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

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Kayaking Isle of Man - Orkney.

I remember one weekend in Orkney I was "on call" for anaesthetics and was laid very low indeed with flu. I could barely move and set up camp in my living room under a duvet with the TV for company. During my brief periods of consciousness during that 72 hour stint, I prayed that I would not be called into the hospital to anaesthetise an emergency case. Orkney was a bit different to the Isle of Man. Back then there were just two Consultant Anaesthetists on the Island. Of course, that weekend my colleague was away and there was no one else. Mercifully, for both me and the patients, it remained quiet and I wasn't needed. I was reminded of this yesterday as once again whilst on call my sore throat worsened and I started to feel cold and shivery. At least here on the Isle of Man there are 5 other Consultant Anaesthetists. I doubt they'd be best pleased to be called on their weekend off, but at least there is some back up. I wasn't as ill as that weekend in Orkney and this morning, with 24 hours of on call to go, I feel much better.
No kayaking of course!

Friday, 20 February 2009

Sea Kayaking Isle of Man - Advice for Bloggers.

Take my advice. If you have a blog and you have nothing to say - don't say anything. Just put some pretty pictures up instead. Do the same if you've got loads to say but something tells you "you shouldn't!"

Monday, 16 February 2009

Sea Kayaking Isle of Man - Obstacles.

WARNING: You can meet with all sorts of dangerous obstacles on one of our paddles. These range from big waves, gnarly tidal races and inconveniently placed navigational markers!
(3rd photo down by Ian Smith)

Friday, 13 February 2009

Kayaking Isle of Man - Border Dispute!

A non-kayaking post - apologies!
If you are reading this blog at KAYAK you will be able to see through it to a large background version of the picture above. By the way that's Peel Breakwater, Isle of Man, on a very stormy day. I'm telling you this because I've been trying to achieve this transparent web effect for almost a year now. Previously, all but the blog was transparent at KAYAK, and it niggled at me. You could be excused for thinking therefor that I've solved the problem, but you'd be wrong. What you are looking at is a bit of cheating! To a professional web designer (which I am not) this would be unsatisfactory.
So what's the problem? Well the blog is located on Google's servers and is incorporated into my locally hosted web site in an "iframe". I cannot find a way of overriding the CSS (styling) in the original blog to make it transparent on KAYAK. Non of the javascript fixes I've found work. Well, you are thinking, why not alter the code at the Google end? Yep, that works but then if you access the blog directly, rather than through, as the blog is now transparent, it becomes a white out. As the text is white you can no longer read it. If I darken the text at Google then you can no longer read it at KAYAK and so on.
Another solution would be to access the Atom or RSS feed and post it into a div tag rather than an iframe, and then write the style sheets to alter the layout as I want it. That solution works well until it comes to putting an essential white border on the photos. Even using a third party feed modifier like "feedburner" I can't quite get the photo borders right. Eventually I think I will solve this with a bit of Javascript, but so far the "perfect solution" has evaded me. In the meantime the "two blogs" solution will have to hold the fort.
Sorry if I've bored to death any kayakers who may have read this.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Sea Kayaking Isle of Man - Role?

Over the weekend Ian and I surfed Port Erin and paddled the Calf Sound tidal race. The latter wasn't flowing strongly and the wind was flattening it off. Still, we could practice our roles in the moderatly rough water. I role every time I paddle, both sides. I've been able to role out of necessity in some pretty harsh conditions as a result. But does practice make perfect? The role in this video and shown in the snapshots above is effective, but poor. I've suspected for a while that my role is relaible because of a strong hip flick and me hauling myself up strongly with what is effectively an under water high brace. But if you look closely you can see that my body and head are tense, and emerge too soon from the water. Oh well, I guess it'll be back to the drawing board this weekend.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Sea Kayaking Isle of Man - Weekend Photos and Video!

(Top photo by Ian Smith)
There's also a video which you can view here. It's a bit shaky due to the wind and tide but you'll get the idea.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Sea Kayaking Isle of Man - Bits!

It's been a "bitty" week. Firstly the Northern Norway kayaking holiday is more or less booked. It was only possible to get our heads around the web of logistics involved after several glasses of wine. Otherwise it would have taken the help of a bank of computers. Flights, hotels, cabins and hire cars are booked. I think the transportation of my kayak on the back of a lorry to Tromso is also arranged. Many thanks to the staff of the Clarion Hotel in Tromso for agreeing to help with this.
My Pentax Optio W30 has arrived which means once again I can snap photos for the blog. Thanks to Ian for holding the "photographic fort" recently. I saved over £20 by ordering it in "coral pink"! Presumably Pentax had alienated the vast majority of the male population by producing the camera in such a colour and they couldn't shift them. As it's longevity is in doubt anyway, I had no concerns about ordering a waterproof camera in such a feminine colour. In fact it's not pink at all but more of an "altered blood" colour (a medical term for blood that's been sitting in the stomach for a while) . First impressions are that I can see why Pentax don't market it as shockproof, as it feels a bit plasticy and fragile. Still all I care about is if it keeps out the salt water and lasts a bit longer than the last two waterproof cameras I had from Sanyo and Olympus.
Finally, I've spent much of the week trying to arrange a course in Canada. It's probably the most expensive course in the World costing over £10,000 for 30 days. I've been advised to make sure that my medical insurance is bang up to date! It's nothing to do with kayaking or medicine? I'm aiming to complete the training later this year or early 2010.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Kayaking Isle of Man - Snow?

On Sunday Ian and myself braved the cold and headed out of Peel. It's always difficult to motivate yourself when it's this cold. Great Clouds of steam exited our nostrils as we paddled south, buffeted by the force 6 winds billowing down from the cliffs above. As our fingers painfully thawed we had the now compulsory left and right roles to look forward to. We make no concessions to the weather!
I'm still dependent on Ian for photographs having recently destroyed another waterproof camera. I've ordered a Pentax Optio W60 which should arrive soon. It claims to be waterproof down to 4 metres for 2 hours, and can deal with temperatures as low as minus 10 deg C! You'd think that would be sufficient but the last one claimed to be waterproof down to 10 metres and leaked after just 2 months. I'll keep you posted.