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

Sunday, 30 December 2007

River Run!

Today was a good day. It was one of those days that you remember for years to come, and for the right reasons. The Scouts invited Manx Paddle Sports (of which I am now a proud honorary member) on their annual New Year River Neb run. I am no river paddler. The last time I paddled down the Neb it was raging. I resembled a stick tossed into the current and completely at the mercy of the flow. I even managed to get myself trapped under water beneath a tree trunk. It was only because of some primitive survival response that I managed to heave myself to the surface against the flow. Not this time however. The Neb was sedate, having been starved of the torrential rain required to awaken it. Instead this was a watery traffic jam, with three foot drops over weirs providing the adrenaline as I stared vertically downwards towards the exposed rocks awaiting me. It was great fun however and I met some fantastic people. I didn't realise until now that there are some extremely talented young paddlers on the Isle of Man. Many thanks to Steve Watt and others for organising this event.
In the afternoon Jess, Ian and myself returned to the security of our familiar sea kayaks for a blast to Glen Maye from Peel. Give me a tidal race and a force 8 any day, but rivers are scary!

Sunday, 23 December 2007

Paddle Buddy

This morning was the first outing for the newly formed Paddle Buddy. Through this club, Isle of Man based paddlers can meet up and arrange kayak trips together. Ian, Sarah, Jess and myself blasted out of Port Erin on a blustery day. There was a brisk force 6 blowing fueling rough conditions outside the bay. In between battling the wind and surfing back to shore, we used the shelter of the harbour for roles, self rescues and sculling practice ahead of Sarah and Jess's 2 star assessment this afternoon! Apparently now paddlers who wish to progress through the star awards are no longer able to jump straight in at 3 star! Judging by this morning's performance they should pass easily.

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Kayakblog has been quiet recently. I've been busy producing the new . This process is pretty well complete. The web site has had a complete face lift. In addition there is some new content with 6 new pages. In particular the new site now incorporates Manx Paddle Sports who have moved over to . There is also the new Paddle Buddy page. This allows paddlers on or visiting the Isle of Man to find kayaking buddies. This system is still under test by a handful of us, hence the delay in launching the new site until Saturday 22nd December 2007. There will also be new content added over the next few weeks after the launch with new paddles described, and some new galleries. Unfortunately this will mean that the site will be down for some time on Saturday. I hope the new web site will be uploaded and ready by Sunday 23rd December.

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Peel to Glen Maye

You know, apart from the daily technical battle I enjoy fighting with software, broadband links and servers, the other great advantage you get from running a website is meeting people through it. That's how I encountered Jessica. We set off from Peel to Glen Maye this afternoon on a chilly but largely flat sea. After 45 minutes we reached Glen Maye, about half the time I would normally expect. We then decided to test our sculling skills and later roles, reentry and roles and towing. All went without a hitch. It's rare to meet someone who has clearly reached 4 star level after paddling for 4 months only. Still if your maiden trip involves a circumnavigation of the Isle of Man then I guess I shouldn't be surprised. It must also reflect the excellent coaching she has received from Adventurous Experiences and I know that she is hoping to take her 3 star assessment with them soon. I have no doubt that she will fly through this.

Saturday, 8 December 2007


Once again atrocious weather continues here on the Isle of Man. Ian and I took advantage of a lull in the weather to take a quick blast out of Peel. By a lull in the weather I mean we only had force 6 winds to deal with in contrast to the gale 8's that have been blowing here for days now. This was a Rockpool fest with 50% of the Manx Rockpool fleet on display. I have the Alaw Bach as opposed to Ian who has the Alaw. Bach in Welsh means small (Alaw means song). Rockpool started with the Alaw which has a cavernous cockpit. Smaller paddlers found with the Alaw that their knees were upright, as opposed to the more familiar splayed position. Hence Rockpool modified the Alaw making the cockpit lower and the Alaw Bach was formed. The two boats are identical in every other way.

Friday, 7 December 2007

Kayak Marathon.

Desperate for a paddle I took the Rockpool out of the garage and exposed it to the force 8 to 9 winds we have currently blowing here in the Isle of Man. From Port Erin, around to Port St. Mary, then Laxey, Ramsey and back to Peel we went. Unfortunately this 5o mile paddling trip took place with the Rockpool on top of my car rather than in the sea, as I searched for a paddling opportunity. It really was horrific out there. Steam was rising from the top of the sizable waves; Nigel Dennis says that this means it is at least force 8!
All was not quite lost however. At Port Cornaa I decided to go for it. Launching in the river I paddled into the sea through the narrow passage between the shingle beach and the rock face. Where the river meets the sea there were some interesting wave formations allowing briefly a bit of surfing. Soon the tide dropped and the wind seemed determined to blow me off to the UK and so it was time to come back in. I've never paddled at Port Cornaa before but it seems like a good little spot especially when there's a force 9 westerly hitting the Island.

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Stuck for a Paddle Partner?

Paddling has been a bit of a problem recently. What with work and other commitments it's not been possible to go. Things are different this week and whatever the weather I'll be out there. Quite a few people have contacted me about paddling. A few Blogs ago I muted the idea of a "find a paddling partner page" on the new website. There has been quite a bit of interest in this. What I plan to do is to create a forum through through which members can contact other members in order to arrange paddles. If you want to join the forum then please click on contact and email me with your details ready for the launch in a few weeks time.