Monday, 13 February 2012

4 star leader training sea - Anglesey sea kayaking, North Wales

Jon and Gary began the course with the coastal navigation & tidal planning day, with 50% inside going through planning a route and then going out and navigating a course. With the Straits just over the road, this made it very easy to get some active time on the water.

We wrapped up the day in the Victoria, going over weather and setting a task for the following morning.

Andy & Colin joined us for the next 2 days and with a F4/5 Southerly, Borthwen Bay, Rhoscolyn was our destination. On arrival it was clear that we would get a moderate sea and some!!

Personal skills: We worked the bay, going over top tips and handy hints, running down wind, with skegs, no skegs, stern rudders and landing a group through surf.

The small channel just on the edge of the bay was ideal and channeling the swell, plus giving some shelter from the wind and we looked at position and maximum use, as a leader.

Deep water/assisted rescues, anchored tows and gully rescues, from the easy to the more complicated incident management. Before finishing the day with a variety of self rescues. The importance I felt was to ensure their was understanding about what was in remit for personal skills and as a leader of 3 star paddlers.

Sunday saw much lighter winds of F3 S. So after a brief planning discussion we were off to Cemais Bay on the north coast of Anglesey, with a plan to paddle to the brick works and back. I was also keen as a couple in the group had not experienced tidal flow above 2knots, to ensure they did!
Today was about journeying, navigation, appropriate route choice and positioning, so it split nicely into two sections each. Bearings while afloat, transits and we were soon out at Middle Mouse and a tricky piece of current close to W top end of the island and provide a super opportunity to consider various options.

It was a much warmer day to day and we saw a number of porpoises, love them and fulmars, doing their super gliding show.

Some eddy turns and then back to the coast to find hells mouth, for some lunch. Here I went through leaders kit and then on to the brick works were from here on each individual would get a scenario. We had a go at in line towing and then tandem and considering the roll of the leader. Swooping over we then looked at Rafted tandem towing and also assisted rafted.

The sun was attempting to brighten the day it had that spring feel to it. As we travelled back towards the bay as an informal group, each person had the opportunity to have a go at a contact tow (push and pull) and even a swim for some!!!

Back in the bay Gary was given an all in rescue to manage, which he did very well and then we had a short time to cover any items in particular before finishing. Colin kindly capsized so that I could demo a rescue of an incapacitated paddler and then it was time to load the trailer once more.

Back at Menai Bridge the Liverpool Arms, just a short walk away provided a warm venue to reflect on the course and importantly work through individual action plans.

Big thanks to all for their enthusiasm despite cold temperatures on Saturday, for getting stuck in and making it another super course!

roger chandler
north wales sea kayaking

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