Sunday, November 13, 2011

Lost Knowledge

Last evening was the Jersey Canoe Club Annual Dinner and Prize Giving and I was asked to put together a short presentation of the Club over the years to play quietly in the background.  Doing so required me to search through my hard drive somewhat more thoroughly than I would normally and what I found started me thinking about how how our access to information is changing.
Chris Jones and myself ran the Sea Paddler website for 5 or 6 years and it proved to be extremely

popular.  We were regularly approaching 2,000 visitors a day, and this was without the benefit of a forum which clearly helps to drive visitors to a site.
The aim was to be very much an online magazine and the aim was to update once a week and we hoped at some point in the future there could be a financial model which would allow us to receive an income which would allow further developments in the future, including paying for contributions.
At the time there were discussions about subscription based sites, we naively thought that I we could get people to contribute the cost of a pint each year; ie less than the cost of a monthly magazine, we would be home and dry financially.  We did have a payment button on the site but completely misjudged the market, in 6 years we received less than £50 and about probably 90% of that income was in the first few months.
Then we came up with the idea of adverts on the site.  Again naively we thought that if the site was receiving nearly 2,000 visits per day, these were very favourable numbers when compared to the print runs of specialist magazines.  We approached numerous companies, individuals etc, we had a potential list of about 500 potential advertisers.  We set our rates much lower than in printed magazines but still only managed to sign up 3 companies.  Again we misjudged the market at the time.
The most common reply we received was if you put one of our adverts on your site we will put a link on yours to Sea Paddler.  Hardly a fair exchange, a banner designed to sell kayaks for a maunfacturer who received about 200 visitors a day to their site, for a link back to a site receiving thousands of hits a week.
What was apparent was that the popularity of the site was going through the roof.  We moved away from using Front Page, which at the time required Chris to do all the work on his computer, to a system which allowed either of us to update the site from any machine wherever we were.  So for the last two years of the site we changed from updating once a week at the most to updating on an almost daily basis and some times a couple of small additions twice a day.  The flow of photographs, articles etc submitted changed from a trickle to a flood.
In addition we were putting PDF documents for trip planning, coaching etc.  We were one of the first sites to embed video into articles to demonstrate the skills and coaching sections.  We built up a huge photographic database of types of kayaks, lighthouses etc.  There were destination articles, coaching articles, related articles on environmental topics and the list goes.  At the end there were over 1,000 different sections, in effect the site was huge and we hoped a really useful resource for paddlers throughout the world.
Unfortunately there was a technical problem with the site and about 18 months ago it crashed.  Chris and myself decided not to rush back into developing the site but to take a breather, the site was costing, which we didn't mind, in fact we really enjoyed the work but it was starting to cost more and more money as our thoughts about how the site would generate income were completely wide of the mark.
So back to my original point, sitting on the hard drive of my laptop is all the work which we put in and which so many hundreds of other people contributed in the years that the site was running.  In reality unless we relaunch the site all of that knowledge, information and expertise contributed by so many people is in effect lost to future paddlers.  We are just one site which has come and gone, there must be hundreds which have gone through the same process and it is something which is not just limited to sea kayaking.  Every aspect of our lives is affected in the same way.
When I walk into my office and look at my kayaking book collection and I can take down a title which was written more than a hundred years ago and I can gain an insight into paddle sport all those years ago.  That is knowledge which will always be with us long as there are libraries and people who collect books.  It is true to say that books are still being written and they will exist in 100 years from now but the point is that the written word which sees the light of day on paper is only a very small percentage of the total number words which are written about our sport and many of these will be lost forever, if they haven't been already.
So I suppose the lesson to be learned is that if come come across something which you think may be useful then make a hard copy as what it is on websites may well be temporary. And until somebody comes up with a model which will allow news and article rich sites to generate an income it will remain an issue.

Just to remind ourselves why we go paddling and being out on the water is so much more important that sitting at the laptop.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Sea Caves and Cliff Jumping

 Jumping into warm water allows modification in the paddlers equipment.  Each stretch of coast is viewed by the kayaker as a potential jumping site.

This has been a difficult post to write, not from a literary perspective but rather from a safety point of view.
  A number of people may find some of the ideas somewhat controversial.  The idea of encouraging people to jump off cliffs into the sea must cause numerous Health and Safety inspectors to turn in their graves.  We need to be realistic though, generations of young people have flung themselves from bridges, cliffs etc, all in the pursuit of pleasure..  It seems to be more sensible to offer suggestions on how to jump in safety as opposed to discouraging people and perhaps forcing them to indulge in this pastime without any guidance.
As we are all aware the sea kayak is the ideal craft for the minute exploration of the indentations of the coast line.
  The small nooks and crannies, often with steep sides offer excellent opportunities for climbing out of the kayaks, scrambling over the rocks and jumping back into the water before paddling on.  This can be one of the great pleasures of paddling but to enjoy it safely requires some knowledge and technique.  These are ideally acquired before heading out onto the open ocean.
 This is an ideal practice jump.  Not too high but clearly over hanging so if there is a mistake on take off the jumper will still hit the water.

Probably the key to safe jumping is confidence and this is best acquired in a controlled environment.  My ideal choice is a small harbour with a good set of steps.  The depth of water is normally clearly indicated and the sea bed will, for obvious reasons, usually be free of obstacles.  It is vital to check for any local laws and to keep clear of any boats which are operating in the area.  The flat harbour wall provides a solid base for the feet prior to jumping.  Select an area in which you want to land, at least a metre away from the wall.  Place one foot in front of the other and then push off confidently.  When flying through the air use your arms to steady yourself, making sure that you pull them into your sides just prior to hitting the water.
Ideally it should be a short swim back to the steps and you are ready for another go.
  There are a number of harbour walls, nearby, which offer jumps of differing heights, so that as experience is gained and confidence increases it is possible to increase the height of the jump.  In areas with large tidal ranges it is possible to vary the height by using the same location but visiting at different phases in the tidal sequence.
Although this looks like a good jumping location, it is not a sensible place to explore.  It was a reasonably difficult climb to the top of the stack with a couple of moves we would not have wanted to repeat.

Harbour walls are just the beginning; the excitement comes from paddling along secluded sections of coasts and identifying areas to explore which are beyond the scope of most other people.  An ideal location would have somewhere easy to climb out of the kayak, although at times it is easier to climb out of the kayak in deep water then swim ashore.  The water should be clear so that any potential hazards are easy to identify from above.  The jumping spot should be flat and reasonably large in size.  In addition the walls should be steep, ideally overhanging so that there is no possibility of hitting the rocks if a slip should occur or if the jump isn’t as positive as it should be.
Another good jumping spot, this is off the north coast of Milos.  Jumping over the entrance to the arch ensures safety.

Start off with simple jumps in protected inlets in the company of other experienced coastal explorers before attempting more demanding jumps.  There are some important points to consider.  It is perfectly acceptable to say no to a jump and do not give grief to people who are unwilling to attempt certain jumps.  This is an activity which is meant to be enjoyable and  fun.
Always have the right equipment; shoes are essential and protective clothing for the arms and legs, such as a wet suit.  This is to help protect against barnacle rash, a painful affliction which occurs when skin comes into contact with barnacle covered rocks.  Many people prefer to keep their buoyancy aid on when jumping but it is important to hold it tight when entering the water to prevent it riding up.  It does offer extra protection if collisions with rocks are possible.  If a swell arrives when you are in the water then the safest option is to remain in deep water, where it is unlikely for the waves to break until the waves die down.
Once you have experienced the thrill of exploring the coastline and jumping into the sea it is unlikely that you will ever view the cliffs and gullies in the same way again.  Each rocky knoll becomes a potential site of adventure and challenge with weather and isolation doing very little to dampen enthusiasm.
The sea kayak gives access to new areas.  This is a well known jump off the main rock of the Paternosters, off the north coast of Jersey.  Depending upon the state of the tide the jump can be up to 55 feet high.
 A historic photograph to illustrate that cliff jumping isn't a new activity.  The paddler is Derek Hutchinson at one of the Jersey Canoe Club Sea Kayaking Symposiums in the early 1990's.  The intrepid jumper is Barry Howell.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Alternative Education

When you have visitors staying it may not be the most diplomatic thing to do to head out kayaking for the day so we spent a few hours amusing ourselves with alternative activities.
In the morning it was blo-karting at St Ouen's.  The wide sandy expanse of Jersey's premier surfing beach is an ideal location for this exciting activity.  A northerly wind blowing straight along the beach provided excellent sailing conditions although at times it was a bit gusty, which added to the entertainment.  Thanks to Absolute Adventures.
 Heading across St Ouen's.  The rising tide curtailed the length of the session.
The afternoon was water based and I was able to use my new purchase.  A BodyGlove winter wet suit, from the local charity shop.  £20 for a suit which appeared to be virtually new.  The Jersey Hospice shop is a veritable treasure trove, and full of superb bargains.
We launched the stand up paddleboards at St Brelade's and spent an amusing hour and a half attempting to perfect our skills.  It is always frustrating to see the daughters heading off on technically more difficult boards whilst I wobble along behind.
Ok we didn't get much sea kayaking in but I did improve my J stroke!  
 Sarah heading across the bay on the smaller of the two boards
 Just look at the multi-coloured £20 wet suit.
We did manage two standing briefly!  It was surprising how warm the water was for the first week of November.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Your 5 Best Paddles

One thing which we often talk about when out sea kayaking is what are the best 5 day trips that you have ever done.  I think that every time I consider which are my favourites I come up with slightly different ones although there are often a couple of the old favourites.
So when you are having lunch on a rock somewhere, sitting around the camp fire on a remote island or just having a pint in your favourite pub why not give it some thought and see what you come up with.  What's great about this is that there are no rules apart from the fact that the paddles have to be on the tidal waters.
Here are my favourite 5 for today:
 Selecting a paddle from my local waters is always difficult but the Ecrehous always have to be in there.  I first paddled out there in August 1974 and have been going back ever since.  The landscape is always changing as the height of the tide varies.  A warm summers day is a favourite but its also memorable being out there in the middle of the winter when you have the reef to yourself.
 A late evening paddle down to the Statue of Liberty, returning to Manhattan as darkness sets in is superb.  To see the city skyline at night from the water is one of the worlds greatest views.
 If there is one destination that all sea kayakers should aspire to visit it is Greenland.  The combination of mountainous scenery, ice bergs and wildlife combine to create somewhere really special.  On this day in northern Disko Bay all three came together in superb weather.
 We had been paddling for nearly 4 weeks and couldn't quite believe that we were actually going to paddle around Nordkapp, it had seemed so distant when we had left Tromso.  But we woke one morning to calm seas and blue skies so seized the opportunity to paddle around this famous headland.  The next morning there was a gale blowing, so it was a case of being in the right place at the right time.  Although this was in 1986 and I can still remember the experience as if it was only a couple of months ago. 
Scotland should really be in and this was a great day heading towards Coruisk.  Nicky and myself had driven from Gordon and Morag's house in thick fog, it suddenly cleared as we dropped down the hill into Elgol.  The Small Isles to the south and the Cuillins to the north were completely cloud free.  Lunch in Coruisk was more like a picnic in the Med.  We were also able to wander around Soay without being eaten alive by midges.  One of those days when you know you will always return to Scotland.

So that's my five for today but I think that I have already got it wrong.  What about Polyaegos and Milos, Sark or just the south west corner of Jersey.  This can lead to endless hours of discussion amongst sea kayakers.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

An early sunset

Its hard to imagine that it was only a few weeks ago that we were still able to paddle after work.  This photograph of Corbiere Lighthouse was taken on the way home last night.  It is only at this time of the year that the sun sets anywhere near the lighthouse, during the summer months it slips below the horizon much further north.
The darker evenings do allow time to catch up on other projects, presently I am updating my canoeing and kayaking book collection.  Its always difficult to remember whether you have a particular title when perusing websites or second hand bookshops.  There are only 7.5 metres of shelving left to catalogue, but I imagine that it will take quite a few hours to complete.
Tonight's distraction is also the fact there is a documentary on BBC 2 at 21.00 on the raid on Bordeaux harbour by Royal Marine commandos, the "Cockleshell Heroes", essential viewing for anybody interested in the history of our sport.  

Sunday, October 30, 2011

An unusually large swell

When Magic Seaweed predicts a swell in excess of 10 feet with a 17 second wave period then you know that something pretty interesting is going to occur.  As I prepared breakfast there was a rumbling of breaking waves in the background and the car was covered in a light coating of salt spray.
It didn't take long to find out why, as I drove around the corner at Corbiere there was just line after line of huge surf approaching the coast and numerous people staring out to sea.  Large surf acts just like a magnet, attracting people to the shoreline.
The photographs don't give a true idea of the scale of the surf but I was in a hurry, so I didn't have too much time to compose the pictures, as I was off paddling at Bouley Bay.  Although the Bouley Bay was sheltered from the largest of the swell I have to admit that the conditions were still large enough that I didn't really want to take my hands off the paddle, hence no pictures of my time on the water today.  Suffice to say that we had a good time, although a few people did end up practicing their front crawl!

 Looking towards La Rocco Tower
 18 hours earlier there hadn't been a ripple on the sea in this area.  This would not be a good place to launch from today.
St Ouens Bay was full of lines of enormous surf.  Its difficult to judge the scale as some of the waves are a couple of miles away.
 It doesn't look too big but the offshore breaking wave is probably well in excess of 10 feet.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

South Africa via St Aubin

Members of the Jersey Canoe Club have a tradition of entering some of the world's more challenging kayaking races such as the Devizes to Westminster, the Yukon Challenge and the Liffey Descent but next year for the first time 4 people are planning to enter the Dusi Canoe Marathon in South Africa.
My role was to spend a few hours paddling with the group and then make a recommendation as to whether I think that are competent to enter the race.  This seems to be a common way of ensuring that paddlers entering these races have the experience to do so.  I had to find somebody who was prepared to sign to say that I had enough experience to enter the Liffey Descent.  This was actually quite strange because I had signed the forms for previous races for a number of other paddlers but I still had to get mine signed.
We went out from St Brelade's heading towards to St Aubin's with the opportunity to play in the tidal race off Noirmont, for Steve it was a real moment of achievement as he performed his first roll in moving water after an accidental capsize.
For the last Saturday in October conditions were ideal, warm, light winds and beautiful sunshine.  They were conditions which were perfect for exploring this unique stretch of Jersey's coastline. Interesting water conditions set against an historical backdrop.

 The stretch of coast between Noirmont and Belcroute is unusual in Jersey because the trees approach the waters edge.  At times it could almost be the west coast of Canada as opposed to the west coast of St Aubin's Bay.
 Belcroute Bay, a delightful east facing bay which unfortunately looses the sun quite early.  This is 10.30 in October.  In the past there was a superb diving platform on the rocks just to the right of the photograph, obviously in the days before Health and Safety took off.
The plan was to circumnavigate St Aubin's Fort before heading back to St Brelade.  The fort is just visible to the right of the rocky point.
 St Aubin's is one the most beautiful villages on the island.  In the 17th and 18th centuries the Jersey fishing fleet, which worked on the cod banks off Newfoundland, over wintered here.  Many of the houses were built by the merchants and ships captains.  For the older readers one of the buildings, the Old Court House, achieved fame as the Royal Barge in the BBC series Bergerac.
 Work was started on St Aubin's Fort in 1542 and wasn't finished until the Second World War, as there are a number of German additions.  Today it is used as an activity centre by Education, Sport and Culture, although despite its great location for kayaking the main emphasis is on sailing.
 The main tower was extended during the English Civil War, it now provides the main accommodation block for visiting groups.
 The entrance to St Aubin's harbour is marked by the white mark on the end of the southern pier, work started on this in 1754 with the north pier added in 1816.  Up until the building of St Helier harbour this was the principal commercial port on the island.

Friday, October 28, 2011

An early morning paddle

This mornings high tide was 38.5 feet or 11.7 metres and was the last really big tide of the year.  So Tracey and myself decided to head towards La Cotte de St Brelade to see just how close the water gets to where the archaeological excavations are taking place.
It was still dark as we launched the kayaks off the slip at St Brelade, before heading across the bay.  It was noticeable that a swell was approaching the coast from the south west, which combined with the clapotis created less than ideal conditions for photography.  It was still dark when we arrived but by  high water at 07.55 there was just enough light to obtain some rather mediocre photographs but they at least illustrate what we had come to see.

 Due to the effect of the high pressure the height of the tide was depressed by approximately 6 cm today.  This may not sound to much but this year the tide on the 21st March was 0.4 metre higher than this morning and if there was a low pressure system passing over the area it is not unreasonable to predict that the water might rise about 0.8 metre higher than today.  If this was coupled with a large swell then it is highly likely that the waves would reach the loose material at the back of the gully.
The white mark at the rear of the gully is where some of the recent excavations have taken place, so it is possible to imagine that it could be vulnerable to erosion if the appropriate meteorological conditions occurred with a high spring tide.
After having got up so early it seemed a pity not to make the most of the morning so we completed a quick circuit from Pt Le Fret to Beauport before returning to St Brelade's.  The shear volume of water which was starting to move was quite astonishing.  We arrived back at the slip way 45 minutes after high water but there was still no sign of the beach due to the height of the tide.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Some Magazine Treats

Through some on line auctions I have managed to purchase 12 issues of “Canoeing in Britain” which was the British Canoe Union magazine, from between April 1962 and March 1967 plus 6 issues of “Canoeing” from between January 1962 and January 1963 all for a reasonable price.  A few gems which help to illustrate the state of sea kayaking in Britain in the early 1960’s.
The September 1964 edition contained some interesting local information for Jersey, the small island where I live.  In 1964 there were 6 qualified canoe coaches living on the island, whilst at the same time there were only 5 coaches in Scotland.  How things have changed in the intervening years.
Surf kayaking was clearly developing, largely due to the efforts of Oliver Cock, with his annual surf weeks in Bude.  The December 1964 edition contained warnings of possible future problems with Wadebridge Council in Cornwall asking canoeists to avoid Polzeath during August because it is too crowded.  June 1965 saw the publication of a supplement to the surf beaches of England and Wales.  30 different breaks were described but Bude and Scarborough were obvious omissions.
One name which occurred on a regular basis was Chris Hare, which is hardly surprising as he was involved in the production of the magazine for a number of years.  In the December 1964 he reviews the “Clyde Special” sea kayak.  He describes it as “A first class attempt to make a sea boat that combines Eskimo qualities with adequate stowing space for sea touring.”  At 17 feet 6 inches long and a 20 inch beam it was good value at £28!
The double version of this kayak was used in a significant journey which was described in the September 1965 edition;

“In June this year, Scottish canoeists Hamish Gow and his wife Anne, made the first crossing from North Uist to St Kilda, some 54 miles out into the Atlantic.  Using a Clyde double fitted with a sail, they took 14 hours to reach Boreray, a cliff bound island where it was impossible to land.  Because of fog and approaching night, they decided to shelter off the 1,000 foot cliffs until morning.  Anne slept in her sleeping bag while Hamish kept the canoe upright, but at midnight Hirta became visible, and they set off to paddle the remaining 5 miles, arriving at 2 a.m.  Congratulations on a fine achievement.”

Those few lines describe one of the finest sea kayaking trips of recent years.
Chris Hare continued to maintain a position at the forefront of sea kayaking.  His description of a trip along the Northumberland coast in 1965 contains the first mention of a paddler who was to have a significant impact on sea kayaking throughout the world, a certain Derek Hutchinson.  
Chris Hare also paddled on the west coast of Greenland although this trip was not without its controversy.  In the June 1966 Canoeing in Britain he states one of his objectives on his return was to set up British seal hunting groups working around the coasts of Britain using the knowledge and techniques gathered at Igdlorssuit.  His article concludes “So if any reader fancies a crack at seal hunting or any other kind of kayak hunting off the west coast of Scotland …..”  This particular article not surprisingly, generated a heated response.
This issue of the magazine also contained information that a certain Frank Goodman had just passed his BCU Senior Instructor award.  This was the original Level 3 Coach.
What is interesting is how many names that are well known in sea kayaking circles first came to prominence in the 1960’s.  Derek Hutchinson and Frank Goodman have already been mentioned but Alistair Wilson, of Lendal paddles, was very active in the racing scene including the 1964 Olympics.  Duncan Winning, who is well know for his involvement in Scottish paddling was already involved in the administration of the sport as well as being involved in slaloms in the early 1960’s and contributing letters on kayak design.

As well as the back issues of Canoeing in Britain I have been able to acquire a number of “Canoeing” magazines from 1962 and 1963 and they contain some interesting pieces.  The August 1962 editorial concerned itself with the need to preserve a number of the kayak designs before they were lost for ever.  It would be interesting to discover how many other designs have been lost in the intervening 43 years.  The magazines contained some useful technical articles, as opposed to mere lists of results and would have been a source of knowledge for paddlers of the day.  Many of the techniques have stood the test of time although others would now be viewed with a degree of curiosity.
In relation to navigation it was recommended to carry a sounding line and there was a discussion as to whether it was more useful to carry a radio or a barometer!  Advice on touring paddles suggested that 8 feet was an appropriate length.
One interesting reference is to an article which appeared in the national press on 11th July 1962.  Apparently a French yacht had to pick up 25 members of the National Association of Boys Clubs who were trying to cross the English Channel and were caught in bad weather.  It doesn’t say whether they used a barometer or a radio to get their forecast.
Certification is an issue which has generated enormous debate over the last few decades but the October 1962 editorial was calling for an appropriate test for those paddlers who seek their pleasure on the sea.  At that time sea kayaking was not mentioned until paddlers reached an Advanced level.
 It is always a pleasure delving into the pages of paddling magazines, some of which were written when President Kennedy was still alive, the Beatles were still to record their first LP and life seemed far less complicated.  Although it is true to say that sea kayaking has progressed since those innovative times it is interesting to note how many of the individuals concerned are still active in one form or another in paddling.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Some More Aerial Shots

A quick visit to London gave another opportunity to see some great sea kayaking venues from the air.  Yesterdays flight to Gatwick was reasonably smooth but today's return flight was a bit different.  The sharp rain showers over SE England today created some initial turbulence as we climbed to our cruising altitude after that though it was the spectacular cloud formations which caught my attention.
So next time you jump on a flight remember to keep your camera handy for those unusual shots.  Just make sure that you don't repeat the mistake I made two years ago, flying out of Kangerlussuaq back to Copenhagen I managed to get a window seat for those stunning shots of the ice cap.  I think they were great shots but I never saw them as I left the camera in the seat pocket.  The most disappointing thing was that there were also 400 other photographs on the camera taken on our 3 week paddle in Disko Bay.  The moral of the story is always check that you have your personal belongings, just like the Cabin Crew recommend.

Bouley Bay on the north coast of Jersey.  It is probably the beach on the island with the steepest profile so its popular on spring tides as it is not too far to carry the kayaks.
Rozel Bay on the north east corner of the island.  The headland in sunshine is Tour de Rozel, the location of one of the finest tide races off Jersey.
Leaving the north coast of the island behind, climbing to the north.  The western parts of the island are covered in cloud.
Alderney, the most northerly of the islands.  The sea area below the island is the infamous Alderney Race.
Once across the Channel we started our descent into Gatwick.  This is the entrance to Chichester Harbour.  Note the area of confused water to towards the lower edge of the picture.
The disused airfield of Thorney Island is clearly visible from the air.
 Heading south this morning.  Although we were flying at 19,000 feet there were clouds towering above the aircraft This is mid channel, in the middle of the picture it is possible to see a ship, this is Condor Ferries from Portsmouth on its way to Jersey.
Cap de la Hague, the north western tip of Normandy.  The fast moving tidal streams in this area are clearly visible and at this time we were still well above 10,000 feet.
A low turn over the Ecrehous at low water.  It is only from the air that the full extent of the exposed rocks can be appreciated.
The southerly wind was blowing about force 5 with the waves breaking on some offshore sand banks.
Final approach across Jersey, this is the east with the magnificent sweep of the Royal Bay of Grouville and the drying area of the south east corner beyond.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Different Perspective

After having been kayaking with a number of archaeologists over the summer months, linked to the excavations at La Cotte de St Brelade, I have started to look at the island from a completely different perspective.
On Saturday we paddled around the north west corner of the island and as usual, swell permitting we entered a number of caves.  Previously I had always looked at the caves wearing my geographers hat.  What processes are at work to produce such dramatic physical features?
Nowadays I always think geography first but then I wonder whether the caves could have provided habitation in the same way that La Cotte de St Brelade did.
A number of academic institutions in the UK have combined in a project known as the The Quaternary Archaeology and Environments of Jersey project (QAEJ)It makes interesting reading and helps, us as sea kayakers, to understand the backdrop to the environment in which we spend so much of our time.

I had paddled into this cave numerous times but until Saturday I had never realized that there was a tunnel leading through another section of the coast.  The tide was too high to go through the tunnel on Saturday so another visit, towards low water is necessary.
 A beautiful cave, close to La Cotte a la Chevre, which was known to have been inhabited, thousands of years ago.  It would be interesting to see what is on the shelf, above the kayakers head, but access looks like a challenge.  Extreme coasteering?

 Another cave which is close to slightly above the present high water mark. Conditions look favourable for a return visit towards the end of the week.  Today we have force 7 gusting 50 mph mean this area would look slightly different to when this picture was taken.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A good holiday read

If you are looking for an interesting read the "And Now The Shipping Forecast" by Peter Jefferson will appeal to a whole cross section of people, particularly those with an interest in activities on the sea.
The soothing familiarity of the Shipping Forecast has been broadcast 4 times on day on BBC Radio 4 since 22nd November 1978, prior to that it was on Radio 2.
The structure of the broadcast remains the same, despite the weather conditions which exist at the time the broadcast is limited to 350 words, this because the time slot allocated to the forecast remains the same.  Gale warnings, area forecasts and reports from coastal stations all blend into a broadcast which is almost poetic in its delivery.
This books contains so much of interest to us as sea kayakers it can't fail to entertain and educate. 

On the subject of reading material many thanks to all of you who have purchased my two books "The A to Z of Sea Kayaking" and "The Channel Islands: A Sea Kayaking Guide" which are still available for the Kindle and other devices.