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

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Sea Kayaking Isle of Man - Surge Rapids.

As you can see, Ian, Jess and myself spent today in the Manx tidal races. Regular viewers of this blog will quickly realise that there is nothing unusual in that. The three of us spend most of our paddling time surfing the Calf Sound tides. Blog is read by kayakers from around the World and I'm hoping that a few Canadian paddlers might view this post. In July and August I'll be headed off again to Vancouver Island in British Colombia. Unlike the last time I went, I won't be taking my Rockpool 3 piece kayak; it's just too difficult to get it there these days, and last time it got badly damaged in transit! Instead I'm going to rent boats, in particular in Tofino, Port Hardy and Quadra Island. I already know where I can lease boats from, but I really would like a British style boat such as a Nigel Denis Explorer or something similar. If you rent out such kayaks in any of the places listed above then please contact me here Finally, I would really like to paddle the infamous Surge Rapids off Quadra Island in a sea kayak. If any paddling companies based in the area provide organised trips to these tidal races then please contact me again here.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Sea Kayaking Isle of Man - A Different Race.

Not all tidal races are the same. Nor is any particular tidal race the same the whole time. Much depends on what's causing them and when you go. The top photograph is of me in the small tidal race between the Isle of Man and Kitterland, just below the Calf Sound Cafe. The lower two pictures are of Ian in a race much further around the back of the Calf just beyond the Stack, on the South West corner of the island. This race is produced by tide gushing over submerged, irregular rocks as it wraps it's way around the Calf and smashes into opposing currents. This produces a swirling, gnarly mass of waves, eddys and currents heading in seemingly random directions. When a tidal race is like this it really isn't worth playing in, and entry becomes more an exercise in survival. It is not unusual to have 3 or 4 waves crashing into your boat from all directions making choosing which one to brace upon an impossible decision. Get it wrong and you are going over. The first race however in the top picture, although on this occasion slightly bigger, is much more manageable. Predictable standing waves move in a uniform direction allowing easy surfing. This race is produced by tide flowing through a narrow, shallow gap between two islands. This causes the water to speed up resulting in turbulence and uniform, constant waves.