Friday, 25 September 2015

Sea Kayaking Courses this Winter and into the Spring!

The following Anglesey, North Wales courses from CoastalSpirit, have a few spaces left on them:

Open Water Navigation and Tidal Planning (OWNTP) - 30th Sep or 24th October - theres no need to be going for your 5 star leader.  Have a good understanding of coastal tidal planning and keen to learn more complex planning.  Cost £90 and its a theory based day.

InterMediate sea kayaking with 3 star training (and assessment if suitable) - 3/4th October and at £160 for the weekend.  2 places left

Coastal Navigation and Tidal Planning (CNTP) - 10th October and £90 for the day.  No need to be going for the 4 star leader award.  Having a basic understanding of coastal tidal planning is useful.

4 Star Leader Training - 11/12th October at £160 or with the CNTP above £230 for the 3 days. 2 places left

5 Star Leader Training - 25/26th October (incl night navigation) at £160 or with the OWNTP on the 24th Oct £230.  2 places left

Winter Sea Kayaking is at three levels, so you can get more from the course and allows you to keep those skills active, develop further and meet like minded people.  So when the Summer arrives you can go and have your own adventures ...

And may be, if were lucky, experience Anglesey and Holy Island as its rarely seen ... Gogarth Bay above

InterMediate Sea Kayaking for those working on 3 star skills:  7/8th Nov; 6/7th Feb and 12/13th March.

InterMediate Plus Sea Kayaking is for those who are working towards the 4 star leader award or similar skill level and want coaching and to develop further while in a moderate sea environment: 19/20th Dec; 23/24th Jan and 20/21st Feb

Advanced Sea Kayaking is for those who are working towards the 5 star Leadership award or similar skills and want further support, coaching and guidance in an advanced water environment: 21/22nd Dec; 30/31st Jan and 5/6th March.

Further details on the Winter weekends can be found here

Move towards 2016 with fresh skills, confidence and ability.  Contact me for further details or to book a place.

Thanks, Roger

roger chandler

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Sweden - the next 4 days Coaching

On my day off we headed into Stockholm for a wander, coffee and lunch and ABBA the Museum!!  It was a different sort of day from my norm, but enjoyable.  And what an attractive city Stockholm is!

Clean and dried kit, and another sunshine start ... perfect!  This next team was made up of, Matts, Adendesh, Johanna, Anna, Ovee and Ann - plus Clara and Hawken.  I had paddled with Johanna the previous year and met Ann, may be 4/5 years ago.  It was good catch up with both of them.  

The focus of the next four days was similar, with a greater leadership and incident management focus.

Over above had made his own Greenland paddle as well as his own wooden sea kayak.  And if thats not impressive enough he had also paddled the entire Swedish coastline, with both items.  A journey of over 2000km.  A great achievement ...

It was now becoming very clear to me the Swedish, know how to life outdoors.  Lunch was always a hot meal and evenings were nice and extended.  It also explained why they tended to paddle bigger kayaks!!

We managed over all to escape the main rain and winds which pushed through on a couple of the nights.  So the days were largely dry.

On the last day after 3 previous days of Coaching, discussion and exploring of techniques.  The group was merged into two main teams and the decision was for a leader to be set various incident management tasks, by the group.  The leader was unaware of the various tasks, so as to provide an element of surprise and pressure.  The leader then rotated so all had an opportunity.

It had been another super four days, with great people.  Thanks once again for your welcome and a BIG thanks to Clara and Hawken for organising the courses and looking after me so well.


Sweden - East coast sea kayaking and my first 4 day Coaching course

Earlier this year Hawken and Clara invited me to Sweden, to run two 4 day courses around Coaching, while on a journey with wild camps along the way.  I was intrigued, very interested and keen.  I had not really run a course while wild camping at static sites - going out for the day doing skills and technique coaching then returning to camp, to hang up kit and have food.  Plus I had never been to Sweden before.

The flight was great, train to Stockholm smooth and I was soon meeting up with Hawken and on a bus back to his house and to meet his wife Anna-Stina.  Super food, great nights sleep and an hour drive South and we were meeting up with the other 6 Coaches and leaders who I was going to work with for the next 4 days.

The area was beautiful, the winds were light and the sun was out.

The first 3 days were focused on skills and technique - being efficient and effective.  Rescue's both self and assisted and the use of the towline .... moving camp allowed the practise with heavy kayaks and to explore differences ...  It was also great to experience the hilleberg village  ... Ive never seen so many Hilleberg tents all together

One of the lunch breaks on a sheltered small island ...

Clara below showing great skills standing on the back of a P&H Cetus LV ...

The final day was windy and perfectly timed for putting the previously learnt skills into a new and active context.  Kirsten below, was paddling a Sterling kayak, an Illusion and apparently the only one in Sweden.  A beautifully crafted sea kayak and the first time I'd actually seen one  ...

Personal skills, group management and in two teams of 4 rescues and self rescues for those who wanted to!

It had been a super 4 days - Many thanks to Jorgen, Knut, Anna-Stina, Kim, Johnas, Kerstin, Clara and Hawken for your welcome.

I now had a day off before the next group of 6 people ...


Thursday, 10 September 2015

The Eddystone lighthouse and back ... by Tavi Murray

Out to the Eddystone lighthouse and back …
29th August 2015

It’d been blowing hard for a week, stopping Zoe and me finishing the Plymouth to Mumbles trip, but the weekend was August bank holiday, spring tides and at last a pretty decent forecast at least in the south. Unfortunately, though, I had to be back in South Wales for Tuesday morning so couldn’t plan anything big.

Where to go? Well I was keen on another crossing … and I’ve been spending quite a bit of time this summer looking at the South West Sea Kayak Guide. With the forecast a trip out to the Eddystone lighthouse together with some south Devon coastline seemed the obvious target. The lighthouse is 20 km out to sea south of Plymouth, so there and back it’s not dissimilar in length to the Scilly’s crossing but the tides are relatively weak, and there isn’t too much shipping.

Zoe was wavering between longer trips to Scotland or Ireland and joining me … so I was contemplating another solo trip … but to my delight she decided to brave the long slog south and we were on!

Zoe and I met and spent a happy Friday evening eating, drinking and plotting/planning. Although I have since decided beer and charts don’t mix well as mine now have some interesting new brown stains!

The first lighthouse on the Eddystone Rocks was lit in 1698. The current lighthouse is the fourth incarnation and has warned shipping of the reef since 1882. The previous lighthouse had been in place since 1759 and its stumpy foundations are still in place on the rocks.

Given the tides would be flowing westward most of the day we decided to paddle from Wembury to the east of Plymouth to gain maximum assistance. We set off paddling past the Great Mewstone and stopped to call the coastguard on the VHF. Visibility was good and we could see the lighthouse off in the distance as soon as we set off, there was a very light wind and a gentle 1 m rolling surf, making a big contrast to my Lundy crossing earlier in the summer.

After nearly 3 hours my GPS told me I was still a km away, and I was convinced I must have the location wrong – it must be closer than that! But my location was spot on, it’s just that the 49 m high lighthouse is massive! 3 hours and 3 minutes paddling and we were there. It’s an incredibly impressive place. The tower reminded me of Tolkein’s tower at Isengard. Next to the current lighthouse is the stump of the third (previous) lighthouse. The swell was crashing against the rocks of the reef despite the lack of wind – there was certainly no possibility of landing. The reef is also clearly a popular fishing spot and there were some 5 or so small boats out trying their luck. A floating lunch followed with us simply staring upward in awe at the lighthouse.

The breeze had dropped and the water was now oily calm despite the swell. It was time to paddle back … and for the porpoises to start their show which continued all afternoon. I counted nine, but it could easily have been more. As usual we stopped every hour for a snack and a drink. And when we did we could hear the porpoises breathing even when we couldn’t see them. It made me wonder if there were always this many around but they are usually just hidden and their sound is masked by the waves.

Six and a half hours for the 41.2 km trip. Although we paddled some very nice coastline during the rest of the weekend this crossing was definitely the highlight. The Eddystone lighthouse is a totally inspiring structure, truly awesome … and the trip is highly recommended.

I think I’m getting a taste for these offshore trips and there’s a few more on my paddling dream list! Fancy a trip?

Tavi Murray

Foot note - The above Blog, is about an independent journey that both Tavi and Zoe made and aims to highlight and provide a snap shot of what others are doing, who are part of the mentoring programme.  Through coaching, support and encouragement from Coastal Spirit - well done girls!!  Thanks, Roger