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

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Kayak Isle of Man - Guidelines.

Having gained a week at home on the Isle of Man before I depart for Stornoway, Jess and I paddled our well trodden route to the Sound. A day earlier my 3 piece Rockpool Alaw Bach returned from Norway. Once again the usual bureaucratic complications delayed it by two days, but it arrived in tact and ready to go. The tough cases I had made last year for it really did preserve the boat. The only damage I could find were a few new scratches, presumably where customs had inspected the craft. On the whole I try to reserve this boat for my foreign trips. This day however, I put it through it's paces in the fast running, spring tidal race. I can confirm that the twelve clips which hold the 3 pieces together were undaunted by the thorough work out I gave the boat as I slammed it down over the numerous standing waves. It's just as well as I'm not sure that the BCU has a offered guidance on what to do if your kayak splits into 3 pieces in rough water! Indeed, my only concerns this day were the huge number of jelly fish in the sea, as shown in the top photograph.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Kayak Isle of Man - Dates.

I spent most of Tuesday packing my bags. There's allot to remember for my 3 week job up in the Outer Hebrides. It's not just cloths, there's cameras, laptops, and of course kayak and gear. I'm always worried I'll forget something. Even the absence of a camera cable could make it difficult to download photos into my laptop for example. Or a phone charger left behind might mean I had no cell phone whilst on call. And so several hours later I was reasonably sure that everything was packed and ready. A suit case, rucksack and other containers for paddling gear were assembled and ready to load into the car. It was such a relief to get it all done. Then it dawned on me. If my locum started on the 31st of July, was there some reason I had done all this on the21st? None what so ever. I've now unpacked everything again. I got the date wrong! Call it a practice run. I'll have to do it all again next week!

Monday, 20 July 2009

Kayak Isle of Man - Scotland.

About 3 months ago I resigned as a Consultant Anaesthetist at the Nobles Hospital, Isle of Man. I had no job to go to, and I really didn't know what I was going to do for a living. All I knew was that I needed to leave that job. I didn't even know if I wanted to ever practice as a doctor again. As an aside, I learned this week that another anaesthetist from my former department has done the same thing! Either way, this week marks my return to the world of the working. I'm off to the Outer Hebrides for a few weeks to cover for an absent Consultant Anaesthetist. After that I'm off to the Orkney Islands off the north coast of Scotland, to do the same thing up there. Now you'll notice a pattern starting to emerge here? All the jobs I've accepted so far are in prime kayaking spots, and yes the Rockpool will be coming with me.
The photos above were snapped during a rather blustery circumnavigation of the Calf of Man on Saturday with Jess and Ian.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Kayak Isle of Man - Hamn i Senja to Skaland.

For our final two days in Northern Norway we returned to Hamn i Senja. The Island of Senja is like a breath of fresh air after Lofoten. It's just as spectacular as Lofoten, but Senja has not yet been besieged by the convoys of camper vans from middle Europe. Senja takes on the role of an accessible wilderness. This is Norway at it's most Arctic, where wildlife is abundant and on display. And yet it remains accessible, as the Norwegians have burrowed numerous tunnels through the massive, dramatic granite mountains to facilitate the roads. It may not stay like this as word gets out and tourism promotion takes off.
This time the pontoons were complete making launching the kayak from just below our cabin easy. I paddled north through the archipelago of "tropical islands" borrowed from the Maldives, and then through a wide open and exposed section to the idyllic sandy beach just north of Skaland. This really is paddling at it's best. Northern Norway is remarkable, Lofoten is magical, Senja is spectacular and this section between Skaland and Hamn is one of the most special places I've ever been.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

KAYAK Medical (Part of Limited)

Through KAYAK medical, I offer locum Consultant Anaesthetic services. In particular I specialise in remote and rural anaesthesia. I have worked for over seven years in remote hospitals including Orkney, the Western Isles and the Isle of Man. I understand that remote and rural medicine /anaesthesia is different from mainstream practice. On call hours can be long during which very little emergency work may take place. Alternatively, emergency work can be hectic with few or no juniors or Consultant colleagues to call upon for help. Very often the remote and rural anaesthetist may be required to undertake medical, paediatric or transfer work which would normally be delegated to other specialties in larger centres. Some remote hospitals lack CT scanners, ultrasound expertise or echocardiography. Blood and clotting factors may not be readily available. I am very familiar with and happy to work under these conditions.
On the other hand I did spend six years as a full time Intensive Care Consultant in the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, and I am also familiar with working in large tertiary referral centres.
At present I only carry out locum Consultant Anaesthetist work. If you would like to employ me directly and avoid expensive agency fees, then please contact me by email. I can very quickly supply an up to date CV with references, occupational health, copies of qualifications certificates, criminal record check and CPD information.
KAYAK Medical

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Kayak Isle of Man - Lofoten further reflections.

This was my second time in A i Lofoten. Last year we were there in October. This time in July it was different. Don't get me wrong, Lofoten is always stunning and I had one of my best paddles ever down to the Maelstrom. But somehow the mountains were less dark and the clouds were less moody. Lofoten is as much about the weather as it is about the geography and it needs, storms, wind and perhaps even snow. This doesn't mean I won't return, it means I'm coming back in January!
By the way all of the above photographs are of Senja, not Lofoten, which is where we are now.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Kayak Isle of Man - Fish Heads.

A few photographs of some of my paddling trips around Lofoten are shown above. Clearly, the lower most photograph is different. It shows thousands of cod fish heads strung up and attached to drying poles. We encountered these on a walk into the mountains a day or two ago. As mentioned in previous posts one of Lofoten's major exports are dried, salted codfish. These go mainly to Southern Europe including Spain and Portugal. Many end up as Bacalao, which consists of the dried, slated cod, potatoes, tomatoes and what ever else comes to hand. The fish heads however are different. They are exported to Nigeria where they are mixed with spices to create a delicious meal! Judging by the blue bottles and the smell there may be some insect life included in this mid African delicacy.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Isle of Man Kayakblog - Moskenestraumen!

Wisely or not I paddled from the tiny, historical fishing village of A to Hell a couple of days ago. Every now and again I undertake a paddle which remains memorable and will stick with me forever. This was one such paddle.
A consists of many Rorbuer, or fisherman's huts, many on stilts overhanging the sea. These were constructed to accommodate the hundreds of migrant fishermen who arrived in Lofoten for the seasonal cod fishing period over the Winter. These days, tourists, including us, inhabit them as fishing has become less labour intensive.
I really wasn't sure what to expect on this paddle. I wanted to do it last time I was in Lofoten but I couldn't get hold of a boat. This time I had my Rockpool. On the way down I passed puffins, several pairs of Golden Eagles and a myriad of sea birds. However, as I neared the end of the main chain of Lofoten Islands, I began to feel nervous as I heard an all too familiar roar of a tidal race. Was this the infamous Moskenstraumen or Maelstrom? Renowned for pulling under fishing boats, whirlpools and the fastest ever recorded tidal currents at 18 km/hr I was now very worried. The roar grew loader and yet there were no signs of tidal activity. I turned the corner at the end of the last main island and entered the Maestorm (lower photo) and paddled towards the aptly named "Hell"! There was that roar but there was nothing. There was less tide than on a slow day at the Calf. The roar I heard was the boiling, fizzing commotion of thousands of fish leaping all around me. Somewhat relieved, I paddled back towards A and caught a speedy tidal stream about a mile off the coast. It was a taste of what this place is capable of as the Rockpool became a rocket and took me home in record time.