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

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Kayaking Isle of Man 1

As you can see from the photograph above, it was incredibly grey and dull here in the Isle of Man today. I don't want to depress you all, but we really had the worst possible conditions for sea kayaking. The sea and sky were grey, and there was no wind and so no waves to play in! It couldn't even manage to rain properly. Instead we got a constant miserable drizzle. Still, off I set from Peel to Glen Maye and back in my Rockpool for no other reason than to get some exercise!
It didn't quite work out like that though. The tide was very high. Although there were no play waves there was a long wavelength swell rolling in from the west. This was barely noticeable as it passed under my kayak but as soon as it hit a submerged shelf, a rock or the shear cliffs which line this route these waves would explode producing a thunderous roar, sending surf and spray many meters up into the air. It was this that caught me out. I was performing some desperate rock hopping in a last ditch attempt to liven up this paddle. I passed between cliffs and some rocks to the seaward side. There would only have been enough room for about two kayaks in this rocky corridor. Suddenly, and with me dozing, two enormous waves exploded over the rocks and filled the passage through which I was paddling. I ascended what seemed like about two meters and was flung against the cliffs, in a boiling, steaming fountain of powerful froth and turmoil. This was repeated a second time, and once again I was flung about like a cork. There wasn't room to perform any conventional strokes as I flailed about in a desperate attempt to stay upright and to maintain the sea worthiness of my glass fibre kayak. The whole fiasco was accompanied by the sickening sound of gel coat and fibreglass on barnacle covered rocks. I eventually power paddled out of the frenzy and into calmer water. I survived to tell the tale, and so did my kayak with barely a scratch! I think I will treat the Irish Sea with a bit more respect in future!
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