Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Isle of Man International Sea Kayak Symposium - feedback

With guest coaches from all over the world, it was great to run the full day trips, and put students attending the symposium in touch with the wealth of experience on hand on the training sessions.

"Hi Keirron
Just a quick note to say thanks for the weekend. It was a terrific event even if I felt like I was doing six star training on Sunday with my hangover!! Phil and Pete were both brilliant (as also was Neil) and I got loads out of the two days. If you could repeat my thanks to them that would be great. Also a special thanks to Nico for getting us home on Saturday/Sunday.

Looking forward to more paddling soon.

Saturday ran from Port St Mary - meeting at the Isle of Man Yacht Club in Port St Mary village at 10am, dressed ready to get on the water. After a cup of tea and an introduction to the event, we divided into various groups. The BCU 4 star and 5 star leadership training courses made us of the training rooms at the yacht club during the morning and the day trips and training sessions got on the water.

We paddled round the rocks, into caves and inlets - the coast really felt alive. Just overhead a pair of Peregrine Falcons were being mobbed by a flock of Choughs. Spectacular and it was just the start!

"Hey Keirron, just a quickie to thank you for an ace weekend, lots learnt and mucho fun!!! ...
Good sleep tonite methinks!

I had Alice in the front of the 'Mighty Triton' with me, (so I could relax and enjoy the scenery) her paddling is stronger now, with a few sessions in her Pilgrim this summer. As we headed round into the Sound and then to a lunch spot, overlooking the inner tidal race, where we could watch the 4 star training group - heading for the standing waves.

"Hi Keirron,
Here are some photos I took as your group went through the sound...


"Had a great time, good company and a beautiful day.
The cave and going through the sound were the best bits! :)
ali "

The 5 star training group leg by Nigel Dennis soon arrived for some practice in the moving water before heading further round the Calf of Man, to some interesting locations for the students.
One of the training group - George Shaw - a member of the Aleutians 2011 Expedition team, was on fine form in the Tide Races.

Returning to Port St Mary, exploring Sugarloaf Cave and Stack, we passed beneath Dougie and Squib, on a pumpy exposed route above us, the rock looked excellent!

All groups arrived back at Port St Mary about 4pm, for debriefs and pack up to make it back to Ballabrooie (Adventurous Experiences Base) near Peel on the West Coast for the BBQ!
Then it was Phil Clegg's presentation "The 2005 Circumnavigation of Great Britain in 80 days by Sea Kayak". Phil, who was heading up the BCU 4 Star leadership award training, delivered an amusing account of his team's adventures. Three kayakers paddled the entire coastline, calling in at the Isle of Man on-route.

Phil's account of the trip included photo's, anecdotes and vivid challenges experienced on the expedition.

The social continued - for some till late.
Sunday we met up ready to paddle at Port Erin Beach at 10:30. As another stunning day unravelled - bright blue skies, and perfect conditions. Following a group 'warm up' on the water, the Day Trips headed for the Calf of Man, with a view to paddling right round.

“Hi Keirron

I would just like to say thank you for a very enjoyable day out in the kayak. It was the highlight of my visit to the Isle of Man. Sorry for the delay in getting back to you but we have only just got back home to Portugal. Can you remind me what was the make and model of the kayaks we used as they were so comfortable I need to remember for when I change my boat.
Cheers for now

Paddling past South Harbour we spied a Porpoise surfacing seaward of the group, and sat watching that as the 5 Star group caught up and dropped into land for early lunch. Andy North was with them, but on his own photography mission, which included the Chickes Rock lighthouse...
A massive flock of Cormorants (literally hundreds) were quite sight nearby, with more dotted all over the rocks, strangely camouflaged until you looked again.
We paddled beneath the 'Drinking Dragon' with the early ebb tide and had lunch at an inlet tucked away inside 'The Puddle' then continued round to Cow Harbour. Loughtan Sheep browsed for tasty grass on the steep cliffs above, Kestrel's hunted for prey as we paddled past... contentment was complete!


... For a great weekend, Keirron. We had a fantastic time - a special thanks to Lol for taking good care of us, both on land and shore. Just on the M42 now, couple of hours from home.
I got a good photo of Jeremy with a couple of seals... I'll send it over once I've got my act together!
All the best
Tiff (and Jeremy)"

On route were countless seals, and we had to select beaches carefully, avoiding most of them due the little furry white bundles on each protected by the patrolling mother in the water nearby. The first new-born seal pup was spotted on the Friday, from which point they put on mass very quick.

Crossing the Sound with a steep ferry glide to counter the spring flow, we dropped through the little race to add a little more excitement to the trip. The icing on the cake was the Basking Shark feeding off Port Erin which delayed out arrival on the beach :)
"Hi Keirron,

Thanks for the weekend - very enjoyable. I managed to get a photo of the shark fin you might like to have, so I've attached it here.

Many thanks to the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company for supporting the event.

Looking forward to next years symposium :)

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