KAYAK.im Blog

Mainly kayaking photographs taken on the Isle of Man and beyond.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Isle of Man Steam Packet

I've been roaming around the Isle of Man without my camera for a while now. Recently however, I have rediscovered my camera!
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Saturday, 13 August 2011

Sea Kayaking Isle of Man - Flat Calm.

A flat calm day with little tide! Ian and I circumnavigate the Calf of Man.
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Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Isle of Man First Aid Course for Kayakers.

I guess when you look at the photos above of yours truly in the Calf Sound tidal races, it is easy to see how a paddler could become injured at this more extreme end of the sport. It was perhaps with that in mind that Wayne and Sarah Hickey have devised and are running a first aid course with a bias towards paddling. Sarah wrote ...
"The course will start at 9.30am on Saturday 18th June, running until about 4.30pm. It will be held at Ard Whallin outdoor centre in West Baldwin. It is a HSE (Health and Safety Executive) approved emergency first aid course and candidates will receive a HSE certificate at the end. There will be a bias towards injuries and incidents likely to be encountered in a water sports environment and an in-house certificate relating to this will also be awarded. Food will not be provided but tea and coffee making facilities are available. The course costs £50 per person and is available for up to 10 people (minimum of 4 required for the course to go ahead). Confirmation of a place on the course will be given when a cheque for the full amount is received (if the course does not go ahead due to lack of interest this will be fully refunded). Cheques are to be made payable to Wayne Hickey and can be sent to 'Isle of Man First Aid, 13 Mona Street, Peel, IM5 1HJ'. For further information and to book a place please contact whickey@manx.net."
On a slightly different note, if anyone has found a 4 piece Lendal glass bladed sea kayak paddle then please contact me through KAYAK.im . The paddle was left by Ian Smith at Fenella Beach on the Isle of Man over a week ago. It would be great if we could return it to him.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Tidal Race Dot Com

I didn't take the photos above. Instead they were taken by Johan Wagner of Escape Outdoors in Sweden. They feature a memorable day in 2006 when some expert paddlers from around the World played and surfed in the Penrhyn Mawr tidal race in North Wales. These, plus others from the same day taken by Jeff Allen of Sea Kayaking Cornwall, have been incorporated into 5 new pages on KAYAK.im. Written by Phil Clegg of Sea Kayaking UK, these new additions to the tidal race section give an overview, and then detailed information about Penrhyn Mawr, North Stack, South Stack and Rhoscolyn tidal rapids. Timing, flows, location and eddy information are all included. There are now 10 pages of tidal race information on KAYAK.im including details of Isle of Man and Canadian tidal rapids, with more under construction. If you want to miss out all the Isle of Man stuff then you can also access these pages through tidalrace.com.
Of course, it goes without saying that tidal races are dangerous and under no circumstances should you ever paddle into one!

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Kayaking Isle of Man - Surviving Gibraltar.

This blog has been devoid of entries and photographs of late. Part of the reason is that I've "fried" another waterproof camera. That's my fourth in three years. So far I've destroyed three pentax and one olympus marine cameras. Normally I'd go straight out and replace it but not this time. I'm struggling to decide which one to buy. I've come to the conclusion that so called waterproof cameras at best last about one year! Should I buy a cheap camera with poor picture quality or shell out £270 on a top spec Lumix FT2? I still can't decide and until I do photographs on this blog may continue to be snapped on my Blackberry Pearl, like the ones above.
As you can see I was in Gibraltar working for Christmas. Should you find yourself in a similar situation, confined to The Rock which is only a couple of miles square, then here are some truisms:
Be careful who you accuse of being Spanish and never ask why Gibraltar is British.
Do not put food down anywhere unless it is in a hermetically sealed container as the place is infested by ants. Similarly never eat food in the dark although I believe from certain survival programs that ants are quite nutritious.
Electrical goods are sold duty free in Gibraltar, but somehow this makes them more expensive than at home where we have duty!
You are never far from a cannon in Gibraltar.
The best Locum Consultant Anaesthetist job in the World is to be found here but alas, it all comes to an end in March.
The apes, especially the small ones, look cute but in fact they are vicious!
If you are scared of flying never willingly take off or land at Gibraltar airport, especially if there is a nasty cross wind.
That's all,
Happy new year.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Sea Kayaking Isle of Man - Weight.


Paddling in tidal rapids is becoming a sport in its own right. I've been researching tidal race kayaking for a new section in KAYAK.im describing well paddled tidal races from around the World. I've looked a little at boat design and its reassuring to find that boat manufacturers are producing sea kayaks designed specifically for this relatively new sport. One well known British manufacturer (not Rockpool) produces a boat which is "heavily rockered, with a flat midsection, the hull gives great manoeuvrability in big water, whilst well defined chines and buoyant ends provide solid stability and control on the wave." Well you can't argue with that and I think that's how I'd want my next sea kayaking "play boat". One slightly less well known North American manufacturer is also producing what it describes as a "British" style boat with a skeg with many of the attributes of the first boat mentioned. One important difference between the two stood out though. The British company is producing a boat which weighs 25 kg. The North American boat weighs in at just 15 kg!
I put this to the UK company as I thought that the 25kg weight mentioned on their web site must be a mistake. It just seems way too heavy to me and they replied "the boat features a heavier duty layup than found on our other boats (the core material is approx. 1mm thicker).We could, of course, have chosen to produce a lightweight boat, but the danger with this is that it will not have suitable stiffness and/or it's failure mode upon an impact will be critical. Our preference is to make the boat extremely rigid, to prevent flex in big conditions, with toughness that will give the boat longevity that light weight will not."
I don't think I can argue with that. Certainly my Rockpool Alaw Bach does flex a bit in the extreme conditions sometimes encountered in our Isle of Man tidal races. On the other hand one of the Rockpools I use is a 3 piece, and it has held together very well. Could this dichotomy of opinion reflect the differences in our tidal races. In North America, especially around Vancouver Island, tidal flows regularly reach double digits and need no weather to whip them up. The races in which the British boat is used are slower flowing, but when whipped up by the frequent gales become gnarly, less predictable and hostile perhaps requiring a firmer layup. At the end of the day I guess it boils down to personal preference. I'm happy with my Rockpool but if I were to consider purchasing a new boat, then I think a trip to Washington State may be in order!
The new tidal race section is still under construction but in the meantime you can read about the Surge Rapids and the Okisollo Waves.