Thursday, June 14, 2007

Embarrassing Swim

I made it along to the evening club paddle last night. It's at Chanonry point Fortrose which is well known in the area as a good place to spot dolpinins.

It was a wee bit windy and the tide was coming in the same direction. The chart shows overfalls in the area. There was a good turn out, around twenty kayaks. We set off for Fort George into the wind and tide.

When we got there Neil and Rhona split the group. Beginners would carry on up the coast towards Ardersier and the more experienced could do what they wanted at a faster pace. Being armed with a Sirius I opted for the faster trip although I consider myself a beginner ( BCU 3 star river no star sea ! ).

The 'fast' group were to head for the yellow nav buoy to the west of Riff bank.

The paddle was an exposed slog into the wind and tide, but quite enjoyable. It's the roughest conditions I have experienced in the Sirius and she coped well taking the waves wind and swell in her stride as I just took a lot of waves on the chin.

The nav buoy seemed to be slowly drifting away from us, a fellow paddler said it was like a carrot on a stick. The GPS recorded our speed as a lowly 3.5kph.

Two or three paddlers reached the buoy ahead of me and stopped paddling, by the time I reached them they had drifted back a bit. I didn't bother going on to the buoy and just stayed with these paddlers whilst others went past and touched the buoy.

It was now the nice bit, skeg down and free ride home.

I started catching some waves and the speed was now a decent 9.4 kph. Then it happened. I had just been paddling fast with a wave and was slowing to let the next one get me when I felt the boat lean over to the right. I think the next wave had hit at an angle, just when I was putting in a stroke on the left. I tried to put a steadying stroke in on the right but the paddle went too far back and contributed to the rightward motion, at the point of now return my right hand relinquished the grip on the paddle and I went over.

Whilst upside down I realised I had let go of the paddle completely so I had to pull the spraydeck, bugger.

Within seconds Pete was at the scene. I flipped the boat over and as Pete grabbed the cockpit I hooked the leg over and sat back in the boat wearing an embarrassed smile. We were underway again and this time I was paying more attention to what the boat was doing rather than catching waves.

Oh and another thing, what's the point of dry cags and dry trousers ? I was bloody soaked through ! I left my drysuit in the car and put on my Yak touring cag and a pair of Nookie Extreme trousers. Bad choice.


Big thanks to Pete and the others for their prompt and efficient actions.

Thumbs down for my over confidence and dry tops/ bottoms combo.

From now on it's drysuit unless it's flat calm. If I'm doing wet stuff it will be drysuit or wetsuit.

I think I'll fit some attachments to the inside of the boat so that I can easily attach/detach ballast. The boat was virtually empty and does tend to be a bit tippy like that.

Oh, the dolphins did make an appearance at the end but I only saw a few dorsals and no jumping as I was chatting. My wife will be proud of me :-)
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