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On a coastline far far away !

A Short while ago on a coastline far far away gathered Yoda, Simon solo, Oisin Vader, Larkin Leia on her back and myself. We had journeyed far to reach the jewel Skellig Michel Isle, West Ireland .celtic4

In fact Oisin had been waiting 10 years to finally get out to the island after several attempts delayed by poor weather and big swell.

For those of you like me who have not watched the latest Star Wars movie I had no idea why so many people were queueing for the ferry out. Luckily after an early start we beat them to it.

The island or islands including little skellig are truly awe inspiring like Pyramids rising steeply from the sea and once ashore the scale of the paths and beehive huts created by monks sometime back in the first century are mystical.skellig 5

Then there is the wildlife thousands of gannets from the colony on little skellig weald above and on the rocks puffins, guillemots, razorbills and kittiwakes among others abound.

A  truly stunning trip but not to be underestimated and as landing is precarious only attempted in settled conditions.

skellig 1Yoda 2

 

Ben joins the team

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Ben Fothergill was born and raised in the wild west of Wales. From a young age he has been out adventuring with family and friends. He has spent most of his life in or on the sea and playing in the mountains and rivers of this amazing country.
Ben has worked in Pembrokeshire for the last 5 years as an adventure guide for numerous adventure providers.

 

Alongside his passion for sharing with others the wonders of the outdoors Ben has continued to work self-employed as an ecological surveyor and studied Ocean Science for an undergraduate degree.
Ben currently holds his 5 star sea kayak leadership award and is currently working his way through the coaching awards to gain his Jedi status (like Nige and Martin).
Ben as paddled and adventured his way around parts of the U.K. and further afield to New Zealand, the Seychelles, Maldives, United states, South Pacific and Greenland.
In his spare time he’s mostly found surfing around the U.K’s wild coastline or hitting the crags and mountains with his adventure buddy/wife Rachel.

It’s great to have Ben on board and looking forward to a season with a little less rain !

 

“Read the Water,” New Book

As paddlers you may have noticed that some days a familiar piece of water looks read-the-waterdifferent. As coaches we often ask students if anything has changed, referring to the weather, wind, swell, tide, current or sea conditions.

This ability to observe and understand /read the changes in conditions is imperative to a good leader/guide or competent paddler. Often referred to as good seamanship defined here as;-

“The ability to predict how the combination of wind, current, sea state and swell will affect the kayak, together with a constant awareness of change and movement in the marine environment” (BCU Coastal Nav and Tidal planning)
The trick is not to try initially to understand what the changes indicate but what you are actually observing.

This may be as simple as noting if the water is choppy, take notice of a smoother spot. If the water is smooth, be aware of choppy spots.

So when we observe we need to look for what is different to help we may look at Shapes and textures in the water or the sky.
So how do we get this insight and the ability to read the tell tale signs that the sea/sky is giving us, and recognise that something is different and understand what the difference means.

A novice and expert both have the ability to recognise something is different. The “sea person” understands the subtleties and the significance of this difference and can adapt accordingly.
The aim of this book is to develop your tools and skill of observation, thus helping you to read the sea and become a barometer to the changes that occur. It is not a substitute for getting out there and experiencing and observing the sea.
The book includes the following chapters;

  • The Fundamentals. Wind and waves, tide and current,
  • Planning for and Navigating by Change/Pilotage
  • How to Observe,
  • The surf environment:
  • Moving water, current and Around the rocks
  • Wind and weather.

It is available from www.seakayakguides.co.uk at a price of
​£​10​;99​ plus p and p http://www.seakayakguides.co.uk/product/read-the-water/

 
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