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

Friday, 26 November 2010

Kayak Isle of Man - SpeedStroke Gym - Kayak Ergometer 2

How much would you pay for a kayaking exercise machine? After much thought and deliberation I decided that £2000 was the most I would be willing to spend. On the 29th of September I issued a "wanted" plea. I was after a SpeedStroke Gym - Kayak Ergometer to help maintain my Winter fitness. I had heard and read that it was the best kayaking machine available.
The problem I had was that the UK supplier, my closest as I live on the Isle of Man, quoted me a price of £2424 (approx $3800) including delivery to the Island. This seemed high to me and to confound the situation, the US based parent supplier seemed reluctant to supply me.
In the end I turned to a website called . They sell a wide variety of high quality outdoor and sports gear. Rarely have I found such an exceptional level of service from an online retailer. They provided what seemed like a personal service, as my machine made the difficult journey from China to the Isle of Man via the UK. The delivery time was just 4 days! Total cost including delivery, VAT and duties £1931.49 (approx $3044.59).
As for the machine well assembly took about 1 hour. Paddling feels totally authentic and of course my fitness level has soared.
Many thanks to all those who responded to my original blog post, and a special thank you to .

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Kayaking Isle of Man - Turks and Caicos Islands.

I've been out in the Turks and Caicos Islands for two weeks now. I've been helping out on Provo and Grand Turk teaching hospital staff some critical care medicine. The two hospitals are brand new having only opened 7 months ago. Many of the staff are new to the Islands, and it's not easy setting up a hospital from scratch. I've been amazed by the progress which has been made. The nurses I helped train, who originate from all corners of the planet, are incredibly professional, enthusiastic and willing to learn.
Like the Isle of Man the Turks and Caicos Islands are a British Crown Dependency with a Governor in residence. Overwhelmingly however, one cannot help but notice the Canadian and American influence here. Even the locally used currency is the US Dollar. It was great therefor to climb into a British Valley touring kayak for one of the two paddles I've made since I arrived. Although this plastic gunboat does not compare to the fibreglass Rockpool I normally paddle, it edged, rolled and handled amazingly well. I was also surprised at the relaxed attitude of the kayaking outlet from which I rented it. This solo paddle was undertaken with absolutely no questions asked about my past experience and skill level. Once I'd signed the waiver that was all that was required to permit me to paddle off through the mangroves, passed the conc farm and out into the open sea in a force 5! Contrast that to the trouble I had in Canada in the Summer persuading anyone to let me have a kayak for the day. I'm not sure which attitude is best, but I much prefer the former.