Friday, May 30, 2008

Sunset Evening Paddles!

Thursday evening's staff training was a relaxed sunset evening paddle, out from Fenella Beach (beneith the castle at Peel) heading south down the coast to Ny Arbyll, arriving there with enough time to for a break and some hot choc. Then setting off as the sun turned a brilliant orange, gradually sinking into the distant depths of the Irish sea, giving us an hour and a half display of every different shade of amazing sunset colours, turning into the whole sea into a crimson lake, then bright ripples of deep red, turning finally to purple and light blue...

It was Naomi's last paddle with us, as she leaves to go travelling in Australia and New Zealand, so it was also a time for goodbyes and good luck!
Youth Scholarship training is focussing on gradually more demanding trips, making use of the fabulous pleasant sea conditions to explore as much of the West Coast as is feasable in a session... and still manage an ice cream at the end!

It looks like we have 9 students who are displaying the enthusiam and committment we require to reach the standard for the 2009 Norway expedition. (pic shows the five on thursday's session)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

TT Week alternative activities...

A prominent north-easterlie wind has been ensuring plenty of activity in the SW of the Island, which holds much of our stunning coastline, bird and marine life, how lucky!
As usual, we can find suitable locations for absolute beginners in most wind directions, and even find a few slots for exciting ourselves... The Youth Scholarship program is progressing nicely, a little cave exploration by the group last week...

All manner of Coasteering, Sea Kayak Trips, 'Triton' rides (double sea kayak experiences) and last Saturday's Corporate Activities Day followed by scrumptious BBQ :)

Perfect conditions for Basking Shark sightings for the next few days and through the weekend; hot sunshine and a very light SW breeze , fingers crossed!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Averting disaster at Chickens Rock!

Gazing northwards from my kayak (bobbing in a small eddy formed behind the protective arm of rock, jutting out from the main reef known as ‘Chickens Rock’) to the S.E. tip of the Calf of Man, two lighthouses; one built about 30m higher than the other, line up perfectly. And off to the side, another building housing the foghorn, and a third more modern light.
Often joked about as being a mistake in the planning stage, (the first too low down to cast its light far afield, the second too high and was lost in the mist… The siting of the initial two towers were purposely so, (commissioned by Northern Lights) completed in February 1818, as a method of alerting passing ships to the exact location of Chickens Rock. It has been said that the reef got its name from the sightings of Stormy Petrels there (known locally as Mother Careys Chickens).
Many ships had been lost around the Calf of Man and general vicinity, and Chickens was directly in the shipping route past the South Coast of the Island, rising up out of very deep water, often near submerged or encased in dense fog. The manned lighthouses carried double revolving lights, replacing previous coal fired ones, and when lined up, navigators knew they were close to or upon the rocks!
It had been deemed impossible to build a lighthouse upon Chickens Rock itself at this time, (the ferocity of the sea put off any potential contractors)... Until the Stevenson family managed the 'impossible' by building the lighthouse on Bell Rock, completed in 1811! As years rolled by and the construction of Bell Rock Lighthouse proved excellent, the possibility of one on Chickens was debated again... In true Manx style a lot of talking and communication pre-empted any action, but in 1875 the tower on the famous rock was completed.
Following a fire inside, which involved all three keepers being rescued, meaning a costly refurbishment imminent, it was decided to automate the lighthouse. From 1962 this was completed and "a permanent un-watched electric foghorn was established in November 1968."
(Actual dates for this entry and the above quote came from a publication by W. Lockington Marshall - 'The Calf of Man'. Marshall passed away very recently aged over 100...)

Chickens Rock is one of our more adventurous paddles, and sea conditions can vary the 'rating' from atmospheric to very alarming! I was looking at my footage from a couple of years back leading a couple of paddlers out there, with mist swirling round a gently rolling sea, and the softly muffled intermittant foghorn in the background...
But, in the modern day cost cutting environment it was decided to turn off the Foghorn, (ships were no longer running aground) so the only sound on foggy days around the Calf is the cry of sea birds, and the horn at the modern 'third' lighthouse on the Calf, overlooking the Stack, now also completely automated. The only 'keepers' residing on the Calf now are the seasonal wardens studying the birds and watching over our Manx National Heritage!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Introducing Rock Climbing on the Sunny Isle of Man

The 'Introduction to Rock Climbing' course ran as a two day block this weekend, in excellent conditions, with the rock showing the benefits of many days of baking in the sun..

After some preliminary ropework and general safety checks in the Adventurous Experiences Lecture room, sections of Fenella Beach area were used; setting up anchors bottom rope systems and coaching progressive climbing techniques. The first day finished with a bouldering session highlighting the importance of balance in the sport.

The South-West Coast was a sun trap for the second day's climbing, alternating top and bottom belays and routes of varying difficulty. We saw a couple of climbers out during the day, and I think we'll be seeing a few more with the summer officially here :)

Sunday's Sea Kayaking courses and trips ran to form, (ice-cream breaks between sessions) the last trip of the day (Intermediate / Advanced) leaving the beach close to five, circumnavigating the Calf with the spring flood tide, visiting Chickens Rock which was running nicely. Seals basking on the rocks eying us with nochalant disinterest as we nogotiated the strong eddies and whirlpools forming nearby. A small Harbour Porpoise sufaced three times close to the group and then it was time to concentate on breaking into the eddie created by Chickens itself.. Slightly exhilarated and a little damp, the group then headed for a sunbathe by South Harbour... before returning to Port Erin as the huge sun sank into the sea beside Bradda Head, absolutely fabulous!

Lastly, a few pics from the staff 'Classic' adventurous Experience.. enjoy!

ps. With the first Basking Shark sighting of 2008 from a boat about a mile off Peel yesterday (Sunday) we look forward to more exciting encounters this year... :)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Sunshine, excitement and photos!

Conditions could not be more favourable for providing the best possible unforgettable adventurous experiences on the Isle of Man...
Gorge Scrambling on the Isle of Man, makes best use of our spectacular glens and the surrounding natural beauty.

An exciting journey over water and rock, experiencing adventure outdoors with your best mates, in the safe leadership of our very experienced coaches. We can tailor make a fun mulit-day program for friends or relatives staying on the island, provide 2-3 hour sessions, a full day or a mini-expedition... whether it be for 2 persons or a group of 20!

Friends, family or a Corporate Day out...

Photography is a big passion of ours, (giving you complementary pics to share your memories with your mates) and now we have invested in an even more water resistant digital SLR, you can expect even better photo's and more of the action to reach you via this BLOG!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Looking Back...

It's been so busy on the water, Puffins, Guillimots, Razorbills, Seals in abundance...
A pic or two looking back (from this weekend) some of the exciting things we have been getting up to isince the last entry, and we'll be trying to post every few days from now on :)
The heat is now on beginners and group bookings, for those who want a memorable adventurous experience with their friends, as well as those who wish to learn how to sea kayak this summer.
Students on our Youth Scholarship and Development program have begun their extensive training, culminating in the Norway Expedition summer 2009. Some great potential in the group, and in excellent spirits paddling with puffins and seals.

Forecast is for this delightful weather to stay (for the moment), suncream at the ready!
Excellent clarity again right down the west coast, giving clear viewing of the seabed beneith. Copious sunshine bringing water temperature heading towards pleasant, bets are that we have the first Basking Shark sighting very soon.

We'll be running the 'Introduction to Rock Climbing' course - as a 2 day block this coming weekend, looking forward to that!

A few shots from the May Bank Holiday - Anglesey Sea Kayak Symposium, attended by Adventurous Experiences staff, en masse! Could only display a few, a really enjoyable few days, and so good to catch up with everyone. A big thankyou to Nige, Phil, Snowie and the folk at Sea kayaking UK :)

Sam waiting for the ferry at Liverpool docks...

The Finnish contingent arrived for their tailored 5 Day Sea kayaking course, with six Instructors taking the new BCU 3* Sea Award and 4* Sea Leadership Training, following previous training and assessments in the Helsinki area, by Keirron Tastagh over the past few years. The group utilising the modern lecture room and different stretches of coastline around the island. A fantastic week guys, looking forward to seeing you again in August!
(cheers for the atmospheric picture, my camera had given up..)
Finally, some memorable moments from Corporate Training days; using off-site locations around the island, as well as our on-site stunning river-side, glens and hillside. Luck with the weather seems to continue..