Sunday, 8 July 2012

Making the Best of the Weather

Well another week has gone by with yet again rain, rain and more rain but i'm trying to make the best of it.  The sun came out on Wednesday evening so I picked up my new rod and reel which were Xmas presents from my wife and gave them an airing.  Drove the short distance to Charlestown and went out on the west pier to see if I could bag a mackerel, spinning with a lure.
No such luck.   I didn't stay longer than an hour because quite frankly it was a little chilly with a firm sea breeze and I was getting bored.  The telescopic rod was light and easy to handle and the reel silent, the line wrapping on the spool very evenly.  So full marks all round.  I can't throw my old rod away mind you, after all I have had it 47 years !.  The old reel will go in the bin though as it is corroding at the edges.

Now today, the sun came out in the morning and a visit to Charlestown with my grandson Jack revealed the sea was very calm with only a slight swell so I decided that this might be an opportunity to test the sit on kayak on the sea. So off I went to Caerhays beach (Porthluney Cove as it is more correctly known) in the afternoon with the aim of a paddle along the coast to the harbour village of Portloe.

Oh I wish it were as easy as that.  Everything takes so much time.  There's the kayak to get out of the garage, unstrap from the trolley (i'll come to that in a moment) and tie on to the roof bars.  Make sure i've got wetsuit, boots, cag top, gloves, helmet and towel packed in my holdall and put in the boot.  Then the spare mobile and money put into a waterproof pouch. Paddle placed down the ski way in the centre of the car.  Bottle filled with drink clipped into the holder on the kayak. Trolley put into the boot (yeh yeh I said i'll come to that in a minute).

Then after arriving at the beach there's the kayak to take off the roof and put back on the trolley  again ( know what i'm going to say now don't you................).  Then the struggle to put the wetsuit on. Now mine's a quality one but it's just so damn harder now i'm older (and more horizontally challenged).  Boots on, buoyancy aid on, cag on, gloves on, helmet on. Paddle out of the car, holdall back in boot, lock car. Put waterproof pouch in hatch in kayak after putting car key in it.  Ready to move.

Now I did mention a trolley didn't I !.  Well back in the days when I canoed and surf-ski'd I would just carry the canoe or ski to the waters edge. On beaches such as Caerhays or Polzeath on the north coast, if the tide was out this could be quite a walk with +20KG over my shoulder.  But I was younger/fitter/had hair then.  Ah-ha but nowadays  they make little folding alloy trolleys to sit your kayak on and tie down so that you can wheel the blighters down to the waters edge.  Another expense of course, and not cheap at sixty quid but boy do they save the arms and back.  Quite frankly without it I doubt whether i'd make it to the water.  

So of I went wheeling my kayak across the several hundred metres of sand to the water.  Then when I got there I unstrapped it from the kayak, took the wheels off, folded it up and put the whole shebang in a 30 litre waterproof bag which I then secured in the rear compartment of the kayak. Job done, ready for off so you'd think.  

Oh bugger.  I still had my varifocal spectacles on.  I'd forgotten to put my contact lenses in before I left the house.  f****!?#!!**$*%!!#!!!!!!.  Nothing else for it, I wasn't going to risk the loss of £350 spectacles; I had to go back to the car where fortunately  I had an old pair of single vision specs and a sports headband stored away as a back up.  So off I went, leaving the kayak near, but not too near, the waters edge, swapped my specs over and returned.  Felt like I needed a rest and a lie down but I hadn't started yet !.

After a quick launch I could see the water was not as calm as it had been earlier and there was a strong onshore/crosshore breeze.  No worries. The kayak proved to be very stable and I lit out towards Portloe, keeping about 100 metres offshore to avoid the heavier swell which had also built from earlier.  I soon realised that Portloe was a little too far with the headwind I was paddling into so I settled for West Portholland Cove as a final destination. Portloe would do for another calmer sunny day when I had more time.  I returned after about an hour and a half on the water.

So the trip was not quite what I was aspiring to but an excellent test of the kit on the sea for the first time and all in all I am well pleased with my new plaything.  The trolley, although an extra hassle factor, was nevertheless a great success and did what it was supposed to do..... save me from physiotherapy and appointments with chiropractors.  All I need now is some of those balmy calm summer days we used to have when I would get too hot in the wetsuit and would have to bale water over myself with my helmet in order to cool down.  Aah.....those were the days...........

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