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

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Sea Kayaking Isle of Man - Iceland.

In my head there's a list of countries I'd really like to visit. I'm gradually working my way through them one by one. Iceland has always been on the list, but a trip to Reykjavik is usually postponed on grounds of cost. Certainly the £6 pint of beer or £3000.00 air fare would force most people to move the land of Bjork down the list a bit. But things have changed. The collapse of the global economy last year hit every country in the World to some extent, but Iceland fared particularly badly. Indeed the collapse of the Icelandic banks had repercussions far beyond the shores of Iceland, and I know several people who lost money in the Isle of Man branch of one of their larger banks. But the "market" has strange ways of sorting things out. Early last year £1 would buy about 120 Icelandic Krona. Now, for £1 we can get over 200 krona! This phenomenon does not automatically equate to vastly reduced prices, as Icelandic inflation has soared to 17%, and the prices of imported goods can do nothing but rise. Never the less your pound goes allot further and Iceland is rapidly becoming the trendy, nearby, different and not too pricey place to go. With air fares as low as £199 we're off next week to Reykjavik and to hopefully check out the paddling.
Speaking of kayaking the above pictures are from Saturday when Jess and I paddled out to Chicken Rock from Port St Mary.
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Sunday, 20 September 2009

Isle of Man Kayaking - Like old times.

We nearly didn't go. We hadn't been for ages. But in the end Ian, Jess and myself embarked on our once familiar Saturday morning paddle from Port Erin on the Isle of Man, down to the Sound tidal races. I'm glad we did. Spring tides and a force 4 almost against the flow lent for some challenging conditions. I say challenging because Ian and I both were forced to role! Only Jess came through unscathed. I think perhaps a lack of tidal race time may have left us rusty. Either way we had a great but exhausting time.
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Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Kayaking Isle of Man - Work.

A little over 4 months ago I gave up my job as a Consultant Anaesthetist at the Nobles Hospital, Isle of Man. Subsequently I set up my own company and I started hiring myself out as a freelance Consultant Anaesthetist. I'm contacted by a hospital or an agency and offered a job. If I like the offer then off I go. I am a bit picky about which jobs I'll do and where I'm willing to work. But so far there has been no shortage of work. Indeed, I've had to turn rather a lot of work down due to prior commitments. It pays well, in fact, I now earn more than I did when I had a full time job. I'm not tied to an organisation and I'm completely my own boss. If I don't like a particular place or hospital, I simply don't have to go back again. I get as much time off as I like and I'm about to enjoy 3 to 4 weeks on the Isle of Man before thinking about taking another job. Best of all though I enjoy the variety. I've just returned from Orkney. The hospital in Kirkwall is tiny and anyone majorly ill needs need to be flown off to the big hospital in Aberdeen with an accompanying doctor. During my 10 days in Orkney I transferred two patients in this way. For the first patient we used an RAF Sea King helicopter, and for the second we used the Scottish Air Ambulance's Eurocopter, which is based in Inverness. The photographs above were taken from inside the Eurocopter.
I think what I'm really trying to say is that there are many people out there doing jobs which make them deeply unhappy. I was one and I've been contacted by many others via this blog. What has become clear to me is that although you may feel trapped you probably are not. There are likely to be options open to you to change and improve your circumstances and frankly no job is worth suffering for.
3 to 4 weeks off means lots of paddling and so hopefully this blog will soon return to it's more usual topic of kayaking.
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Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Isle of Man Kayaking - Orkney

I'm up in Orkney, carrying out a locum anaesthetic job in the local hospital. I'll be here for 10 days and I'm on call for a superhuman 8 of them! Consequently, I flew in and I'm minus a car and a kayak. There just is no time for paddling. In fact and unusually I've been really busy, including spending most of Sunday night in the back of a RAF Sea King helicopter transferring a patient from Orkney to Aberdeen for emergency surgery. That was quite an experience as we spent most of the flight skimming the surface of the sea, periodically looking up at the lights of oil rigs and light houses!
It's not a problem anyway as I know Orkney well. I once lived here and have explored every corner of these islands. Orkney has changed though. Kirkwall is much more vibrant than I remember it with multiple supermarkets and little bistros and trendy shops. I can't help but notice just how Scandinavian it has become. Many of the street, shop and ferry names are Norwegian. The flag pictured above flying on a Norwegian ship moored in Kirkwall is another example. After a vote a few years ago Orkney adopted this as their new flag. At first sight it looks like a Norwegian flag, but in fact the Orcadians have substituted the white section from the Norwegian flag for the yellow colouration above, but otherwise the flag is the same. Perhaps a statement of independence and a recognition of their origins?
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