Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 highlights

There have been a number kayaking highlights over the last 12 months and it is always a pleasure to look back over the year.
Probably the best one day paddle was when we were staying on Lihou in June and paddled around Guernsey as well as managing to fit in lunch on Herm.  The weather couldn't have been better, the 12 members of the group were all pretty strong paddlers and the 25 nautical miles just flew past.
 Approaching the east coast of Jethou.  Herm is the land furthest away in the picture
 On the return leg to Lihou.  Heading down the west coast of Guernsey, Kim is just offshore from Cobo.
My favourite open crossing of the year was returning from Sark to Jersey at the end of July with some members of Tower Hamlets Canoe Club.  Due to flight timings we had to leave Sark a bit earlier, in the tidal sequence, than we would do normally but there seemed to be a small window of opportunity so we took it and it was ideal. Close to 13 nautical miles in 2 hours 45 minutes, I think I will probably use that departure time again.

Leaving Sark on the Sunday morning.  All of the anchored craft on the left of the picture indicate Dixcart, where we started.
 We did have a bit of company in the middle of the crossing which encouraged us to paddle a bit quicker.
Probably the best paddling event, and I have to admit some bias here, was the Jersey Sea Kayaking Symposium, held in May.  After a gap of 4 years I was encouraged to run another event but this time the structure was different.  It was based at the Highlands Hotel on the south west corner of the Island and attracted over 100 people to Jersey for a weeks kayaking.  Apart from the pleasure of the week the legacy is that the Canoe Club has been able to purchase 8 sea kayaks to place on the west of Greenland for paddlers to use in the coming years.
The view from the hotel lounge  There were views of both the south and west coast of the Island
These are the cliffs just underneath the hotel and they proved to be a popular with most of the participants.
My most memorable overnight paddle was the 10 days we spent in Baja.  It is difficult to describe just how special a destination the area is.  Remote beaches, stunning scenery, superb weather, incredible wildlife, the list just goes on and on.  We will miss out on not visiting the area in 2015 as we are heading north to use the Canoe Club kayaks in Greenland next summer.
Clear water, sandy beaches, hot weather - Baja
Some great scenery.  Along one stretch of coast the cliffs were over 1,000 feet high.
There have only been two paddling disappointments this year:
1.) I didn't go to the Ecrehous enough, although the visits I did do were as enjoyable as ever.
2.) I lost my luggage en route to a canoeing trip in Sweden so spent time hanging around Stockholm airport rather than canoeing through Swedish forests.
 Arriving at the Ecrehous in August.  Always a treat.
Looking north from the bench in September.
 Storm clouds over Karlstad in Sweden.  We spent 3 days in Karlstad and Stockholm looking for luggage, which meant that we missed our 7 day open canoe trip
So all in all another excellent year on the water.  Looking forward to 2015

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