relief

and also to get rid of some of the water that had gotten into the cockpit

We landed on the beach at Kibbutz Maagan Michael  just as the sun was setting

A head count showed that we had not lost any paddlers along the way

Quickly we set up camp and prepared for food

The wind continued untill late that night

It was relatively easy to get the charcoal going in such a strong wind and soon we were feasting and drinking 

Next morning  conditions were more conducive to paddling, no wind and flat sea, making the trip back home a whole lot easier

On reflection I can say that it was quite an achievement for the whole group . We managed to paddle against the wind and the waves for about 3 hours, it was not easy and we stayed together the whole time. No one capsized and we used our tow ropes to keep the group together.
Paddling in strong wind is a real challenge to kayakers, this time we had the wind against us, making it difficult to gain headway , but easier to maintain control and direction.Next challenge is to go with the wind, in a following sea, this is more difficult from a boat control point of view but if you have the experience you can use the waves and wind to your advantage.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Thursday afternoon skill sessions

We are blessed with warm water and long sunny days in summer,just what you need for an afternoon session of kayak skill training. So after reorganising my work hours I now have time  to help out . Its a great way to end the week and start the weekend

We usually get about 6 to 10 paddlers and spend a couple of hours teaching . The session could be on rescues, self and assisted. 

Sunset is a great time to be out on the water

Eskimo rescue is a good exercise, it helps you learn to stay calm under water, and  later when you are learning to roll is saves a lot of time and effort by keeping you in your kayak when your roll fails.

Surf launching and landing can be quite daunting for many paddlers, so if the conditions are right we spend a lot of time teaching how to go out through surf and how to come back without flipping over.

it can be quite exciting for newcomers to suddenly understand how all the bracing leaning and edging suddenly come together when you are surfing back to shore

Your confidence gets a good boost when you master bracing in waves

and you begin to really enjoy playing in the rough water

obviously there will be upsets but that's all part of the learning process

Progress is quite fast

and then you dont stop smiling

there are many variations of rescues

The thing is that you need to practice  all the time and then when you really need to do real time rescue you know how to do it without any confusion
Eventually you get to go out and play in nice rough water and have a lot of fun surfing