Sea Kayak Trip
On the first day of our trip we were practicing in the local area of Kristiansand. Len firstly introduced us to the Kayak and paddle, where he demonstrated the correct process of holding correctly and producing backwards and forward motion. We then waited no time and got ourselves ready to enter the Kayak.
This was a really exciting day because I had never done this before, but because I have used a Canoe before I had a natural idea of what and not to do. I could do the strokes well and Len was pleased with me, but one stroke that I was firstly struggling with was the bow rudder. When I was constructing this the entire blade was only half way in the water, but Len explained to me a numerous of times that I have to lean forward and put the full blade into the water for the boat to turn and take effect. Eventually I got the hang of this! Later on in the day Len explained to us all a very interesting tip to consider when kayaking in high winds. It is better do do high strokes when there is not wind and low strokes when there is high wind, as the paddle will connect with the wind which will turn you and slow you down. This was a key aspect to understand because in the upcoming days we were to Kayak to an island which required going along the sea. This day was very interesting and to finish it off Len surprised us all with a capsizing drill. GREAT! As you can tell everyone was excited to do this, but nevertheless it was important to understand how to capsize correctly to prevent any complications in the future. Once tis was completed everyone was afraid of getting too cold, but surprisingly it was very warm once we got out of the kayak. I progressed surprisingly well and adapted to the all the strokes and I am looking forward to challenging myself further!
Today we all met up at the starting point of our excursion and prepared for our trip out to see. It was important to pack lightly for this trip because of the limited room in kayaks and to ensure you water proof everything, would recommend using dry bags, and to ensure you remember everything, cough cough sleeping bag! On our journey to our destination we were really making quick progress and everyone seemed to get the hang of things quickly. We were provided with a lot of back wind which were making us go faster, and at some stages my kayak was not going in the direction I wanted to go. Len suggested that to turn left you use a carving method: this is when you lean to your left side with your right knee raised in your kayak you will turn right, and via versa on the alternate side. This started to help me a lot and I was saving a lot of energy in doing so, as I was not using excess energy to turn the kayak all the time. W ere all provided with maps, which we all had to utilise to get us to certain points during the day; everyone had an opportunity to do this. At times this was difficult no navigate because of the different speeds everyone was going at, and people who were orienteering mainly stayed at the front. This began to change though as it was not working very efficiently, because the leader at the front was either going too quick or could not here messages that were being shouted. The leaders started to go mid pack and selected a pace maker (who was briefed on the location) and a back marker to ensure everything is okay (usually someone with a lot of experience). They could then get a feel of the speed and make sure everyone was satisfied with this and keep everyone on track to the next location (having a good overview, traits of a good leader). The weather was fantastic and the speed we were travelling at was very good. Resulting in an early arrival at the place where we were camping for the night which meant that there were plenty of time for relaxing, touring the island with kayaks and playing games. We decided to go on a tour of the local area in Kayaks where we came across loads of jelly fish and amazing scenery. We stopped off at an island and did a bit of climbing, and everyone was so relaxed and bonding well (group dynamic was high); as there was no conflict whatsoever as to when people wanted to go back. We eventually made it back to the island where we made food and relaxed for the evening and played some group games where everyone joined in. I feel as though the group is getting socially stronger and have really come together well in past couple of months, just a shame this can’t carry on for much longer! The night ended with loads more games and in the end we went to sleep. Sleeping under the stars was again amazing, where I saw a shooting star for the first time!
On the final day we headed back to where we first started and Len told us something important to consider when we are kayaking in the future. He recommended us to stay on the lee side of the island that is not into the wind as that will prevent anyone from hitting the island and capsizing. When we made it back a couple of people volunteered to be recued in the water. The important thing Is for the closest person to react quickly and get their kayak over to them and for everyone to follow in the group and from a raft. At this point we have retrieved the boat and paddle of them so they did not have a chance to float away and got the individual out of the water quickly. We were then able to drag the kayak over the raft which gives the kayak the time to drain the water until we tipped it back over for the capsized individual to get back into it. We did this procedure on three occasions and was really good practice, for first timers I think we performed this well and adapted well to the situation.
I think as a whole the trip was fantastic and one of the best trips to date, where I felt for once comfortable in my ability to Kayak and perform certain skills. I will certainly be Kayaking again in the near future hoping to further develop my ability to a point where I can do this on my own without the guidance of an instructor.