Friday, March 23, 2007

Scary Big Stuff... Not Waves.

Yesterday, 22-3-07, the weather forecast was good so I set out on a different route in the firth. I was heading west to a place called Ferryton. I assume the ferry used to cross between here and Alness many years ago.
My trip would involve crossing the firth in two different places, and with a decent incoming tidal stream I would be doing a bit of ferry gliding.

Ferrton is the headland on the left.

There's not that much to see in Ferryton and the locals aren't that talkative.

The crossing was great as I glided down the firth at up to 9.4kph. Sitting still for a while in the middle the GPS still showed 5.1kph !

After a wee snack I had to do what I though would be the most difficult part, crossing back over. I was going to try to use the tide again and there was only a slight NE wind to contend with.
I could also see some sunshine over there.

It was fun gliding across and noting how difficult it was to use transits. Boat offset 10deg, then 20deg then 40 deg. It got easier after I was nearer the other side. It was really nice over on this side.

I now could paddle along by the shore thus avoiding the greater stream in the middle. Just that jack up to contend with now, or so I thought.

The rigs always seem to have a boat buzzing about below them, the skipper of this one had seen me making the initial crossing and as I approached he changed his position to let me get by.

But there was another problem. No not the verbal abuse I got from the scaffolders on the rig, which was very colourful and very funny. I decided not to enter into any banter as they were 40m above me with access to an array of heavy objects :-)

The problem was that to the side of the jack up a pipe layer was moored but was about to depart. You can see it to the left of the top rig picture.

When I cleared the rig the port authority pilot appeared. I waited until I thought he saw me, he stood off so I started to paddle forward. Then he chugged towards the pipe layer. I stopped. I was sure he now saw me as he chugged slowly making almost no wake for me to contend with. After the pilot gadgy disembarked and climbed aboard the pipe layer, the skipper hit the throttle and did a 90deg turn to get back around and into the harbour.

Aahhh, paddle paddle. It was like being back at Balintore beach and a bit of a shock after such flat water all day.
Either he didn't see me or they aren't to bothered about tipping kayaker over. None of these two explanations fill me with confidence. I'm not going to pass the harbour anymore.

I don't like the big stuff.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Hip Pads

No paddling in my days off this week as I was installing new gates, that Postcrete is good stuff eh ?

I didn't take any photo's of the gate build but I did sneak off and do a bit on the boat and took photo's of that !

I wanted to make the cockpit a little snugger ( is that a real word ? ) so I did the following.

I had some handy tubing fitted as part of seat lowering. I knew back then that I could use the tubes to help with fitting hip pads. First I cut some foam to size.

Hey, google web albums now lets you choose the size of the image. Looks like they listen to customer feedback !

So next to those tubes. I did have ideas of sliding another tube inside but I went for the easy option, drill some holes in it for cable ties.

Now a wee covering of sleeping mat, tucked into the seat at the bottom.
***Sleeping mat supplied by Andy Todd. He's the guy that gets you stuff, whatever you need he's the guy. You're old lady giving you grief ? He's the guy ***

Finish off with another cable tie.

And that's it folks. I'm now as snug in this boat as I am in the wee river boat, sea trials begin on Monday so long as the gate hanging goes without a hitch.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

That Eclipse

My son is doing a project on the solar system and so despite being really tired after a week of nightshifts I agreed to stay up.

I wanted one covering and one revealing so it was going to be bed after midnight. I put the wee camera on a tripod, set it for nightshot ( there's no detailed settings adjustment ), 10 sec delay and bingo.

Two of Leos minor stars are visible to the left, the bottom one seems to be sigma and the higher one is iota. My astronomy is a ltlle rusty though, so just call them what you want :-)

Probably no kayaking in my days off this week as there's much to do about the garden, got to get those gates up.

Should be more paddling shortly though as my brother has just got kitted out with the necessary gear.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Flat Water, Extra Stability

I awoke today after a nightshift, I was going to go back to bed until I looked out of the window.

I got the gear on and trollied the boat down to the water, lovely.

The boat felt very different today. I am getting used to the narrow beam of it (52cm) and today I tried a wee trick that I picked up from one of Douglas's reviews.

Instead of my usual coast hugging I headed straight out into the firth to a spar, I meant to mark it on the GPS but I forgot. I suppose it's a third the way across the firth, about 1.5Km. The boat was cruising along at around 7kph. Later I sprinted and pulled 10.4kph out of her.

I then turned west and headed for the end of the 'Admirality Pier' and took a photo of the village I had just come from.

The scene changes when heading into Invergordon which is a base for oil rig repairs, although you can see the snow covered Ben Wyvis in the back ground.

I sat about quite a bit today admiring the view and thinking about my newly aquired greater stability. Was it the flat water or the wee trick ?

Time will tell.

Oh I forgot to tell you what the wee trick was.

Readily available at all good stony beaches.