As paddlers you may have noticed that some days a familiar piece of water looks different. 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/