Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Kayaking in the Solent

From the Isle of Man, to the Isle of Wight - well not quite, but very close! As soon as I got back from Man, I was heading south to Southampton to run a Coaching Processes course for these guys http://www.woodmill.co.uk/

Seems a shame to be so close to sea and not go for a paddle so the first evening a gang of us set off for a gentle paddle from Warsash, out of Southampton Water and round to Lee on the Solent

It was very bright and sunny when we set off
As we got into the Solent the wind was picking up the sea a little, we had great fun surfing a few waves

Those ferries, container ships and warships seem very close at times, they certainly make sure you keep your wits about you!

It got a little cooler as the sun got lower, but even with the industrial backdrop, still a cool place to go for a paddle!

I was holding the camera while paddling and accidently took this photo!

Plenty of navigation bouys to practise nav skills

Not easy to get lost in the Solent

Thanks to the boys and girls at Woodmill for a very pleasant evening paddle!

Isle of Man

Just got back from a very enjoyable couple of days on the Isle of Man doing some sea kayak coaching. Quick chat on the car park.Then a warm up on the beachAnd we're off! It was quite winds but there was plenty of shelter near the rocksEven when we went into more open water there was still shelter because of the high ground surrounding the bayOne or two inquisitve seals popped up occassionally to check us out.I wonder if this one was planning to hang around until the next high tide to get off this sea stack!

Some cool stuff to see around the coasts of IoM - the little hole you can see just below and to the right of the stone wall is the entrance to an old tin mine.
It's a 35 minute flight from Birmingham, I can be on Man faster than getting to North Wales - fancy something different for a sea kayaking adventure, go to the Isle of Man!

Reptiles in Worcestershire

So I turned up to run an FSRT at a small lake in Worcestershire and had to shoo a grasssnake off the decking so that we could launch.

Then we came across this fella sunning himself on a log - not bad for April in England!No-one seemed to mind the reptiles in the lake though and were quite happy to repeatedly fall in the water!

Another trip to Baja!

So after the South West Symposium in San Diego it was time for another coaches trip to Baja Mexico.

We set up camp at La Bufadora, just south of Ensenada - this is the site of the biggest blow hole in the world! (alegedly!)

Someimes the sea is very calm

But most times the Pacific swells make it a rock gardening heaven!

Here's Eila playing in her Pilgrim

Russell Farrow reporting for action!Russell Farrow - in action! Some cool pour overs!

You do need to get the timing right though, I won't be naming this hapless paddler, to protect their dignity!

Here's a photo of me getting the weeks first wash in the 'little' blowhole - first the big breath

Then the big rinse!

Oh dear - perhaps one of us should have pulled their boat a little higher up the beach! I saw some lovely starfish and risked life and limb in the swells to get close to them.

After a quick photo shoot I put him back on the rock where he came from!

Some of the wildlife wasn't quite so friendly - we found this little fella under Eila's tent!Eila taking it easy after a day on the water!The best tachos in Baja!
Nigel and Eila buying Tequila for the collection

What a magic place, contact www.aqua-adventures.com to organise your paddling trip in paradise!

Monday, 23 May 2011

San Diego

So in search of more Winter sunshine I headed out to San Diego for Aqua Adventures Symposium - imagine my surprise to find it was raining hard in Southern California! This is outside Jen's house the first morning!Needless to say that was short lived and the sunshine came back - this is my office in La Jolla - I love SoCal!

All the locals are friendly - this little chap popped up to say Hi at Fiesta Island - which is an off leash dog beach - that's one brave (or stupid) gopher!Even the traffic cops are friendly - you can quite happily park like this and no-one minds!

Silver River

So having escaped the Swamp Monsters of the Suwanee in North Florida we headed a little way south to the Silver River.

The silver is different to the Suwanee - the latter being a 'Blackwater' river, the water appears very dark due to the amount of vegetation it runs through in the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia. The Silver is a crystal clear spring fed river, which is great to spot fish and turtles and even 'gators cruising under your boat!
There are even monkeys here - these are rumoured to have been left from when they filmed Tarzan movies here in the Johnny Weismuller days, but apparantly they simply swam off the zoo island at the head of the spring!

You can read all about the trip by buying this mag - http://www.canoekayak.co.uk/

Suwannee River

Somewhere Down the Suwannee River!

After the Sweetwater Symposium the coaches headed North to the river made famous by the song. The first night was spent in a fantastic cabin, where the guys swung in chairs on the porch, drunk beer and told lies!
The Suwannee River is absolutely stunningAmerican Sea kayak coaches, no longer burdened with bulkheads and hatches took the opportunity to take BIG coolers! Very relaxing couple of days on a beautiful river. Occassionally we stopped to do some playing and coaching, everyone was very attentive!

Although this was supposed to be a relaxing trip after a hectic symposium - I think some of the coaches were taking it a little too easy!

What a great river - we managed to stop at a number of features to play with ferry's, breaking in and out, and even some traditional skills